The Zodiac Thriller

“Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.”

– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Tuesday October 29 (Continued….)

Laurie hops out of the Zodiac and holds the boat close to shore for Wendy and I. Her feet remain dry because she and Dave are wearing neoprene boots up to the top of their shins…'low tide boots' they're called. They look like a modern version of Inuit sealskin footwear and would be very useful for boaters, paddlers and kayakers.

http://s566.photobucket.com/user/sisauliq/media/Oct08-Mar09NIKON219.jpg.html

Wendy and I slide out of the Zodiac and help unload the gear. Dave and Laurie have prepared thoroughly and there is a ton of it (this boat sure hauls a lot of stuff)

Once unloaded, Dave takes the boat about forty feet offshore, puts the yellow kayak into the water and paddles back to our picnic site…which is actually a campsite at the 'Tzoonie Narrows' and part of 'Sechelt Inlets Marine Provincial Park'

Through the clear water, Wendy spots a Starfish clinging to a rock

Within minutes Dave, who has brought firewood and an axe, has a great fire going. We'll wait for some coals and then cook up our lunch.

In the meantime there's hummus, carrots, cheese and the best tasting black olives I've ever had. They're 'Italissima', Jumbo Kalamata olives (thanks Laurie). This great spread is laid out on a very cool portable table. It's a 'Camp Time Roll-A Table' because it rolls up for transport, goes together in seconds and it's $84.00 at MEC

  • Vinyl-covered wood slat top is resistant to abrasion, water and mildew
  • Table top is removable and rolls up for easy carrying and storage
  • Features strong aluminum alloy legs
  • Pouch for legs included; doubles as a storage pouch when the table is set up
  • Please note: the Roll-A-Table has a weight limit of 100 pounds

And it holds a lot of food

After lunch, Wendy goes to the water's edge to rinse some crumbs off her plate…she looks like she's panning for gold.

A Eureka…and Kodak…moment (that's a shout out to you Coop)

After lunch Laurie and Wendy head off down the trail. They plan to hike to a nearby river but a huge tree is blocking the path. They can hear the swift rushing water but can get no closer. On their way back to the campsite, they inadvertently flush a heron

Dave and I are enjoying the stillness of the day when suddenly, a rather annoyed heron flies past us…

…It's the one that the girls have pissed off and it's making loud, angry squawking cries as it flies across the water to the little rock island just across from us. The wary gulls make room for the big, angry bird to sit amongst them

Before you know it, it's three-thirty and time to go. We repack the gear and then Dave paddles the kayak out to retrieve the boat

After reloading the Zodiac, we climb aboard and our hosts tell us that we're going to go a little further up the inlet towards the rapids.

Sweet!

We're buttoned up, hats are pulled on tight…let 'er rip guys

Dave says that the narrows and rapids are particularly attractive to predators because of the abundance of marine wildlife that congregates there…

“Hey look…another seal”

Some of that “Marine life includes sea lemons, lingcod, kelp greenlings, silvery pile perch, wolf eels and even decorated warbonnets with spikes on their head”

http://www.bigpacific.com/play/diving.htm

(a Decorated Warbonnet with spikes on it's head

http://www.flickr.com/photos/julesnene/5711969123/

As we scoot across the water, we are paced by a group of birds (is it a gulp of cormorants?) flying stealthily a foot or two above the water's surface. They get bored with us, kick it up a notch and race away. Gulp!

Laurie and Dave

We are heading NNE and the Tzoonie Narrows are up ahead

This is as far as we go in this direction. We don't want to get too close to Tzoonie Narrows. They aren't as powerful as Skookumchuk (the tidal stream here is only three to four knots…as opposed to…up to 17.68 knots at the Chuk) but it's best to play it safe and Dave turns the Zodiac around and begins the ride back to Pedals and Paddles

We come flying past Sockeye Point, out of Narrows Inlet…go past Cawley Point and hang a left (SE) into Sechelt Inlet. Just up ahead are some very large hydro lines. They swoop down from the hills on our left…

…hanging low as they cross the water, and upon reaching the other side of the Sechelt Inlet, climb dramatically up the Caren Range (am i the only one wondering what would happen to us if one of those bad boys fell into the water?)

We pass them safely and continue.

Suddenly, Dave slows the boat to a stop. As we drift, Dave and Laurie come around to where Wendy and I are sitting and point out that we are at 'Kunechin Point'…it's the site of the former Canadian destroyer 'HMCS Chaudiere' artificial reef and a favourite for divers

The 366' foot wreck of the HMCS Chaudiere was scuttled on December 5 1992 by the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia to make a habitat for marine life and a place for divers to play on an otherwise featureless bottom Commissioned as a destroyer escort and submarine hunter in 1959, the Chaudiere now lays on her port side with the top of the wreck 60-90 feet deep.”

http://www.bigpacific.com/play/diving.htm

Dave says that we might see seals sitting up on the rocks at the tip of Kunechin Point…but they're not there.

That's okay, there's plenty else to see (namely some of those water's edge campsites)…so, off we go.

Passing Salmon Inlet (to our left) and a little further…and we go in a little closer to see a now abandoned church camp

Past Nine Mile Point campsite…

Further down the coastline and Dave takes us right in to another campsite (i think it's Tuwanek Beach Campsite). He says that we're going to land so we can have a better look

Dave cuts the motor and we glide in for a landing so gentle that we barely disturb a heron who is fishing from the beach. As we alight from the raft, Mr. Heron shuffles several yards further from us but remains basically undisturbed by our presence.

Using the old 'binocular zoom', we snap some decent shots

This lovely beach campsite is part of Mt. Richardson Provincial Park.

There is a deck (right next to a vertical rock face) for pitching your tent

The rest of the site is lush, treed and green…and includes a standing outhouse

The sun is so warm and inviting that we just stand there and soak it in.

Ahh…that was great. One last look at the heron and it's time to get back on the Zodiac

This is Tuwanek…

And we're back at Pedals and Paddles. Wendy, Laurie and I hop out of the Zodiac and form a line to transfer gear from Dave (in the boat) to the stairs. While we bring the gear up the stairs to store, Dave will dock the Zodiac, kayak back to our little beach and haul it out of the water to stow

That was an amazing tour! If we'd been kayaking it would have taken us six hours to go one way up to Tzoonie Beach, where we had our picnic. The coolest thing is people do just that. Kayak out into the various inlets and camp at one of the many sites along the water. If we're still here in the summer…we will definitely be back to do exactly that.

Thank You Dave and Laurie.

YAWWWN

Geez…all that fresh sea air made us really tired. We're going to catch some shut eye now. Oh, did you just yawn? Well, you go have a nap too and life willing, we'll see you tomorrow

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle

P.S.

October 22nd…Larder Lake, Ontario

Gorgeous (and -8)

Thanks Sam and Irene

 

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