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I set the bark carefully afloat at the water’s edge. And there drifted my pride and joy, an impressive three-burrito-sized, dirt-hued monu- ment capped by burnt toilet paper, still smoking like a pyre and lazily spinning on the limpid sur- face of the morning tide. I was tempted to christen it with champagne! But I had another, eco-friend- ly plan.

I would throw rocks just short of my barque of bark, allowing the ripples to push it farther adrift until – in a bittersweet finale – I would sink it with a direct hit. I had lofty visions of a new kayaking sport. Fun for the whole group! The rocks and trash talk would fly until a winner could gleefully declare, “I sunk your battleshit!” But the sport was pre-demonstration phase, and my partners were still asleep. So I began lob- bing rocks until the target was a healthy distance toward international waters. Then I remembered that my environmental ethics are a good deal bet- ter than my throwing arm. Try as I might, my efforts fell short and pushed the fecal barge fur- ther out into the channel, where it was succumb- ing to the pull of the ebbing tide out toward the Georgia Strait. It listed slightly to port – or was that starboard? Water gently lapped at the cargo, but the bark nevertheless sailed true and showed no sign of capsizing.

I threw until my shoulder ached and my empty stomach urged me back to the campsite. With feelings of defeat mixed with an odd sense of mis- chievous pride, I saluted and turned my back on what was fast becoming but a speck on the still sea, like just another piece of driftwood riding the tides of fate to its own peculiar destiny. “What if…,” an absurd hope crossed my mind. But then I dismissed it and walked across the island to eat breakfast and share my morning tale.


ever underestimate the entertainment value of a good shit story in the bush. I launched a debate about the trajectories and speeds of tides, driftwood and homeward-bound kayaks, and soon there was a sealed bet against the odds of a rendezvous with my morning creation. Wilderness ethics had become a business venture. A couple of hours later we packed up the campsite and aimed our bows away from Desolation Sound, following the tide toward the put-in. I was the first to spot the Unidentified Floating Object. “That couldn’t be it,” said Dave. “There’s no

way. No way!” But the speck floating unevenly on the water a kilometer away from camp looked familiar.

“I think it is!” I proclaimed with mounting excitement. The cadence of spinning paddles increased as we raced to see who could be the

first to confirm the sighting, and then back-pad- dled furiously as the verdict became undeniable. I pulled gingerly alongside the floating bark and scooped it onto my paddle, while Dave stifled hysterics long enough to capture the moment with- out capsizing, camera and all.

“You, my friend, owe me ten bucks!” I said.

“That’s enough to buy three more burritos.” I may finally have figured out how to make a career out of sea kayaking.

Before paddling away, I carefully inverted my paddle blade and finished what I’d begun. 




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