morning, I had switched my alarm off to get an extra hour of sleep. This
morning, the crows had made certain that I woke up on time. Two pairs
had been carrying on a loud conversation over my tent that was going
on and on and on. Finally, I had checked my watch -- it was already
close to 5:30am, time to start my day.
After a quick breakfast of rice
and coffee I had started packing. Then I saw a red disk, just
above the tree line, so large and dark that it took me a moment to
accept that this was the rising sun. Stopping all my work, I had taken
a few pictures.
When the light improved, I photographed the bay and the Old
Man's Beard Moss on a tree next to my camp.
photography had delayed my departure and I only left after 9:00am. The
was flat as a mirror: no wind, no waves. On my way out, I was hoping to
pass through a
narrow passage between two rocky outcrops in front of my camp: this was
more for fun than
for saving my time.
I was too late: my early morning photography had delayed me by more
than half an hour. The tide was falling and by now the approach to the
passage had become too shallow for my kayak. I had to turn around and
get out of the shallowing bay.
had retracted my steps and reached the open waters through Sunday Pass,
between Angular Island and Narrows Islet, then turned south and started
paddling toward White Cliff Islets, with their white cliffs already
visible. My initial plan was to explore some islands along the way.
However, I had a late departure and in the first hour of paddling had
stopped many times to photograph Rhinoserous Auklets, on the water and
all these delays, I had decided to paddle straight to the islets, while
the seas were still quiet. I had a quick lunch at 11:00am.
wind had started picking up, just a light breeze at this point. Still,
a sign that I needed to speed up, as I was paddling in the completely
In the next hour I had crossed two current streams, one before and one
at Knight Inlet, both quite strong and visibly separated from the rest
kept pressing forward. From the very beginning
White Cliff Islets looked deceptively close, yet I had been paddling
almost three hours and still had not reached them. At some point I had
started seeing a red dot on the larger islet, where the camp site was.
distance, I could not tell if this was a tent, someone's red jacket or
a navigation mark on the shore. In any case, it was a sign of
and I started worrying that the campsite might be taken. 30 minutes
later I could tell that this was indeed a red tent. Only now, after
seeing an object of known size, I had realized how far the
islets still were, and the great distance I still had to cover, so I
pressed on again. At some point I had started seeing two people
moving on the islet. To my delight, the red tent had collapsed: it was
very likely that the people were packing up and leaving. When I got
close, I could see a couple on the shore preparing a double kayak for
I had landed nearby, on a sloppy rocky outcrop
covered with barnacles and weeds. The landing and unloading the kayak was
manageable, although I slipped once on the sea grass covering the rock
and cut my water-tight pants on the barnacles hidden beneath
grass. I also
had to mind the light surf and fight off the motorboat wakes,
especially a very strong one from an inconsiderate whale watching
zodiac that had passed very close to the islet. I had asked the couple
about the camping area: the good tent site was up on the hill, on top
of the islet. It was already close to 1:00pm. The couple had soon
departed, heading to Benjamin Group where I stayed a day before. The
seas were already building up and the wind strengthening. I was glad to
be at the end of my day's journey.
Portaging my stuff up the
hill to the camp site took some time. The sun was shining hard, and the
breeze was not strong enough to cool down the air. I had covered my
kayak with everything available to protect from the direct sun. Someone
had built a driftwood shelter next to the campsite. I used it as a
cover while cooking my lunch. Then I had rested in its shade. When I
woke up one hour later, I saw a single kayak approaching the islet,
with another single and a double some distance behind. I had talked to
the kayakers. Their plan was to stay on the islet for two nights. I had
shown them a couple of places suitable for tents that I was aware of,
close to my campsite, but they had located a better place, a second
campsite, a comfortable distance away from mine.
It had been
quite cold since mid-afternoon, as the strong wind was now freely
blowing over the islet. I had put on a warm hat and a jacket, and went
for a photo walk. Captured a number of images of the islet shore.
Soon thereafter, I got invited to the kayakers camp.
had to decline a dinner invitation, as I recently had a very filling
meal, but I truly enjoyed an appetizer and a chat. Two couples, they
had paddled around 25 kilometers from a campsite on an island in Beware
close to an abandoned First Nations village site. I had read about this
abandoned village in the guidebook. In the days of its glory it was an
inspiration for many artists, including Emily Carr. According to the
kayakers, there were only ruins left, but I was still curious and had
decided to see this place, since I still had extra days in reserve.
was more than I would have wanted to cover over a day trip. I had
therefore decided to stop for a night on Flower Island, around 10
away, in the direction of my travel. During the last year kayaking
trip, I had stayed three nights on Flower Island, photographing
humpback whales that were passing very close to the shore. If the
marine wildlife near Flower Island was as plentiful as the year before,
I could stay there for another day. It was already close to sunset when
I had left the hospitable camp.
returning to my camp, I saw a seal resting on a rocky outcrop, bending
in a way that I initially mistook it for a piece of driftwood. When I
checked the same area later, the seal was gone, maybe gone fishing,
maybe it did not like the human presence on the islet.
Went to bed after 10:00pm, with the alarm set for 5:30am.