Kayaking the Broken Island Group, British Columbia

"Go someplace you don't know with people you do, and vice versa." That piece of advice has a nice ring to it, but does it work for a group of nine? Well, it worked for the South Sound Area Kayakers that got together in the Broken Group Islands.

Nice weather prevailed and we fell into a nice rhythm of 16 mile round trip forays from base camp to play along the exposed coast of the outer islands. Every day. We all seemed very pleased to promptly head off every morning to the exposed shores and play while mild conditions lasted. By early afternoon we were back lounging around in the sun out of any breeze behind the "silly" log cooking and entertaining each other until bed time. Along the way rocks got stacked, knocked down, re-stacked, and drawn on. A few beach hoppers were munched, marshmallows roasted, jokes told, and the occasional mink or deer walked by. We all put up our Kelty tarps but it only sprinkled a little bit one evening. The tarps however did keep the ever-present crows from messing all over the tents. They were the sneakiest and most persistent bastards ever. As Glee said, if they had thumbs we would have been in trouble. As usual, the book I brought along never made it out of the dry bag. The sun set late and came up early.

The outer coast was a complete delight. Unlike many areas, the cliffs here fracture into a labyrinth of passages, caves, isolated rocks and islands. Playing in the surge pushing through the cracks was a blast. It was not uncommon to be off shore and look down to see the top of a rock a couple feet down. This a kayakers dream and a sailors nightmare. In exposed areas these hidden rocks caused the swell to rear up several feet and sometimes break, so one had to pay attention.

It's curious that there were not many seabirds around, including seagulls. I suppose it's possible the birds were elsewhere chasing the food supply and that they might be more numerous other times of the year. Not one Heron was seen, which I think is odd. There were, however, Eagles, Crows, and Hummingbirds everywhere. A pair of loons could usually be found on each section of water. There were a small number of Marbled Murrelets, Oyster Catchers, and Guillemots around. Minks were found here and there, one bear, an otter or two, and a couple deer were seen in the islands.

The trees have a bit of a yellow cast as if they are short of nutrients, and don't grow very tall. There are a lot of dead tree-tops, presumably victims of drought years. The soil is thin and the small islands hold very little fresh water. There are deer around, so small deciduous plants are not numerous.

There was not much kelp, but a lot of kelp eating sea urchins. Perhaps the lack of urchin munching sea otters is the reason.

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