The Broken Group is a group of small islands and islets in the middle of Barkley Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The group is protected as the Broken Islands Group Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The group lies between Imperial Eagle and Loudon Channels and includes Brabant Islands, Hand Island, but not Pinkerton Islands. The southernmost of the group is Cree Island, the easternmost is Reeks Island. Benson Island, on the northwest corner of the Broken Group, is an important cultural site for the Tseshaht First Nation.
- 51.5 km total distance paddled over the course of 2.5 days – 25 km of which was in the fog and the last 3 km in 4′ chop which was a little hairy.
- Wildlife: 1 black bear (came into the campground on night #1) 1 deer, 1 whale (not sure what kind because it breached just behind my kayak) 21 harbour seals, 1 otter, 2 fishers, 1 porpoise, 11 bald eagles and 1 snake – I thought this was odd on a remote outer island? Oh, and I heard wolves howling on morning # 1 too from my kayak. I’ve heard this before. It’s hard to say where they were because that sound travels great distances.
…ever have one of those moments where everything just seems to come together or when something just clicks? We all have those moments of profound certainty. For most photographers these moments are rare and coveted especially when it concerns wildlife photography. The first time I experienced this as a photographer was actually during my first visit to Vancouver Island in June of 2009. I was in Telegraph Cove walking along the boardwalk. I was very excited to notice some tourists watching an Eagle sitting on a perch in the cove. Locals had fed fish scraps to this Eagle regularly so it was fairly habituated but at the same time very aware of human presence. More than once it raised its wings to fly away due to the commotion but for some unknown reason it did not. The angles and perspectives from the boardwalk didn’t make for a good composition. It was then that I decided that I needed to get into the water and closer to the bird. I did just that and spent the better part of 45 minutes allowing the Eagle to become comfortable with my presence. Contrary to popular belief an Eagle cannot turn its head 360 degrees but, with the help of its fourteen vertebrae in the neck, it can turn its head up to an arc of 270 degrees. Each time it would look away from me I would shuffle through the water just a little bit closer until I was almost waist deep and essentially right underneath the Eagle. It looked directly at me and at that exact moment I pressed the shutter. I knew what I had created was special and to this day it remains one of my favorite images. The image has sold numerous times and is displayed in homes and offices all across North America and Europe. The experience and the image inspired me to keep finding those moments when things just click.
My adventure included a 29 km hike deep into Strathcona Provincial Park, a rugged mountain wilderness of over 250,000 hectares that dominates central Vancouver Island. Created in 1911, Strathcona is the oldest provincial park in BC and the largest on Vancouver Island. The triangular shaped park practically spans the entire width of Vancouver Island, in that it borders on Herbert Inlet off Clayoquot Sound on the Pacific Coast, and extends eastwards to within 13 kilometers of the sea near Comox.
Expedition backpacking doesn’t come as naturally to me as sea kayaking, though much like sea kayaking I find that with each experience I grow in knowledge, skill and learn something to apply for next time. The ability to pump and filter one’s own water from lakes, rivers and streams at incremental locations is a must and critical for a backpacker in order to reduce the weight one has to carry. I will be purchasing a filtration system in the very near future that I can use for both backpacking and sea kayaking.
Lastly, a call out for those that use Strathcona Provincial Park to be on the lookout for any clues related to the very mysterious and tragic disappearance of Sylvia Apps almost a year ago. My thoughts go out to her family and friends.
Much thanks and appreciation to Tofino Sea Kayaking Company http://tofinoseakayaking.com/ for the Meares Island Trees and Shores tour on June 29th. Our guides, Arv and Aaron (spelling?) were very informative and true patrons of Clayoquot Sound.
Abstract photography is a relatively unknown genre for me but I must say I am quite pleased with my first attempt. These images were created in an ancient Maple Grove on Southern Vancouver Island. I can’t disclose the location nor the name of the individual that informed me as to the location. Locations such as these are disappearing too quickly due to industrial activities. Go to https://www.ancientforestalliance.org/ to find out more.
The MSR Pocket Rocket is a must have for any expedition kayaking or back packing enthusiast, check out the video and other online reviews and go out and buy yours today!