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Vancouver Island - Day 1

Our last night in a bed was in an awesome air bnb in Port Hardy. This will be our start and finish point for our kayak adventure around Vancouver Island. 

We woke to the pitter patter of rain on the roof, typical for it to rain on day one of our paddle! Our wonderful host Kelly made us our last fresh meal, breakfast burrito with eggs, bacon and avocado, Ngaio was adding a tonne of hot sauce to hers (she would regret that later).

With a busy morning of last minute arrangements and details, we headed off packed and ready for action at around 2pm. Tyson, Kelly’s partner, kindly offered to help us with getting the kayaks to the water. Fully packed, each kayak weighed around 90kg, we balanced the kayaks on the tray of Tyson’s truck, Tyson drove and Ngaio and I ran behind, each holding the end of the kayaks. We looked like absolute crazy people running down the road holding up Kayak’s balanced on the back of a truck.

We waved goodbye to our amazing hosts and Lena (another guest and animal lover) and paddled off into the pouring rain. The rain was heavy but we didn’t care. The water was calm and inky black as we paddled our way out of Port Hardy harbour and onto the coast. After a few hours of paddling and a few seal encounters, the rain eased and we were in the most beautiful calm quiet nature. Seals flopped around in the seaweed, checking us out from afar and beautiful eagles were in the highest trees that lined the coast.

It was 5pm when Ngaio made the call that we had to be landed by 6pm, so from now we were looking for our camp site. As we rounded the next corner I couldn’t believe my eyes, a big black bear! Right where we would want to be camping. It was our first bear sighting and it was awesome. The bear was foraging for kelp and tasty bear treats on the shore line. After a good 10 minutes of staring, we paddled on in search of a bear free camp.

Unfortunately, we never found one. It was nearing 6pm when we came across a wonderful big bay with a gentle sloping beach of pebbles. The most camp-able spot we had seen. We were stoked! We made our way into the bay where we saw another black bear, we didn’t have much of a choice but to share the camp site with mr bear. We pulled in and began setting up the tent, fire and packing down the kayaks. We were pretty on edge knowing that there was a bear just 100m down the beach, we went to collect fresh water together, that’s when we saw a muma bear and her baby! We made enough noise that the bears knew we were there then headed back to our camp, the water could wait...

As we sat around the fire listening to the fish jump and splosh just meters from the shore, we marvelled at the sheer beauty of this wonderful place. Radix Moroccan style wild venison for dinner. What an awesome start to the trip! The best thing about today was the absolute selflessness and kindness of our hosts. You can never plan to meet people like that, but when you do, know how lucky you are.

(image and blog via satellite phone)

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