Passage Island feels like an ecological reserve. The lush old growth forest in its interior is dominated by 200 feet tall Douglas Fir. Tall bamboos growing up to 30 feet are clustered on some lots. Passage lays 2.5 km west of the mainland and is sometimes referred to the little rock in the middle of Howe Sound. A small trail cuts 0.6 km north to south with a few branches connecting houses east and West. It is only 0.2 km wide. Originally, the island was divided into 61 lots of which 30 are now occupied by houses. Only a small handful of houses serve as full time residences with a few more houses empty only during the winter months. The rest are recreational.
The island is home to a rich assortment of birds, including finches, wood peckers, humming birds, eagles, cormorants and oyster catchers and of course, sea gulls. The crows sometimes make a crazy racket while the eagles respond with their shrill tweaks. Surf Scoters arrive on their wintering grounds around Passage Island in October and November. They gather in large flocks of hundreds of birds on the water that look from a distance like dark floating islands. When they are disturbed, they take off like sea planes with an engine problem, making a loud rushing sound as their wings flap on the water. Canada geese arrive in the spring time to claim one of the vacant lots as their own and stay until their chicks are hatched.
There are no land animals on the island since there is no natural source of water. The ocean surrounding the island is teaming with fish, crabs and seals. Sightings of pods of killer whales create excitement among islanders and seals poke their wet shiny heads out of the water.
People on the island are committed to preserving this idyllic place. New trees continue to be planted and many islanders cultivate gardens with vegetables and fruit trees. Daffodils and tulips boarder private trails. Abundant blackberry bushes provide for delicious jam. Elaborate irrigation systems using rain water support vegetation during dry summers. Periodically islanders roam the forest to cut ivy which threatens to strangle tall trees. Other times they gather to clean the beaches of debris, especially after storms, which can bring plastic bags, styrofoam beads and piles of drift wood. When a particularly nice log gets stranded, islanders rush to cut it up. Since cutting live trees is strictly prohibited on the island these logs are a precious source of fire wood.
Here is a Link to Craig’s weather station:
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