Cow Bay is a rather perfect stretch of fine sandy beach on Flores Island, the largest island in Clayoquot Sound, and for a week this summer, on a spot between a tidal creek and the shore, was our family’s home.
Now this home wasn’t ours exclusively, by no means; we shared it with two haughty pairs of King Fishers, a rather talented Raven, a few million mice (from the number of footprints they left), three sizeable wolves, and one other human family. The only critters we managed to get photo were the very slow moving, non-hiding variety: sea-stars, sea anemone and people…
(Note: the feet above are size 5. There was a dog on the beach, a very large dog, and it’s prints were about 2/3 the size of this print, but more than that the depth of the print was much more shallow.) We never saw these wolves, just their tracks.
Cow bay is named such for the grey whale cows and their calves that frequent the area. We were not disappointed. Daily we saw whale boats bringing deck loads of tourists keen on spotting spouts and tails in the wild Pacific. All we had to do was to watch the boats and sure enough we got the show from the shore. On our first full day there, our daughter and niece spotted three grey whales feeding amid the bull kelp off the rocky point, a short clamber away from our camp. For about twenty minutes they watched a show of jumps and sprays, before they pulled themselves away to come tell the rest of us, which turned out to not be too late.
For all the wildlife and exploring that the outer coast offers, the biggest hit with the children this summer was the fact that we gave them each a knife and let them start the campfires. (note: despite there being a fire ban elsewhere in British Columbia, it was permitted within 2 kilometres of the outer coast)
Then of course, we allowed them to play with it…
Until late into the night when sleep was easy, we’d sit around the fire and share stories both ancient myths we knew, and stories from our own lives. The children shared as much with us as we did with them. It was these moments that will cling to my memory like the carefully woven webs holding firm the images of paw prints and toes, smiles and slivers. It wasn’t just that we have done something special, or memorable, but that we’ve done it together.