We've been saying we'll be back in Seattle around the first week of October, but after seeing the west coast of Vancouver Island, I think we are all going to stay here forever. Not to mention it might take me that long to get Captain Kevin out of the waves and off his surfboard. We got around the Brooks Peninsula and tucked into Columbia Cove, a place fairly protected by the winds predicted for the next couple days. The last week we've headed offshore, as much as weather permits, to different canyons and searched for whales. Kwakiutl, Quatsino, Ououkinsh, and Kyuquot canyons have given us all numerous memories.
Leon will always remember being in one place and seeing three different species of albatross, when the hope was just to see one. Hayes couldn't stop watching the Northern Fulmars surfing the waves and he will remember eating too many gummi bears and having them stone cold Steve Austin each other in his stomach. Alyssa was awe-struck by the bird life with so many albatross circling the boat and flying in and out of the swells. Jesse wants to go back offshore and continue steering Orion as the boat surfs the big swells with the jib and mizzen close hauled. Captain Kevin, being the bird enthusiast he is, remembers when we hove to and all the birds came over to soar in the wind maneuvering around our sails. T-Rex never thought she would see so many albatross it would get to the point where we stopped pointing them out. Something about being offshore that Erob will remember is watching everyone's reactions to what was going on. Kevin excitedly adding three new bird species to his list, Leon uncertain regarding her feelings about the sunfish, Alyssa losing her mind when a gull landed on a sunfish, the same one Leon was staring at trying to figure out cute or not cute, and Hayes yelling different words trying to identify what type of shark we saw- pelagic oceanic white dark tipped sand tiger shark! Being offshore has been an amazing time, the wildlife encounters, waiting until we are at the top of swells to try and see whales, and knowing at any time a North Pacific right whale could come to the surface to take a breath.
We are now on the south side of Brooks Peninsula and fully embracing being in a remote place, seeing only a handful of boats for days and some days not seeing anyone else. We were weathered in at Columbia Cove, but there are far worse places to be for a lay over day. The day included a walk through the woods identifying bear tracks and scat, surfing the wave breaks while looking for cougars, drone flights to capture the sun setting, and finding fresh wolf tracks circling our hour old xtratuff tracks. It's a special place when you can be in wilderness all by yourself, on the constant look out for cougars, wolves, and bears from your surfboard. Seeing different species of albatross, Black Footed, Laysan, and Short Tailed, soaring around Orion miles off shore is something we won't get anywhere else. A family style restaurant dinner at Kyuquot with amazing company and friendly local faces, was an unexpected treat, not to mention the brownies at the end. Our Walters Cove visit also included a stock up on food, water and propane. We have to be in Tofino in a couple days to sadly say farewell to Alyssa and Hayes, but before we do that, we are heading up Kyuquot Channel into Cachalot Inlet to explore the ruins of an old whaling station. But for now, we sail back offshore to look for the most endangered whale population in the world.