Reading Time: 3 minutes

Night Photograph, Canada
Another predawn start and another boat trip to another island with another bunch of Burts!

Helen, Jenn, Sam (who is actually a ‘Drove’ rather than a ‘Burt’) had invited us to stay at the family cabin on Gambier Island. Joining us on Gambier was Jenn and Sam’s gorgeous and highly entertaining pup called Bella. After a quick coffee and breakfast wrap we all piled onto the back of a smallish boat that ferried us over to the island.

It was another twenty-four hour forecast for continuous rain but as the boat pulled up to our jetty the sun started to break through the dark clouds. After a quick going over of the cabin we went straight out to gather some supplies. By the time we were ready to set off, the skies had brightened up and the air had warmed. With the fortuitous and unexpected change in weather we decided to fetch our supplies via kayaks and a rowing boat. I wish I could travel by kayak every day!

We paddled and rowed our way along Gambier Island coast to Camp Fircom, where we disembarked in order to collect some necessities for the day ahead. Camp Fircom was founded in 1923 and was a joint project by the First Presbyterian Church (forerunner of First United Church) and Community Services (forerunner of Social Services). Today Camp Fircom runs a wide variety of projects and programmes including summer camps, weddings and a farm, the latter being a key motivation behind our visit. Fircom’s mission statement is to create a “sanctuary found in nature” and we certainly found both of these as we wandered through a delightful network of fascinating and intriguing produce, picking out the odd veg or leaf as we went.

Earlier in the year Gambier Island was hit by a tremendous storm. Everyone we met on the island had something to say about this apocalyptic tempest and from the accounts we heard, it really must have felt like Armageddon! Camp Fircom was one of the worst hit in terms of damage, a newly built dining hall burnt to the ground after being struck by lightning. We took a look at what remained of the hall, while members of the project spoke optimistically and charismatically about the mixed blessings this disaster had brought. After some friendly chat and filling several armfuls with ‘fud’ we made our way back to the jetty and paddled home for lunch!

Fire damage of Camp fircom church hall

We pretty much spent the rest of our time on Gambier “chillaxing” and exploring. Me and CB had a short ramble where we saw a gorgeous black tailed mule deer and some big raptors that I later identified as turkey vultures.

As the day started to come to a close we all sat on the rocks with some booze, and as we soaked up the last of the warm sunshine we caught a glimpse of some harbour dolphins swimming out in the distance while an inquisitive seal checked us out at closer range; you couldn’t have scripted the day any better. The rest of the evening was spent enjoying great local (really local!) food, great company and some competitive game play! Perfect!

The following day we were sorry to leave… well we would have been if we hadn’t woken to torrential rain! As we took shelter under a gazebo by the jetty the wind started to pick up and we were relieved to see our ferry ride emerge from further up the island. However the boat went straight past us. After several minutes of bemusement and indecision we called the company, who called the boat driver, we heard the engine stop, pause and restart before he returned to pick us up. He had forgotten us despite our ‘see you tomorrow at 10.30’ farewell the day before! But all’s well that ends well and we left Gambier Island feeling blessed at how fortunate we had been with the weather… again!

[nggallery id=”56″]