The seals woke us up making their funny snorting noise. I looked out at the ocean, it was still and calm, no wind just a light drizzle coming down. We waited for the current to turn before beginning our day on the water. We had a short day planned, 25kms to Helmcken island in the middle of the channel. We followed the coast of the mainland, stopping at a waterfall to fill our water bottles on the way. The wind was slowly picking up, making our wet clothes feel icy cold. We made good time with the current behind us and before long we could see our island. The wind had really picked up now, it was whipping down the channel making nasty little waves that broke over the boats, ensuring we stayed wet and cold. Ngaio was getting tossed around a bit, her boat seemed to have a mind of its own and it was determined to be parallel to the waves. We persevered as we were moving pretty quickly, we just needed to get around the next point and we would have some shelter. As I was showing Ngaio the direction we were heading we saw another pod of dolphins! They weren’t phased by the wind and waves, they were just cruising in the channel looking for lunch and avoiding the boats.
We were so close to the island but there was some turbulent water in front of it. The current was strong in front of the island and the pressure was creating a huge eddy line with upwells and whirlpools swirling around. We paddled forward, ferry gliding, then dropped our noses into the current and broke through the eddy line. We had been getting pulled and pushed by the current which always gets the heart rate up a bit. We hugged the coast of the island and made our way around the front, looking for any good camp spots. By now it was pouring with rain. We were both soaked to the bone, no dry part on either of us. Just as we were pulling into a little bay we heard the sound of a whale breathing. I turned to see a great big tail heading down as the whale did a deep dive in search of food. We landed and got straight to setting up the tarp and the tent underneath that. As hard as we tried to keep things dry, everything got wet. It was raining so hard by this point we could only really laugh. Ngaio got in the tent to make the beds while I went and found some dry wood for a fire to keep the spirits high.