Something woke me up. Listen. Nope – must have been imagining things. Take a look outside to be sure. I unzipped the tent as quietly as I could and looked out. You know, words just can’t convey the bit fat WOW I felt when I found myself staring into a beautiful starry sky. I almost dragged myself out just to enjoy it for a bit, but as usual I couldn’t summon the enthusiasm to crawl out of my cosy sleeping bag. Besides, the gravel was remarkably comfortable.
Morning came eventually – but not at 6 am for once. Today was a rest day! I closed my eyes and dozed until I felt like getting up. I crawled out just as the sun peeked over the trees and spent some time just soaking up the morning before making a start on breakfast. Down by the water’s edge, a line of deer prints has appeared in the gravel overnight, the two sets looking like a doe and her fawn. Our bags had survived another night in a tree and I was relieved to see that we had no new holes in ours.
After breakfast we had the difficult choice of deciding how to relax first :-) Watching the incoming tide, we decided to explore the rocky outcrop before it was covered by the sea. I love being by the sea and exploring rock pools. Here we found loads of green sea anemones, occasionally a pink-fringed one and lots of seastars. At one point I picked up a hermit crab only for it to fall out of its shell! Oops! I set the shell back down next to the crab and it squeezed its way back inside. We could see why the sea otter fed at this location – the rocks were carpeted with barnacles and mussels, and judging by the urchin shells we found, there were plenty of sea urchins too.
The tide came in all too quickly and forced us back onto the beach. Time to catch up on some household chores. Laundry was done. Bodies were scrubbed and a sense of serenity fell over us. Merewyn spent the time sitting on her log reading White Slaves of Maquinna. The book tells the story of the time spent on Nootka Island by John Jewitt who was enslaved by Chief Maquinna for a couple of years in the late 18th Century. An interesting read, certainly if you’re planning to do the Nootka Trail.
Funnily enough, on the one day we would have actually appreciated some sunshine it was mostly cloudy and cool….
The sea otter came back at the same time as yesterday and we propped up the binoculars on a piece of wood so we could all watch it from time to time. Mesmerising :-)
Time passed. As did Air Nootka carrying the next batch of hikers, no doubt wondering why I was pointing the direction I was (ahem)… Still that’s not as bad as Merewyn’s stand-off yesterday with 2 guys on jet-skis!
We made ourselves an afternoon tea and we were joined by the owner of the Nootka Island Wilderness Retreat who stopped to chat for a bit. He told us how lucky we were that it had been dry this year making the Beano Creek crossing a no-brainer. He also teased us with tales of whales coming into the cove and running their bellies on the rocks. Waaa! We want to see whales!! (We later found out that they usually only do that in the spring so we weren’t missing anything after all. We even later found out from one of our friends that sometimes they do come into the bay in the summer.)
More time passed and we summoned up the energy to cook our evening meal. After we’d eaten we set about making our first camp fire of the trip. We collected a pile of driftwood and used a tea-light candle to get the kindling to catch. Before long we were parked in front of a raging inferno and spent the better part of the next hour or so enjoying the smoke and embers. The disadvantage of synthetic clothing like fleece is that it melts when embers land on it… Both Brenda and I have souvenirs of that camp fire :-)
The fire was dying down nicely and we were all ready for bed when we were treated to more company. This time the owner of the land (and some of the cabins) behind us. Well, we had a nice chat and he told us everything he knew about the area (he spared no details…) He was adamant that we should keep the fire going, eat some sunflower seeds (strangely he wasn’t in a hurry to offer us some of his beer – that might have convinced me to stay up a little longer) and generally be sociable. Eventually his wife’s sense of occasion prevailed and we all said goodnight. Nice enough people but we were on a schedule and we needed our sleep!