Adventure in the Discovery Islands
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
If you’re looking for a slice of paradise this summer, look no further than Feather’s Cove on Maurelle Island.
This small, barely known isle in the Discovery Passage of British Columbia is home to the Flow Wilderness Retreat, a small, family-owned destination where guests spend five all-inclusive days kayaking across the clear, aquiline water. They take soul-nourishing forest walks to pristine lakes no one has heard of and end their days in a cedar-fueled hot tub overlooking a bay untouched by time.
Integral to this magical experience are Cristina Fox and Brody Wilson, hosts with a deep love and respect for their island home. The pair hand-built five cozy cabins that nestle at the base of Maurelle’s Dome Mountain and created peat-fed, composting latrines beneath the boughs of massive cedar, hemlock and maple trees. They grow herbs and flowers in their island garden, serve guests a diet rich in locally harvested ingredients—including ling cod and spot-prawns Brody fishes from these waters—and deliver an experience rich in kindness, adventure and the still, quiet beauty of the northern Gulf Islands.
A father of two, Wilson grew up in a land co-op on the island and for 12 weeks each summer—from June through September—he shares the treasures of his childhood playground with visitors, guiding them to some of Discovery Passage’s secret hideaways and revealing their treasures. Guests make their way to Campbell River or Quadra Island and travel by water taxi to Maurelle Island.
Our first day, we paddled approximately six miles north through the Okisolo Channel in water so flat that the only ripples were created by our strokes. We passed forests of lush, healthy bull kelp, following their bulbous, rubbery heads to see long tendrils of seaweed submerged beneath us. Seals poked curious heads from the water and a family of raccoons scavenged on the shore at low tide. Apart from the odd homestead nestled into the cliffs above us, these islands felt blissfully empty of human fingerprints, sheltering a rich, thriving ecosystem.
Our destination was the Octopus Islands, a provincial marine reserve encompassing a group of eight islets scattered close together. Brody pointed out a clam garden built by First Nations thousands of years ago to permit easy collection of butter clams.
“They knew that when the tide goes out, the table is set,” he explained, gesturing at the large clam shells on the ocean floor beneath us. We pulled our kayaks to the shore of one island for lunch, picnicking outside a 1970s barn fondly referred to as the Driftwood Museum.
As we kayaked back to our base camp, the rich, woodsy aroma of cedar logs filled the air. The hot tub beckoned and we eased our tired limbs in its warmth, watching evening descend over the steep, heavily forested cliffs of Feather’s Cove. A cathartic peacefulness descended.
“I’ve always felt such a strong connection to this island,” Brody admitted. “The Flow Wilderness Retreat is a labor of love and a dream come true for us.”
To find out more about the Flow Wilderness Retreat, go to http://www.theflowretreat.com or call (888) 435-2925.
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