We woke at Secret Beach to Blue skies and sea views. What a beautiful spot for a camp ground.
However we had a hectic morning ahead. After a breakfast of scrambled egg and avocado we packed up all the camping equipment / food / water and clothing that we would need for the next three days kayaking expedition.
This was no mean feat, but we managed it and got to the marina to go if our 10am water taxi and Gord the taciturn driver impatiently waiting at 9.40. We knew he had a busy schedule and so bundled our kit onto the deck whilst Chris parked the van. Off we set across the sparkling blue waters of the Barkley Sound (aka the graveyard of the Pacific..... ) towards the Broken Group Islands and Sechart Lodge. Very exciting... and not a little daunting!
As the boat planed across the water, Bill suddenly realised that we had forgotten to pack one item of camping equipment - the tent! I climbed up to the cab to mentioned this to the irascible Gord who simply said 'Yes' and kept going. I'm not sure what I expected but it was not a typical Canadian response and we felt rather foolish, but fairly happily resigned ourselves to sleeping in the open air under Chris's tarp and not even think about the bears and wolves....
On arrival at Sechart Lodge, Gord immediately disappeared, no doubt to attend to his very busy schedule. We waited a while and the Jenn appeared followed by a young man later nicknamed Garfunkel, who produced two kayaks - one double and one single and a selection of life jackets and spray decks and advice of what to do and where and when. Suddenly Gird reappeared, to our surprise bearing the remains of an old tent - no fly sheet, no pegs and a broken zip, but a tent nonetheless!
We loaded our kayaks with provisions and camping kit, enough water for three days ( no fresh water in the islands) and warm / dry clothing hats and sunscreen. As we did so, the silent Gord appeared and reappeared many times - up and down the pontoon, a new shirt. Sitting in his boat, walking up to the lodge and back again. Behaving rather like a man who actually had not very much to do at all!
Although we were the only kayakers setting off that day, other guests wandered down to the pontoon and offered tips and advice about favourite touted and campsites which we noted on our charts - carefully in a map case on the deck in front of Bill.
Eventually we were ready - the sun shone warmly down as we applied sunscreen, put on beach shorts and rash vests, added life vests and spray decks, climbed in and paddled away! First stop was Hand Island, and we stopped st s beautiful white she'll beach opposite the camping area. We sat and ate our picnic, Bill and Chris set up their fishing rod sticks and we sat back and enjoy our beautiful remote and peaceful surroundings!
Lunch was salmon wraps with coleslaw and cheese, followed by chocolate brownies.
After lunch, we paddled on to Dodd island campsite, as recommended. There were s few people already camping there, so we had a snack and chatted to a few other people and then paddled on between Trickett Island and Turret Island to the campground on Turret, bathed in warm afternoon sunshine.
We paddled up yo the shore, unloaded and sat on a driftwood fallen tree to stretch and sunbathe before making camp. We could see a group of people camping under trees at the far left of the beach, and on the far right was a lone man with a hand made Pygmy kayak.
In the centre was a lovely collection sf drift wood that was arranged in a way that made a series of trunks lying around a central stone fire pit. Beijing this a small path edged with white shells lead to a small grassy area strewn with pine needles where we could pitch our borrowed 'tent'. It was perfect.
As we sat and planned info of the campers walked over. We were nervous - were they going to ask us to move on? To camp somewhere else? Not at all. In fact they had three portions of supper left over and wondered if we would like to join them!
We did and it was lovely - sitting in the sun, on the rocks, exchanging travel tales with a group of five kayakers from Oregon, over a plate of polenta and chicken with coleslaw. During supper the Beach keepers patrol arrived. These are local men who patrol the islands, in part to check permits and to ensure that people camp in a way that is sympathetic to the environment, but also to check that everyone is ok and to share knowledge, stories and the history of the Tsesaht race who have populated these islands for about 5,000 years. We meet Aaron and Hank. Aaron tells us some history, science, wildlife and camping advice and Hank tells a long winded but passionate tale of the legend behind the origin of his race. The supernatural man who cut his thigh with a sharpened mussel shell, then scooped up the blood and blew life into it to create the first man and woman. The giant whale bone he used to strike the ground to create the broken islands and then again, in a show of displeasure to destroy the lake that contained the supply of freshwater for the islands.
As he talked the sun fell low in the sky, so when the story telling was over we quickly made our camp and then sat on the driftwood tree to watch the sunset.
After that Chris lit another camp fire and on it we toasted our corn cobs for a late second supper before retiring to bed in our cramped and broken (but much better than nothing) tent!!