Welbury Bay Nest

Welbury Bay Nest

Follow the signs to Scott Point Drive just beyond the Long Harbour Ferry terminal. Once you turn onto Scott Point you will see some parking spots on your left hand side – the trail is directly across the road.

I had often wondered, as I sat waiting to board the Long Harbour ferry, where people were walking to as they went up Old Scott Drive from their parked cars. The Welbury Bay high bank trail, off Scott Point, leads to a small private low bank beach area. On the way to the beach, which is at the end of the trail, you’ll pass through a mixed Arbutus, Douglas Fir and Cedar forest.

As I made my way along the high trail that follows the rocky shoreline I was aware of the steep drop down to the water. At the end of the trail a bench offered a place to stop and take in the views. To the left of the bench is a rocky terraced area that will lead you down to the beach. The tide was out on the day I was there and I wondered if I’d be able to walk on the beach if the tide was in. A Blue Heron landed as I contemplated the best path down to the beach.

Herons are symbolic in many cultures. In Egypt the Heron is said to be a creator of light. To the Iroquois the Blue Heron is a very good omen and a lucky sign that the hunt will be a good one. Herons are associated with water and so are a symbol of working with the elements of Nature and going with the flow.

As I walked the beach I became aware of how much seaweed was on the shore, more than I’d seen at any other beach. I was thinking about the abundance of seed cones I’d seen on my journey along the trail. I also remembered seeing the stump of a Douglas Fir tree on the hillside above the bench. I started thinking about the connections between the ocean and land and how seaweed is used in our gardens for fertilizer to help our gardens flourish. Seaweed, which draws amazing amounts of minerals and iodine from the sea, is also used in medicines to treat arthritis, colds, influenza and more.

I gathered seaweed from the beach and brought it to the base of the broken and rotting Douglas Fir. I moved some of the rotting pieces of the tree to create a shelf and put the seaweed onto it. I then turned and began to walk back along the path collecting cones. Once back at the site I created a nest from the seaweed and filled it with cones. Perhaps a seed will fall into the seaweed and find root, turning the remnants of the tree into a nursery log.

This ephemeral work will vanish and become integrated back into the site, speaking of our own ephemeral passage through this world, witnessed and supported by the natural world we are so deeply interconnected with.

I invite you to become part of this story and add your own photographs of your journey to the Toynbee Sun Fern on Instagram #ssiwayfindingproject