Vancouver Island - Day 39
We were both feeling a little on edge about departing this morning. I was very aware that my repairs may not hold and Ngaio had gotten herself worked up about the crash yesterday. She feels so bad about what happened and keeps saying she doesn’t want it to have ruined the whole trip. We just missed slack tide for launching so we had a little bit of swell, tiny compared to what we have launched in before. We carefully carried Ngaios boat to the water, she got in and I launched her from the rocks. I could see she had paddled clear of the rocks and the swell and her boat was still afloat, phew. I paddled out and we began our long day on the water.
It was another beautiful sunny day, we had a light headwind which was a lot better than the 10-20 knots which was forecast. This was a big relief, the boats were fragile enough, they didn’t need to be bouncing around on choppy seas.
We paddled into the west entrance of the Juan De Fuca straight where the swell was huge, it was heading into shore and down the straight. It was as though all the power of the ocean was trying to squeeze itself into the 40km bottle neck of the straight. We paddled off the coast to try to avoid the worst of it, but not too far out incase the Americans were patrolling the border!
We were making our way down the straight when a JetSki pulled up next to us. It was two friendly Canadians who had their surf boards strapped to their JetSki, they had just whizzed up the coast for a morning surf! They were pumped when we told them what we were up to, we even planned how they would carry their surf boards on a kayak because they wanted to kayak the island too!
We told them how we had broken one of the boats yesterday, they looked at the repair and said “that’s wicked!”. Always good to have another perspective...They carried off down the straight, reminding us of how slow we are haha.
We passed plenty of fishermen and we had a beautiful whale cruise down the straight with us for a while. Before we knew it we had arrived at our spot for the night, it was only 1pm so we got out the maps to see where we could land further down the coast. We really don’t want to miss our friends in Victoria so we decided to push on for another 15km to the next point.
We were cruising along in silence when Ngaio yelled something incomprehensible... she had seen a sea otter. Now it’s been a week or so since we have seen our little otter friends and we thought we must have moved too far down the coast, but we were wrong, and Ngaio was very excited about it. Long days on the ocean really make you appreciate the little things.
We spotted buoys hanging in the trees, checked the map, we made it to our new camp spot. The tide was coming out and there was still a bit of swell, the waves were picking up around the rocks making for a very busy shore line. We had to be very careful landing the boats, especially Ngaios. We wouldn’t be able to paddle them hard to shore so we had to be strategic rather than hard and fast. The plan was for Ngaio to wait for me to land, then I would guide her in and help her. She followed me in to where the waves were breaking, I told her to keep checking the waves behind her. I was busy landing myself when I noticed Ngaio just behind me doing the same. She was back paddling over waves, checking for swell and paddling in when she could. We both made it in to shore, jumped out in knee deep water and got the boats onto the land. Ngaio just landed herself in a broken boat with swell! Awesome end to what started off as a pretty tense day.
We carried the boats up the rocky beach and set up camp, we even went for a nude swim to celebrate (and wash). We saw some campers down the beach who were kind enough to invite us to their fire, which is where we are headed now!
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)
#kayaking #paddling #kayak #Canada #Nature #FirstNations #expedition #VancouverIsland