Thursday, June 21, 2018

Nootka Island, Part Two

I've been on the phone more than usual, beginning with Fallon whose birthday it is today. While I was talking to her, I heard a text come through and it was from Regina letting me know that Corrine died yesterday. Both Regina and Corrine were long time neighbors of ours on Gem Mary Court, although technically they live on Appleton Avenue. Neither of those wonderful women are/were spring chickens with Regina, still all feisty at 82, whereas Corrine was 92 and had typical problems for a human of that age. I miss them both.

Plus I called Carol to check on her. You may remember she had the Whipple procedure two years ago and is in the midst of a severe setback which pains me to no end. Then I had to talk to Maureen about it, followed by Nancy. I wish Bruce were home, but he's been in Alberta and Saskatchewan since Monday morning and won't return until late tonight. Although I am in a bit of a funk, let's return to Nootka Island for some lovely moments in time.

Some folks went to camp while young, but I'm not one of them. It got me thinking that although it is called a "lodge", it might as well be called a camp for grownups because at 4:45 in the morning there is a loud rap on your door letting you know it is time for breakfast and fishing. And while I might get up early most days, generally I go nowhere until I know for sure that my digestive track will cooperate. As such, I was a little nervous to leave on a boat for six hours, so instead of the full breakfast, I packed a couple pastries for later and headed down to the dock. And off we went into the sunrise.
Knowing what to expect helped make the trip seem not quite as daunting as the previous night. It helped that the water was a wee bit calmer too. Gloomy skies were now a thing of the past, with a promising, warm day ahead of us.
Have you been following the news from Hawaii? My gosh, seeing that lava flow is incredible! If you do nothing else, as in not reading the article, at least look at the lead picture from The Guardian. It would be even more mind boggling and harder to understand had I not seen what an island made of lava rock actually looks like. It makes me wonder if there were a huge volcano along ago that formed all of the islands you see.
Take a look at the shoreline and you'll see what I mean. And while it looks like perhaps there is sand along the shoreline, Dan tells us it is more like black marbles. The pictured house is for folks who brave the Nootka Trail, as well as surfers who, well, surf nearby. Did I mention in my last post that there are only a handful of people who call Nootka Island their permanent home? No wonder because it is, as the magazine articles describes it, crazy rugged. Not to mention no cell service or television without satellite.
The giant rock outcrop above is locally called "the dinosaur" because in certain light it almost looks like one. We repeated the previous evenings activity of trolling and fishing, which later in the day left me with a rolling motion feeling. Hard to describe, but I was not alone in having that sensation. Again Bruce caught a rockfish who, apparently, had just eaten this Dungeness Crab. So tiny!
As the hours passed, B caught a couple of smallish fish, two of which we kept for eagle feeding. Then, on the radio we heard one of the boats had a whale sighting, however, we were not as fortunate. We did see a sea lion, as well as a sea otter. Plus, a whole bunch of small jellyfish were easy to spot in the water around the boat. Very cool. It must have been around 11:30 when I asked Dan if he were ready to call it a morning, and if you are doing the math you will know that six hours was spent rocking back and forth on the waves. Thankfully, he agreed. I was happy when we zoomed by the lighthouse,
and into the cove. I saw this map in the hallway at the lodge and thought you might be interested.
The red pin is very difficult to discern, but if you follow the word Nootka Sound upwards, it may become apparent. When we were in Friendly Cove, Dan slowed the boat way down and prepared for another eagle feeding. Once again, the eagle missed (something never shown on the nature shows)
and had to rest for a bit on the rocks. Can you spot the eagle? Very small, but I promise, she is there. Ha, ha, Even  I am having trouble and I know it is there! I kept telling Dan he has an eagle eye for eagles as he would point one out in a tree or on the shoreline and it would take me forever to spot it.
Let's try this again, shall we?
It was then that my battery died. Yikes! We still have one fish, and there are now four circling eagles! Folks, I am both sad and happy about this turn of events because, while I would have liked to get a killer shot, seeing it without a camera in front of my face was pretty darn thrilling. Following another nice meal, it was nap time. I think I could get used to this! Sounds kind of "camp" like to me. Rarely do I nap, mostly because I am so groggy when I wake up that I can't get going again which is what happened that afternoon. In an effort to wake up, I took another spin around the complex, and I'm using that term very loosely, because there is hardly anywhere to go!
You might note the mountain in the distance which shows evidence of the logging that goes on around here. Rarely have I seen a butterfly while I've been in BC, so seeing this Swallowtail made me very happy.
Following a grilled steak dinner at 5, most folks were back out on the water by 5:30, including my husband without this blogger. I told Dan that fishing was as dull as dirt, until it is not.
You wait, and wait, and wait for action, and when it does come, one has to react quick as a wink. Not my thing really, so I stayed behind with one of the other women that came along to support her husband. Out of the 16 "campers", there were but three women, one of whom liked to fish. As the sun was setting, I discovered this cool spot,
where for a very long time, a government owned sardine factory sat, including these two buildings on a dock that is, according to the cook, at least 50 years old.
Returning around 9:30, Bruce joined me in the lounge along with many of the other guests. Oops, make that campers. While he was gone I got to know Vivienne, learning all kinds of things about her life as a newspaper editor, her homes in Manhattan, Gibson Island, and the San Fransisco area. Way out of my league, but it was fun nonetheless. Not to mention her husband Bob, a former New York Times guy. It was while we were all chatting that I remembered one of the most important things I wanted to do while we were in the middle of nowhere and that was to see a seriously starry sky. Except, when I went out on the balcony, there was still plenty of light in the sky at nearly 10:30! In one of those, "thank you God moments",  I woke to use the bathroom, something I rarely do, slipped on some leggings and went outdoors to gaze at the night sky. In a word--glorious with a capital G. As there was a new moon, it was just me, the trees and mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and a million stars that looked as if someone had tipped over both a shaker of table and kosher salt on a navy blue countertop at the same time. Of course, then I began thinking about both the wolves and bears that roam the area and hightailed it inside. It was just me and Gary, the breakfast cook that were awake. Later that morning, I asked him what the time was when I'd seen him and he said 3AM, pretty much the beginning of his shift.

I wasn't asleep for long when the rap, rap, rap came on the door, and while I did not go out fishing, I did get up to see Bruce off. Now what? I never did learn the dog's name, but he was really something, running out onto the floating dock the minute a boat came around the corner. Same thing when they departed.
I had a little something to eat, read my book, went back to the deck overlooking this cove,
studied the lava rock while the tide was way out,
and watched the sun turn the tree reflections on the water into a beautiful shade of  greenish-gold.
Finally Vivienne got up and we chatted the rest of the morning away. And then the supply ship arrived. Actually it comes three times a week, bringing all of that food we so happily consumed.
Note how far the tide is out, the people on the boat deck who are actually tourists, and the homes amongst the trees. Not only are they vacation homes, but they are all owned by people who live on the same street in another town!

Finally Mr. Bruce and Dan came in a little early and that is because, as the five fingers he held up indicated, he had caught his limit of fish! And while they don't vocalize as such, the guides are all very competitive which made Bruce's catch give Dan some pretty big bragging rights. Bob had come in a little early because he wasn't catching anything, so he, Vivienne, and myself, all went down to the dock to marvel.
You should have seen the strut in Dan's step as he wheeled the catch over to the scales.
There are many fishing regulations in BC, one of which is no barbs on the hooks, so actually catching and keeping a fish is way harder than it might sound. Mostly B was thrilled for Dan. He's that kind of guy.
As to the salmon, he gave three of them to Bob and Vivienne and had the rest packed in ice to bring to the office. It was now time to pack up, have lunch, and before long the float plane arrived. And here it came, bringing in a fresh bunch of campers. The terrific staff would do this all over again, and again, and again, until the lodge closes in mid-September.

During lunch it was decided that I would be the co-pilot this time and so I was.
Things down below looked very different on a bright sunny day.
And here we are coming in for the landing.
Easy peasy. Then it was back to the winding road and no connection to the outside world. That is until we finally got to the straight road leading to Nanaimo. It was then that we learned that Cris's surgery, on the previous day, was successful, as was Carol's procedure. Whew!

Thinking we were short on time in order to catch our ferry, there would be no stopping for sights along the way. Boo hoo, because as it turns out, we arrived early and then had to wait on the ferry because of a delay earlier in the day! Once on, the ferry ride was mostly uneventful and as we came closer to Vancouver, seeing the undulating curve of the mountains from afar helped me to understand why that Sea to Sky highways is so darn winding.
Island, islands, and more islands! Some of them even have folks living on them, like Bob and Vivienne. Once off the ferry, we drove straight to the office where Bruce rearranged the fridge in order to fit in the salmon for Monday morning when Beth would pass the wealth around.

During our time in British Columbia we've been so blessed to have some amazing adventures and this one, friends, is right near the top of the heap. And to think, but in just a few short weeks, we will be embarking on our journey home. :)

yours truly,

Gail


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