Saturday, September 24, 2005
Here is the last of the kayak spam
I have finished the blog and thats the end of this
Hope you-all have enjoyed the stories
till the next adventure
Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Mary Lou took the 8:30 am ferry to Bella Bella where the airport was. I was strange to be sitting on the dock by myself and watching her go away. I have just had four days with her and I don’t think I could not of finished the trip without her.
As I kayaked along the shore an old motorboat pulled out from a house on the water. The elderly lady gave me a wave and took off. The boat suddenly turned to the right and started to do a high speed U-turn right back at the house and shore. The lady Ripple, quickly stopped her motor and I paddled over to her. It turns out that Ripple’s steering cable had broken and she was stranded. She was calling for help on her radio but she was afraid that she would be on the rocks before help could arrive. I offered to tow her back to her dock, she looked quite skeptical at me in the kayak as she tossed me the rope. I was able to tow her back to her dock but she was mortified that the neighbor had come out to see her being towed by a tourist in a kayak. We all had a good laugh and I headed on my way.
Another nice camp on Pidwell Beach in Milbanke Sound, on the south side of Swindle Island. For company I have 47 Gulls on the shoreline and a Raven that seems to have no fear of me. As I watch him walk across the sand just 10 feet in front of me crooning a song to me I just happen to look over my shoulder to see Raven 2 with its head in my food bag. Well, I figured that if they were that smart that they could have whatever they got of my camp food.
I kayak into Klemtu, a small native village. It is amazing the difference between Bella Bella and Klemtu. As I walked down the dock everyone smiled and said hello, I ended up talking to a local fisherman for 40 minutes. As I walked around town taking pictures of Totems everyone waved or greeted me. Ended up meeting Roy who teaches woodworking at the school and does some carving as well. Roy and I talked carving for over and hour and went to see his Totem at the Gas Dock.
I met Frankie the Fisherman on the dock, he was from further up the coast, a village called Port Simpson. There were about 20 commercial fishing boats tied up to the dock. It turns out that the fishing season had been closed for the last week and the Government was to broadcast at 2 pm if it was to open again. It turns out most of the fishermen were from port Simpson and if the fishing season was going to stay closed that they were going to go home. I was up on the hill near the Big House, kind of a native community hall when I saw many of the fishing boats heading North up the Fraser Reach. It was just past 2 pm and I guess the Government had bad news. It must be hard to make a life fishing, never knowing if there will be enough fish to even open the season and pay for even the fuel of the trip.
From Klemtu I go North and camp on Sarah Island.
RAIN from the Southeast
I was reading Kwakiutl Ethnography by Franz Boas and there was an interesting part on the weather
“When you make war on the Southeast Wind and Rain because it never becomes calm, as soon as you start…..The Northwest wind shall come and blow against the Southeast Wind and it will blow one day; then it will be calm for four days.”
So my hope was that once the NW wind started to blow again that I would have 4 good days of paddling.
At camp that night I hear a deep eerie hollow resonance sound like a church organ pipe. The forest spirits were playing with my over active imagination. I decided to find out what was making the sound. What I found was a 150’ tall old snag that hollows in it. The wind was blowing past the hollows in the trees and forming a giant wind instrument. I am now trying to figure out how I can build one and install it on top of a tree.
As I kayaked along the cliffs I saw two foot long orange/red tentacles climbing the seaweed covered rock wall. It was an octopus that was after something tasty. Once it noticed me it slithered back into the sea. Gave me the creeps, made me think of Captain Nemo and Nautilus and the giant squid. It made me want to turn around and see if anything was slithering up the back of my kayak.
The fog had blown out of the inlet and now covered my island. As I paddled out I was treated to an incredible but subtle display of morning light and fog as I went between miniature islands. The light was sliding between the low clouds and the mountains of Princess Royal Island and playing with the flowing fog.
From there I traveled North up Campania Sound and into Barnard Harbor for my next camp. I expected the harbor to be another secluded and empty camp. How wrong I was, as I entered the harbor a float plane flew 40 feet over my heat and a sport fishing boat went roaring by. As I paddled into the bay I was greeted by the site of a giant floating deluxe hotel / fishing resort. It had 3 float planes at the dock, 20 fishing sport boats, a floating septic tank and a helicopter for the guest to go site seeing. I bet the guests don’t even touch the fish they catch. It was quite the shock after being alone for so many days. Safe to say that I kept my distance from the monster.
From Barnard Harbor I traveled up Whale Cannel in a constant down pour of rain that would occasionally give into a light drizzle. The good part was that there was no wind at all till noon. Whale Channel is aptly named, I saw several Humpback Whales and one even breached. It is an amazing site to see something the size of a school bus levitate itself out of the water. They must be traveling at an incredible speed, I wonder how they keep from running into or landing on boats. As I rounded Nelly Point and started into MaKay Reach I saw a pod of Porpoise playing in the eddy currents and an Ospray flew overhead with a fish in its talons.
I was determined to make it to the Hot Springs on that day even though it was going to be a long day, 33 miles. The Weather Gods had some fun with me as I passed the North end of Fraser Reach. I had to battle 3 foot standing waves and gusting winds as they came out of the Reach. By the time I reached the Hot Springs it was 7 pm and I was whooped, I had just paddled 11 hours. There was three sport fishermen there, Ivar, Floyd and Collin who were from Saskatchewan. It is a small world, they even new people in the town of Blane Lake where my Grandparents lived. Well, that almost made me family so they invited me to join them for dinner. Ahhhh, it was great to eat someone else’s cooking. A hot dinner and a soak in the Hot Springs made the long day of paddling worthwhile. My hands were worse for wear, they now looked like prunes from all the rain.
The winds had picked up, or so I had convinced myself, so I spent another day at the Hot Springs. I tried to dry out some clothing but it was 110% humidity and it just seemed to get wetter as it hung on the line.
Bishop Bay Hot Springs are great. It has a dock to land at, wooden boardwalks that lead to campsites, a shelter, and the springs. There are 3 tubs at the springs, the hottest in covered and the next one is out on a wood deck overlooking the bay. The third is a little one that is for bathing in, it felt so good to scrub myself clean. They are very secluded, you can only reach them by boat and the closest town is over 60 miles away. It is an amazing sanctuary in the wilderness. To top it all off, Humpback whales were feeding in the bay for hours every evening and morning.
POOOOOFFFF As I kayak out of Bishop Bay the Humpback whales give me quite a show close to the kayak. I end up camping on the south end of Promise Island, this sets me up to go to Hartly Bay on Monday, the next day. In Hartly I get my final food shipment and I get to call Mary Lou and tell her I’m safe.
ML told me that the Hank and Carolyn had been in touch with her and were looking for me. On the 27th they were at the south end of Pitt Island, this was when I was at the Hot Springs so it looked like I missed them. If they were still in the area ML said that they were going to try and track me down.
Back at the tent I spend the afternoon sorting and organizing all of my new food. I still had rice, organic pesto pasta, cuscus, cashews, almonds, more mixed nuts, granola, It looks like I had more food than I knew what to do with. With the fishing that I had done my supplies were lasting longer than planned.
guess that they were to far away to make it back. I found a little beach where I could make camp and had a late lunch. 45 minutes later I see a small red boat, it’s them, I wave my yellow jacket like crazy till they see me and then paddle out to see them.
It is great to see some friends, it’s been weeks since I’ve seen anyone I knew except ML in Shearwater. Hank and Carolyn spoil me with shrimp, pasta, wine, wild huckleberry tart for dessert and to top it all off a dry bed to sleep in. Hank I spend hours talking about Northwest Formline Art in the dry cabin as it rains outside. The next morning they ship me off with a good breakfast and I head off around the South tip of Pitt Island and up Principe Channel. At the end of the day I camp all the way back in a small inlet called Buchan Inlet. This was the only spot that I had found in the last 2 hours that resembles a flat space. And of course, more RAIN.
More rain and wind as I go up Principle Channel and turn into a protected waterway between Anger Island and Pitt Island. That night I find a marginal campsite, I have to pull out my saw to cut driftwood so I have enough space for the tent. I leave my cook pot outside the tent just to find out how much rain I would get over night.
I find the most wonderful B&B run by Jan and Mike Lemon. They take me in and treat me like family, starting with a huge steaming bowl of seafood stew full of halibut and Dungeness crab. Everyone sits around and we talk to 10:30 and then I take a hot shower and get to sleep in a warm, dry , cotton sheet bed.
ABOUT OONA RIVER
Many members of the founding families of the Oona River settlement were Scandinavian homesteaders who were recruited to live in the Northwest in the early 1900s. At its peak, the tight-knit community had more than 100 residents and 25 homes. Until the 1970s, fishing and forestry provided a stable economic base that supported the rural lifestyle preferred by its residents.
Oona River's population is now about 35. In addition to "old timers", it continues to attract new residents who take pleasure in the lifestyle. A number of mainland families own residences in the community, travelling to Oona River on weekends, holidays and during the summer months. "Oona" is considered to be an especially great place for children, providing a safe, secure environment where they may experience freedom and independence and a sense of family and community.
The Setting The community of Oona River is situated on the lee side of Porcher Island in a well-protected harbour at the mouth of the Oona River. It faces eastward, looking over Ogden Channel toward the Skeena River. Twice a day the view is dramatically altered with the changing of the tide. As the water drops, stone fishing weirs used by Aboriginal fishers, perhaps as many as 5000 years ago, are revealed, offering proof that the river has long supported prolific salmon runs and helped to sustain the people of the coast. The community is set in the spectacular oceanic waterway known as the Inside Passage, plied by cruise ships and recreational sailors, alike. Sheltered coastal inlets, pristine islands, and abundant fish and wildlife draw sightseers and visitors from near and far.
For my last day of paddling they give me a day of sunshine and light winds.
They had played with me by serving me up 20 days of rain and wind and I guess they were happy on how I stayed the course.
I paddle across Malacca Passage across lightly rippled blue water and bright sunshine, I have not seen sun like this in 3 weeks.
The trip ends at the Prince Rupert Rowing & Yacht Club at 6:47 pm
PSS – Would I do the trip again? YES, this was a one in a lifetime trip that will give me wonderful memories till my last days.
- Did I learn anything? Yes and No. I am no closer to solving the problems of the world at the mysteries of Universe. But I did learn new things about myself, and countless nuances of the ocean.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
I paddle into Alert Bay at on July 28th, so happy to be here. The people here are so friendly and helpful that I spend 4 days here. I go and see the Totem Poles, a traditional dance in a long house, Museum and spend time with the local carvers. Some of them are interested in the lost wax silver jewelry that I do. So I spend a fair amount of time explaining how it is done.
July 31, 2005
I paddle across Blackfish Sound where I get to see 8 Killer Whales and two Humpback Whales. What a thrill to see such large critters gliding through the water. I visit an abandoned native village, wonder around looking at some of the old poles from their houses and eating wild berries. I was going to camp there but as I found the campsite I noticed a giant pile of purple bear poop only 20' away. I then kayaked 4 miles to Mound Island where I set up camp.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Echo Bay Resort
I am packed and ready to go, I plan to use the phone in the store to call Mary Lou, which opens at 7am. 7am – 8am – 9am store still not open. They finally open and I call her, no one home. As I set out on my paddle on of the fishermen on the dock gives me a pound of frozen wrapped halibut for dinner. I paddle down Fife Sound and find a beautiful camp on a small island about twice the size on my yard in Seattle with my very own 15' white shell beach.
August 3, 2005
Up early for a long day, paddle 29 miles to camp on Robinson Island.
I’m moving along the side of a island when an otter comes around a corner of the shore 25' away. He is only 15' away when he notices me. He stops and sticks his head straight out of the water 10" and looks at me in the eye. I can tell he is surprised because his whiskers pop out at 90 degrees from his face. He dives back down then pops right back up again as to say that he did not believe his eyes the first time.
August 4, 2005
Another marathon day, 29 miles to Burnett Bay. The bay is the last camp before Cape Caution. The beaches of the bay have the most amazing soft white sands, and incredible place to camp and have driftwood fires.
August 5, 2005
I was a bit windy so it became a rest day, walks on the sand beaches, cold stream baths, writing in journal and a good dinner.
August 6, 2005
Cape Caution and Kelp Head
Cape Caution day, I stuck my head out of the tent at 6:15 am to check the weather. It did not look ideal but it did look better than yesterday. I go into packing high gear and load the kayak and was off the beach by 7:05 am. It was 4 miles to the Cape from the beach. As I left the sheltered bay I ran head first into large ocean roller waves. These waves are about 4' high and 40' between crests. I am not used to such large waves but soon become adjusted to their mostly harmless roll. It is strange to have the world disappear for a few seconds at the bottom of the wave and then get a few seconds of mini hilltop panoramic view. Then the wind picks up, and just for fun mother nature adds in some reflection waves from the shoreline. Reflection waves are the hardest to deal with because they have no set pattern as the bounce off the coast and back out to sea. It took me two hours to get around Cape Caution, but on the other side it was calmer in Smith Sound. I enjoyed seeing Auklets, Gulls and Murres as I crossed Smith Sound.
From the NW corner of Smith Sound to Kelp Head, 3 mi, was worse than Cape Caution. By the time I got around Kelp Head I was beat, I was so happy to find another white sand beach tucked in behind Kelp Head. This beach could not of been better situated, it is in a sheltered bay behind the point and has soft white sand to rest on and drift wood for fires.
While walking down the beach I find a live dragonfly stuck in the wet sand. It’s wings had touched the wet sand and it’s wings were now coated with the very fine wet sand. It was sitting there just exhausted, every once and a while as I watched it would try to fly but it’s wings were just becoming more coated with sand. I took a leaf and slid it under him and took him back to camp. Then I took one of my paintbrushes and cleaned off his wings. He just laid there as I did this, once I was done I put him on a rock and left him alone. I came back later and he was gone. I guess my dragonfly first aid still works.
I paddle from my white sand beach camp up Rivers Inlet to Dawson's Landing. For three hours as I paddle I have humpback whales feeding around be, I see them push their heads out of the water and strain the water out of their mouths to catch the mini fish they eat. I hear them constantly blowing the air out their blowholes. They never come closer than 100 yards.
Dawson’’s Landing is great, friendly people, grocery store, hot showers and they let me camp on their dock. All the building at Dawson’’s are built on floats, nothing in on the land. As I am cooking dinner on the floats the Humpback Whales come by and start feeding near the dock, they get as close as 30 yards. They are so close that I can hear them suck in the air through their blowholes, it sounds like a giant wind chamber. They spend over 2 hours feeding by the docks.
I met a retired couple from Bainbridge Island, they came over to visit since they had heard that I was from the Seattle area. They brought me two muffins for my breakfast. Their ship is called the Winship, they had designed it themselves and had it built in Tacoma. It is a very nice ship.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Load the boat, it is a tricky thing to do from a dock, every time you shove something in a hatch the boat moves. I miss Mary Lou and try to call her again, no answers still. I eat the tasty muffins and paddle through fog for 10 miles out of Rivers Inlet to Fitzhough Inlet. I Love Fitzhough Inlet! The fog cleared, there was a light wind on my back, small waves and the tide was going in my direction. The next 16 miles to camp were the best of the trip so far.
As I am traveling up Fitzhough I meet Dave, 67 old, and still paddling from Bella Bella, around Cape Caution to Port Hardy. We pull over onto shore to talk for a while and compare notes on campsites. He has done this trip before, what he does is take the ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Bella with his kayak, then paddles back to his car in Port Hardy. Not bad for someone who looks like Fred Beckey.
Camp is hidden on a small beach in Goldstream Harbor under a cedar tree. Room enough for my one tent and a pair of kayaks at high tide. Check those tide charts - don’t want a surprise like I had on Camino Island. The best thing about the campsite is no bugs! I got to sit out and write notes and not a buzz, bite, whine or sting.
There is an old retrofitted tug boat in the bay called Union Jack, Vancouver BC. Looks pretty cool, I’m going to check it out in the morning.
I've been out for 3 weeks since I departed Lund, 260 paddle miles ago. 21 days of kayaking, camping, fishing and solitude.
On leaving my camp under the Cedar Tree I paddled by the old tug boat the Union Jack. I got talking to the chef, a guest and the Captain. What they have is a remodeled tug that sleeps 8 guests and 4 crew. They do 7 day fishing tours with deluxe food out of Bella Bella and Haida Guaii ( www.tugboatcruise.com ). I was treated to two Chocolate Eclairs and four pieces of fresh fruit, what a treat.
From there (powered by eclairs) I crossed Hakai Passage and up Hunter Is to a small camp. Spirits in the Woods - That night around 9pm as it was getting dark strange drumming sounds started in the woods. The sounds would come from different directions across the bay at random times. The drumming itself was random without any rhythm or sequence. It did not sound like birds pecking, waves, or natural rhythm. What it did sound like was a baby with a drum that would beat on it occasionally to make noise, but had no since of rhythm. So the best I can figure is that it was the children of the forest spirits drumming on old hollow logs in the forest.
This is what I have come to call my Bear Pinata. I get to hang my food in a bag at night and hope the bear is not tall enough to open it up like a Pinata. Of course this brings up the question, if the bear can not get the food in the bag, what will he eat? (Me in the tent?)