We began with a 2-nautical-mile crossing to the wooded, low-lying Pearse Islands, and headed east by southeast. Immense whirlpools and gyres boiled up near Weynten Passage at the north end of Johnstone Strait. Our course described long, lazy arcs through and around the edges of broad upwellings, spinning around one way, then another. A pleasant breeze filled in as we skirted the south shore of Hanson Island. Several orcas passed close by, heading northwest.
For a weekend, the waterways were surprisingly quiet, without a single fisherman in sight, and Port O’Connor resembled a ghost town, inhabited by only birds. Gulls hovered in the breeze; pelicans glided by in undulating single-file lines; and wading curlews dipped their long, slender beaks in the shallow water off a small beach at the edge of Barroom Bay. I crossed the bay along its eastern edge and entered Little Mary’s Cut. Four dolphins surfaced astern where I had been only a dozen strokes earlier, and a lone roseate spoonbill flew overhead, its deep pink feathers with splashes of crimson at its shoulders and tail striking against the gray sky.