We woke up bright and early this morning, we wanted to be on the water earlier so we would have time to set up camp before it was dark in the evening. It’s not much fun pulling into a beach then setting up a tent and beds and making dinner in the dark.
Ngaio climbed to the point, to check the weather, while I packed up the beds and got breakfast ready. We were so happy to have a sunny day today. Our spirits were high knowing we would be well into Juan De Fuca Straight by the afternoon.
We had to weave our way through the rocks as the tide was out. Ngaio went behind me so she could follow my boat and easily avoid the rocks. There was a small set of waves coming in but I knew it would break after me. I floated over the top then CRUNCH. Ngaio thought it was going to break on her, she had paddled hard to try and avoid the wave and in the process smashed into my kayak. When the nose of her boat was coming up through the wave, the tail of my boat was coming down. The front of her boat collided with the tail of my boat, cracking through the fibreglass of both boats. I could feel my boat taking on water, but it wasn’t till I looked over at Ngaios boat that I realised we had a really big problem. We turned around and paddled straight back to shore.
When we pulled the boats up, I got my confirmation that serious damage had occurred. Ngaios boat had pretty much broken in half. I jumped up and down swearing, as the water poured out of her boat. The cracks were huge and ran all the way around. This could be the end of the expedition. My boat only had a small hole that would be an easy fix... if I had all the right gear with me. I would have to make do with my small fibreglass Kayak repair kit. I just needed to do a temporary fix to get us to Victoria.
And just like that my day was dedicated to fixing the boats. The day was perfect for the job, the sun dried out the boats and helped with the repair. I am feeling anxious about Ngaios kayak as the repair I made to her boat wasn’t great. I used all of the fibreglass from my small repair kit trying to get it sea worthy. (It’s not designed to repair damages this big). I’m 96% sure my repair will keep out the water but I’m only 51% sure it will hold together in the waves. Errrrrrr.. (feel my frustration)
For the small hole in my kayak, I made do with a small patch of fibreglass and heaps of ducktape. At this rate it feels like we are never going to make it to the bottom of the West Coast! We’ve had so many challenges over the past few weeks. Set backs like this are tough but they are a reality of what we have decided to do. So far the good outweighs the bad so I would appreciate if you all kept your fingers crossed that the boats make it to Victoria under our own paddle power.
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(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)