Vancouver Island, September 2005
Way back when they were young, Tana and Glenn went on a kayaking trip from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. They saw lots of Orcas and other wildlife, and have always wanted to return. This time around we went on a boat, the "Spirit Bear".
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The first (and last) part of our adventure was a float plane ride between Seattle and Port McNeill on Vancouver Island. It was everyone's first ride on a float plane. We got a close up view (sometimes it seemed a little too close) of some spectacular scenery along the inside passage, which separates the mainland and Vancouver Island.
The Sprirt Bear was our mothership for the week as we explored the many islands, channels, and sounds of the area known as the Broughton Archipelago. It had all the comforts of home and made a fine base for jaunts with the kayaks or Zodiac, and we thought it was quite handsome to boot.
We took the kayaks out almost every day, which was a great way to poke around the many small islands and passageways. The water was usually smooth, although sometimes it seemed we were paddling uphill and into the wind. The scenery most excellent. Here Zane consults the chart to determine our next move.
Of course we wanted to see the Orcas, and both times we went looking for them they did not disappoint us, amazing us for hours. As they swam nearby we listened to their underwater vocalizations using a hyprophone. They came very close to the boat and displayed a wide range of behavior above and below the waterline. The sound of their blows and splashes echoing through the channel was quite remarkable.
We did some fishing as well. Deb was the champion for the week, landing a huge Cabezon and a nice Salmon as well. Due to her fishing skills (as she demonstrates here) we enjoyed several days of fresh fish.
Don't forget the crabs!
We set the crab trap whenever possible. As I recall these were a tasty bunch.
We visited a couple of native settlement sites which are now abandoned. The white beaches are middens, or trash heaps which were built up over the course of thousands of years. They are mostly composed of crushed clamshells, but contain bits and pieces of many interesting things, both old and modern. In this case we really enjoyed poking around in other people's trash.
Each day brought terrific scenery and new surprises - we saw luminescent algae, underwater bear tracks, and a 3500 year old cedar tree.

Special thanks to the Spirit Bear Crew, Jared and Ellery, for making our adventure truly spectacular.