I am happy to support MARS – Wildlife Rescue Center by donating an Eagle image for their upcoming silent auction on October 25th at the Prime Chop House in Courtenay. You can call 1-250-337-2021 for details and reservations. 100% of proceeds from the auction of my image will go to support MARS and their efforts. marswildliferescue.com

 

I recently spent a week, leading a team of paddlers in a very remote location of NW Vancouver Island for a film project. All I can say is that it was an incredible experience and one that will forever be cemented in my mind. 

I can’t say enough about Shane Philip from Island Soul Films – islandsoulfilms.com

Shane brought a level of enthusiasm and energy to this project that no one else could! BC Marine Trails looks forward to future projects with Island Soul Films. If you’re looking to showcase your organization, Shane is your man! 

 

Paula Wild, my friend and award winning author recently updated her website – check it out here: paulawild.ca

Paula’s new book – Return of the Wolf (Conflict and Coexistence) will be available in print and electronic form in October. I can hardly wait. One of my pictures is going to be featured along with an excerpt.

Thank you Paula, for telling this important story!

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I picked up my new Delta 17 on August 21st! Why not give er’ a run in the formidable waters surrounding South Brooks Peninsula? Flawless is all I can say and what a beautiful craft! It’s presented to me a whole new level of confidence. Visit Delta here –deltakayaks.com

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Setting foot on Brooks Peninsula and hand to sand just to make sure it was real! It’s otherworldly on “The Brooks! This Peninsula is the only area of North America that wasn’t covered by the last ice age, say oh I don’t know – about 10,000 years ago. It’s “different” here.

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There she is in the background and I finally got to step foot on her. The infamous and formidable Brooks Peninsula! The Crown Jewel of Vancouver Island sea kayaking! This has long been a dream of mine. My time there was only short but surely I will return to her south sides and northern regions. Maybe someday maybe even the outer points. It’s a World onto it’s own out there. “The Brooks” is a fortress that I need to get through. 

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Fertile plains suddenly drop away into a world of multi-hued canyons and wind-sculpted hoodoos. Spanning east from Drumheller and all the way to the Saskatchewan border, this region is known as the Canadian Badlands. It is home to the largest deposits of dinosaur bones in the world. I spent a couple days exploring this area and I definitely plan on returning. 

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I’ve spent an afternoon, an evening and now today with T073B – Male Transient Orca in Comox Harbour. The third time was definitely a charm! It has been an incredible experience sharing the waters with this magnificent creature, one I will never forget. 

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I’ve explored all over Coastal British Columbia and I mean all over! I’ve never seen an Orca, ever! Not until July 24th and 25th and I didn’t have to go very far either!

The name of the Orca is T073B – a lone and very large male transient Orca. Reports of his visit to the Comox Valley first started coming in around July 23rd.

I loaded up my kayak on the cart and walked it down to the Courtenay estuary launch in the sweltering heat on the morning of the 24th and paddled out to hopefully get my chance to finally see an Orca.

Research suggests that Bigg’s Killer Whales (Transient Orca) have been genetically separated from all other Orca for about 750,000 years. Adult males may reach overall lengths of 8-9 meters and can weigh up to 10,000 lbs.

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“Loose hips, save ships.” A quote from Frank Witter, expert Sea Kayak Guide and Owner / Operator at Hello Nature Adventure Tours – hellonature.ca  Frank of course was referring to remaining flexible and not becoming tense when encountering unfavorable conditions while sea kayaking. Expert advice, no doubt. 

On July 18th, I had the distinct honor and privilege to be invited by Kevin Bradshaw from Hello Nature Adventure Tours to spend the day with a group of paddlers, exploring the Broken Group Islands near Ucluelet. 

This company, it’s owners and employees embody the West Coast Spirit. Their level of friendliness and professionalism is unsurpassed. On the day of my tour, both Norm (our Water Taxi driver) and Frank were patient, helpful, fun, laid back and extremely knowledgeable throughout the day. I’ve paddled in the Broken Group Islands before, on unguided extended trips but I learned many new things, about the area, inter tidal life and Sea Kayaking. It was a fantastic experience and this should be the tour company of choice should you be travelling to the area. Safety is a key focus while on the water, as are the comfort levels for all guests. This allowed for a calm and enjoyable outing. 

I arrived at the Ucluelet Dock and point of departure shortly after 7:30 am. I was greeted by both Frank and Norm who were busy preparing for the day. Soon after I arrived, four other guests also arrived and we were all set to leave by 8:00 am as scheduled. The crossing and open water conditions between Ucluelet and the Broken Group Islands makes the use of a Water Taxi much more suitable. It was about a 45 minute ride to the southwest side of Dodd Island where we would stage and prepare for our day of exploration. 

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Arrival at Dodd Island and Safety Orientation:

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“The SHIT KIT” was definitely a hit! 

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Dodd Island departure and paddle to Dempster Island:

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Arrival at Dempster Island:

After leisurely paddling through a vast maze of islands and islets, we arrived at Dempster Island just after 12:00 for lunch. The timing was perfect, the fog had lifted and the sun was shining bright. Frank got busy preparing lunch for us, we had all built up an appetite. Lunch, all food items bought locally consisted of sliced bread, pepperoni, cheese, pickles, olives, sliced pear and apple, cookies for dessert and water, tea and hot chocolate to drink. It was fantastic and a great lunch location in a sheltered lagoon. 

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Paddle to Nettle Island: 

After finishing lunch and getting suited back up and into our kayaks, we crossed over to Gibraltar Island and then headed a little north to explore a lagoon. We saw two resident Deer and even a Raccoon. Even though this is a well traveled area, fortunately the wildlife seemed intolerant of human activity. Both the Deer and Raccoon dashed into the forest before anyone could get pictures.

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Pickup at Nettle Island:

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Norm was waiting for us as we arrived on a small pocket beach on Nettle Island. We got our kayaks and gear loaded up and made our way back to Ucluelet. The afternoon winds had picked up and the water was rough during the crossing. It made for an adventurous ride back. 

Hello Nature exceeds low impact environmental standards. I applaud their efforts. We all have our part to play in protecting our fragile coastal ecosystems. Find out more about their best practices here – hellonature.ca/…s/environmental-practices