**Our Gulf Islands Trip: Day 2 – June 8, 2008**

Gulf Islands Trip - Route for Day 2

 Our trip route for Day 2

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Image courtesty of KayakSuccor (aka R. Darling)


Sunday morning arrived and we climbed out of our damp v-berth (everything on a boat always seems just a wee bit damp no matter what) to my FIL’s traditional early morning greeting of, “Good afternoon!”  He falls asleep ungodly early and wakes up ungodly early so no matter what time you arise, he will greet you with “Good afternoon!” even if it’s only 7:30 AM and you feel as if you haven’t slept in at all thank youverymuch.  This charming routine would persist for the remainder of the trip, but despite this little quirk, I still have a very nice FIL.


Friday Harbor from the water

Friday Harbor from the water side
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Following the smell of bacon with our noses, we walked up the maze of docks and slips in search of breakfast.  But something very curious stopped us in our tracks. R. Darling will be the first to confirm for you that I am instantly enchanted and completely sidetracked whenever I see a creature of any sort in the vicinity.  Near the water I am continually scanning for seals, and peeking at the sky for eagles.  On dry land I will cast about for squirrels, bunnies or deer.  This morning we clearly saw a seal at the dock and it was doing the strangest thing:  bringing its flippers up to its face as if it was eating something.  We were transfixed by its strange behavior and had to get closer to find out what exactly it was doing.  I had seen a woman on the dock and speculated that the seal was greeting her in some way and as we got closer we witnessed one of the most magical and memorable things I have ever had the privilege of seeing.  One by one, the woman threw a series of bait herrings to the seal.  One by one it snapped them up and when they were gone the woman told the seal “No More.  That’s it.  They’re all gone.”  The seal flipped backward, showing us its belly and swam away.  Fascinated, we asked the woman about her friend.  She told us that this seal, Popeye is her name, had been coming there for 15 years or so and every morning this woman feeds her 12 herring.  Once Popeye eats her fish, she swims away only to appear again the next morning for her breakfast.  My FIL being the kind of generous and friendly guy that he is, asked the woman how much one pack of herring cost her.  She replied that it was about $5 each.  He handed her a ten and told her that breakfast was on us. 


A video of Popeye we discovered after we arrived home


Delighted with our chance encounter, we took ourselves off to a little diner for breakfast where we stuffed ourselves silly.  I was to discover, over the duration of our trip, that there’s something tricky about the outdoors and marine air.  If you spend too much time out in it, you will soon develop one of the most voracious and indiscriminate of appetites imaginable (remember that 4 pounds of excess luggage I mentioned?).  If it was in plain sight, my hand would surreptitiously snag a bit and stuff it down the hatch before my brain could mount a proper defense and put a stop to it.  But no matter.  It’s vacation is it not?

After breakfast, we rearranged items in the boat from sleepy time arrangements, to running time arrangements, and left Friday Harbor around 11 AM bound for Canadian Customs in Bedwell Harbor on South Pender Island.  We arrived around noon (spotted a porpoise on the trip over!), tied up to the dock, and proceeded to clear customs via phone.  Is that not the strangest thing you’ve ever heard?  Apparently, if they question your citizenship or intentions, you must then pilot your boat over to the other side of the island and meet with an actual officer.  It seems so strange in this day and age of heightened security, to clear customs without ever speaking to someone face to face.  But clear it we did.  Walked ashore briefly to buy a bottle of red wine for me and 2 mochas (if I had ever wanted to give up mochas, this trip would have been the perfect occasion as not only are Canadians seemingly mystified by iced coffee – no offense my northern friends :) , but espresso stands were few and far between in the islands).


Customs at Bedwell Harbor, Souther Pender Island

 Customs at Bedwell Harbor, South Pender Island
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The extremely narrow Pender Canal

The extremely narrow Pender Canal
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Thusly reinforced, we navigated the scary passage through Pender Canal between North and South Pender Islands (at times there was only 4 feet of water beneath our hull, and no room for error on either side of the canal) gripping whatever each of us could and gritting our teeth with nerves until we were safely through.  Beers were opened soon after.  From the canal, we passed up the north side of North Pender Island, into Navy Channel and up to Galiano Island.  We arrived in Montague Harbor around 2 PM and tied ourselves up to a mooring buoy where we would spend the night. 

After a bit of lunch we unloaded the kayaks for the first time during our trip and set out from Montague Harbor for a leisurely paddle around Gray Peninsula.  It was low tide and there were so many interesting things to look at as we paddled around.  We saw more seals, clams the size of salad plates, eagles and great blue herons, starfish by the bushel, an eerie and beautiful lichen formation, small fish jumping, and stark and mysterious rock formations.  It was peaceful and lovely and so nice to take our time examining all the wonders displayed so openly for us.  We paddled for close to 2 hours and then made our way back to the boat where we prepared dinner as the sun sank slowly in the northern sky.  A lovely way to spend our second day.


Montague Harbor sign R. Darling & his kayak Purple starfish abound!

Knittymuggins can kayak! Land of giganto clams Sleepy seals

Giant red starfish Knittymuggins standing in front of the giant lichen formation A beautiful lichen formation up close

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Stay tuned for Day 3:  petroglyphs, lots of rain, some knitting & a much wished for shower (the first since the day we left!)……