This summer we had two weeklong trips back-to-back, and it certainly seems we got the weather right. After a week of biking in cool, occasionally drizzly, weather it was time for a heat wave with basically no wind - what a great time to be on the ocean! We debated before the trip whether we should take the canoe or a pair of ocean kayaks (a tandem and a single) with kids in the hatches. The advantage of the canoe being easier packing and having the entire family in the same boat, allowing better "in-flight service" for the kids... but the kayaks are more seaworthy. With the heat and general lack of wind I think we made the right choice with the canoe. I've actually never been on the ocean with such weather before...
After an extended session in Lund looking for parking and getting everybody assembled in the canoe we were off. Anticipating that I might be more-or-less "in charge" of propulsion while Line was occupied as a stewardess I was keen to deploy the rowing rig I'd made for my Pitt Lake trip a month earlier. Unfortunately, during that trip, the Canadian-Tire-grade oarlocks I used had gotten kinda bent up - I think they were made to be installed on a boat that also has a motor and never rowed hard. So I bought some new ones (also from Canadian Tire) that were a lot heavier, figuring more weight = beefier. As soon as we were clear of the docks and I tried to apply some power one of the oarlocks bent over, which changed the angle of the blade such that the oar dove under the boat and ripped the oar socket (also from Canadian Tire) clean off the side of the rigger. We paddled back and left the rowing pieces at the car and re-arranged ourselves in the boat. At least they broke early such that we didn't need to carry the broken pieces around the whole time. Maybe I need to get some real rowing equipment if this is going to become a thing.
The first day's paddling was pretty short - we arrived at the North end of the Copeland Island Marine Park in about 1.75 hours of easy paddling. The kids went exploring while the adults unloaded the canoe. Line and I would take turns doing chores and swimming/snorkelling on the trip, and I got the first snorkel. F got to try out her new full-face snorkel and we swam together checking out all the undersea life. She wanted to swim to a small island a short distance from camp (don't they always?) so that's what we did. When she became too cold she basically just rode on top of me, but I'd anticipated this and wore my life jacket. Combined with the snorkel I think I made a pretty good motorized raft. It was cool to share the snorkelling experience with F. After dinner Line and the older kids went exploring while I hung out with W on the beach. The strangest "aircraft" I've ever seen flew over at very low altitude - it basically looked like somebody had mounted a noisy fan onto a hang-glider and put the whole deal on some pontoons. We saw numerous green intertidal isopods on the beach, which we named "the critters".
And the Curme Islands were great. While there were a lot of other parties there the sites are arranged cleverly and it feels like you've got the place to yourself. It was great to spend two nights in a row there, and not breaking camp gave us extra time to just hang out. We poked around in the tidal pools, jumped off the rocks into the ocean, went snorkelling, and read stories. Our littlest kept us from relaxing completely - there were lots of short bluffs to fall off of, and she's a bit of a sketchball when it comes to that sort of thing. But, overall, awesome. There was even a seal pup hauled out on the rocks with its mother - we could watch them pick the sunniest rocks for the best basking. By the time we left it seemed visibly more sturdy... it must have been very recently born. We tried to give them some distance and privacy, but I think Line still got a thousand pictures. We also saw some rock-coloured flatworms, which is a creature I've probably seen before but never noticed - we were surprised when what looked like a squished blob started gliding along the rock.
While jumping off rocks I noticed a broken nylon cord heading off into the ocean; it was stuck but (thinking especially of the baby seal getting tangled) I figured I should come back at low tide with my snorkelling gear and try to sort it out. It turned out to be a crab trap that had gotten stuck and the fisher (throwing from shore?) had broken the cord trying to get it up. It was pretty deep - just at the edge of how deep I can dive without fins/weights, but did manage to retrieve it. The bait was long gone, but it was filled with crabs (one dead, partially eaten) and even a fish. The section of netting that's supposed to be cotton (so that it rots and the trap doesn't continue to fish forever if it's lost) had been replaced with nylon, so I felt good about retrieving it and freeing the prisoners. It also gave the kids a chance to see some bigger crabs up close.
When we reached the other side we discovered the camping area listed in our old kayak atlas no longer existed so we kept going. Once we got into Okeover Inlet the kids were (more-or-less) happy again, and we had the tide with us, so we did another long (for kids) push and made it all the way to Grace Harbour for another two-night stay. There were only 2 campsites but, fortunately, basically everybody in that bay had brought a yacht - there might have been 30 of them anchored in there. The yachters mostly stayed on their boats, although there was a steady stream of people bringing their dogs ashore to do their business. I learned that "boat trained" (for a dog) means that they can do their business on a boat - the opposite of "housebroken".
It was nice to spend two nights in a row at the same spot again, giving us more time to read stories, enjoy the berries, and do some great swimming in the shallow bay. We saw lots of snakes at this campsite along with spider (kelp) crabs and sea cucumbers. On our middle-day we did a "trip" to the "island" just off shore that only appears at low tide.
We didn't have far to paddle on the final day, as we were going to do a loop and were already most of the way back to civilization. We initially took our time paddling, looking at every starfish on the rocks, but eventually decided it would be nice to drive all the way home that evening and picked up the pace a bit. When we came ashore Line walked overland to Lund to get the car while I unpacked the boat and the kids caught an obscene number of crabs. We got home late, but the kids were happy to wake up in their own beds the next morning surrounded by all the comforts of home.
10/15/2022 07:28:22 pm
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