Sunday, August 14, 2005

July 28 to 31 - Alert Bay

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

August 2 - 6, Echo Bay to Cape Caution

August 2, 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.

River Otter!
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.

August 7, 2005 Dawson's Landing

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

August 8, 2005 Dawson's Landing to Goldstream Harbor

August 8, Monday
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.

August 9, 2005 Tug Boat Breakfast

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 ( ). 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?)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bella Bella, I made it!!!!!! August 11, 2005

August 11, 2005
I have made it to Bella Bella on the BC Coast!

SORRY, No pictures, I'm in the bonnies out here. I will load the pictures when I'm back in civilization.

August 10, 2005
I find a beautiful small shell beach for a camp early in the early afternoon. I had time to sort, dry and clean all my gear, take a saltwater bath and sit in the sun and write in my journal. Later in the evening a couple from Vancouver showed up and shared there wine with me, I must of looked like I was having a hard time..........

August 11, 2005
Leave camp at 9am. 4 more people showed up last night, made it a bit crowded but a fun time was had. It was my largest send off in the morning, a whole 6 people to see me off. From there I paddled up the channel against the ebb tide, past the native town of Bella Bella to the white-manĂ‚’s Bella Bella, also known as Shearwater. The first thing I do is call Mary Lou. She is Home! She is flying out to Bella Bella tomorrow! I get to see my wife after 3 weeks of being alone. YEAH! I talk to Greg at the hotel, he has a room reserved for us tomorrow, but they are full tonight. I get one more day of camping, but now I get to take hot showers. Spend the evening just wandering around of dry land. So many people.
I feel like a highschool kid with a date, can't wait to see Mary Lou tomorrow.

Plans from Bella Bella

I plan to leave Bella Bella on Tuesday, July 16th. This will be my last web update untill I reach Prince Rupert in 3 to 4 weeks. I will paddle to a Native village of Klemtu and then up the outer passage way of the coast.
See ya all later
Paddling with Buddha Speed