Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More On McMicken Island

23 October 2011 Monday
I slept on board again after doing some chores yesterday. The marina guys got my cleats on the docks and even re-tied my new dock lines for me. They are all great guys and most helpful. Yesterday I met up with the fella who straps his portabote on the swim platform. He has never named his porta bote, but said his grandaughters love the boat and he should have them name her. They have owned her 11 years. He gave me a name of a vinyl graphic person who has always made his boat names. His look really good, so I will call this guy to see what he can do for me and Pashmina's new logo.

The thick fog burnt off fast with the rapidly appearing sunshine. Sunshine is my ticket to ride, so it was no time before we threw off the new dock lines and snaked our way out the winter exit through the re-established breakwaters. This time I timed my turns without having to back up some to make the turn.  Once out of the maize, it is a straight 6nm shot to McMicken Island.

I am headed there again, this time to circumnavigate the island in Pashmina 2 and to walk the beaches. There are some interesting things about the island. I have questions, but so far no one has answers for me. The first thing that strikes my eye is the unusual numbers of granite boulders that are scattered all over the beaches and even under water. How did they get there? It would have to be from an eruption of Mt Rainier or from the ice age. The strange thing is no other of the islands in the immediate area have these boulders. The next item of interest to me is that on south west side there are an unusual amount of barnacles, everything is heavily encrusted, while on the north beaches there are huge oyster shells and wind blown bluffs. The third item of interest is the abundance of sand dollars along the land spit that extends to Harstene Island. The fourth item is there is a small boarded up cabin/house with several out buildings. This is all fenced off from the State Park area. No one can tell me who owns this place. For such a small island it seems jam packed with lots to see and Pashmina 2 and I are champing at the bit to get going.

The tide is low when we arrive and and before you can blink your eye, Shatoosh is secured on the buoy, and Hira is on the aft cabin letting P2 slide off the swim platform. On my previous trips to McMicken I have had some tasty morsels to nibble on, but today I want to eat the whole enchilada, as they say in Texican.We are not going to waste any time today, as exploration is the main objective. The island has 2 composting toilets at the head of the pasture. I flush about 10 Canada Geese who are grazing in the pasture. I catch 2 taking flight, but the picture is blurred. There are so many things on the shoreline to look at. The textures, the colors, the barnacles, the configurations of branches, trees, the gravel and the looming boulders cast their shadow of uncertain origin over the beaches. I even find a geodetic survey stamp in a boulder on the northwestern point of land. It has been eroded with time and weather, however the patina is lovely. At times the clouds move in and hide the sun, but not for long. Today the sun claims control and it is a beautiful day.

In a modified Hindu tradition, I choose to honor the island by performing pradakshina or walking around the deity in a clockwise manner. Normally you walk 3 times around, but today I will walk/row, explore and pay thanks to this beautiful gem in the Salish Sea. At first I leave P2 on shore and begin my walk, I realize that I have tarried much too long and find P2's bitter end of her bow line about a foot from the water's edge and the flooding tide has her surrounded.


Sand Dollars, my favorite shell

Encrusted Rock on Granite Boulder

Underside of Encrusted Rock

I see you, little harbor seal.

Reaching out



Geodetic Stamp

Another boulder

Just in time

After I have retrieved her and advanced to the other side I have found huge oyster shells and see one with God's imprint of his hand and fingers. I pick up a piece of lava tubing with rocks solidified within its grasp. More evidence of a tumultuous beginning. The island continues to reveal itself to me and I am held captive by its quiet charisma..

Oyster Shell with Hand Print
Lava with encased stones.

I have completed my pradakshina, am most grateful for this island and its gifts. It is a peaceful and fascinating place. I row back to Shatoosh and the long sloping beaches have been gobbled up by the incoming sea. I lift my bucket of treasures onto the aft cabin and pull P2 onto the swim platform. I sit in the sun and remove my life jacket and fleece jacket. I am at peace, warmed by sun's solar energy and drift into meditation for a while. The screaming cries of an eagle brings me back into attention mode; I look for him but can not see him. He is there, hiding, but later, on departure I can see him guarding the island from his elusive outpost high in the fir trees.I think I see another one as well, which would account for all the conversations I was hearing.

Tomorrow the sun will shine again and I am bringing Ann along, since she has never been here before. I can't wait to show it to her and see what the island will reveal to us.