Yesterday was our last full day in God’s Pocket, and we’ll be in transit later today. My energy has shifted forward now that we are packed and ready to leave for Port Hardy. As with my most recent post, I am thoughtful and reflective about our time here.
These are some of the experiences and images that have punctuated these two months in this beautiful place:
⊕ Meeting Annie and Bill, co-owners of God’s Pocket Resort and our hosts, at the dock in Port Hardy on January 13, and excitedly chatting away through the crossing to God’s Pocket, and then through dinner, wine and bourbons. Getting a walk-around and instructions for caretaking the resort. Waving at Bill and Annie the next day as they left us alone on the island.
⊕ Waking up with daylight, around 8:30 am up here, in the bedroom in the main house, over the kitchen and living room, and saying good morning to David through the floor, knowing he had been up for hours, stoked the wood stove and made us coffee.
⊕ Rounding into Harlequin Bay in the skiff and seeing two sea wolves on the rocks. That sight, and all that I learned about wolves in this part of the world after seeing them, has to be one of my most exciting experiences. And then, more recently, seeing wolf prints on the trails to Duck Bay as well as to Harlequin Bays on hikes with Annie and Gem, the chef.
⊕ Pulling up the crab pots in Harlequin Bay and finally having male Dungeness crabs large enough to harvest, and enjoying wonderful meals with our catch: tomato bisque with crab, Asian-fusion crab in coconut milk, and crab cakes.
⊕ The dynamic mash-up of sights and sounds during storms: waves crashing on the rocks under the house and then gurgling back out to the bay, the rain hammering the roof, and the wind dancing with the trees. Looking out the bay across to Christie Pass, ribbed with white water, and seeing the spray of the waves on the shores of Balaklava Island.
⊕ Looking for Blue, the great blue heron that frequents the bay, every morning when I first got up, wondering where he’d be during the day and how often he’d fly to another spot as we got too close for his comfort. With more people here and an active dive boat, he just can’t find peace!
⊕ David rubbing and roasting a pork loin in small pot on the wood stove for pulled pork, and then using the rendered fat to make a candle. It only smelled porky when it wasn’t lit!
⊕ The handful of nights when the sky was clear enough to see stars, so many that even the most well-known constellations were hard to make out in the crowd. And waking up in the night to see Ursa Major out the bedroom window in the western sky.
⊕ Bill’s fresh-made, two kinds of ceviche: one made with rockfish, the other with pile perch, both caught from the skiff within the hour.
⊕ Helping Gem with food prep in the kitchen, laughing at our poor Canadian to American language and cultural translations. She asked me to slice pickles: I asked whether she wanted spears or rounds, she showed me slicing. I gave her rounds, since most Americans put rounds on their burgers; she wanted slices along the length of the pickle, but NOT spears! In spite of getting it wrong with the pickles, when I offered to help the next day she invited me back as sous chef.
⊕ Watching an adult and a juvenile bald eagle fly most days from the northwestern side of the bay towards the buildings, and then east over the trees, sometimes together, sometimes alone.
⊕ The crossing to Port Hardy in a gale to take the dive scouts, Tiare and Colten, to town. The wind and waves caused us to turn around and wait back at God’s Pocket for an hour or so. Then Bill navigated the Hurst Isle close to the shores of a string of south-pointing islands, before pushing the boat throttle forward to maximum and powering diagonally across the waves and the channel toward the shores of Vancouver Island. We couldn’t stop singing “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” and Tiare and Colten told stories of barely staying on the deck of their halibut fishing boats during storms. I held David’s hand the whole way, and everyone lived to laugh at my blatant fear during the experience.
⊕ Noticing how many of the local birds have “stego hair” and look like tiny distant cousins of the stegosaurus: the common mergansers with auburn spiked feathers on their heads, who put their beaks and eyes in the water as if they were wearing a mask and snorkeling; the belted kingfishers, with their ragged crest of grey, who perch carefully before dive-bombing their prey in the bay.
⊕ Counting all the otter on the North shore of the island on our way to and from Harlequin Bay in the skiff, and seeing two large otter rafts on the way back.
⊕ Capturing another drift log, a cedar this time, from the skiff in the mouth of the bay, and then chainsawing it into firewood.
It has been raining for four days; we experienced the end of the last of three big storms yesterday, this one the fiercest. The rain had been relentless, and is also a godsend for God’s Pocket, filling the water reservoirs for what may be another dry summer here. Today the sky is clear and there is a break in the weather that should make for a good crossing this afternoon. I leave here with feelings of profound gratitude and deep friendship: I am enriched beyond words by my time on Hurst Island.
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