Sterling Donalson of Sterlings Kayaks unveiled the new Progression at the North Sound Sea Kayak Association meeting in Everett on April 2nd. The release of the Progression marks the successful return of his business from a fire that completely devastated his business two years ago. He talked to us about the Progression design and about what it was like to watch his kayak shop go up in flames:
"This kayak is totally symmetrical front to back. It surfs just as well backwards as it does frontwards. The first one we built weighed in at 41.8 pounds with a standard layup. It is 16 ft 1.5 inches long, 1 3/4 inches longer than the Reflection. That is just the way it worked out to get the dimensions we wanted, to get the cockpit heights and the radiused bows. We wanted a fuller bow up high, because we are finding that on steep waves when you are doing aggressive edges, you got to get rid of sharp bows because they will plunge, they’ll poke, they'll pull your bow down. We learned a lot just watching lots of film footage in the waves. We learned what not to do.
We put a lot of features on this kayak that the Reflection has, plus we did a lot more with the deck design. We raised the parting line up significantly higher than on the Reflection because, being a much narrower boat, we wanted a higher degree of secondary stability. And we wanted to come in at the point of your maximum edge. You feel really comfortable on it. We really achieved that goal. That thing is rock steady on its edge!
The cockpit opening itself is 15 in wide, and 32 in on the inside length. That’s what is called a standard sea kayak coaming. Same as a Romany, Same as a Valley. The Reflection is bigger: the Reflection is designed to take a big person, up to 300 pounds. It’s got a lot more volume.
The Grand Illusion is intended for bigger people so it’s got a slightly longer coaming. it is 18 in at the hips, and it has a bigger front radius so you can draw your knees together and stand up. It’s kind of important for bigger people to be able to do that. I designed it for myself. At first it wasn't even intended to be available to the public. But it came out too good not to do it.
Everyone is always asking us, about the fire: “How did you guys manage to come back?” We lost absolutely everything in the fire — molds, plugs — I mean absolutely everything.
The reason this boat is so important, is that the very day of the fire we were going to mold. The Progression plug was set up on the building table. And it was all flanged, and had already been waxed and gel coated. So we were ready to go. The plan was that after lunch we were going to do the first layups and we were going to finish it off the following morning.
I was out doing some final work on the plug in the shop and everyone had gone to lunch. I kept smelling a smell that was not normal in a kayak shop. But I was so preoccupied with what I was doing on the plug to get it done in a timely fashion so I could get to work on it after lunch. I didn’t pay much attention. So I went ahead and finished what I was doing and then I went out on an exploratory search and I went out to a secondary room in the shop where we keep all of our gelcoats and resins. It was a temperature-controlled room, so we’re not dealing with 45 degree resins that need 77 degrees to cure properly. I opened up the door and looked down the passageway towards the paint area. And as soon as I looked into the paint area, I saw some black smoke around a wall receptacle about 5 ft up the wall. And as soon as I saw the black smoke, it started belching out more. And me opening the door, I think, relieved the pressure or allowed additional oxygen. It turned from smoke to flames. As quick as I saw it I had to duck over and start crab walking towards the side door to get out. And I’m outside dialing 911.
First I made sure my son-in-law was out. He was out getting me coffee. And my other employee was out in his pickup truck in the back parking lot. His habits were that at lunchtime he’d just go out to his truck, and he had a stack of newspapers out on the driver’s seat, so he was catching up on the times, reading, and then he always has the radio on the local talk show. He heard an announcement on the radio that there was a small business out in our area on fire. And here I am standing out in the parking lot, on the other side of the building, and Steve comes walking around the business and he says, “Hey Sterling! I just heard on the news that there is a business out here and it’s fully engulfed in flames!” and I said, “Steve, look behind you!” And he was like, “Ohhh!”
We looked through through the windows and we could see all of this ceiling insulation coming down in sheets of flame, and draping over all the boats. And you knew you couldn't get in there.
Then the fire department came. And Steve says, “You know, we got a trailer load of demos out in the back. Let’s go back and pull them out of the way”. So I start going around back to pull these out and the fire department stopped us. And they said, “Don’t. We’ll take care of it.” A couple lady firemen pulled the trailer out and got all that stuff. And they pretty well saved my bacon, because those were the starts of most of my models. Even though they were heat warped and a little distorted, it was still a starting point.
I got on the phone and called my wife. And I said, “Our business just burned down. It’s a total loss.” And the first question out of her was, “Is everybody OK? Is Ryan OK?” And I said, “Yeah, everyone is fine.” And then she paused for quite a few seconds, and then she said, “Fresh start”.
So we took off from there. From that point it was just dealing with different aspects of having a fire. And going through fire investigations and the labs that came out and did all their lab analysis of it. There was never anything that they could determine that was the cause. But we knew what the cause was. There were a lot of electrical issues in the building. When you have conduit that would leak water through the plug-ins. And when you have conduit that would fill your lights up with water, we had problems. It was a rented building. It was one of the things that we were supposed to get fixed by the landlord, but it just didn’t happen.
It was kinda where we left off at that year, and we had a whole rebuild ahead of us through the whole winter. We dispersed into small segments and we were rebuilding molds in small garages from my employees, and I had friends doing plug work and fairing work in another shop and another garage. And I’m running between every which place I can trying to get this done. We had local clubs, surf ski clubs and out local kayak club during Christmas they had benefit. We had people buying boats from me, giving me payment in full and putting no time limits or constraints on me as when they took delivery. They just wanted me to have the cash. So everybody pitched in. It was a joint effort.
A lot of people came in and helped — the paddling community, people from our church. It was just totally unexpected, the number of people that came and rendered help, rendered funds. And even our neighbors that we moved next to in this big building. They were a Romanian family, and they were over there pitching in, doing firewalls and drywall work, and insulation. Whatever they could help they were doing it."
The red and blue Progression he brought to the meeting is only the second kayak out of the mold and is destined for Sweden. So far, the response from his test paddlers is that it is an amazing design — highly maneuverable, exquisitely responsive to edging, and surprisingly fast, despite having a great deal of rocker.
I registered for the Deception Pass Dash as a racer, but just before the race I decided that I would rather not participate but instead watch from shore and record it on video. It is such a stunningly beautiful location that, as a racer, I have always envied the spectators and especially photographers who got to watch it from the top of one of the surrounding cliffs or the bridge.
There is so much going on during the race that it’s easy to loose focus trying to cover everything, so I just picked one spot along the shore to sit with my camera on a tripod. I hiked to a grassy clearing along the west entrance to the Pass with a view to the south. I was able to see the paddlers as they rounded Deception Island, went through the Pass and returned through Canoe Pass along shore. It turned out to be a perfectly clear but breezy day. In the meantime, Katya was shooting at Bowman Bay, capturing the spectacular start of the race and the paddlers as they crossed the finish line.
Just before the race, we did brief interviews with a few of the racers. I’ve been shooting with a Canon 7D II and I really love the ruggedness and slow motion capabilities of this camera. Slow motion gives you time as a viewer to really appreciate the image and motion. It just makes everything look cool! I predict that everyone will be using it for everything from now on, so try it while you can before people get tired of it and it becomes another passing fad, like time-lapse.
The idea behind this video was simplicity. Finishing it in black and white is part of that. Katya has extensive experience with black and white photography from the film era, so I relied on her for “color grading”. I like the monochrome effect for the on-the-water shots because it cancels out the overpowering bright blue of the water.
Special thanks go out to the paddlers who agreed to be interviewed: Michelle Sheffer, Jed Hawks, Barb and George Gronseth, David Price, Warren Williamson, David Cocker, and Minnie Fontenelle.
Katya and I came up with this idea for a video Christmas card. The idea is simple but it took a few days to shoot at three different locations. The major obstacle for shooting around the Pacific Northwest in the winter of course is bad weather and short days. Fortunately, we had a couple beautiful sunny weekends to work with. I hope you enjoy it. Happy paddling!
In the summer of 2013, Native Watchman Tom Sewid described to us some of the signs of the sasquatch, or what he liked to call the Bukwus. For instance, if you come to a beach and find a pile of shells on a log or on rocks that look like they have been crushed, with some meat still inside, that is a sign that the sasquatch have been harvesting for shellfish at low tide during the night. They leave the piles of shells — horseshells, butterclams, and cockles — to tell humans that this is their beach. Simply finding one broken shell is inconclusive, since it could have been dropped by a raven. But if you arrive on a beach in your kayak and find a pile of shells, he advises you to get back in your kayak and leave. At a young age, Tom was taught to respect those signs while out hunting.
The term Bukwus is the Kwak’wala term for the male sasquatch. The female sasquatch is known by the term D’sonoqua. Large, hairy, bipedal anthropoid beings were described in the ancient legends of the indigenous people of British Columbia long before "Bigfoot" became a phenomenon in popular culture. The Bukwus and D’sonoqua appear in carvings and dance as well as folklore.
The white crushed-shell beach where we landed on a peninsula on the west side of Turnour Island used to be a village site. It’s forested now, seemingly devoid of any signs of past human habitation. But Tom recognizes mounds indicating that three big houses used to stand here, oriented with their backs to the southeast storms and winter outflow winds. When people were organized within a political structure of a serfdom, this was probably where commoners lived. When smallpox, influenza, and tuberculosis swept across the lands int he late 1700 through the early 1800s, the indigenous population was depleted by 95%. Small villages like this could no longer be sustained, and the serfdom collapsed. People moved into the major village centers. The major villages were then later abandoned after the Indian Reserves were established. The age of the surrounding cedars correlates with the time epidemics would have ravaged the area.
In a clearing among the cedars Tom told us about his own encounter with the Bukwus. In 1994 while on a seine boat anchored off of Village Island in the Broughton Archipelago, Tom and three other fishermen sighted a male and female sasquatch on shore. His sighting is documented in John Bindernagel's book, North America's Great Ape: the Sasquatch.
Posted at 04:48 PM in 2014, Kayaking Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago | Permalink | Comments (0)
Watch it now on Vimeo!
Katya and I premiered our short documentary, “A Hospital in the Pines” at the Alpen Club in Vancouver, BC this past Saturday. The event was a fundraiser for the Canadian nonprofit organization GO-MED, to help support their 2015 medical mission to the Philippines. A Bavarian-themed restaurant was an interesting choice of venue for showing a documentary about the Philippines. The place looked like something you would find in Leavenworth. A bar was conveniently located right outside of the large dining room and filled with elderly German gentlemen who sounded like they were all having a fine time. The very first thing I did after we showed up and tested the projector and sound system was to order myself a beer.
We ran a slide show as the servers were still setting up the tables. The slide show was a last minute idea. I thought it would be good to show some of the images of the Philippines we took on our trip as people showed up. Katya dug into her hard drive and came up with about 300 images and I added a few of my own. I was pleasantly surprised because I hadn’t seen most of her images before. She probably snapped a couple thousand during the trip and never had time to go through them more than once. So we spent about 45 minutes just sipping beer and watching the slide show, editing images on the fly before the first guests showed up. We let the show run through dinner until GO-MED president Lisa Bruhm got up to introduce the film.
I have become a bit of an advocate for medical missions ever since I went to the Philippines two years ago with the Canadian non-profit group, GO-MED. At first I was primarily attracted to the challenges of practicing medicine in a developing country, but later I realized that you really gain a lot from volunteering, in terms of gratitude from the staff and patients, and friendships and connections you make along the way.
A few of the nurses, surgical technicians, and doctors I got to know make time to travel on missions every year. They do it for various reasons, including a love of travel and a genuine desire to help other people. I think volunteers are also attracted to the autonomy of working within a small organization, unencumbered by the onerous rules and regulations imposed by the large hospital systems in North America, the opportunity to wrestle with unfamiliar, advanced pathologies you would rarely see here, and the "meaningfulness" of the work.
I attribute some of the growing popularity of the medical mission experience to an eroding sense of purpose that comes from working in a health care system which increasingly fails to value and respect its professionals, is obscenely expensive, wasteful, environmentally destructive, burdened with bureaucracy, geared toward raking in profits for pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers, and biased toward high-tech, expensive interventions for chronic disease, rather than the prevention of disease by low-tech, comprehensive changes in lifestyle and diet. When doctors and nurses find it more fulfilling to fly halfway around the world to work for free in a developing country rather than in their regular jobs in the US and Canada, it should be a clue that we have a real problem.
GO-MED is unique in that it not only provides free surgical care, but also is focused on teaching local nurses and doctors . Shirley Pinlac, the nurse who founded GO-MED, trained at Baguio General Hospital, which is why this hospital has been host to the mission for the past six years. As GO-MED moves forward with plans to serve at other locations in the Philippines, I think it is appropriate that the times spent at Baguio General Hospital are commemorated in this film. Although the documentary deals entirely with the 2014 mission, the experience is typical of previous years.
Back to the premiere: we were thrilled that a lot more people showed up than were expected. At least twenty people came without prior reservations so the restaurant staff were running around to find more chairs and an extra table to seat people. It was great to reconnect with the team members with whom we worked on the past two missions, and to meet in person others who we only knew online. We are hoping that publicity from people sharing this movie online through social media will not only encourage people to donate to GO-MED but also inspire nurses and doctors to volunteer for future missions. It's easier to donate when you know what your money is being used for, and to volunteer when you can see what you are getting into.
I always imagine that people watch my videos alone on their laptops or tablets, so I don’t think I was prepared to watch this movie with a large audience. Nothing can compare to the experience of showing your movie to a room full of strangers! It is the true test of whether a movie works or not. I was totally blown away by the reaction. People laughed and cried — seriously! I now believe that the secret to a good premiere is to feed your audience dinner and make sure they have all had a few drinks and are surrounded by good friends (On the other hand, Katya was afraid that people were going to fall asleep after having eaten dinner once the lights went off). It might help to serve strong coffee with dessert.
We set up a page on Facebook for the movie and I invite you to "like" it and follow along as we post news related to the movie.
If you enjoy this film please consider contributing toward GO-MED's future missions. Since our volunteers personally pay for their own airfare and accommodations, donations directly fund patient care. Donations are processed through CanadaHelps, a registered charity that processes secure, online donations on behalf of Canada's 80,000+ registered charitable organizations. Within minutes of making the donation, you will receive an official electronic tax receipt emailed to you.
It doesn't matter what kind of craft you paddle -- sea kayak, canoe, white water kayak, SUP, or inflatable pool toy -- together, we all float! Individually, well... then you are really on your own out here and have to depend on your self-rescue skills. And the water in Puget Sound can be cold, even on August 17, 2014, the day of "Raft Up!", an event that was held to raise fund for Vashon Island Youth & Family Services.
"Raft Up!" was an attempt to beat the world record for rafting up kayaks and canoes. Katya and I paddled from Point Defiance in Tacoma to Quartermaster Harbor to attend. They needed around 2500 kayaks and canoes to beat the record, currently held by Sutton’s Bay, Michigan. In 2013, Sutton's Bay organized a raft up of 2,099 boats. I was a bit skeptical that the Vashon Island event would attract as many people, because it is simply not very convenient to get to Vashon Island. The event organizers advised participants to take the ferry across the day beforehand and stay overnight at the event campground. If they really expected a couple thousand kayakers then the ferries would have been crowded. Alternatively, you could have planned to paddle the six miles from Tacoma on the morning of the event like we did. The boat launch at Jensen Point where it was going to be held is not big, and certainly doesn't have parking for the two thousand cars or so that would be expected.
Honestly, in terms of logistics, I don't know how the organizers were thinking it would work.As you can see in the video, the attempt to break the world record fell a little short. Well, it still turned out to be a cool photo op anyway, and an awesome summer day to be out on the water. Just wait until the next year though when "Raft Up!" returns for another shot at the record! (Just for fun, see if you can count how many kayakers in the video are holding their paddles upside down.)
Katya and I hiked from our camp in Boat Bay to Eagle Eye, the whale observation station along Johnstone Strait, just across from the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. Abundant salmon and a gradually sloping soft pebble beach make Robson Bight especially attractive to orca whales.
Posted at 11:18 AM in 2013, Kayaking Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago | Permalink | Comments (0)
The first time I planned a trip to Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago I was a bit frustrated by how little information about campsites I was able to find online. When I finally arrived in Telegraph Cove, I asked the guides at North Island Kayak what campsites they recommended, and marked then off on my marine chart. It is a confusing mix of free public designated campsites with no toilets, campsites with a vault toilet where you might have to pay a fee, campsites on IR (Indian Reserve) land where you can stay only with permission from the band that owns it, possibly also for a fee, and campsites that at one time may have been public but now are leased by private kayak companies exclusively for their use and are off limits. You might unknowingly settle into a beautiful spot for instance, only to be kicked out later because it's a commercial site.
Many paddlers I have met out in the Broughtons started their trip in Echo Bay and kayaked to Telegraph Cove, but I have always started and ended at Telegraph Cove and have not traveled north of Sedge Island, so I can only talk a little about campsites in the southern part of the Broughton Archipelago.
Telegraph Cove is a popular gateway to the Broughtons and the Forest Campground is a convenient place to stay both before and after your trip. It’s a busy campground with a central field with playground equipment for kids, bathrooms, and showers, and a covered area next to the Campground Manager’s Office with WiFi access. Cost is about $30/night and WiFi is an extra $2. An electrical outlet and faucet with running water are available at every campsite. They don't charge extra for showers. By the way, there are also bathrooms, laundry facilities, and showers at the Telegraph Cove Resort by the boat launch. Showers are $1, and washing machines and dryers take $2 each in Loonies. You can find small boxes of laundry detergent at the General Store.
Many kayakers will pack their kayaks on the lawn in front of the Telegraph Cove Resort office (“The Red Building”), and pay $8 to launch from the adjacent boat launch. Alternatively, you can pay $7 and launch from the kayak launch by the North Island Kayak office. When you return, there is a hose by North Island Kayak that you can use to wash off your kayak and car. It is there for people to wash off their big boats.
I stayed at the Forest Campground both before and after my trip. I made a reservation for my first night but on my last night I just showed up and asked for a place and they still had several sites available. Whereas at the Resort you are unlikely to get a room without a prior reservation during the summer, you can still easily find a campsite. If you don’t have a reservation, drive around the campground first and see if there are any unoccupied sites, then stop at the Campground Manager’s Office by the field and tell him which ones you are interested in.
The campground is 1 km down a dusty gravel road from the Resort, so you have a bit of a walk if you want to take advantage of the restaurants at the Resort. Like any drive-in campground, it can be a little noisy and especially annoying when big trucks drive by your tent in the middle of the night. The management makes it known that there are several black bears in the area, and that you should not to store food in your tent. One of the guides at the Tide Rip Grizzly Bear Tour office on the boardwalk said that one particularly curious black bear walked right into their office in the middle of the day, in full view of everyone eating at the Pub next door.
Someone also mentioned that there is a cougar in the area. Although people seem more concerned about bears, statistically I think you are more likely to be attacked by a cougar. Most cougar attacks in Canada have happened on Vancouver Island. Usually these animals target small children, but have also stalked and attacked adults. They can swim between the islands too, just like bears!
There are a couple hikes from the campground. One is a short 5 min walk to the Bauza Cove which has a wide stony beach at low tide. The other is a longer hike to the Blinkhorn Peninsula. If you decide to do this hike, they request that you write your name and what time you left on a sheet of paper posted outside of the Campground Manager’s office, in case you don't return!
If you want to rent a kayak for your trip, North Island Kayak is conveniently located right on the water in Telegraph Cove. They post tide and current information daily and will also give you a copy of the local tides and current table for the month. They also have marine charts and other publications for sale. If you specifically want to know about the campgrounds available, I highly recommend purchasing the map titled “Johnstone Strait and The Broughtons, Recreation Map and Trip Planner” for $9.95. These maps are also available online from Coast and Kayak Magazine.
I’ve only traveled in the Broughton Archipelago a couple times in the past two years but I think I know enough about the area to recommend a few places. Flower Island is located at the south end of Swanson Island and to the west of Freshwater Bay, and has a gravel beach and places for about 5 tents. The beach is on the east side and faces north east across Freshwater Bay, so it's in the shade in the evening but protected form the prevailing northwest wind. There is no toilet on Flower. There is a short trail across the island from the campsite to a little cove on the west side. If you intend to use that cove as a toilet, be aware that fishermen like to park their boats just outside the cove and fish in the tide rip that forms there.
I think the best feature on Flower is the point on the southwest end. There is a small grassy area above the rocks surrounded by salal, a perfect place to sit and watch humpback whales and orcas in Blackfish Sound.
Another good reason to stay on Flower is that there is easy access to fresh water from a small creek on Swanson Island which empties into the beach on Freshwater Bay. There are the ruins of a couple small houses and a sailboat there that are interesting to explore. The only other source of freshwater I know in the area is the marina in Farewell Harbour on Berry Island.
In the middle of the night on while camping Flower, I heard a sound that I couldn’t identify, almost like a big cat roar. The sound got closer and was accompanied by other sounds like very low pitched rumbling. I finally figured out that it was the sound of humpback whales blowing right off the beach in Freshwater Bay. I couldn’t see anything in the dark looking out my tent but they sounded very close.
With so much concern about bear encounters around here, some people prefer to camp on the smaller islands and, I have to admit, that is part of the attraction to small islands such as Flower and White Cliff for me. After my stay on Flower another paddler I met told me that a few years ago a grizzly had been living there. It was a young male who was swimming between Flower, Compton, and I think Berry Island, until someone shot and killed him. I don’t know what the attraction to a small island like Flower would be to a bear. It doesn’t have any fresh water, or a large beach covered with mussels and clams, or rocks that you could roll over to find crabs and worms to eat. It is totally covered with salal though, and the berries are plentiful. I have to wonder if they prefer small islands because they seem more secure from humans, just as humans prefer to stay on them because they feel more secure from bears!
THE WHITE CLIFF ISLETS
The White Cliff Islets are much more exposed than Flower to the northwesterlies blowing across Queen Charlotte Strait to the west. The central island is the largest and has the campsites. There really is no beach, but you can land on the sloping smooth rock surface on the east side. There are few trees so there are few places to get out of the sun when it gets really hot, and little shelter from the wind.
The views from White Cliff are spectacular, especially at sunset. Whales swim by around all sides of the island, sometimes very close. Despite being such a small island, there are several flat areas for tents, covered with soft grass or moss, and patches of smooth rock which are perfect places to lay your clothes and gear to dry out in the sun.
The group of kayakers I met on White Cliff had taken a water taxi from Telegraph Cove to Echo Bay and started their trip through the Broughton Archipelago there. I think it is a popular route to take. The night before they had camped on Sedge Island, just a couple miles to the north of White Cliff. They said Sedge has a site on the beach in a very protected cove. It is small and has room for 2 tents. I paddled up there to check it out and was not impressed. The beach was very rocky so I didn’t even bother landing. I think the tent sites are located back in the trees and probably don’t have much of a view.
The lack of any really private area, sandy beach, or soft ground to serve as a toilet can be a concern on White Cliff, especially since it seems to be a popular campground. I think people use the area below the cliff on the south side which is exposed at low tide. I have seen personally seen evidence of that! Watch where you step if you go down there. I didn’t want to sully the beach any more than it had been already so I just paddled across to Owl Island and used their pit toilet.
I didn’t stay at Owl Island, but stopped by to check it out. The beach to the north is sheltered but a little rocky. There is room for several tents among the shade and protection of tall trees, and you have your choice of sites facing the water to the north or south. There is a pit toilet. The person I spoke to there said there were not many mosquitoes. Actually, I didn’t encounter many mosquitos anywhere, and I think it was just the end of a very dry summer. I bet the bugs were a lot worse in July. There is also another campground across Providence Passage on Cedar Island to the north. A year or two ago, there were warnings not to camp on Owl Island because a cougar had been spotted there.
Last year, Tom Sewid, who was Native Watchman at the time, invited us to stay on Compton Island, which is Indian Reserve. He was in the middle of a project to built cabins on the beach. The beach area has now been further developed, with a large deck and kitchen area. A small cabin now stands on the site where we had pitched out tent, and a couple travel trailers are parked in back, so I don’t know if there are any sites left for tent camping next to the cabins. The soft pebble beach is very kayak-friendly and one of the best locations to watch humpback whales surface and breech on Blackfish Sound. The cabins were intended as a base camp for kayakers who wanted a more luxurious camping experience, especially during the cold winter months. Tom has since moved on from being Native Watchman, so unfortunately I have no further information on this option.
Mound Island is a popular spot not only for sea kayakers but also for the "Yachties". They like the sheltered anchorage to the south of Mound, and bring their dogs to the campground area for their regular walks. There is grassy area for tents, a fire pit, kitchen area and pit toilet. The beach is sandy and made of crushed shells. Obviously this area is a large ancient midden. Where the dirt has fallen away on the shore bank you can see the bleached white clam shells layered on top of each other. The “mounds” for which Mound Island was named were apparently created by the aboriginal dwellings that were dug into the ground here. The indigenous people also took advantage of the tidal flow in the narrow passage to the west to capture fish. At low tide you can see how rich the beach is in edible sealife -- barnacles, clams, and mussels.
My favorite area on Mound is the rocky peninsula just south of the beach. A blanket of thick moss covers the top, which is shaded by tall trees. It would be a wonderful place to pitch a tent, but it is surrounded by water at high tide.
I don’t have much to say about the campsites along Johnstone Strait, such as the popular Keikash Creek site, except to say that when I paddled by there last year, there were a ton of people. The beach is also very rocky and not very kayak-friendly. I would avoid that area if you don’t like crowds. There is at least one other small creek just west of Kaikash with a nicer gravel beach.
One of the best campsites on Johnstone Strait is the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve Warden’s Campground on the west side of Boat Bay. It is not open to the public, although Katya and I didn’t know it at the time, and the wardens graciously let us stay there last year after we had already set up our tent. We had the opportunity to talk to the wardens about orcas around the campfire, and had a platform with an amazing view of the Strait. It was a clear, balmy night. Watching the full moon rise over Boat Bay was simply magical!
Posted at 06:48 PM in 2014, Kayaking Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago | Permalink | Comments (0)