Soaking up our last morning in Prideaux Haven, a few of us wake up early and take one last adventure in the calm. Existing in the stillness, today we feel a little extra thankful for a blue bird morning. Before we toss lines, the fleet covers float plans and prepares to disassemble our raft, making way towards the Octopus Islands.
With the sun on our backs, and plans set, we get underway with efficiency. Today’s route includes cruising 31 nautical miles, crossing through both Lewis and Calm Channel. We make great timing on our final stretch and accomplish our last technical crossing, “Hole in the Wall”, with ease. Hole in the Wall is a narrow passage on the south end of Sonora Island that a very large amount of water moves through as the tides shift.
Rapids are nothing new to the seasoned boater. With the volume of water that ebbs and floods around Vancouver Island, narrow inlets can evolve into what look like white water river rapids during that shift, earning this descriptive title. However, even with the periods between these rushing waters being brief, it is possible to time your crossing so well that the journey through them is quite smooth.
At the west end of Hole in the Wall, where our exit-way narrows most, there were a few flocks of seabirds utilizing those fast-moving currents to pounce on aquatic prey, making for a good show as we passed through. Once on the other side, with little slipping and sliding, we pulled into Waiatt Bay on the east side of Quadra Island. Most of the fleet decided to anchor out tonight, with a small raft convening alongside Deception.
Cozied into our anchorage, crews launched their dinghies to explore the sweeping coves and kayaks were dropped scouting for an easy entrance to a marked walk through the forest. Once a safe landing was found, we gathered a group to explore a stunning second growth forest here on Quadra Island.
Our adventure was a hop skip and a jump to the adjacent, “Small Inlet”. We crossed over well-traveled paths and felt exhilarated wading through the small creek intersecting our trail, taking in all the beauty of a forest that holds so much moisture. Throughout the trail we came across a multitude of different mushroom growth and as we become more familiar with the common local species, our fleet is starting to be able to identify them by eye.
The east side of Quadra Island is a recovering old growth forest that was logged many many years ago, with scars of ancient cedar still remaining. We chatted about old foresting techniques and the way companies would sometimes pick and choose trees of most profitable output, leaving the smaller ones to continue growing. Once we distinguished the contrasts of first and second growth, it was astonishing to look around the forest and really notice the differences between these local giants.
Stepping out of the forest and into the warm tidal flats of Small Inlet, the group was taken aback by the beauty of such tucked away wonder. Exploring the sediments, we found critters existing between the freshwater runoff from the local creeks and the salty remains of the last high waters. Spending our final moments on the beach, we let the white noise of a hidden waterfall fill our surroundings before reentering the forest.
Back on the shore of Waiatt Bay, the high tide was greeting us slowly, and once touching down on our vessels, each crew enjoyed the sunset sharing dinner, drinks, and laughs that danced softly across the water. It has been quite an experience growing closer as a fleet, extra confident in our navigations, and more aware of all the wildlife around us. This has all truly made our trip, once in a lifetime.
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