One might think, traveling off the beaten path, that few people have been to certain places. But up and down this coastline of ours, all 27,200 kilometres (16,900 miles) that wind in and out of deep inlets and fjords, and around some 40,000 islands, big and small, one finds evidence of past human activity.
Midden beaches mark the spots where First Nations harvested shellfish. Crumbling villages and rotting totem poles are all that remain from many settlements.
From the nearer past, boarded up and falling down structures are all that's left of many people's dreams. On Tumbo Island, accessible only by boat, a house, a barn, and a tottering stone chimney bear silent witness to someone's hopes.
Whoever lived in this cabin planted a couple of rosemary bushes that are now sprawling wildly. I picked a few sprigs and took them back to the boat. That same someone planted lavender, too, whose long spires were busy with bees.
And who chose the colour of this door? She, or he, and I have something in common - an attraction to rosemary and lavender, this pretty blue - yet I know nothing of her. No name remains, only silent buildings and overgrown plants.
Historical records tell us that the island was once used for coal mining (too deep), fur farming (mink and foxes), and that Chinese immigrants who worked in the mines grew a large market garden and rowed (!) the produce across the Strait of Georgia to White Rock (about 20 miles).
An abandoned rowboat bakes in the sun. The island is now a park, although a small section is still privately owned and occasionally occupied. Remote settlements such as this became more rare as fishing and logging were commercialized and single operators just couldn't make a living.
It's a quiet place to visit. The big pleasure boats don't stop here, as the anchorage is shallow and crisscrossed by shallow reefs. Across the Strait, the densely occupied BC and Washington coastlines are visible, and tanker boats and container ships sail by regularly, but Tumbo and Cabbage Islands drowse in the sun, hardly noticed by civilization.
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life.