September 18, 2017: Strolling and rowing in Royal Cove

Showers were in the forecast for Monday afternoon and evening, and therefore, after a lovely night of gentle rocking late and early with the passage of ferries, a granola breakfast, Morning Prayer, and some MORE time on the phone with those who charge my VISA card monthly, I took Coracle out for a row around Royal Cove at low tide. I could see the crushed calm shell “sand” and clumps of kelp covering the bottom of the cove through the clear water; I rowed near the stacks of black “rock blocks” that line the shores and display their fringes of dark green seaweed at the water’s edge; and  I encountered nests of large “kelp serpents” floating hear the shores with their bulbous heads, long, tubular bodies, and flowing tails that resemble bunches of waxy flags floating just below the surface.

I landed Coracle at the dinghy dock at noon and noticed a garden of gently-swaying dark red anemones along its edge–wonderful to watch!

Royal Cove anemonesI walked up the ramp and took the short trail to Arbutus Point, where there is a well-functioning composting toilet, a campground, and incredible views across the rocks, reefs, stretches of white shell midden beach, and driftwood, out over the sea, and away toward the larger islands in the distance.

Royal Cove Midden beach As I was reading the posted information about the Coast Salish people, their activities month by month throughout the year, and one of their games involving marked an unmarked pieces of bone hidden in one’s hands, and taking photos of a large rock covered with seabirds, some white and others black,

Royal Cove: Birds on a rock
Birds congregating on a rock just of Arbutus Point

and of an outstretched arbutus tree,

Royal Cove Arbutus point
Artbutus (madrona) leaning out toward the shore at Arbutus Point

I could see a rain squall moving my way, so I pulled up the hood of my windbreaker and took shelter under some gigantic Douglas fir and smaller shore pine trees until the brief shower blew through and away, leaving a misty rainbow floating behind it across the water.

I walked back to a junction in the trail (the island, as a marine park that’s part of the Canadian Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, has excellent trails around and across it!), made a contribution to the composting toilet (always glad to find a way to avoid filling Braesail’s holding tank!), and made off south to the far end of Portland Island where Walt and I had once anchored in Sagres. The trail

Royal Cove forest trailthrough the forest of fir, cedar, alder, maple, ferns, moss, salal, oregon grape, blackberry, wild rose, various small blue, white, yellow, pink, and lavender wild flowers, and other rich vegetation, was generally quite wide and level, and became a boardwalk through swampy areas. After a half-hour’s walk I arrived at Princess Cove, which was completely devoid of boats; photographed the sweeping view from the top of the ramp to the composting toilet near the campground and an old apple orchard;

Royal Cove - Princess Cove
No boats but plenty of rain clouds in Princess Cove at the south end of Portland Island

and turned back, since rain was supposed to arrive at about 3 pm and it was approaching 1:30.

Upon arriving at the ramp to the dingy dock in Royal Cove a little after 2 pm after a beautiful ramble of over two miles total, taking a few more pictures,

Royal Cove head of bay

A tree bends

Royal Cove tree and beach
A tree bends gracefully over a tiny beach protected by a shiny black rock beside Royal Cove’s aqua waters

and reading the information in the interpretive displays about the marine park, some of its trees and flowers, and its history, I again could see a rain squall in the distance, so I untied Coracle and rowed back to Braesail, climbing aboard and securing the dinghy just as the rain was beginning. Walt had turned on the main cabin heater and had carrot-ginger soup and bagel sandwiches ready, and I showed him my photos and told him about my walk. He is writing a review of two books, turning his summer conference presentation into a journal article, and trying to complete a book on liturgical improvisation that he began writing as a series of workshops in 2011, and thus has plenty to do, and he was able to make a little progress in my absence (Braesail’s warm cockpit is a great “sun room” in which to lounge, read, study, and write!).

During the rest of the afternoon, as sunshine and showers played tag through the cove, Walt read and napped and I enjoyed the “sun room” where I could work on this post and other projects and glance at the wavelets exercising energetically by the shore, and observe the activities of three seagulls who were fluttering from the water to one rock to another rock and then back to the water while carrying on a constant cawing conversation.

Our chips-and-dip “happy hour” introduced a great “comfort food” supper of beef curry, over which we discussed upcoming travel options. I phoned a friend in Friday Harbor, and he and Walt and I are planning to meet for lunch in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island on Friday, but before we can do that, we must call in to clear US Customs (we hope that we won’t have to do more than that), and we need to use up our supply of potatoes and tomatoes, which are not allowed across the Canada/US border. Now, however, it’s time to enjoy the rocking of our boat-cradle as we get ready for bed.

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