After breakfast, Richard gives me a lesson on how to paddle properly and I realize that if I do it his way, my neck doesn’t hurt unless I revert to my old shenanigans of pulling on my paddle. I concentrate all day in order to get it ingrained in my body.
The water is calm today (thank goodness!). The smoke is still ticklish on the throat and the sun is a white ball through the haze. Our route today is to paddle around the south end of Cortes Island, north along the west coast of the island to the gorge and then west to Marina Island.
The bright Purple and orange (Leather) sea stars are numerous, both in the water and above the tide line. We are encourage to touch them to compare the roughness of their “skin”. I never knew they could be so different, one is rough and the other is smooth.
Birds are everywhere on the coast. We see loons, herons, mergansers, oyster catchers and cormorants. The loons call out their eerie sad song. The cormorants are very shy and skittish and do not let us get too close before they fly away.
We spy harbour porpoises but only from afar. And, of course, there are seals.
It is low tide and the south end of Cortes is rocks and boulders, a tidal flat. It goes out forever. We find a small passage to go through to avoid 2 or 3 extra kms around the end.
Just before we head to Marina Island, we paddle into the Tide Islet to check out some pictographs. There are four or five, some harder to find than others. I wonder how they were painted where they were – ropes and belay down the side of the cliff?
Marina Island is owned by Bill Gates! He allows boaters to camp on the spit and the campground is laid out and roomy. We are getting used to the routine. Murray and I schlepp gear and food and John and Richard haul kayaks. (I think they do way more work than we do!) We set up our tent in the forest on a soft bed of needles. I never tire of looking out over the water or walking the beach looking for colourful rocks or shells.
Speaking about the beach……the outdoor bathroom is amongst the rocks and drift wood below the high tide line. Toiler paper is either bagged in a doggy poop bag or burned. This always involves a walk down the beach far enough to feel comfortable. I eventually learn how to burn toilet paper without using the whole box of matches!
Another great supper cooked by John and Richard. They are taking very good care of us. It gets dark, and I try to stay awake sitting on my log, but by 8:30 I have to retreat to the tent.