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Vancouver Island - Day 59

It was another chilly morning with a brisk wind and heavy clouds. This has become our usual, gone are the days of clear skies and beaming sunshine. We had a chill morning waiting for the tide to go from flood to ebb and the current to do the same. Once this happened we would have about a five hour window to paddle from Campbell River to Maude island. It’s only about a 15km paddle but it sets us up for paddling the Seymour narrows tomorrow on slack tide. The water moves so fast throughout this section of the coast, it’s essential that we have checked our current flows and we are timed with paddling on the ebb. This will keep us safe and will be very helpful in us covering distance. If we tried to paddle against the current where we are now, we would be back in Victoria by the afternoon (not really but we would certainly be moving backward not forward). Because we had plenty of time and not far to go, we kayaked down to the Marina in Campbell River, we docked the boats and walked to the shopping complex in our full kayaking get up. We looked ridiculous but we didn’t mind, we were headed to food! We agreed that since it was the final leg of the trip we should have some simple pleasures. These included milk powder, hot chocolate, cheese and of course noodles. We got some more fuel for the gas cooker as it doesn’t look like the weather will be any good for cooking over a fire anymore. At midday we were back to business in the boats and on the water. We began the traverse across the channel, I was fully aware that we would be getting taken north as we paddled across. It was ok as we had plenty time and distance to make it across even with the current pulling us. Once we reached the other side we stayed a bit closer to the coast and paddled on. To me the ocean felt like an unpredictable river, it had upwells causing boils to come up all around us, there were strong eddies the size of rugby fields ready to pull you backwards. I could see Ngaio trying to figure out what was going on, she has never paddled in these conditions so I can imagine how overwhelmed she must have been. It took us about two hours to reach Maude island. We were heading in to a small bay when a loud whooshing caught my attention. On the point of Maude island the tide had started ripping through, the rocks on shore, causing what looked to me like a huge whirlpool. I got Ngaio next to me in her boat and we paddled hard for the bay, there was no way i was letting us go anywhere near those currents! We landed and pulled the boats up, then ran straight to the rocks to see what the ocean was doing. It was a beautiful mess of water and whitewash, there were big sea lions lolling about in what looked like deadly conditions to us. We set up camp under trees and behind some big rocks on the small island, there are high winds and possibly heavy showers tonight so I put the tarp up too. Dinner was a total treat. Smokey’s (cheese filled sausages) on rice with a whole garlic! Ngaio finished her book while I kept going with my carving. I pulled the boats up nice and high but I have a terrible feeling so I’m about to head down to the beach and check on them! We need to make a plan A and a plan b for almost everything we do. Until tomorrow!

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