We've paddled these Gabriolan waters many times. Little did we know that on this day, we would discover the shocking reality behind the legends of the lost and long extinct "creatures" of Gabriola Island.
Oh yes, over the years, we'd heard the stories...gargantuan iguanas, ferocious dog-like creatures, monster fish, dragon beasts. All from another time, long before humankind was even a glimmer in the Creator's eye. But these seemed just far-fetched, and fanciful tales.
On this paddle, there was a headland. We had always chosen to circumnavigate Entrance Island, rather than continue along the island coast. We'd never explored beyond this mysterious piece of land, jutting out into the Salish Sea. Today we would go further than ever before...to the other side of the headland.
Near the very last sign of human habitation, they warned us away.
Three seals called out, begging us, with their eyes, to paddle NO further. The sense of urgency, almost panic, in their expression was palpable.
A sea gull stood by, almost philosophically...he'd seen this all before.
He knew this would not end well. The timeless enigma would be exposed. Two human beings, one mango and the other red, would discover the hidden secrets of Gabriola Island...secrets entrenched in stone and hidden in this netherworld.
The seals beseeched us to reconsider...but we were drawn forward, as if by some irresistible, compelling force.
Rounding the headland, it was as if we had become time travellers...gliding backward in time through countless millennia and into a land of 65 million years ago when these "rumoured" creatures traversed the land, and swam in an ancient and primordial soup.
It was an eerie feeling...my blood ran strangely cold. We both wanted to turn around, to flee back to the safety of what we knew...but it was too late.
Curiosity is a powerful thing...it drew us forward.
And there, in this land shaped by time...
lay the evidence, the proof...incontrovertible and clear...of the long-hidden secrets.
It was, indeed, a gargantuan iguana...turned to stone.
Its time had come? Millions upon millions upon millions of years ago? How could this possibly have happened?
A massive dog-like creature, legs folded beneath its body, rested in repose...
...still looking towards the land, ever vigilant.
A dragon beast, no longer breathing fire, seemed to be enjoying the warm sunshine of a different world than it had ever known in life.
Two fish, leaping into the sky had likewise been turned to stone.
How could all of this have happened? We'll never know.
Heart rates back to normal, we quietly drifted...and pondered these timeless mysteries.
There were more questions than there were answers. But questions are good.
"Living the questions" is a much richer experience than grasping at answers. Questions open doors...answers, all too often, only serve to close them tightly shut.
It's why listening is a much richer experience than talking.
When we listen...we draw in the wealth of what others share. It's always "value added".
But wait a minute...enough of this. We've missed lunch! Time to find the beach.
After all, discovering "timeless secrets" builds up a hearty appetite!
And then soon it was time to return, once again, to the other side of the headland, and back to the present.
As a BC Ferry approached the Entrance Island lighthouse...
...we navigated our way back to the Descanso Bay launch in the forecast breezy air and bumpy seas.
All in a day's paddle around Gabriola Island, British Columbia.
Perhaps we should have told the seals that it all worked out, just fine. :)