Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 19The Octopus Islands.

June 16 The Octopus Islands.
We have carefully edged into a small bay in the Octopus Islands north of the Strait of Georgia. They are amidst the maze of islands and channels that lead toward the north end of Vancouver Island and the open Pacific. The tidal currents sweep up and down these channels so rapidly that we must time our arrival at the narrowest parts so as to catch the few minutes of calm at the high and low points of the tide. We have passed through Surge Narrows at close to slack and even so Shiriri rolled and twisted in the whirling eddies. Now we are anchored and stern tied to the land and can settle down to get the last of the brightwork stripped and refinished. We work in the mornings, and wander off to explore in our dinghy, Edith, in the afternoons.

The weather is cool and damp as it often is in June on the coast so we get a lot of old finish stripped and not much revarnished but we also have the bay pretty much to ourselves. A speed boat zips past the narrow entrance and then turns and comes in for a closer look at Shiriri, some interesting sailboats come in and anchor for the night but the summer rush has yet to start.

One day we visit one of the small islets in the group and just laze away the afternoon poking around and sketching: a thing we must make ourselves do as we are so used to seriously working on all our boat projects. Even in this lovely setting far from the cares of the world, we have a mental clock ticking down to an offshore departure and there is so much to do!

Quadra Island is very large and this end is wild and unpopulated. We make a longer expedition one day to the head of a large bay (Waiatt Bay) to the south of us. The chart shows a short valley that connects the head of this bay with another on the other side of the island. A chance to go for a hike ashore!
Some old ruins of a logging camp troll their rotting piles and steel cables out for innocent anchors as we motor past in Edith and if we had paused to look on landing at the forested head of the bay I`m sure we would have found indications of an old Indian village. This coast is more solitary now than ever with the decline in logging and fishing: and any signs of the past disappear so rapidly under the lush undergrowth.

We have a lovely hike amid the red cedar trees that keep the undergrowth in check and come out at last at the bay on the other side. Way out in this bay another sailboat lies at anchor and it`s crew are exploring the far shore in kayaks. We walk a little farther and then find a large pile of very fresh manure in the middle of the trail. "Probably bear" I say, ..... "Or wolf?" We retrace our steps in leaps and soon are back with Edith, pushing off quickly and heading back to those suddenly all important boat projects.

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