Napoleon Bonaparte, the first Emperor of France and widely regarded as one of the greatest military leaders in the history of the West, once said something very simple and true,
“An army marches on its stomach.”
The last of classical Athens’s three great tragic dramatists, Euripides, also said,
“When a man’s stomach is full, it makes no difference whether he is rich or poor”
A final saying to this delicious trilogy is the famous proverb,
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
When we kayaked from Vancouver up to Alaska in 2010, we decided on living off the land. This meant fishing and gathering berries, shellfish and wild edibles for our dinners. This turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the trip and something we now really look forward to about these long kayaking journeys through the wilderness!
We plan on foraging for our dinners on this kayaking expedition circumnavigating Vancouver Island as well!
Our plan is to stop kayaking around 2pm in the afternoon and fish for dinner. We will go to a kelp bed and jig for rock cod and greenlings. We’ll bring our catch of the day to shore to clean the fish and make a fire to cook it in. Our fires are always very small cooking fires made in the intertidal zones where it will be washed away by the next tide and we always prepare food away from camp for wildlife safety. Sometimes, we will also find some shellfish like mussels or wild edible food like berries and greens. Also depending on the location, we will put the fish heads and spines after cleaning the fish into our collapsible crab traps to put out for a couple hours as we continue to set up camp.
The bountiful resources of the Northwest Coast has not only been discussed in the present day but has been a part of the discussion of the coast’s history.The Northwest Coast is famous in anthropology for the rich cultures that have been found here. Previous to exploring the First Nation cultures on this coast, it was generally believed that a foraging society could not be very sedentary and could not develop complex societies. However, an anthropologist named Boas found during his work here in the late 19th and early 20th century that the resources of salmon and berries was so rich that people were able to live quite sedentary lifestyles and the cultures on this coast was amazingly intricate and complex.
We will post about our culinary adventures including the camping food we dehydrate to prepare for the trip, showcase some of the meals we’ll cook over the campfire, display proud pictures of the fish we caught and feature some of the amazing westcoast restaurants we run into on the way!