Monday, October 19, 2009

Installment #7: Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park

One of my favorite locations in the Strait of Georgia is Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park located between Lasqueti and Texada islands. It is the largest and most diverse of a chain of more than 30 islands and rocky islets northwest of Lasqueti. Jedediah is home to a forest ecosystem with a variety of tree species, including Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar and arbutus. The vegetation grows throughout meadows, lowlands and rocky outcrops. Evidence human settlements are a homestead including the main house, shed and barn are located at Home Bay. Built around 1905 by the Foote Family, a reminder of a way of life once common along the BC Coast. A second house built in the 1980’s (pre park) still stands in Long Bay. A rich marine environment encircles Jedediah Island, which offers five secluded bays for safe harbour. But mariner beware, each of these bays have their weaknesses. A more detailed island map follows below.

In this photograph by Catherine Brown, the sailing vessel AQUILA finds not only safe haven but a secluded anchorage in Deep Bay with no other boats on this 2nd to last summer evening for 2009. While I have visited Jedediah numerous times this was the first trip for Catherine and the sailing vessel AQUILA.

Jedediah Island is part of a mild climate area centered in the southern Strait of Georgia and encompasses most of the Gulf Islands. This weather zone is influenced by the rainshadow effect of the Vancouver Island mountain ranges. In the summer, periods of drought and high temperatures are common, often lasting up to several weeks. Winters are typically rainy and mild receiving little or no snow.
Ever the beach comber and intrepid tide pool explorer Catherine, seen here perched on the portside gunnel of the dinghy, is delighted at her find in the Deep Bay anchorage off Jedediah…

A species of small fish that will eat right out of her hand…

These 'fry' who normally feed on shrimp larvae and other protozoa are the backbone of the food chain reaching up to the pollock, cod, herring, halibut and of course the salmon.

And speaking of species; when we look ashore the main mammal species occurring on Jedediah Island include black-tailed deer, raccoons, mink, river otter, mice, shrew, and voles. “Black-tailed deer,” as stated in the B.C. Ministry of Environment guide, “due to the absence of predators or hunting, may become numerous enough to have an adverse impact on the island's vegetation.” Hmm… Me thinks the 50+ sheep and 20 or so feral goats may have cornered that market. Again according to B.C. Ministry of Environment guide “The goats may be a unique breed. Former resident Al Palmer believes the goats were dropped off by the Spaniards during very early periods of exploration. Other Gulf Islands such as Saltspring, Galiano and Saturna have goat populations which were introduced as early as 1890.”
An Ochre Sea Star being attacked by a Sun Star, these competing echinoderms are typical of the starfish or sea stars found in the Pacific NW.

Here is a cool link to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Phylum Echinodermata
Sea Stars, Brittle Stars, Sea Cucumbers, Sea Urchins, Sand Dollars, and Feather Stars:

On the last day of summer other vessels began arriving in Deep Bay of Jedediah and an anchoring fiasco started to develop. As much fun as it might have been to stay and watch the pecking order establish itself we exercised our prerogative as first boat and a properly anchored boat at that and continued with our plans for the day which were to circumnavigate Jedediah in our WM Zodiac dinghy. In terms of boats, our motor dinghy is a get-up-&-go vessel compared to her mother ship. The 8hp Merc outboard will ‘plane’ the dinghy with both Catherine and I aboard. So where AQUILA has a top motoring hull speed of 6mph, EAGLET (the dinghy) will do 15 mph. Although that burst of extra speed doesn’t come into play in this chapter it was a good time to record such data. In this photo by Catherine yours truly pilots EAGLET on the beginning of our day trip. We took our time traveling around the island. Sabine Channel had two foot, white capped wind waves running the length of it’s long fetch and we enjoyed reaching the point to shelter inside a shoulder of the island and visit with the seals.
“Yes Virginia, there is a Mother Goose Island…” And it’s located adjacent to Jedediah. Although I can’t tell you why the island is thus named (maybe one of the FIREWATER blog readers can). It’s rocky outcropped shoreline is part of the protection forming Home Bay (double click the image to see a larger version). This is a good point to offer a bit of history regarding Jedediah Island. This island is within the traditional territory of the Sliammon First Nation. The Sliammon people are part of the northern Coast Salish cultural group, and part of the Salishan linguistic group. Over the course of time and settlement Jedediah Island came to be privately owned. How it transferred from private landholding to a Provincial Marine Park follows: Albert and Mary Palmer farmed the island up to their decision in 1994 to sell. They offered it to the Province at a price well below market value in hope that the BC Government would purchase the property and designate the island a provincial park. While the government acknowledged an interest in Jedediah, they were unable to fund the entire 4.2 million dollar purchase. The Friends of Jedediah, an organization of citizens from Lasqueti Island, learned of the sale and became committed to seeing Jedediah protected as a provincial park. During the summer of 1994, they campaigned to lobby the provincial government and solicit private and corporate donations to purchase the island. A $1.1 million dollar donation came from the estate of Dan Culver, a BC resident who had died in 1993 while descending K2, the world's second highest mountain. Mr. Culver was the only Canadian in history to reach the summits of both Everest and K2. He had dedicated his climbs to the preservation of wilderness and in his will, had bequeathed that a portion of his estate be used to set aside an ecologically valuable coastal property in a protected and undeveloped state for the people of British Columbia. There is a plaque near the Home Bay homestead honoring Mr. Culver. Jedediah Island was officially established as a Class A Provincial Park in March of 1995.

A photograph of the homestead on the northern shore of Home Bay, Jedediah Island.

Little Bull Passage, between Bull Island & Jedediah Island is a rugged, seascape of tidal waters and steep cliffs. We timed our exploration to be against these south facing rocks during the height of the sun on the last day of summer 2009. Our reward was a warm sunny afternoon. As the tide was an incoming flood we killed the motor of the zodiac and gripping the rough rock surface of the cliffs we sort of pulled ourselves along scoping out the interface of marine life and drying rock.

In this image we see a islet in Little Bull Passage covered in mussels. The orange billed birds working this feeding field are Oystercatchers, their long orange or red bills are used to smash or pry open limpets, mussels, gastropos and other molluscs.

Here is the newer of the abandoned structures on the island. This one located in Long Bay which is a very shallow body of water on the inside or western shore of Jedediah.

While Catherine went off to photograph the wild goats of the island I remained in the dinghy enjoying a quiet and still moment in this wonderful marine park. She snapped this picture of me drifting carefree in the shallows of Long Bay.

I'll close this 7th segment of the AQUILA 2009 Cruise with this interesting look at the dynamics of anchoring in a small, deep bay. To give the attached photo collage context I'll mention one point I didn't note in the text embedded on the collage. When I sat in the dinghy and spoke with the 2nd to arrive vessel, who decided to anchor contrary of the customary cross bay pattern, he told me that he'd seen conditions where the northwesterly winds would blow into this anchorage and force the boats anchored like AQUILA into the rock walls. Thus he said he anchored facing out of the bay, to take the potential wind and waves on his bow. A little later as he was on that bow talking anchoring with the third boat to arrive I asked his wife if they had heard the weather. "Oh yes," she replied, "mild norwesterlie winds shifting to southerly tonight."
Hmm... I thought, so much for potential wind and waves...
Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park:

Welcome to the Sliammon First Nation:
Dan Culver Follow Your Dream Foundation:
And for all my sea kayaking friends:

1 comment:

Wet Coasters said...

hmmm is right! But some people can never be too careful. Ha ha! The wind was giving us trouble when we anchored, but an hour or so later, all was calm for the other boats as they arrived. It is good entertainment anyway you look at it. Thanks for your comments on Splendid Journey, we enjoy getting feedback on our blog. Have a good rest of your trip! Cheers, Kathy and Jerry