Aunt June talks me through her hand-drawn map of the local area, explaining which alleyways to cut through to find the shortest way to the Deep Cove Kayak Rental Centre from her house in North Vancouver. Clutching the paper with her hand-scribbled map we leave as a trio of stiff hobbling hikers to make our way through the streets of North Vancouver.
Ray, Jerry and I had just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a 5.5month hike from Mexico to Canada, so we were eager to be outside again and doing something other than hike.
Reaching the Deep Cove Kayak rental centre we whiz through our briefing and instantly find ourselves feeling at home on the water after a staff member launches each of us off the beach with a gentle push. A few practice strokes re-familiarised me with rudder steering and I was off, keeping a close eye on Jerry who picked up his first time in a kayak surprisingly quickly.
I’d just gone six months away from the ocean. The time apart had made me realise how much peace it brings me, so bobbing in gentle waves brought more joy than I can put into words. Each splash, each paddle stroke; it felt good.
We could see Boulder Island from my Aunt’s place so naturally we wanted to paddle around it. We quickly covered the 2km to Grey Rocks Island then ventured 500m across the bay to Boulder Island. Out of the corner of my eye I see something and turn around to see a curious seal staring back at me. Before I could get a photo he disappeared and would reappear in a different location minutes later. For 10 minutes I hung around watching the playful seal as he darted around getting different views of me in the kayak. Looking around Ray and Jerry were long gone, back at the inlet where Ray wanted to check out the luxury yacht. On my way back to catch up with the others I found a bunch of litter floating in the ocean. As always, I scoop it up to take back to shore, collecting a tennis ball, some styrofoam, an onion and an orange. I’m excited by the fruit and affectionately name it Adventure Orange since it’s obviously been on an adventure. Catching up with the others I offer to share the orange so we raft up and enjoy the scenery together as we snack. Once finished I then tell them where Adventure Orange came from, which had Ray horrified I’d tricked him into eating it. This also brought me joy.
Making the most of being in the water and surrounded by mountains we finally head back to shore to return the kayaks and grab a beer together. After such a long wait just two hours on the water had me satisfied, valuing the memories with these precious people before my flight back to Australia the following day.