In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
Back to Civilisation – Day 16
After spending the last night under the breathtaking, clear, starry sky of the Toba Inlet, we get up early in the morning to prepare for the arrival of the boats that will take us to Campbell River. A seal, curious about our presence, bides us adieu. Again and again it stretches its head into the air and swims closer to us. But whenever we try to watch it, it quickly submerges again.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere is muted. We all know that we won’t see this unique piece of nature for a while.
The view of the fantastic countryside during the ride back to Campbell River is a different one now. We see the large clear cuts and the monoculture forests, where there will never again be life as we have experienced it. But then the skipper points to a humpback whale near our boat. It comes out of the water, only to dive again into the endless depths of the ocean. A majestic creature, which we can accompany on a part of its journey. It continues on, and shortly thereafter we reach the harbor of Campbell River.
As we wait for the bus to Nanaimo, we watch the life in the water of the harbor and discover huge sea cucumbers, crabs and two seals. After a two-hour bus ride, we reach the ferry terminal of Nanaimo and wait for our ferry to Vancouver. Moving around on asphalt ground and in buildings, walking on stairs, seeing oneself in the mirror again, going to the toilet, sitting in a chair – all these things feel strange, unnatural and uncomfortable to us. The air feels dirty and polluted, the tap water is nothing compared to the water of the Little Toba River. We feel like we are in the wrong place. But when we reach Vancouver with the ferry, we are still impressed with the city skyline combined with the huge Rocky Mountains behind it. After another bus ride, we reach our youth hostel.
Right on time for sunset, we arrive at the beach to let the day end. We are back in civilization. A strange feeling. Although all of us have grown up in this world, we don’t really feel at home in it anymore. We all yearn for the Toba Valley again.