Thursday, August 30, 2012

Howe Sound & McNab Creek Boat Tour

When I told my three year-old about the barnacle-eating bear we saw, he asked 'Were you very brave and didn't scweam?'  I have to admit that floating along in the Apodaca on such a beautiful day, it was hard to feel intimidated by the big ball of fur on shore.  And he didn't seem very concerned about us.  It's the first time for years that I've seen a bear, and what a privilege to observe one in his natural environment, doing ‘normal’ bear things.  Not going through garbage cans or scrumping apples, but eating barnacles from the rocks of beautiful, pristine coastal bluffs.  Equally unimpressed by our visit was the bald eagle, aloof and perfect in his white and black outfit, eagle-eyes glowering and looking every inch the gatekeeper of the bluffs, perched atop a pointy, tall rock.  Other nature-spotting highlights on the trip included: sailing close to the beautiful Defence Islands with their incredible diversity of gnarled and contorted bluff trees, set in the aquamarine, glacially silted waters; the very charismatic seals basking on Pam Rocks and Christie Islet, many of them with their pups; for the birders, we also saw oyster catchers, pigeon guillemots, herons and cormorants on the rocks and in the water around them.  

After we passed McNab Creek the setting changed to a more industrial theme.  Approaching and beyond the pulp mill at Port Mellon were booming ground after booming ground as well as small scale lumber processing mills.  Every available inch of shoreline seemed to be taken by the log booms and we saw the occasional tug boat working them.  On the south coast of Anvil Island we saw the ex-BC Ferry poking out of a tiny bay, awaiting its fate.  We also saw a ‘live’ ferry heading to Langdale.  It was really interesting to see the reach and extent of industrial activity which is normally out of sight from Bowen.

As with all Nature Club events, our trip was enriched most of all by the wonderful people who came along.  Ranging from toddlers to those who remember the glaciers retreating, visitors to those who remember the Apodaca when she was new, and everyone in between, all were enthusiastic participants and shared their gift of wonder and appreciation.  Thank you to all who came along and thank you to Brian, Mike and the Apodaca for another amazing trip.
The route!

Lunch on the Apodaca! - photo by Wendy Seale-Bakes

Black Bear eating barnacles - photo by Wendy Seale-Bakes

Gulls - photo by Wendy Seale-Bakes

Herons - photo by Wendy Seale-Bakes

Lighthouse - photo by Marge Swain

Seal - photo by Marge Swain