To the Wilderness and Home Again



Ready for an adventure? Tim and I arrived home last night after two weeks in the Broughton Archipelago. You've probably never heard of it, a cluster of islands situated between northern Vancouver Island and the mainland in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It's remote, sparsely populated by humans, and it's wild and beautiful. 

We towed our 25 foot boat to Port McNeill and launched it one evening. Our first night was spent in the marina, and in the morning we set off to explore. Low clouds hung from the mountains, and even rose from the sea, as seen above. Anticipation mixed with mystery. 



As we chugged past Cormorant Island into Blackfish Sound, I noticed lots of small, almost tailless birds flying low and swift over the surface of the water. Hauling out my trusty bird identification book, we determined they were Rhinoceros Auklets. Although they live in the waters further south near our home, I've never noticed them before. Here, they were everywhere. 





They are chunky looking birds, related to puffins. They breed in the temperate North Pacific and spend a lot of daylight hours on the water, fishing for food which they take back to their nests in the evening. The auklets frequently stood up in the water and flapped their wings. They get the rhinoceros name for that little white horn above the beak. 



Just as we were leaving Blackfish Sound for Village Channel, Tim saw a whale blow. We slowed the boat down to idle and watched over the next few moments as the Humpback Whale surfaced and blew 4 or 5 times, then, with a show of his tail, dove deep and disappeared. 


We spent the first night anchored off of Crease Island in a quiet little bay. When Tim took sailing lessons, his instructor referred to the many rocks and islets that dot our waters as "chunky bits". There were lots of chunky bits in the Broughtons. 

We wound our way through kelp beds and around chunky bits before dropping anchor for the night. Then, it started raining. A good time to haul out books and make tea. Just perfect. 



The skies cleared early evening and as we sat eating our dinner, enjoying the utter peace, two bald eagles came screaming overhead, fighting over a fish which one carried and then dropped in the water. 



One eagle flew up to perch in a tree, looking very unconcerned and nonchalant about the whole affair, while the other skimmed across the water and made a few grabs with his talons. 


In the end, I think he got the fish, or another one, and flew off to enjoy it on his own. The other eagle sat for a long time in the tree, perhaps looking for another fish to grab.



We slept like babies that night, lulled by the gentle movement of the boat, the fresh air, and the knowledge that there was nothing we needed to do in the foreseeable future. 



Comments

  1. No lack of excitement out there in the wild on the boat. Wonderful captures! Wonderful writing.

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  2. This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing these glimpses of your journey - I am looking forward to more!

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  3. Your photos are beautiful. Your trip must have been exciting.

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  4. How wonderful to be out there in the wilderness. A perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of school. Lovely to see different birds and the hump back whale. Gorgeous photos particularly of the very low cloud. I await your next instalment with eagerness . B x

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  5. How restful. Spending time on the water is such a lovely way to escape from the hurried life we all seem to live. Wonderful to see whales.

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  6. What a lovely adventure! How wonderful to be able to be so close to nature. I love all your photos, and hope to see more. :) Kit

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  7. A wonderful adventure indeed. It sounds idyllic, what a great break away.

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  8. WOW! This sounds like an amazing adventure. You got some great shots too!

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  9. I read this on my phone this morning but had to come back on my laptop so I could better see your photographs. Great job on the eagle shots!

    I guess it's my advanced age but I just can't help thinking of you two on the same plane as courageous explorers, out there on your own in a 25 foot boat surrounded by water--sleeping and eating, reading and watching and the wonderful peace of it all but so far from bathrooms and hospitals, etc. See? You're brave heroes to me!

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  10. Sure enjoyed the Captain's Log and accompanying photos. I feel the peace. Looking forward to more!

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  11. How lovely and serene, with only nature for company.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  12. Wow! What wonderful photos -a perfect journal to capture those moments in time. Love it! Thanks for taking me along for the ride! xo Diana

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  13. I'm landlocked this summer so I'm living vicariously through your sailing adventures!

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  14. How peaceful it all looks. You saw some great wildlife too.I like the auklets, I'd never heard of them so it was great to see one. Your photos are wonderful:)

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  15. What a wonderful adventure and so wild and beautiful.

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  16. What a cool post. How awesome to see the whale and the eagle.

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  17. Just loved seeing your photographs.

    All the best Jan

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  18. I'm a little jealous of the rocking boat for sleep! Sounds wonderful!

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  19. What an adventure, Lorrie, and your photos are fabulous. I'm on to part 2.....

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  20. Pure heaven!! I loved both parts of your adventure and look forward to reading future posts about it. Enjoy your grandma time (I'm responding to parts of both posts -- it was a lovely catch-up time... thanks for sharing!)

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  21. Wow, what an adventure, Lorrie! I've never seen a whale in person but would certainly love to do so. You captured some great action shots with the birds. I think the Rhino Auklet is cute ;) and the bald eagles are so majestic. Looks like a great start to your summer vacation!

    Hugs,

    Denise

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  22. Oooohhh, I just love the wildlife in this post. Awesome job capturing the action shots!!! I can imagine the water slapping gently against the boat, a perfect night-time lullaby!

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  23. Your trip sounds and looks amazing. I saw humpback whales on a cruise to Alaska and was just awe struck. Glad you had a wonderful time.

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