Wednesday, July 5, 2017

It's Been a While .... So Double Discovery Day!!

When did I last post???? Some time in the summer of 2016?? Ya ... lots of things have transpired since then. My ticker decided that it didn't want to stay in rhythm so I had that fixed in late November and passed my 6 month anniversary of sorts without any recurrences of A-Fib. So it looks like the surgery corrected the problem (Yea!!) and while I was recuperating I also found another new passion in photography. Specifically I love to shoot (take pictures :-) our avian friends and started a Facebook page of my work which you can see here Mark Byrne Photography  

We did get back onto the water in early April and since then Robyn and I have taken a trip to Surge Narrows on the Easter long weekend with a bunch of friends and Robyn bought me a P&H Aries 155 while I was test riding it! We then teamed up with our tripping friends Lynn, Morley and Gary for a Gulf Islands National Park Reserve trip May 12-21. It's been great to get back onto the water and this past weekend we even figured out how to fish for crab after 4 years of frustration. You know what they say .... "Go big or go home" and so we bought a bigger crab trap!!

July 2, 2017

This past Sunday morning we launched out of Cadboro Bay and dropped our new crab trap in a secret location (hahahaha) and then made our way across Baynes Channel to the Chatham / Discovery Islands. Arriving at a place known to us as the slot, I said "Hey, a dog" but I knew I was looking at the Coastal Wolf that has made its home on the islands since 2012. So cool!

It was great to finally see "Staqeva" watching us paddle by.

To the Songhees First Nations who govern the islands it is known as “Staqeya” (Wolf) and Robyn and I felt blessed to be greeted by him this morning. As we made our way along the shoreline he followed us and then began to howl as if he wanted us to stay.


The wolf lay down on a bluff and watched us as we continued on our way and although we felt that it must be lonely all by itself, one thing for sure was that it looked very healthy.

Our goal for the day was to paddle to the Discovery Island Marine Provincial Park located at Rudlin Bay and hope to see the wolf there but we also noticed that the westerly winds were picking up more than predicted with white caps visible beyond Discovery Island. Since the wolf had already seen us (LOL) we decided to head back to Cadboro Bay via the slot and see how our crab trap was doing. 

Robyn enjoying the calm conditions inside the islands

We heard the wolf howling at us as we approached the slot and then we spotted a bald eagle on a nearby beach looking at something. As I drifted closer I spotted a dead lingcod in the shallow water nearby and figured that the eagle must have been trying to figure out how to get the fish out of the water. I managed to scoop the lingcod up with my paddle but the eagle left just before I could retrieve it. 

What is the Bald Eagle looking at?

Eagle dinner!

Everyone knows that eagles have "eagle eyes" (LOL) and sure enough as soon as I threw it on top of a rocky islet it was heading my way. A couple of passes close by and the eagle came in and took my offering towards the tree tops on Greater Chatham Island. Another blessed moment interacting with nature.

Patiently waiting for the lingcod that I managed to scoop up 

We crossed back over Baynes Channel and found our crab trap float and as soon as I started hauling it up I had a feeling something might be inside because it was sure heavy. I think I might have even heard Robyn say "Octopus" in jest! LOL  To our surprise, after 4 years of no luck while kayak crabbing there were an assortment of dungeness and red rock crabs adding up to 11! We sorted through the legal size ones and released 6 including a single female leaving us with 5 nice size crabs to take home for dinner! Since there was still bait in the trap we decided to set it again and would come back the next day to see what an overnight soak would produce.

Oh yea, we got crab legs!!
Not a bad way to spend 4 hours of paddling by seeing a wolf, feeding an eagle and catching crab!

Distance: 7.62 nm (14.11 km)

July 3, 2017

The following morning we were joined by Gary Jacek in his recently purchased Delta 17 and headed out towards the crab trap. The sea conditions were much better than the day before so we decided to paddle to the Discovery Island Marine Provincial Park located at Rudlin Bay and pick up the trap on the way back.

Gary's first sea trial of his new Delta 17

New wolf signs at the park
Although we searched, we didn't spot or hear the wolf on this paddle but enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the park in the amazing warm sunshine. It was only recent that the park was reopened for day use due to family last year who arrived by a powerboat with a dog off leash (prohibited), and venturing out of bounds (prohibited) only to be greeted by the same wolf that we saw the day before. Fearing for their safety they called the Canadian Coast Guard and instead of holding the family accountable for their park violations the BC Government closed the park to all visitors while they could "study" the wolf's activities for the past year. Still ... we are eagerly waiting for the park to be reopened to overnight camping as it is one of the best places to kayak camp so close to home.

Discovery Island Marine Provincial Park ... such a spectacular view
We were assisted by the 3.05 kt flood along Discovery Island and past Chatham Island on our way across Baynes Channel to where our crab trap was. I was thinking of those full crab pots you see on Deadliest Catch that are left to soak for more than 24 hours as I started to haul up ours. It felt heavy but once it came into view the extra weight was nothing but a big piece of bull kelp wrapped around the line and only two small crabs in the pot. The strange thing was that the 3 chicken legs that were in the bait bags were gone except for two small bones. Did the bait get eaten by smaller crabs who escaped the pot or was the trap possibly poached? Either way we know the crab trap works and we look forward to more crab feasts!

So our Monday paddle may not have been as exciting from a wildlife perspective as the day before but it still was a great paddle to one of our favorites places.

Distance: 8.18 nm (15.15 km)

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