It was a stormy night on the island. The wind threatened to rip the fly off the tent, each gust seemed to be stronger than the last. By morning the wind had dropped considerably, it was raining on and off and when Ngaio got up she announced it had snowed on the mountains last night. There was a decent dusting on the mountains on Vancouver island that had not been there the day before.
Today we decided to make use of the strong wind and not wait for the tide to turn in our favour. The tides are at really bad times for us at the moment, low around 3pm which means we either get up at 1am to catch the early tide or wait for what feels like most of the day to catch the afternoon tide. We considered waking up and getting the end of the morning tide then spending the day on a beach and getting back on the water for the afternoon tide, but that didn’t seem like much fun. It’s dark by 6pm now so we don’t want to be paddling late like we could when we started.
We were packed and on the water by midday, the wind was pretty strong, around 15 knots. We first had to paddle perpendicular to the wind to get around a point, before it was behind us. Within minutes we were both wet, we had big choppy waves breaking over the boats. It wasn’t fun to paddle in those conditions, but once we got around the point we had the wind behind us and we were zooming up the coast. We did 24km in 3 hours which is pretty good for us. As we were coming in to land I looked behind me to check the waves, I saw a big sea lion with its mouth open, surfing its way in on a big wave. There was white wash spraying off his sides and he rode that wave like a pro. It was hilarious to watch, we have no idea what he was doing but we like to think he was surfing for the pure joy of it.
We landed on a rocky beach that backed onto a provincial park. We felt spoilt to have a flat section already made and a fire pit to go with it. We chatted to some locals and a park volunteer who explained the park is closed for the season but we were of course able to camp for the night. We walked around the park and noticed a few other off season campers tucked away, it’s so nice travelling this time of year, quiet and peaceful.
I lit a big fire and got out my carving while Ngaio read her book until the last of the light had disappeared. More wind tomorrow so time for us to get some rest.