This past weekend I sailed away again to one of my favourite places, Saturna Island.
Saturna is a mountainous island located in the Southern Gulf Islands about halfway between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. One of the things I love is that it takes multiple ferry rides to reach Saturna, giving you that sense of truly sailing away from it all.
From the top of Saturna’s mountain, Mount Warburton Pike, you get amazing views of the Canadian Gulf Islands and the US San Juan Islands.
But my favourite thing to do on Saturna is explore the amazing beaches.
At the very southeast of the Island lies East Point. This outcropping of land has amazing views over the water where two ocean currents mix and mingle in Boundary Pass, creating an upwelling of abundant nutrients that then attract a variety of marine animals. From East Point I have seen whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, otters, eagles and oyster catchers.
There are lots of deer on the island and other creatures who share the space.
Fifty years ago at East Point on Saturna Island our relationship to Orcas, or killer whales, began to change. Once called blackfish, Orcas were thought to be dangerous monsters of the sea. In 1964, a young orca was harpooned off of East Point with the intention of killing it and studying it. However, the harpoon did not kill the whale but injured it. As the rest of the pod stayed with the injured whale, trying to keep it alive, the men tasked with killing the whale realized that these animals were not vicious killing creatures but something beautiful and amazing. The whale, Moby Doll, was towed back to the Vancouver Aquarium and studied for almost three months before it passed away. That experience forever changed our understanding of these beautiful creatures. To hear more about this story, check out this program by CBC’s Ideas.
On our way to Saturna, as the sun set, we were lucky enough to be visited by small pod of Orcas from our ferry.