Saturday, May 24, 2014
Matia & Sucia
We awoke to another glorious day. I am stunned at how the weather gods have smiled on us. Originally our destination for the day was Sucia Island where we planned to spend two nights but as we passed tiny, picturesque Rolfe Cove at Matia Island we spotted an empty mooring ball so we decided to snare it and call it a day. We had just been talking about Matia and how tiny the anchorage is so we took advantage of this opportunity and considered ourselves lucky. Matia has an interesting history. In the late 1800's the fugitive Skookum Jim hid out on the island and evaded the law for many years. Later, in the early 1900's a hermit lived on the island. He raised animals and cultivated the land. Once a week he would row across the channel to Orcas Island to socialize and gather supplies. One particular stormy winter, when he was in his 80's, he hadn't been seen for months so his friends crossed the channel to check on him. All winter the weather had been too rough for him to make the trip and his friends found him emaciated and near starvation. They brought him back to Orcas, nursed him back to health and convinced him to build a cabin there. It was decided that he would build in the spring and until then would return to Matia with an elderly friend to live out the remainder of the winter. So they loaded his boat down with supplies and headed across the channel. It was the last time the two old friends were seen and they were presumed drowned. Months later, in the spring, half of his boat was found up north in Canada but no trace of the old hermit. The other interesting thing about Matia is that it has somehow managed to evade the swing of the ax and the island is still covered in old growth forest. Today it is a national wildlife preserve, dedicated to bird preservation, with a mile-long trail that meanders through the towering trees. After afternoon tea on the foredeck we dropped the kayaks into the water and paddled to shore. As we hiked in the deep woods among the gigantic trees stories played in our heads and we kept an eye out for where we thought the hermit's cabin might have been.
The next day, after Jason finished work and the boys finished school, we headed across the channel to Sucia. We hopped into the kayaks for a hike among the surreal sandstone formations that Sucia is famous for. We explored the China Cave area where Canadian smugglers hid their illegal cargo of Chinese laborers during the late 1800's. It didn't take long before we succumbed to hunger and paddled back to the boat for dinner and a lovely sunset.
Click here for photos.