Friday, October 12, 2012

"Welcome To The Broken Group..."

There is much to be savoured about sea kayaking in a later season. Crisper ocean air, mostly calmer seas, and fewer folks about if you are seeking solitude. A while back I passed forward a greeting to another solo paddler that reminded me of the first time I was welcomed so out there. Way back then, it was not my initial outing to the Broken Group Islands, but it was my first solo trip. A very full long anticipated route, with many islands to visit, and hidden coves and small coastal beaches to discover.
I was actually surprised after a few days of quiet paddling, out among the very early morning mist and fog, when I began to hear the swish of anothers' paddle moving through the waters...
We met shortly after, had clearly been heading along the same low tide course, towards a tiny beach near the center of our marine chart. He was an elder paddler, who very much was acquainted with these amazing islands. After our mutual greetings, landing, and settling in for a break, we began to share both snacks and stories. Me with my many questions, him with even more interesting and intriguing musings...
The guide books say there are a hundred islands there, but from the stories he told, there are likely many more, depending upon the tides and how you tally them up.
To spend time with an experienced elder, who has journeyed such waters more days and nights than can be counted, is a truly wonderful gift...
I learned so much in those few hours. About middens, coves, navigation, elusive sand and shell beaches, the oldest trees, even older rocks, campsites for the best sunsets, starting fires in the rain, hidden faces carved into wood, reading the tides and the channels, understanding the fog, and even more about the wild history of these ancient islands.
Later, when paddling away on our own courses, he waved, smiled, and said quite loudly, "Welcome to the Broken group!". And very especially welcome did I feel right then, and even more so now each and every adventure day I return back there these many years.
That is the greeting I recently passed forward as well, just as he did back then for me. A simple welcoming gift from one wanderer to another, and of course, with a big smile too..... DSD 


- B. said...

Each time I read these posts about the coast, the poetic descriptions, I'm taken right back to the West Coast. I can sense the quiet, of hearing nothing but the water, a breeze, the paddles. When I took a flight in a sea plane while in Tofino, we passed a smaller island just near Flores Island. On a westerly-facing beach I first spotted a tarp, then a tent, thinking how someone must have arrived there by kayak. The solitude is incredible, as are the beaches, the ocean, and the exploring. Hopefully I can give that a try next summer for I am still totally enthralled by that magic West Coast.

SummitStones said...

Hello B,
So very wonderful memories...
Such experiences are always awaiting for us to return as well.
You had an amazing adventure out there this past summer!
Thank you for your thoughts.