The sun poured into the tent and woke us in the early morning. To be honest, we had both been half awake all night, it was so hard to relax knowing there are bears and cougars hanging around in the bush. Ngaio would wake up to each sound, then she would wake me up to tell me what the sound was... we’ve agreed that we will relax as time goes by.
We began packing up camp, getting ready for our mid morning departure, timed so that we could paddle with the tide, not against it. There were fishermen in the bay, fly fishing for the fish that were jumping and making a splash. We were packing the kayaks when I stood up to get our paddle jackets, just as I looked up a big black bear was meters from Ngaio and I. We foolishly had our backs to the bush and he had come right in close for a sniff around. I yelled and grabbed the closest things to me, rocks. I cracked the rocks together and the bear shot off into the bush. It was the first time in my life I’ve had to face an animal like a bear and it got my heart racing! Black bears are curious but shy and we’ve been told they are very easy to shoo away, this was a little too close for comfort however.
We jumped in our boats and headed up the coast! We were a bit confused because the tide didn’t look very high, after paddling for 10 minutes or so we realised we had it backwards, and we were now paddling against the tide with a head wind to top it off. On the plus side, Ngaio spotted a sea otter and then had one pop up right in front of her kayak! They are crazy cute and we figured out we had seen them on the first day, we just weren’t close enough to differentiate them from a seal. I kept thinking, why is that seal swimming on its back so often, now we know!
We put in 7 hours of slow but steady paddling, it was harder than it should have been but we had no choice other than to push on. At 6pm Ngaio told me her arms were noodles, Ngaio won’t often say when she’s tired so I knew she must have been knackered. What she didn’t know was that I had been looking for a camp site since 4:30 and nothing was campable above the high tide mark. We eventually came across a small flat bay with plenty of camp space, phew.
I jumped out first and noticed a big bear poop, I took one step and there was another, I looked up and the little bay was covered in bear poop. There was a fresh water stream and a big bush covered in berries, perfect for bears. We made the tough decision to push on and find a safer spot. Ngaio was trying so hard but her speed had dropped, we had also added 5kgs of water to her boat at the stream so that didn’t help. I was starting to feel stressed and thinking of how I could keep Ngaio ok until we made camp. We rounded the next bay and there was a small steep beach, it was late by now so this was going to have to do. We pulled up and quickly set up camp, Ngaio was flattening a spot for the tent and I was on fire duties. Hopefully we catch the tides tomorrow!
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(image and blog via satellite phone)