Swan Lake - launching the boatsBy: Linda Leitch The Warming Theory Proves Out
We’re leaving the dock early in the morning in order to catch the incoming tide that will carry us into Masset Inlet. 5am at the docks is a beautiful place to be.  The sunlight is gently rising through the mist that hangs over the harbour and the only noise to be heard is the swirling movement of water against wood as we move around on the dock’s surface. As always, the detailed planning is left to the gods that be; we live in Masset and exploring up the inlet is just a weekend in our backyard.
Across the dock from us is a fleet of fishing lodge boats. The guides are already on board with big steaming cups of coffee sitting close to them as they tie their leaders for the days fishing ahead. We shake the dew off the lines, pulling them in as the motor takes control of our 27 Catalina. The guides wave and call out friendly taunts and we tease back; this is a small town and at this time in the morning; everyone knows each other.
Swan Lake - Warm poolsIn the inlet, the tide is already pulling us in strongly, which is a good thing because there isn’t wind to touch our sails let alone fill them. As we pass by Nadu River, approximately halfway up Masset Sound, I snap a picture of the Lowrance. It shows us going at a speed of 9.2 knots, but our motor is practically at an idle, that’s just how quickly we’re being swept along with the current. 
It seems that as soon as Nadu disappears behind us, we’re gliding past Kumdis Island and the logging base at Collison Point; then we’re being spit out past Ship Island as we transition from Masset Sound to Masset Inlet.
Swan Lake - morning mistIn Masset we’re used to wide open beach landscapes. The dunes roll higher as they recede from the shore but it’s otherwise flat. In the short distance up Masset Sound we’ve seen our environment totally change. Masset Inlet is surrounded by rolling friendly hills and snowcapped mountains. The push from the tide relaxes here and our motor again digs in making the actions we take with the tiller meaningful.
I plot a new course that leads us directly to a friend’s shrimp traps. We launch our little dinghy and two of us paddle over to pull the traps while the other two stay with the sailboat, jigging for rock fish. Both parties are wildly successful. We return to the boat with a bucket of large jumping shrimp just as Dann reels in a nice sized Ling Cod. 
The day is still young and it’s brilliantly sunny and warm; kind of a rarity for us here. We decide that today will be an excellent day to try my theory about a swimming hole where Swan Lake drains into the Inlet just east of McClinton bay. 
Swan Lake - collecting trapsOn its path to the ocean the lake passes over a big black rock with different size pools worn into it. Towering cedars line the edge of the area and some even sprout from unlikely places in the centre of the rock, causing the lake to choose between two different paths. Two separate waterfalls flow down either side into a bay full of little islets. My theory is that the fresh water will heat up as it passes slowly over the black rock, making nice warm little swimming pools. 
Swan Lake - Gliding alongThe area where we choose to anchor is not very well protected but there’s still no wind, the water is glassy calm and crystal clear. We can see 40 feet down to the rocky bottom and we know we’re firmly hooked. We pack a quick lunch and launch the two kayaks and the dingy and head to shore. The easiest way up to the lake is to climb through the most western waterfall. At this time of year it’s a slow trickle and only a few inches deep.
We plop our things down on a nearby log and I take off my boots and stick my toes into the shallowest of pools. My theory is panning out; this water is warm like a bathtub. I excitedly put on my bathing suit and start wandering around like Goldilocks testing the temperature of all the pools. I find the one that’s just right and sink in, letting the water close over my head.
We spend most of the day here basking in the sunshine. I float on my back looking up into the canopy above me as I absorb the beauty of this unique little treasure we’ve found. Every once in a while I float over to the top of the eastern waterfall to check on our sailboat. From this vantage point I can just see the top of our mast, right where we left it.
Swan Lake - top of the waterfallEventually we return to the boat. Should the weather change during the night, this is not a good place for us to be. We decide that before dinner we should move into an anchorage that’s an old favourite for us,  Salt Lake in Shannon Bay. We keep a close eye on the plotter as we weave our way through the narrow entrance to Salt Lake, and think light thoughts as our deep keel barely floats over shallow rocks. In the water around us there’s a meteor shower of jelly fish passing by. Once safely in the “lake” we drop the hook into the muddy bottom, make a dinner of shrimp and Ling cod, then blissfully go to sleep.
We awake in the morning to thick fog rolling around the bay. Here and there the fog is pierced by an ambitious ray of sunshine. We’re in no hurry to decide what to do with the rest of the day and we can’t start to head home until late in the afternoon. Then the tide changes and it will be ready to pull us back up Masset Sound to our home. 
Once again we launch our flotilla of tiny vessels and disperse from the boat toward the shore, eager to explore a paradise we’re lucky enough to call our backyard. 
 
Photo Captions
Photo 1 - Launching the boats in the morning.
Photo 2 - These puddles have different sizes and depths making them wonderful warm pools.
Photo 3 - Paddling in the morning mist.
Photo 4 - Collecting the shrimp traps.
Photo 5 - Gliding along in the current at 9.2 knots.
Photo 6 - Top of the waterfall looking back over the pools toward Swan Lake.
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