Hollyhock Seakayaking Mother-shipping 2017

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In tandem with Hollyhock Retreat Center, Misty Isles offers a special Mothership Kayak Tour.

July 7th- 12th and September 1st- 6th, 2017

To get all of the Details and Registration from the Hollyhock website.

With our kayaks loaded onboard the Misty Isles, we will voyage out from Hollyhock each day to explore and paddle in beautiful places. Along the way we may be able to set the sails or view wildlife which may include eagles, seals, or even porpoise or dolphins.

Upon arriving at our destination for the day we will launch the kayaks and paddle off for an exploration of picturesque channels or islands before returning to Hollyhock in the evening for supper and a hot tub. Hollyhock is an educational retreat centre that exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better. See the Hollyhock Video

Here is a review from one of our past participants;

A Different Sort of Hollyhock Workshop Space; things I expected and things I didn’t on my Hollyhock Misty Isles Adventure.

Sometimes you enjoy a Hollyhock program or retreat for all the reasons you expected and some times you find yourself delighted by what you did not expect. My almost-a-week attending the Sea Kayaking program with Misty Isles proved to be one of those great surprises.

Mike and Misty

Mike walks on waterProgram leader Captain Mike Moore can walk on water. Okay, he can make it look like he can (oops, spoiler alert). But some days you’d believe he really could. As one of my fellow attendees succinctly puts it, “Mike knows everything.” He studied marine biology, has worked as a professional diver and spent eleven years as a navigation officer for the Canadian Coast Guard. For more than a decade he has been at the helm of Misty and is co-founder/co-owner of Misty Isles Adventures. I’ve seen him described as a great naturalist, geologist, astrologer and raconteur. I’d add weather predictor extraordinaire. If there is a patch of calm water, Mike can find it. On the off-season, he leads tours in the Antarctic. How cool is that?

IMG_2220On the first day as our rubber dinghy approached Misty Isles, Mike said, “there she is, our workshop space.” Misty is a beautiful 43 foot gaff-rigged schooner
Can you fall in love with a boat? Sure feels like it.

The Team

Mike brings a fellow guide/naturalist with him each day. We were very fortunate to be joined for a few days by Jonah. Despite his name seeming a bit foreboding for an on the water adventure he was great. He proved his worth by adding his naturalist expertise to our walk on Middlenatch Island and towing one of our paddlers when the going got tough. Amy was a great guide as well and we will all be forever grateful for her exceptional Orca spotting abilities. Christine. Holy smokes, I had no idea a veritable west coast kayaking pioneer would join us. Christine is a long-time paddling adventurer and former owner at Ecomarine. She’s also a professional educator with a deep interest in the preservation of our environment.

Good Food

Everyone knows that repeat visits to Hollyhock are often really inspired by the food. Be honest now, it is a major draw. Our little group of paddlers was understandably uneasy about leaving for the first day and missing out on spectacular Hollyhock lunches. We shouldn’t have worried. Samantha (co-owner of Misty Isles Adventures) delivered lunches daily as we boarded Misty. With ingredients often directly from Mike and Samantha’s farm, these meals were a treat. Also, two important words: Homemade Cookies. Just sayin’.

We also got our fill of Hollyhock cuisine at breakfast before boarding and back on land at night for dinner as well. As one of the attendees said upon leaving “I’m going to miss the dinner gong most of all.”

Spectacular Paddling Destinations–lots of them

My well-intentioned kayaking friends and I have spent hours over tea or beers brainstorming the adventures we can have. Unfortunately, apart from a few local overnight camping trips, we’ve never really gotten our act together enough to tick any of these wistful ambitions off of our kayaking bucket list. The logistics are daunting and holiday schedules impossible to coordinate. We look at maps, ferry schedules, rental options…….Nope, never happens.

cont_full2_21With the help of Misty Isles I checked off a whole lot of these items in just five days. Savary, Desolation Sound and Copeland Islands? Check! You can add to this list, Middlenatch Island and lovely Cortes Harbour. I’m not sure why I arrived with thoughts of only Desolation Sound, but there was so much more. This, dear friends, is a major benefit of a Mother Ship program.

Navigation. Who me?

On day one it was immediately apparent that Mike was determined to teach us a thing or two. I felt vaguely nauseous when he unrolled a nautical map and opened a tide chart. My fear of math is strong and my spatial skills weak, so I was awfully amazed when I began to kind of understand how these things work. Mike’s teaching style can be best described as fun. Who thought belly laughs would be found when trying to read tides, predict weather and plot a course?

cont_full3_1I Can Paddle Better

On day two Mike casually paddled up beside me and said, “You paddle with the rudder down a lot.” I blushed. My paddling buddies regularly make fun of my dependence on a rudder. I know it’s a bad habit but I could never make it work. I invited Mike to let loose with tips. He gave me two suggestions and–BAMB–I was paddling without a rudder with growing confidence. All I can say is, when you take this program, let Mike and his team of expert guides work with you on your technique.

Mother Earth

Naturalist information was on the curriculum big time. As expected we saw numerous birds and water creatures. Every sighting was a teachable moment that Mike took full advantage of. Orcas, Seals, Sea Lions, Sand Dollars, Crabs, Clams, Oysters, Harlequin Ducks, Turkey Vultures, Eagles, Glaucous-winged Gulls, as well as Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Oystercatchers. Phew! So much to learn.

Most importantly, we learned about our precious environment on the west coast of BC and saw first hand what’s at stake when we, through our government representatives, make decisions that may impact our natural resources.

Sailing Too

Have you ever been on one of those Hawaiian Scuba or Snorkeling tours where they take you out on a lovely sailing ship and never once put up the sails, despite a lovely wind? I’m sure it happens other places as well. Misty is a real live sailing schooner and, yes, we got to put up the sails. I chickened out but anyone who wanted to got some hands on sailing experience.

Growth

Every time I visit Hollyhock, I am usually in a state of transformation or, at least, craving some sort of growth. This time, I was in the midst of moving my home and redefining how I live. The Misty Isles program was the perfect place to pause and rest, I thought. Well, as it turns out it was also a place to renew my confidence in myself and remind myself that a daily connection to water and forests is imperative as I move forward.

I am pretty sure I was not alone. Every one of us was pushed past our perceived limits. For example, I was joined by a man who arrived with a fear of the water and a woman who was recovering from a car accident and thought she would need to stay on shore. By the end of the program they were both paddling champions. Others were worried that age or illness would be a limiting factor. Mike was able to support or push as needed. We all surprised ourselves by what we could accomplish.

Side note: our group was made up of paddlers of diverse age, skills and ability. Somehow that didn’t matter. I can’t say how it happened. It just did. Misty Isles magic.
Inspiration

The environment, Mike and Misty Isles were all factors in delivering inspiration for the week and beyond, but there was more than that. As is always the case at Hollyhock, the other attendees were a huge part of why the program was special. Each and every one shared a story that blew me away. One of our fellow paddlers is facing unbelievable challenges. I’ll only say it involves a life-threatening condition. This didn’t stop her from fully participating; in fact, it seemed to spur her on. She sang, she hooted and she introduced the important concept of celebration to our week. Thanks to her we finished the program with sparkling wine and chocolate and with multiple heart felt toasts and hugs all ‘round.”