Every season on Valdes is unique and special and winter is no exception. We waited out the storms and snow of December and finally made it over to the island in January. We are always happy to see that our cabin and the surrounding trees are still standing and everything is how it should be.

Shah Point from our Cabin
Glassy calm waters for paddling.

It is during winter that the huge colony of sea lions return to live and roar on Canoe Islet. As long as the winds are not from the east we are treated to their raucous chorus without their foul fishy smell. There are hundreds of them crowding the rocks jostling for a good spot. Gord is willing to kayak much closer than I am, and apparently doesn’t lose bowel control when fifty dive into the water charging right towards him.

We have been treated to a long rare stretch of calm seas with fog, sunshine and only a day or two of showers. We are here to see the very first indications that the days are getting longer as the island slowly wakes up with the earliest signs of spring. On January 13 we watched 51 rough-skinned newts wandering over the forest litter in slow motion. We have heard that they emerge en mass on a single day in early spring, but this warm January day must have drawn them out earlier. We continued to see a few on each following day, but never in the same numbers.

Rough Skinned Newt

We have been up here for eleven nights, one of our longest stretches. We both could easily stay longer, but some town time will also be good. COVID has kept us closer to home but this also means we are spending more time on Valdes. I’m proud to say that I mostly dodged Gord’s suggestions that I take an outside shower. I stayed warm in the cabin and maintained a minimum level of hygiene with a sink of hot water. Following the advice of my Camino friend Mary, “ just do the the face, the pits and the naughty bits.”

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