Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mitlenatch Island


Yesterday we finally made a visit to tiny Mitlenatch Island, an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the Georgia Strait. We had poked around the island before, but never found a good anchorage in settled weather where we felt it was safe to leave the boat. Yesterday, the favorable winds brought us close to Mitlenatch, and we persisted until we found a reliable anchorage close to the beach.

We were awed by what we found when we went ashore. The grasses and wildflowers were lush, untrampled by human traffic. We followed barely discernible tracks through waist high growth. Higher on the rocky slopes, the vegetation was like a rock garden. Thousands of Glaucous-Winged Gulls were nesting on the island, so that the rocky slopes were dotted with these handsome birds. The noise was overwhelming, enough so that it seemed unlikely that any normal human would spend more than a few hours with this Alfred Hitchcock soundtrack.

We did discover a shelter where volunteers stay when working here, which was a fine viewing platform from which we spotted Harlequin Ducks, Black Oyster Catchers, Sea Lions and dozens of varieties of wildflowers. We came away full up with the wildness and beauty of this island in an inland sea.

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