by Winnie Ferrier, 24 August 2021
Eleven of us arrived at 10:00 am in Lund to meet Misty Isles for a day on Mitlenatch. The day was sunny and the ocean calm. After a safety talk by Jonas, our skipper, we were underway. As we journeyed we were given archeological and historical facts of Mitlenatch by George, our guide for the day. George was an employed Naturalist on Mitlenatch from 1969 to 1971 and told us many interesting and entertaining stories. Jonas offered everyone a hot drink and homemade cookies baked by his wife, Amy. As we passed Major Island we viewed harbour seals lounging on the rocks, and a pod of porpoises appeared off our port side.
We were greeted on arrival at Mitlenatch around noon by the waving on shore of three volunteer wardens; Shirley Cole, Janet Southcott and Janet May. They are all members of the Malaspina Naturalist Club and gave us a grand tour of the island, including their quaint and tidy cabin. George informed us that he had built the extra room on the cabin in 1969, calling it his honeymoon suite, as the original cabin had only room for a single bed, and he was living there with his new bride.
We were walked to the bird blind to watch glaucous-winged gulls with their new broods that would have hatched around July 1st.
Many of the flowers on the island had gone to seed but we did see yellow flowering gumweed, and plants of prickly pear cactus and Oregon sunshine.
Jonas shuttled us back to our anchored Misty Isles in the dingy and a few of us took a refreshing swim off of the boat. Next we circumnavigated Mitlenatch, scanning for birds and sea life. These included numerous Double-crested and Pelagic cormorants around the cliffs where they nest, Black Oystercatchers, and a colony of Stellar’s sea lions. We were fortunate to see a migrating peregrine falcon hidden in the shadows of a rock face. George enthusiastically pointed out two surfbirds just as our boat pulled away from the island. We made our way back to Lund, arriving around 5:30 pm. After hardy thanks to Jonas and George we set off to our vehicles while the Misty Isles made her return to Cortez Island.