The Magic of Spring
As the sun begins to climb higher in the sky heralding the beginning of longer days and inviting the green spirals of forest ferns to emerge from their winter sleep in the forest, I too am drawn out into the light to join the marine life that is beginning to stir with great vigour brought with the coming of summer.
[This is how I feel after a 2-day paddle with the young and talented Finn Steiner as he makes us way around Vancouver Island in an attempt to be the youngest person to ever circumnavigate it.]
It is hard not to feel some sense of connection to the mollusky creatures that sit clasped between their sturdy shells half covered by the ocean. Sitting the in the hard shell of my kayak, encased and kept warm and safe by my layers of dry suit and fleece, I can taste the sea in the air of the misty isles of my home waters of Vancouver Island – the enchantment is palpable as we sit watching the Pacific white-sided dolphins travel and porpoise beside us.
[I joined Finn in Campbell River on the east side of Vancouver Island after some blustery days where decision making was the lesson given as winds opposed tides. I felt so lucky to be able to join him for 2 days as he paddled through Seymour Narrows, an area where currents can exceed 16 knots and is well known for its turbulant and whirlpool filled waters, and onwards past “the knuckle of the island” as we transited from the Strait of Georgia into the Johnstone Strait marked by Chatham Point.]
I feel so lucky to know the magic of travel by way of water, to intimately feel the ebb and flood of the ocean as it caresses the rocky shores and sandy beaches of this coastal playground. Sometimes I feel like I have been told a great secret of the mystery of the natural world and my – our – connection to it. It is this time of year that I revel in setting out in my kayak to search of the feasts of the natural world, like the sweet orange insides of urchin, the bitter-sweet freshness of young fiddleheads and the salty softness of the muscle and oyster. I was once told by a First Nations Elder from Haida Gwaii that “when the tide is out, the table is set,” and today in this fresh, unfurling of spring I know it to be true.
[Our time on the water together inspired this dreamy dialogue with the cycles of the natural world and I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky both to live in the beautiful place that I do, and to be surrounded by the community of inspired paddlers that exist here. The adventure that Finn has undertaken is one that many people could not even dream of, and here he is, asking all the right questions, allowing himself to learn from his experiences and displaying remarkable amounts of courage in the face of difficult decisions (all at the tender age of 17).]
The coming of springtime is a time of splendor for the kayaker. There is something almost magical that invites us out of the darkness of winter and into the light of spring that ever-promises the joys and delights of summertime. It is days like these that keep me excited about paddling.
[Finn has helped me to remember the magic of the natural world, has reminded me of my own sense of wonder and connection to this beautiful place; and as we stopped at beaches in rhythm with our bodies’ needs, we discovered amazing things like Sea Urchins, dolphins, native fishing weirs, scampering martins and the sheer magic that happens when we dare to stop and listen!]
- Finn has now rounded Cape Scott and is headed South on the outer West Coast of Vancouver Island. You can follow his progress on his PaddleVI 17 Site…Good Luck Finn – this is indeed quite the “rite of passage” you have embarked on – and what a man you are becoming!