As I write this, the sun has just hit the island across Christie Passage. Our resident Great Blue Heron is fishing off the dock, and the Harlequin ducks are paddling and diving like synchronized swimmers, in circles and always together, aligned. The morning is peaceful, tentative, and full of potential. It’s warm here in the main house, and out in the channel the winds and ocean currents will decide how the rest of the morning will go.
We are back at God’s Pocket Resort, care-taking the closed-for-the-winter SCUBA and kayak resort on Hurst Island in British Columbia (click here to find us on Google maps) for our friends, the owners, Bill and Annie. This is our second time up this year, although it surprises me to realize that our time here in January through March ended just 7 months ago.
We arrived in Port Hardy on Sunday, October 22nd, hoping Bill would pick us on Monday and bring us to God’s Pocket. There were gale warnings, and so we deferred the pick up until at least Tuesday. David and I wandered down to Fort Rupert, the original settlement in Port Hardy, and where the First Nations Lodge and totems are. We first walked Storey’s Beach, a long curving coast line with eagles flying overhead, and sandpipers and plovers dancing on the shore. A large group of Canada geese floated just at the breaking waves, seemingly hopping over each new break.
We came back from the northern point through the woods, David looking for mushrooms and I for eagle feathers. He was far luckier than I, collecting a range of samples to learn about and spore print. Our visit to Fort Rupert was intriguing: we could only visit the outside of the lodge, but the art work, both carved and painted, was stunning, as were the totems.
Bill picked us up on Tuesday morning (more than a week ago now), and as we rounded one of the islands towards God’s Pocket, we saw a humpback whale breeching in the distance. As many as five times, the whale thrust itself out of the water and fell back with a huge splash. It was a magnificent welcome. We have since seen what we believe to be the same whale, swimming and feeding up and down Christie Passage in front of God’s Pocket. We’ve also seen it several times near a cluster of small islands at the base of Browning Pass, a deep and fertile channel and home to some of the best cold-water diving in the world.
This visit to God’s Pocket may also be our last care-taking gig here, as the resort is up for sale. Although we’ll be sad to lose our connection to this place when it gets new owners, we are excited for Bill and Annie to gracefully wrap this 19-year chapter in their lives and move on to their next adventure. We are friends and the friendship will travel with us no matter where we all find ourselves. Still, I find myself trying to seize each moment, to ‘snapshot’ it my memory so it will live on with me. (We do have plans in September 2018 to come as divers and customers, but that’s a little tentative given that there may be new owners with other plans, or new owners who pick-up and proceed with the current book of business.)
You may have wondered where I and my blog posts have been since June 8. It has been a full year and I enrolled in the Martha Beck Life Coach Training in January. By April was launching my new business: Clear-Eyed Coaching and Consulting (more on that toward the bottom of this post). As a result, my commitment to posting to “Dancing On The Way Home” flagged. I have also wanted to launch a bi-weekly newsletter from my coaching practice, and that has been its own learning curve and journey.
But here I am, back in this beautiful part of the world, relishing the spaciousness and beauty of the place, and remembering the pleasure of observing, noticing, and writing. The neighborhood otter, a bruiser around 4 ½ feet long, keeps delighting me by swimming into the mouth of the bay, diving for a clam or urchin, and whacking it with a rock on his belly. He is always accompanied by a patient gull, hoping to grab any wayward pieces. Yesterday, obviously quite asleep, he floated far into the Passage on the ebbing tide.
When we first arrived, we’d fall asleep to the occasional sound of scampering little feet in the rafters above our head. Mice! We used a humane trap to catch one yesterday and dropped it off at another island. We caught a second one this morning, the sound of its munching on the nuts and crackers woke us up. We braved the choppy water today to relocate the second mouse to the island we’ve now nicknamed Guantana-mouse. We suspect there might be one more little critter in the walls and we’d love to give it a chance at a new life on a new island.
In the ten days that we’ve been here, we’ve had great luck with local food sourcing. We’ve gone mushroom hunting for chanterelles and boletes, and hit the jackpot on the chanterelles. We had six large male Dungeness crab in the trap we put in Harlequin Bay, on the back side of the island, of which we kept two. David caught three fish on three casts in one outing, and we’ve enjoyed ceviche and grilled rockfish over several meals. On the other hand, last night we roasted up a whole chicken on a bed of sweet potatoes and onions – sourced at the Costco down island!
As I mentioned above, I launched my new business in April, a coaching and consulting practice for people choosing or responding to professional and personal change. I’ve been delighted at how well things are going: I have paying clients, interest in my experience and ideas, and generally positive responses to my website: www.cleareyedcoaching.com. I invite you to check it out, and to sign up for my blog posts if the topics appeal to you. (And of course I would welcome any inquiries about working with me!). The journey has been both challenging and fun, and occasionally easy. I seem to learn something new every day, including how to navigate with few pre-established markers for my path or my success. And I’m having a blast (mostly – I get a little frustrated by what I don’t know about the tech stuff behind the scenes)!
Working from God’s Pocket is a bit of an experiment, in part to see if I can practice from anywhere in the world with anyone, anywhere. We’ve had a few phone snafus but in general, the experiment seems to be working well. This is good news as David and I plan our travel for 2018, which will likely include a trip to South Africa in the early part of the year, and later, a sojourn of several months in France.
I will post again next week, using “throwback Thursday” as the vehicle for revisiting with you our trip to Scotland in June.