Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mostly rocks

Where to start, where to start? At the beginning, of course!

The day trip to Mitlenatch Island started with an early morning ferry from Campbell River to Quadra Island, then a dash across the island to catch the ferry to Cortes Island, with bare minutes to spare to find parking. (Nerve-racking! Next time, I'll take the earlier early morning ferry.) On Cortes, our contact met me and another passenger at the ferry landing and drove us across this island to meet the Misty Isles crew and the rest of the group. Total time, two hours.

Sign just outside the narrow exit from Cortes Bay. Too Canadian!

Just rocks. Salt water marks distinct levels on these rock faces; the green and grey, seaweed-and-barnacle line where the tide covers the rock every day, then a gap and the dark line where salt splash feeds black crust lichens. Above that, a bare zone, where the occasional storm keeps land vegetation from settling in. Then the forest, above that.

Surf scoters, I think.

It's about an hour's passage from Cortes Bay to Mitlenatch Island. We spent it learning about the island and the currents around it, reading maps, watching for birds, listening to stories; our host and pilot, Mike Moore, has oodles of them! Then, lunch; pizza baked in the little ship's oven, salad and coffee.

Harlequin ducks on the shore, Mitlenatch Island. A couple of gulls, and two oyster-catchers, one doing his yoga routine.

And then we were there, easing into harbour, anchoring, heading for the beach in the inflatable dinghy.

On the shore, we divided up; five people went off in the dinghy to look at sea lions and cormorants; the rest of us hiked up the island to the bird blind.

Visitors to the island stay on the paths. The rest is left to birds, beasts, rocks, and mostly small plants. The pink flowers under the rock face are wild roses. Also look for Hooker's onions, on the rock itself. 

Grassy hill. With gull poop marking the top of the rock, like a sprinkling of snow.

Tiny blue-eyed grass, growing in a shady corner.

View from the bird blind.

Tomorrow, gulls doing gull things.

(2nd in a series of 9 Mitlenatch Island posts. #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8)

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