Sunday, July 15, 2007

Return to Mitlenatch Island

We've had few visitors join us in Powell River. Wayne swears he gives out the wrong longitude and latitude to keep them away. I'm not sure if he is kidding or not. Anyway, this month we had our first full-fledged visitor. John (he worked with Wayne at Mt. SAC) stopped by on his return from a solo flight to Alaska. While he was here, we wanted to give him a flavor of our life in Powell River.

Our original plan was to go cruising in our Bayliner on the chuck (ocean), so we decided to proceed. Instead of an overnighter, we opted for a day trip to a favorite place, Mitlenatch Island. In April, I posted about the island and a free podcast that is available. Mitlenatch is also highlighted in two chapters from Wayne's newest book Up the Strait.

Mitlenatch is sometimes called the Galapagos of the Georgia Strait. The island is a provincial park and boasts the largest seabird colony in the strait. Primarily you see Glaucous-winged gulls, but I have also seen cormorants and black oystercatchers on the rocky cliffs and riding the updrafts in the sky. It is a raucous cacophony everywhere you go. The island is also the fall and winter haul out for California sea lions and northern Steller sea lions. Local harbour seals are resident year-round.

The chuck started rough, but after Savary Island it smoothed out. We anchored in Mitlenatch's north bay with only a light wind and swell. The only other boat was the Misty Isles, a kayak mothership out of Manson's Landing on Cortes Island. Her passengers with their seven kayaks were on shore for lunch and a hike. We ate our lunch on board and then went to hike the islands paths on our own.

Late spring and summer flowers were in full bloom. A low yellow carpet covered the cliffs where gulls still nested. Above the bay, we saw two bald eagles harrassing a seagull until he dropped his fish and fled. That wasn't very neighborly. Winter, fall, spring or summer, Mitlenatch has a different story to tell. If you don't have a boat of your own, check out the Misty Isles Adventures website. They looked like they were having a lot of fun.

Our day ended with dinner and an overnight stay at our float cabin. It's hard to top a flight to Alaska, but we gave it our best shot. -- Margy

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