It was day three kayaking the Broken Group Islands on Vancouver Island and Humphrey and I arrived at Clark Island about two hours ago. The outer sections of the island, battered by the ocean swells and crashing waves, were rugged with sharp rocks and sea caves. We had just returned to the the campsite on the other side where the calm turquoise waters seemed almost alien to the Westcoast terrain. Tseshaht First Nation inhabited these islands thousands of years ago.
I ran my fingers through the soft white sand, leaned against a warm rock like a lizard, and shielded myself from the wind. The sun finally appeared on this summer day. With beers in their hands, three men with an athletic build sat down next to us. Later, I learned that their names were Todd, Tom, and Larry.
“Good spot eh? You took our favourite spot!” Todd joked. “You can actually stay warm here!”
I nodded enthusiastically recalling the past two days of kayaking in torrential downpour. My thin Gore-Text jacket failed to keep me warm. I had been feeling slightly nauseous from battling the cold on rocky waters. I listened as they joked amongst themselves and reminisced about their adventures together since university. The men were on an annual sea kayaking trip with their self assembled wooden kayaks. I pictured them as the three musketeers.
“My daughter is about your age.” Todd said to me. “It’s great that you were able to make it. Think about all the reasons and excuses you could have made to not be here right now. You are sick, but you chose to be here. You want to save money, but you decided this experience was more valuable. A trip takes planning, but you’re here.”
In that moment, I realized what we had been doing: living in the moment.