12 nautical miles
We had a special morning today on Mowgli Island. Our friend, Delphine, used to own the island and built a log cabin there in the 60s. We got permission to stop by and have a look around the place. The new owner has built a palatial island home, but Delphine’s modest one-room cabin still stands and continues to be lovingly maintained as a guest house.
The island is small, “Just a rock” is how Delphine describes it, but a microcosm of the Gulf Island ecosystem: Salal, Gerry Oak, Douglas Fir, Red Cedar, and all sorts of ferns, mosses and grasses.
We won’t be getting to sleep early tonight since there is a giant commercial group sharing our campsite. It is a school group composed of teenagers, teachers, and guides from “Island Escapes”. Shortly after Becky and I set camp their armada paddled in with 30, count ‘em, 30 kayaks, 40 people and an outboard powered support boat. We’re camping tonight in James Bay, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Park. I’m not familiar with National Park regulations in Canada, but being a ranger for the US Park Service myself, I’m appalled that a commercial group of this size would be allowed to operate in a National Park. Twelve or even fifteen people I could understand, but there is no way to justify a group of 40 as anything other than the gross exploitation of wilderness for profit. Besides, smaller groups are easier to manage, afford better opportunities to view wildlife and learn skills, and allow for better client care. Thankfully, the camping area is in an old apple orchard (good apples too!) and there is plenty of space. However, there is no minimizing the impact of a group that size, particularly when they insist on playing games of tag after dark. Even the adults are shouting and carrying on into the night. Ahh, our last night in Canada.
Since this is the first campsite that Becky and I have shared in 86 days of paddling we just shake our heads, laugh, and head out for a sunset hike. The late night affords us both a chance to catch up in our journals and make good use of the earplugs we’ve been carrying.
Okay, I’m done ranting…
Slack in Boundary Pass is around 2pm tomorrow and 17 nautical miles distant, so the alarm is set for 4am. Tomorrow we paddle in the pre-dawn dark!