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Vancouver Island - Day 37

Our day started with a challenge today. We had some big waves to paddle through and they were breaking way off shore. Our plan was to seal launch off the beach together, paddle through the smaller breaking waves then wait and time our paddling with the big waves breaking out the back. The launch went well and we went over the first little waves easily, then we hit the bigger waves, the first one was rolling in when we paddled through it and it wiped my drink bottle out from under the bungee. I stopped to grab it and strap it back on, Ngaio looked back and was going to wait for me, I yelled at her to keep paddling and don’t stop. Luckily she listened. I looked up and saw Ngaios kayak climbing over a huge breaker out the back, just about to break and come rumbling into shore. I felt a split second of relief knowing she was ok before I realised that huge wave was crashing in toward me. I paddled hard and put my head down, I crashed through the other side getting a face full of white wash.

When a wave that size hits you in the face, it feels like you’ve been punched. I made it out to Ngaio, we were both soaked! We aimed to paddle 30km to make it to a slightly more sheltered area and into the Juan De Fuca Straight. Even though we were cold and wet and it was raining, it was so much nicer than the day before. There was a light head wind and it wasn’t choppy which was a huge relief. Although this part of the coast is difficult to paddle, it’s absolutely beautiful. Huge waterfalls gush from the cliffs into the ocean, hundreds of birds flock together and sea lions come to the surface showing off their salmon lunch. There are some interesting rock formations and plenty of big waves to keep me entertained as well!

We had a whale swim toward us today, it was clearly traveling but we were lucky enough that it dove down just as it got to us, showing us it’s magical fluke.

We passed the camp we had hoped to make it to the previous day but we tried to ignore it so we didn’t feel like we were making up ground. We chatted as we paddled, both wet and cold and probably a bit smelly but it pretty good spirits.

We were interrupted by sea lions throughout the day, coming over the check us out. We had one sea lion make a funny noise behind us, we turned around to see an absolute monstrosity of a sea lion. His head was huge and so were his teeth, his eyes were like black pools, he came right up to our boats, this big boy even had me on edge. His body was so wide it made our boats look like tooth picks floating on the surface. We think he thought “oh finally a salmon my size” and came to hunt us, then realising we were smelly humans he just followed us a bit for his own entertainment.

As the day wore on our muscles began to wear out, my back is sore and Ngaios arms and shoulders are pretty stiff on a big day. We were both so happy to see the light house, it marked the cove where we would land. I knew Ngaio was nervous about landing, there was no way to know if it would be another huge surf landing like yesterday. Where we had paddled today was all massive swell breaking into the beaches, I had seen a few spots that we could land if need be.

We came around the point and into the cove, there was a big rock shelf sticking out, kicking up huge waves in the middle of the bay. This meant that behind this rocky outcrop there was a nice calm section of the bay. Ngaio was pretty much melting with relief and I was stoked. We pulled in at about 1830 and got to setting up camp. We are at a site which sells burgers and beers in summer, we were gutted to see they weren’t here all year round but we set up the tent under one of their tarps (might have a dry tent in the morning imagine that). There will be some deep heat tonight to try to ease some muscles and get ready for tomorrow.

GPS Tracker Tips - If you are following Brando & Ngaio on their TRACKME GPS tracker, here's a tip; Once you follow the link, click on the 'Brando & Ngaio' location icon and select 'path'

(If the Brando and Ngaio Icon does not show up on the map click the menu then participant list then 'show all')

(first image and blog via satellite phone)

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