up at 7:00am and had a breakfast of rice leftovers with coffee. It
was low tide, and when I started walking toward the water line to
dishes after the breakfast, I had realized how expanse this tidal
area was. Fresh deer footprints were leading to the water -- this was
likely an early morning visitor. The grounds close to the water
were littered with sea stars of various colors and sizes.
Fresh crab leftovers were a sure sign that someone else had also enjoyed a breakfast this morning.
There were so many things to photograph that I had continued for a bit longer, hand-held.
tide was already rising and I had decided to rush back to the tent to
get my main camera with the macro lens, packed away in a dry bag, and a
tripod. By the time I was back to the shore, most sea stars had
disappeared under water. Still, I had managed to take more pictures of
sea stars and a mollusk, enjoying the return of the sea.
I had also found several patches of seaweed resembling the type served in seaweed salads in Asian restaurants.
I had left for my day trip at 11:00am. The tide was flooding and
pushing me in the right direction. I was stopping often to photograph
some point, when I was in a channel clogged with kelp, except for a
narrow passage in the middle, I saw a power boat slowly moving in my
direction, with a person at the bow checking the water ahead and
directing another person at the helm. Surprised by this boat in a small
and barely navigable channel, while a much better waterway was just on
the other side of the islet, I had decided to get out of its way and
placed my kayak inside a kelp field, near the shore.
their facial expressions, the boaters were surprised by my move,
but went after me toward the shore. Stopping some distance away,
they had clarified their pursuit. Apparently, they were looking for
their friends, two parents and two teenage sons in two single and one
double kayaks, who had started out of Telegraph Cove and were supposed
to be at the Mound Island campsite the night before. Someone else was
camping there, but not that family. The boaters were expecting the
family to be listening the VHF radio, and tried reaching them a number
of times, unsuccessfully. They were wondering if I had seen these
kayakers. Unfortunately, I
could not help except telling them that the Mound Island campsite was
very popular and could have been easily taken prior the arrival of
these kayakers, who then would have had to look for an alternative
parted, and I had promised to keep looking for the family and, should I
encounter them, ask to get on the VHF and call the boat.
I went ahead toward the Indian Village and soon saw a white beach with remnants of buildings and a dock.
landing and tying up my kayak to a log on the shore, I took my camera
and went on to explore the area. The shore was overgrown with various
berry-bearing bushes, creating virtually an impenetrable barrier with a
few animal trails cutting through. Besides the ever-present
blackberries, a few more species were present, including what looked
like Blackcurrant. I had immediately started replenishing my vitamin
of plum trees, with small, almost cherry-size yellow and red fruits,
were adding lovely colors to the landscape, and an additional flavor to
satisfying my initial appetite, I had continued exploring and
photographing the village ruins. Not much was left of it. A couple of
buildings were still standing above the vegetation, however it was next
to impossible to tell what was out there behind the bushes, and on the ground. It was clear,
however, that the bears were frequent visitors to this area: besides
the trails toward the ruins, they had also left the droppings on the
Then I had explored and photographed the sandy shore and the remains of a pier.
I had spent some time with a flock of shore birds, resting on the beach.
was time to pack up and continue my exploration of the area. My next
destination was the First Nation's cemetery island a short distance
away. I had paddled along its shore but did not see anything: likely,
the burial grounds were deep inside the island. It was also likely
that even if anything could have been visible from the water, all signs of
human presence, including the docking area, had since been covered by
the abundant vegetation. It was tempting to step on the shore and see
what was there, however these were the sacred grounds for the First
Nations, and I had regretfully paddled away. The wind had picked up and
any further exploration of the area, moving farer away from the camp,
did not make much sense, as I would have to come back against the wind.
So I had turned around and headed back for my camp.
The tide was
ebbing and this had partially counterbalanced the front wind and the
waves. Still, it was already 4:00pm when I had reached my camp.
cooking pasta for dinner and preparing the coffee for tomorrow
breakfast, I had checked my remaining food reserves. It looked like I
was OK: enough food for my all remaining meals, with a substantial
of granola bars likely to be leftovers at the end. I also had enough
potable water to last till the end, and in addition to it a
four-day supply of fresh water from the creeks for cooking. However, I would have
to fish at least once, as I was short of proteins for one meal.
While I was
preoccupied with the food, a flock of chickadees had descended on a tree
next to my kitchen. Suddenly, the whole tree was covered with the noise
coming from what looked like dozens of these little birds. Realizing that I had
forgotten to bring my camera from the tent, about 60 meters away, I had
slowly left the area and then run for it. Unfortunately, by the time I was
back, the birds had disappeared. Once again, I had blamed myself for
breaking my own rule of never going anywhere without a camera.
let the camera hung from a branch and continued with my kitchen
activities. When I raised my head and looked at the shore, I had
noticed that something was different. A black bear was foraging in the
tidal zone, around 50 meters away from me. I had managed to take
had alerted the bear: maybe these were the camera shutter clicks or
maybe my movement behind the overhang branches. It stopped foraging and
turned the head in my direction. And right at this crucial moment my
camera had decided to quit, flashing the low battery power indicator. I
remembered checking it when picking up the camera from the tent: two
bars (out of five) were still available. Since I could not
recharge the batteries with my solar panel, my only option was to drain each of them
completely, before installing the next one. Cursing the camera for
quitting at such a critical moment, and the solar panel for failing me
on this trip, I put the camera away and watched the bear slowly walking
along the shore an disappearing in the bushes.
I was puzzled by
bear's reaction to my presence. Most likely, it did not realize that
there was a human behind the bushes, otherwise it would have run away.
I had noticed that the wind was parallel to the shore and the bear
could not smell me and my food. At the same time, it did not come
closer to investigate the source of all this disturbance. Its calmness
and ignorance were quite unusual. Maybe it had taken me for a bird or a
flock of birds?
In any case, I had packed all my food in the
dry bags and this night left them in the kitchen area, well away from
the tent. I left my breakfast in the cooking pot, weighting its cover
with heavy items to prevent small creatures from getting inside. I
had also placed empty food cans on the top, so if disturbed they would
make a noise scaring the intruders away.
to tent at 9:00pm
and spent an extra hour or so updating my diary and preparing for the
next day. After some consideration, I had decided to circumnavigate
Harbledown Island exiting via Baronet Passage, despite the turbulence
at its end, where several tidal currents were colliding
Point. I would try avoiding the worst of it by keeping close to
passage's north side, as far away from the dangerous Cracroft Point as
I would have to be in Blackney Passage no later than 5:00pm, to cross
it during the slack tide. Considering that it should take me around
four hours to get there and providing for some delays and for the tide possibly turning earlier, I had decided to
depart at noon.
Before going to bed I had listened to the
forecast on the VHF radio. Periods of rain in the morning and a message
again about a missing 19-foot aluminum vessel with four passengers.
This message had been played for several days, with the latest twist
that the active search stopped, boat recovered but the people still
missing. A sober reminder about the dangers of boating in the ocean,
and that if something happens, even the most intense efforts could be
of little help when searching for a missing boat in such a vast area.