Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Over the hill

On the back side of the information kiosk on Mitlenatch Island, there were the animals we could hope to see.

Birds, mammals, intertidals, and a snake. Needs its own heading, doesn't it?

Over the top of the hill, we came to the caretakers' cabin. It's a ramshackle, half old lumber, half driftwood, half green walled home away from home. There's a rustic kitchen/storeroom/shower with a half roof, loose plank floor and rough wood shelves. There's an office/study/cold weather room, and a low-ceilinged bedroom. A brisk walk away, there's an open-air outhouse (private, if roofless), and a plastic john for rainy days.

From April to September, two people stay here, a week at a time, to watch for too-enthusiastic visitors and record the changes as the season rolls on. I hear there's a waiting list.

Old moon snail shell, on a tray of dried bones and cracked shells at the gate to the cabin.

One of this week's caretakers, Peggy, met us on the trail and filled us in on the latest news. The gulls on the north cliff were ready to lay their eggs; they should be starting the next day, and the eggs would be hatching in four weeks. On the cliffs over the water, they'd be a bit later. There was a dead seal (I think: my memory fails me here) down below the cabin, slightly nibbled on. She hoped to get permission to study it. And had we seen the tiger lily? (I hadn't; too busy taking photos of something else.)

Showing us the find. 

Camp Bay, from the caretaker's hill. That's the other half of our group in the dinghy, Dave the caretaker on the shore, and Peggy behind him in a blue jacket.

And then we were heading back across the hill to meet the dinghy and trade places with the seal watchers. But first, I had to climb down to a tide pool, take a few fast photos before I scrambled back up the rocks and ran to catch up with the group at the far shore.

The tide was almost in; I didn't see "cucumbers as big as my arm" as per the information kiosk. There were tiny snails, a few small hermits, limpet shells, and hiding in the cracks, a couple of crabs. And three orange-striped green anemones, Diadumene lineata. Made my day; I hadn't seen one of these since Boundary Bay days. The largest one is just below the rock, centre right edge.

I caught up to the group, out of breath, just as the dinghy came in. We boarded, Mike turned her around, and we puttered out to see cormorants and sea lions.

Tomorrow; the sea monsters, finally.

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


  1. Soudns like a magic place

    I think the dead is a Harbor Porpoise, a little one

    1. Thanks, I thought it looked porpoise-ish, but I hadn't climbed down to see it close-up; I was looking around the cabin. And I thought a porpoise would be bigger.

  2. What a great place to explore. Every time I stop by here to read your posts, I am reminded to head out to the ocean here and take a look at our tide pools. It tends to be really windy here, so I keep putting it off.


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