Cocagne Island — A not so distant shore

We returned to the island last Sunday, Cocagne Island, that is, not Prince Edward Island. This time after rowing the 1.5 or so kilometres across from where our cottage is, we were not chased off by a hoard of mosquitoes because a breeze had come up on the trip across. That breeze, however, grew stiffer and, along with some nasty looking clouds, worried us before the crossing was over and even more on the way back. But when we arrived we were happy to be there.

This was our second trip to the island with the little 14 foot car top Elaine bought from a neighbour so we didn’t consider ourselves seafarers yet; but once we had weaved our way through the maze of oyster cages and landed, we were proud of ourselves as we walked along that distant shore.

We followed the shore for about a kilometre until we got to the marsh at the southeast tip. We might have gone further after a break, but the calm, sunny day we had when we got up that morning had turned grey and windy quicker than you can say “you’re such a landlubber” or “next time check the marine weather forecast.” We were blissfully happy for a while, though.

Islands Are Just Different

Despite the island being in our front porch view for almost ten years, the shore felt strange like only an island can. Everything was vivid — the rocks, the sand, the driftwood, the flotsam washed ashore. We saw deer tracks. And all the time we were aware that we could not just walk home, that there was a large body of water between us and the mainland. But it was beautiful.

Our first reconnaissance

On this first reconnaissance along the shore we saw many wonderful places one could camp. There were many small clearings in the birch and oak woods up on ledges eight feet above the sand. But hoping to cut across country on some future trip we were discouraged to see just how much underbrush there was; maybe there are more accessible patches elsewhere, we thought. The aerial photos from Google Maps didn’t have the resolution to answer that question definitively, but it didn’t look encouraging.

What we do know is that the island is, sadly, not remote. There were empty coffee cups, spent fireworks tubes, the odd lost shoe and other evidence of a nearby civilization that doesn’t value wild spaces as it should. Nevertheless we were happy with the little corner that we had discovered and explored and were already making plans for exploring the whole island. 

When we shoved off we were none too glad to be on our way, the weather being what it was; but at the same time we were left wanting more. Perhaps there are other islands we can find and explore, we thought, once we were safely back on our front porch. We might need something bigger and steadier than an aluminum car top boat and a pair of oars, but other islands we’d seen in our travels seemed to be much closer now that we’d had one voyage to our credit. We were explorers now, true adventurers.