Return to Mitlenatch and Twin Islands

Return to Mitlenatch and Twin Islands
by Tom Koleszar, 23 May 2017.

Twelve of us boarded the Misty Isles at Lund for a 2 day trip with Captain Mike Moore and naturalist leader George Sirk.  We sailed south around Savary Island and Mystery Reef, finding hundreds of Pacific Loons and Common Murres, along with many other sea birds. From Savary we continued on to Mitlenatch Island, where we split into 2 groups – half going ashore and the other half circumnavigating the island in Mike’s zodiac.

There was a profusion of sea lions, seals, and cormorants and other sea birds for the zodiac groups, and many wildflowers and gulls for the island groups.  The second activity for each group was cut a bit short by a sudden (but forecast) change in the weather.  Strong northwest gale force winds came up suddenly and forced a quick return to the boat, and then made the trip from Mitlenatch to Twins Island a very interesting ride!  We made it in safely, however, and then were treated to a fantastic salmon dinner at the Twin Islands lodge by Captain Mike, Amy, Samantha and host Mark Torrance.

After a very comfortable night, some of us went for a pre-breakfast bird walk lead by George Sirk, then all enjoyed a wonderful breakfast provided by Mike’s crew.  After breakfast, our host Mark gave us a tour showing what he is doing to make his place environmentally friendly and sustainable – solar and micro-hydro power systems, extensive gardens, etc. – a very informative morning!  The walk then continued down through the dry forests of South Twin Island (where guide George continued our bird and plant education) to Iron Point (where trip participant Tom Koleszar gave a summary of the area geology).  From there it was back to the lodge for a great lunch, and then on to the boat for the trip back to Lund – and we put up the sails for this nice, relaxing final stage of the journey!

Special thanks to Captain Mike Moore and guide George Sirk for a great couple of days of learning, to Amy and Samantha for the great meals, and to our host at Twin Islands Mark Torrance for opening his place to us and showing us around.  We all learned a lot and had a great time.  Thanks also to Heather Harbord for making all the trip arrangements for the Club.

Twin Islands and Mitlenatch

Twin Islands and Mitlenatch
by Heather Harbord, 26
 May 2016. 

Ten members boarded the schooner, Misty Isles, at Lund on May 26th bound for Mitlenatch and Twin Islands.  It was great to have extra time on Mitlenatch especially as the Tiger Lilies were coming into bloom in the meadow and the Glaucous-winged gulls were beginning to sit on eggs.  The Stellers and California sea lions, Harbour seals, Pelagic and Double-crested cormorants, Black Oystercatchers and a few Pigeon Guillemots gave star performances which we watched from the zodiac.   As the wind was a bit strong we only circumnavigated the southern part of the island on both sides of Camp Bay instead of going all the way round.   As usual, Mike and his staff gave a knowledgeable presentation of what we were seeing supplemented by two of us (Janet May and I) who had been wardens the previous week.

We then went on to Twin Islands stopping at the rock where the Arctic Terns had been seen for the previous four years.  Unfortunately, they did not return for us.  The lodge at Twin Islands was fascinating and we enjoyed Mike Yip’s talk and photos of butterflies and birds. He is a wonderful photographer and some of us bought his books which he gave us a special rate on.  The following morning, we were on the go at 7am for a bird walk with Mike.  We did a bit too much exploring and didn’t have much time to spend at the swamp in the centre of the southern island where there was a Kingfisher and a Red-winged blackbird.  In the well-fenced garden a wobbly fledgling robin looked down on us from a tree.

After breakfast, the owner of the lodge, Mark Torrance, showed us his solar power system which he can control from his computer.   This was quite fascinating.  As we sailed away after lunch, we put up the red sails, got into the dingy and admired our handywork.

Thanks, Mike and Jonah, for another wonderful trip on Misty.