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Part 3 - Jun. 12th - Day 14 - Sea kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation

Updated: Feb 4


Quadra Island - Heriot Bay

Last night I noticed that my two gear bags had ripped. That really bothered me. I had purchased them for the journey around Florida two years ago and they had been an essential part of my expedition. Whenever I land somewhere and unpack, it’s extremely convenient to have a large bag or two where you can throw in all your smaller bags and gear stored in the hatches. I had one for the bow hatch and another for the day and stern hatches. The bags are the difference between having to make three trips to and from the kayak, instead of ten trips. And sometimes it’s a long walk for each trip.

After arriving from my day at the Surge Narrows, I went to wash my clothes at the hotel laundry room and noticed a huge blue Ikea bag on top of one of the washing machines. There were no clothes in the washer, and none of the dryers were running. It seemed as if it had been left behind or forgotten. I looked at the bag. It was made of a sturdy fabric, and the handles straps had a double stitch sewn around the bag rim and would support a lot of weight. The zipper was a little damaged, but that didn’t matter to me. “Darn, I could really use this bag,” I thought.

A voice in my head was clearly telling me to take it. “Who is going to know? There’s no one here. The owner clearly forgot it and is never coming back for it. Take it. You need it more than anyone. This is a gift from heaven. How many times in life does it happen that you really need something, and then that thing magically appears in front of you. Clearly the Gods have shown you favor and want you to succeed on your journey. Do not scorn a gift from the gods.”

I listened to the voice and considered its advice. It sure was a magical thing that this bag should be right here and now, but then another voice whispered in my ear; “You remember that time at work you forgot your i-phone in the public bathroom on the second floor of Colonnade Hotel? You left it on top of the paper box after watching some video on YouTube. You pulled up your pants and forgot to put it back in your pocket. You went back to the office, sat back at your desk, and immediately realized it wasn’t there with you. You ran right back, but it was already gone. It hadn’t been five minutes. It hurt, didn’t it? What did you say you would do if you found the guy who stole your phone? Oh yeah, you told me you would stab the son of a bitch in the face. Do you want to be the son of a bitch you would stab in the face? Remember that passage in the book Mythos you were reading before the journey? You do because I’m the one telling it to you. It said, “Don’t trust the gods. Don’t anger the gods. Don’t barter with the gods. Don’t compete with the gods. Leave the gods alone. Treat all blessings as curse, and all promises as a trap. And above all, do not insult the gods.” It’s pretty clear to me here what the trap is. You are going to feel like a thief for stealing this thing.”

“Oh nonsense! Who is giving you this bad advice? To scorn a gift, is to insult the giver. You’ll never have it this good again, ever.”

I told both the voices that I had a solomonic compromise to split the baby down the middle. I took the bag and placed it in the drawer under the washing sink and left the drawer door open. In the morning I would come by and check if it was still there. If it was, then that would mean that it was left behind and forgotten, and I would get to keep it. If it was gone, then that would mean that the owner had come back and clearly went through the effort to look for it.

In the morning I went back to look for the bag, and lo and behold, it was gone! I felt a bit disappointed. I would have liked to have both the bag and dignity. Alas, I only kept one thing that couldn’t be bought.


I had a very late start from Heriot Bay because the tide would be flooding for most of the day at the Surge Narrows, and slack current wouldn’t be until 4:00pm. I made a rest stop at the Discovery Lodge to kill some time and then arrived at the Surge Narrows Precisely at 3:55pm. I tipped my hat to Marla and her careful calculation of the timing for the slack current. She was spot on. For a brief 10-minute window the water was calm like a pond, and the foaming rapids and standing waves were nowhere to be seen or even hint at their existence. Soon all that would begin to change, and very quickly the water would begin rushing in the opposite direction and carry me northwards.

I got as far as a place called the Octopus Islands 6 miles north of the Surge Narrows. I battled the head wind all day, and now with the gear back on the boat, I felt considerably less strong and powerful.


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I’m not sure how these islands got their strange name. Perhaps there are octopuses living here underwater and in the tidal pools, but I did not see any. The labyrinth of islands, however, was a very good shelter from the wind, no matter which direction it was blowing.

I saw one slightly larger island with a few tents already pitched. The owners must have arrived on a dinghy from the only other vessel anchored on one of the nearby bays.

“Would there be room for one more in your island kingdom?” I asked jokingly.

“I’m sure we can find you a plot of land for you to call your own, provided of course that you pony up the royal fifth to her majesty the Queen, eh.” One of them answered with a smirk.

“I hope she better be ready to accept payment in the form of the sound of the money in my wallet. Or have a working credit card terminal in this wilderness.” I responded.

They were four college kids from Toronto on their summer break. One of them had a captain’s license, rented a 30-foot Catalina sailboat called The BC Princess in Vancouver, and took his mates for a one-month adventure up the BC coast.

“I don’t know much about Toronto,” I said, “except that you guys once had a very funny mayor. Wasn’t he the guy who was accused of offering oral sex to one of his employees, and his deadpan response to the crowd of reporters was, “they said I wanted to eat her pussy. I never said that in my life. I am happily married, and I have more than enough to eat at home. Thank you very much.” I remember the story being the talk of every late-night comedy show on TV for a week.”

“Yup! That’s Rob Ford. And that was just one of the many crazy things he said. He also admitted on TV that he’d smoked crack cocaine, or at least he thought he did because he could not recall the details of the event, because he was in a drunken stupor. Yeah, he made Toronto famous. And can you believe that his brother is just as sleazy, and he is the governor of Ontario? But on the not so dark side, at least he knows how to run the province. It’s better to have politicians who dabble in bad acting, than bad actors who think they can be politicians, like Donald Trump.”

“I’d agree, but not all actors turn into bad politicians. Zelensky was a comedian, he played the president on a movie, and now he is the president., Like if was Harrison Ford after Airforce One had gone on to become president Oh, you might not know that movie, if you are in college right now. It came out in 1997.”


Sea kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation


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