I will once again apologize to those that are unfamiliar with my references to the classic Star Trek Movie, The Wrath of Khan. I just can’t help it. As a fan, dialogue from the movie continuously scrolled through my head as I hiked into Botany Bay, part of Botanical Beach Marine Park in Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. I kept hearing Chekovs words:
“Botany Bay. …Botany Bay?! …Oh no!! We’ve got to get out of here now! Damn!”
In truth, I had no desire to “get out of here” but was most excited to be hiking in to an area I was looking forward to explore. As I popped out of the trail and into the bay, I was greeted by the sound of waves crashing into giant ridges of rocks jutting out in steep angular layers littered with all sorts of species of inter-tidal life.
I arrived at high noon with the low tide completely exposing an abundance of California mussels, barnacles, and rockweed all clinging to life on these ridges of shale. Returning for the evening sunset shoot I found most of the muscles and barnacles submerged due to the rising tides. Setting up a shot became more of a set of calculations and estimations of where the tide levels would be at sunset and how I could position myself such that I would not be “marooned” as the water levels rose with no way back to the trail head. Even with all the guess work, I found I would still be required to remove my boots and get into knee high water levels to return to the beach. It was at that time that I saw a black bear happily munching away on some early summer flowers right at the trailhead. A nice little predicament with the tide rising behind me and a bear blocking my only way out. Khans words immediately entered my brain. “Marooned for all eternity in the centre of a dead planet.” I laughed at Khans “superior intellect” and while I was not at the “centre of a dead planet”, my predicament still remained. It took two loud whistles to get the bears attention to which the look on his face was priceless and one of annoyance. If he could have spoke, his words would have been: “Seriously?! I’m trying to eat here!!!” He hung his head low and in disgust wandered on into the bush allowing me to hike back out without incident.
I returned the next evening to Botanical Beach, which is about a half kilometre down the trail from Botany Bay. Botanical Beach is well known for it’s tide pools that expose a variety of starfish, purple and green sea urchins, coralline algae, and green sea anemones to name a few of the variety of delicate intertidal life that flourish here. To my disappointment, the rising tides at the time of my visit prevented me from making any photographs of these fragile life forms.
I was however, a witness to the most amazing sunset. The soft palette of colours here in the image above, was just as prominent as it was on the beach that evening. No bear visit this time. In fact there was not a single soul in sight. The sound of the surf and the waning daylight were the ingredients to a most peaceful evening. I would return the next evening knowing full well that that the chance of experiencing a sunset as glorious as the previous one would be slim. Changing weather and clouds would still provide a sunset worthy of making photographs.
One final early morning visit to Botany Bay would be in order before beginning my voyage home.
The journey continues in: Vancouver Island •Sooke to Port Renfrew: Part V…The Voyage Home.
Until next time,