September 10, 2017: A row-around and a walk-about (Warning: Lots of photos!)

What a joy to awaken, after a very quiet night, to pastel blue skies, sun-gilded cottony clouds, and fresh air tinged with a just a touch of autumn! Walt and I slept late and after we shared a lovely brunch of blueberry pancakes and bacon, we both spent time reading and answering e-mails in the sunny cockpit as boats came and went

Pirates Cove classic motorboat side view
A beautiful “classic” cabin cruiser shared Pirates Cove with Braesail

and a bright-eyed seal cruised lazily among the anchored vessels. In the early afternoon, while Walt worked on transforming his summer conference presentation on reconciliation into a journal article and then napped, I took Coracle for a row around Pirates Cove and took quite a few photos; tied up at one of the cove’s two octagonal dinghy docks with shore ramps attached; enjoyed a lovely walk along a shady forest trail bordered by rocks upholstered with thick moss and with open ocean on one side of the ridge and the cove’s turquoise waters on the other; managed, with some help, to untie Coracle and row back to Braesail, and finally clambered back aboard to share some cheddar cheese crackers and sweet cherries with Walt before he began dinner preparations and I began this post.

I rowed along the cove’s shores at low tide and could see sand, seaweed, clam and oyster shells, tiny fish, red-orange sea stars, and many rock shelves and reefs through the clear water to a depth of probably ten feet or more. The sandstone formations lining the cove, sculpted by glaciers, wind, rain, rising and falling tides, and waves, with the help of salt crystals, present a fantasy world of caves, sea monsters, fairy tale creatures, gaping jaws, giant mushrooms, extensive honeycombs, and delicate rock lace, and it was wonderful to row slowly, pause for a bit, and examine them closely!

Pirates Cove: Rock lace
Rock “lace” borers the clear waters of Pirates Cove
Pirates Cove tortoise rock
A stone “tortoise” suns itself on the shore beside Pirates Cove
Pirages Cove seaserpent rock
A rock “sea serpent” beached in Pirates Cove
Pirates Cove bird on a mushroom stone
Can you spot the bird perched at the top of a “mushroom” stone near the head of Pirates Cove? Another anchorage lies just over the grassy ridge beyond the muddy beach
Pirates cove mushroom rock side view
Side view of the rock “mushroom.” Notice the fangs in the open mouth of the “sea monster” at left!

I made my way to the head of the cove on the other side of which, over a small rise, is a bay on “our” (De Courcy) island facing Ruxton Passage, but I decided not to drag Coracle up onto the very muddy, weedy beach and then to track sand into the dinghy and into Braesail’s cockpit and cabin, as I did thoughtlessly after strolling on the beach at Port Neville! As I rowed past the little marina’s docks (one boat name I liked was “Kerry-On!”), it was fun to watch a float plane land, take on passengers, and zoom away again.

After docking the dinghy opposite the marina and tying its painter securely, I wandered out onto the rocks at the entrance to the cove where the ocean breeze was chilly and the driftwood, stretches of white clam shell fragments, sea plants, and tide pools were endlessly fascinating.

Pirates Cove outer beach
A rocky beach just outside Pirates Cove

Rain water had filled some of the holes in the rocks, and bits of leaves, needles, and other debris were floating in the natural birdbaths thus formed. Near the end of the ridge of rocks that juts out into the cove’s entrance where the marine park’s welcoming sign greets guests, a large, heavy pirates’ treasure chest, complete with chain and padlock, has been left, and visitors have placed kids’ toys and games, books and magazines in plastic bags, bags of snacks, etc., inside it–I like that very much!

Next I walked along a ridge trail that wanders, high above Pylades Channel on one side and Pirates Cove on the other, through the peaceful woods of cedar, madrona (also called arbutus), Douglas fir, and Garry oak from the mouth of the cove around past the beach at its head and on to the dinghy dock on the opposite side from Coracle’s location.

Pirates Cove forest trail
Rocks and banks furry with moss along a ridge bordering Pirates Cove

I spent about 15 minutes hiking up the trail and then turned back so that I could return to Braesail and arrive at the promised time. I found that I’d tied Coracle so securely to the dock’s rail that freeing it was taking a long time; I was struggling with the knots when a kind woman, who had just arrived in her dinghy, offered to help, and did a fine job loosening poor Coracle from its mooring.

Back on Braesail, Walt and I enjoyed “happy hour” and he then began the preparation of waterzooi, a wonderful Flemish chicken/vegetable stew that we discovered in Belgium. I began work on this post, and continued it after galley clean-up, and, having enjoyed cookies and cocoa (always eating, we are, it seems!),  we decided to call it an early night as silent waves of clouds began to wash gently over the western shore of the sky.

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