We got up at 6am to quietly take down the tent and pack the last few things. Unfortunately as is always the case, we seem to be going home with more than we left with and thus the kids are buried in the back seat. We got to the ferry terminal in plenty of time to get the ferry. It can be difficult to get off the island on a holiday weekend without a reservation. The rules had changed from the last time and now the direct ferries where 100% reserved. It used to be capped letting you get on if you got there early enough. It forced us to go back to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island and then on one of the big ferries to Tsawwassen.
The orange, old timey look to the photos is due to the many forest fires that were burning in the province at that time. I can’t remember the number but it was close to 200 and the area burning was bigger than Rhode Island. It smelled like you were right next to a campfire the entire trip home.
We ate breakfast at a food truck at the Pender Island. It has been there for as long as I can remember and it has great breakfasts. It was a frequent stop for me when I worked at the marina next door. I had to convince Philip not to add a burger patty to his breaky bun. Since the breaky bun contains two eggs and tons of bacon and cheese he wasn’t going to finish anyways.
We managed to make the connection at Swartz without having to wait a sailing. Again there was a National Parks presentation on board and this time we ended up talking to her the entire trip. Her presentation was on the Great Garbage Gyre in the Pacific Ocean.
She started off telling us about a container that got knocked overboard along with others in a storm. This one however contained thousands of bath toys including yellow rubber ducks. This became an opportunity for scientists to track where they went. At one point finding one was worth money. She had the kids pretend to be a piece of garbage caught in the gyre, going around and around. Basically the currents in the ocean overall make a giant loop and trash gets trapped in the center.
I wrote an article on it years ago for another website. The blog portion of the site is down so I can’t find it but I told her about it. She told me about a 18 year old fellow, Boyan Slat, that has come up with a way of getting plastic out of the oceans. His plan is ambitious and the video is well worth watching both for the solution and a great description of the problem.
She also pointed out some wildlife on the way. The first was seal island. It is a small rock with a beacon on it and dozens of seals. In the background you can see a whale watching boat getting a closer look. The second was a tiny island with hundreds of birds. The white, well it is not rock.
She also told us that there were lots of herons on the causeway leading to the ferry terminal. We stopped. There were a couple dozen and it was well worth stopping.
The rest was the five hour drive home. We stopped for lunch which made it six hours. As always with these long camping trips the kids fell asleep on the way home. Philip claims that he wasn’t actually asleep. I let you be the judge.
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