Archive for the ‘Travels with Josie’ Category
Posted on December 29, 2012 - by Nadia
Posted on November 18, 2012 - by Nadia
Originally published in the Skagway News –
It wasn’t in the original plan, but it felt pretty good to step off the ferry at Skagway next to Stroller White. Together, we made our way through the crowded street to the Skagway News. More than a century ago, when Skagway was in its founding growth spurt and news overflowed its docks and saloons, The Stroller was a newsman at that paper, though he hadn’t yet adopted the name he would make famous in his column, Strolling Around the Yukon.
Skagway, and specifically, the newspaper, had been my destination for the past two months as I kayaked the Inside Passage in a three-part pursuit of my Klondike roots. It was a quirk of timing that my mother and father, who is named Stroller after his grandfather, arrived in Juneau in time to join me on the ferry to the finish line.
The Stroller’s name has some cache. The shoulders of Mount Stroller White square off above the face of the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. He spent years chronicling the personalities along the way to the Klondike, served in public office and pontificated about local politics for decades.
Posted on July 3, 2012 - by Nadia
July 3, 2012 Wrangell, Alaska
Independence Day is a four-day fling that builds in intensity here in Wrangell as soon as June is history. I arrived two days ago to the log rolling contest; sadly, I watched the canoe races start while I was at the chiropractor; now I hear live music from downtown while I watch skinny kids fling themselves off the dock, off the cargo containers on the dock, into the mid-rising tide at the center of town. Celebration, hoc and ad hoc is in the air. This morning, I listened to women discuss their Fourth of July outfits – one if it’s warm, one if it’s not. There is much discussion of how long it took to warm up after last year’s parade when a hard, cold rain relentlessly fell. Everywhere, people greet and part with, “Happy Fourth!” and “Have a safe and happy Fourth.” Wrangell is a funny blend of bruised knuckle working town and tourist stop, and it has been since Josie passed this way. George Vancouver cruised through in the 1790s. Then the Russian’s came in the 1840s and erased his names and plunked down their own, engaging in a bit of a mini-great game over control of the mighty Stikine River, which empties here and gives whoever controls it – Tlingit, Russian or Brit – a sense of merchantile control over the unreachable but rich interior of British Columbia . Josie may have stopped here. Many of the Klondike crowd did, sleeping in tents pitched in a clearing near the church. Thousands of them took a forced rest here as steamships stopped for fuel and supplies at a town so richly situated that it has served as a supply stop for more than 1,000 years. They were a scary crowd to some, who told their daughters not to stray across the mid-line of town because you never knew what ne’er do wells were among the gold rush crowd. For awhile, modern Wrangell was a town that timber built. As I type, two guys are on the dock, turning big logs into big discs with extra long chain saws. It seems to be part of the Fourth, but there is no crowd. Maybe they’re chunking up the podium for the Queen of the Fourth competition, which is hotly contested, judging by the posters in windows and the number of contestants and their emissaries who have asked me to buy raffle tickets, the sale of which seems to be a measure of one’s royalty. As timber faded, and the Stikine fishery was put on a greatly reduced limit, tourism grew. The couple at the table next to me sound British, and are very seriously instructing their children on the importance of seeing wild animals in nature and not a zoo. Apparently they took a tour of the Annan bear reserve, just around Wrangle Island from the town itself. Bears are big business on Wrangle, and an even bigger presence on the mainland just a short blast away. Bear Fest comes in two weeks. It’s hard to imagine how it measures up to the Fourth, but it has quite a buzz and attracts bear experts from all over the world and hungry bears from as far as bears care to travel. It’s all tied to the salmon run, of course, but you can’t buy a bite of salmon in town. The salmon have started running late this year. I’ve spoken with many anxious trollers on my trip, hoping the salmon at least pay for the effort to catch them. But now, the kings have started to run and people are bragging about big hauls and going back out. The salmon that slip through the fishing fleet and make their way back up the rivers, those are the salmon that bring the bears that bring the fest that fuels the tourism edge of Wrangell after the Fourth is done. I will leave these kings and queens behind and spend my fourth where the sparks that fly are ice chips. I’m going to ride high tide over the broad Stikine River delta at mid-morning tomorrow and head toward the LeConte Glacier, which is known for such prodigious calving that I won’t try to see the face itself but be satisfied, I hope, if I can just glide among some icebergs and camp where the bears would rather not go.
Posted on July 2, 2012 - by Nadia
Tuesday, June 26
Aboard the ferry Matanuska (filed from Wrangle)
Handling a sea kayak on shore is like taking your dolphin for a walk. It thrives in the water, but is just a nuisance in the parking lot. I fell asleep at the hostel in Prince Rupert aware that I was planning to take a ferry the next day to Ketchikan that would arrive at 11:30 p.m., and yet I had no ticket; nowhere to stay in Ketchikan and no way to move my kayak and all her contents away from the ferry dock. Towns are very stressful.
I awoke and fired off emails to a couple of sea kayak tour operators in Ketchikan, asking for advice or help. I tried to buy a ticket, but it was too late to get one online and too early to get one on the phone. I went to breakfast and hoped for the best.
The best arrived in the form of Thomas and Howard of Ketchikan Kayak Tours, who said they would meet me at the ferry, help take care of my kayak and take me to wherever I was staying for the night. I am eternally grateful to the strangers who extend a hand on this trip. Many of them become friends. All of them offer me the opportunity to be better to strangers myself.
On the ferry, I got a call from Dale at Eagle View Hostel in Ketchikan. He had room if I wanted it. I did.
And, of course, I got my ticket. The Alaskan Marine Highway, also known as The Ferry, leaves a lot to be desired, especially when the immediate competition is the British Columbia ferry system. Let’s just say a cart, or even a nice employee willing to lend a hand, would go a long way in improving customer service where kayakers are concerned. Kayaks are not laptops, but that’s pretty much how the ferry treats them: You brought it here, you get it on board. I’m keeping my comments on this short, but the ridiculous lack of accomodation triggered what my brother calls my Rambette personality disorder. I commandeered a ferry handcart, used my fleece jacjet to protect my kayak from its sharp edges and bungeed the boat to the dolly. Then, piling my big bags on top of the boat, I did my best to make the awkward shuffle to the boat look effortless. It must have looked easy because not a single soul offered to help.
I got it aboard in one shot, but I’m not feeling the love for the Alaskan ferry that I still feel for the BC one.
As I’m about to post this from Wrangle, I realize I’ve made a major leap without filing an update. Towns, where I can file, also create a flurry of logistical demands. I jumped from Butedale to Hartly Bay, a native community that really demands its own blog post. I caught the town high speed taxi from there to Prince Rupert, where I executed a very fast turnaround to Ketchikan. I arrived Ketchikan late at night, spent one day on logistics and left early the next. Each turn around was so tight that I didn’t stop to post an update. Neither town offered up much of a story, though I did see all the boaters from Butedale in Prince Rupert: Deb and Neal, Ramona and DC, Donna and Mike and the elegant fishing boat Tink. I arrived Prince Rupert with Herman, a kayaker from Baja, but left him there to get his own errands done and traveled on solo. That catches you up to speed.
Posted on June 8, 2012 - by Nadia
Friday, June 8
Yorke Island, Johstone Straight
Watching the ebb tide arrive with the dawn from Peter and Sarah’s bay view windows was like watching the birth of a river. At first, the bay was so still I could see the wake behind a slow moving loon. It was slack tide. Then a ripple arrived with a stream of countless ripples behind it. The stream grew wider and moved faster until the change itself was alarming, as though it might consume everything. The inner bay stayed calm, protected by a sweep in the land. The ripples unfolded across the mouth of the bay, not rushing, but steady. Imperceptibly, at the far end of the bay, the newborn river divided and a sliver of a stream bent back along the curved shore, back toward the cabin and the boat and the dock. By the time I was loaded and launched a gentle eddy had set up inside the bay, pushing water back to the start of the new tide.
I got in my kayak and paddled a diagonal out, across the gentle eddy and then with a little push, into the new river. With a flick of the paddle, I was on a commuter rail. I set my set tea on the front of the boat and let the river inside the sea work for me.
After such a lovely start, the rain and cold set in and I stopped at Shoal Bay and holed up with a fair number of others, including Meg and Andy from Big Bay.
Mark and Cynthia own and operate the moorage, pub, laundry and organic garden at Shoal Bay. The moorage makes it a stopping place, the pub – a common room that is much more living room than bar – makes it a gathering place. Most people holed up in their boats. Mine being pretty much just a hole, I showered and hung out in the pub, reading, blogging and talking with Julie and Julian, two WOOFers from France who are helping Mark and Cynthia for a few weeks. WOOFers are Workers On Organic Farms and it’s a way to travel abroad, get an extended visa in the U.S. and Canada, and meet interesting people.
The gathering was a fun exchange of information about the tangle of waterways everyone was plying and general tale telling, often about the self reliance required of the sailing set. Outstanding story of the night was about the time Cynthia’s Doberman Fannie cut her foot wide open and a sailor who was house sitting tied her into her dog bed and sewed the foot back together with his sail mending kit; put something like 13 stitches in it. Imagine a dog putting up with that.
In the morning, the race was on to Greene Point rapids, six or seven miles away with slack tide at 7. I meant to be gone at 5:15, but shoved off a half hour late into a choppy channel that slowed me down and threatened to make me miss the window of slack altogether, which would have meant sitting tight another day. I dug in and made it to the start by 6:45, then had to bear down again to get through the whole three-mile stretch before slack ended. Greene was much calmer than Yuculta and Dent, but the bubbles and smooth upheavings were little warning shots that made me worry a maw of a whorl might open at any moment and eat my boat.
If the race for slack triggered a bit of the fight response, my interrupted lunch plans found the flight trigger.
I had planned on stopping for a long lunch at D’Arcy Point to kill some time waiting for slack before Whirlpool Rapids. I was considering staying at D’Arcy overnight, even though it was only 10 a.m., because there is little camping after Whirlpool, and big winds were predicted for Johnstone Straight the next day, so I though why rush only to be trapped, windbound on a little island?
As I scouted the beach and the thick cedar forest behind it for camping potential I wandered farther and farther from my boat until I cleared a tiny rise in the beach about 300-400 yards from the kayak. And there, half that far from me, was a cinnamon sow grizzly bear and her lean young of last year. They were at the water’s edge, flipping rocks, wondering what to eat.
I turned tail and got back to the boat as quickly as neoprene booties on weedslick rocks can move. By the time I was in my boat and 20 yards off shore, the bears were where my boat had been. I stopped and took their picture. Only then did the sow see me. Then it was her turn to take off running.
I was so scared by the whole thing that I dashed across some pretty aggressive current and eddy lines to hide out in the lee of an island and rethink things. I ended up going around the island that forms Whirlpool in the opposite direction, paddling up Johnstone Straight against the current, and pulling into the exact same island I wondered about being trapped on, just in time for the wind to start blowing. It is screaming about 30 mph now, with the same predicted for tomorrow afternoon. The question is, what will the morning hold? I might be on this funny island for another day.
Posted on June 2, 2012 - by Nadia
Friday June 1 and Saturday June 2, 2012
Eammons Campground, North of Powell River
Friday the wind came up and the rain poured down and I stayed put at Shelter Point park, drinking tea and planning, day by day, the two weeks it looks like it will take me to get to Port Hardy. It was good to sit and work on detailed plans.
Saturday, I woke to the sound of waves breaking on the gravel beach. Waves? I lay in my tent and in my mind the beach was even steeper than it was, the waves weren’t just breaking, they were crashing. But I had to be on the water by 7 and when I finally scrambled out, it was true, the wind had shifted and would be steadily in my face for the next three hour, but I could launch the boat; it was a wonderful day.
During the windy stretch, I clawed my way about 12 miles north up the Texada coastline. The sky was dappled with clouds and the water a sharp, clear green. So it was somewhat psychedelic when I crossed a broad sheltered cove and dozens of porpoises swarmed around me, surfacing here, diving there, passing just under the boat or far below it. The seemed to be weaving among the clouds reflected on the surface. I felt that I was paddling on a thin plane that traversed the bigger universe. I got dizzy and had to look away.
After the windy hours, I picked up my new friend Kevin and we headed out across the two calmest passage crossings yet, making our way from Texada Island to mainland BC. Technically, I am 80 miles north of Vancouver, but it takes 5 hours to make the drive due to the various ferries, Kevin tells me.
Kevin lives on Texada and after hearing my adventure asked if he could throw his lot in with me for a while. Having just left his logging job, he’s game for the adventure and did a great job on the crossings, especially because he had not tested himself or his boat on big water or rough conditions yet. His older, fiberglass boat is a fantastic touring craft, but it is a fair bit slower than my Tiderace. I don’t want to leave him alone to navigate the route behind me, but I can’t afford to slow my pace so dramatically. We’ll figure it out tomorrow over a big breakfast four miles or so down the road from our camp tonight. There are plenty of adventures to be had for a guy in a boat in this neck of the woods. I am dashing through. If I lived here I’d like to think I would take a peak up the more remote arms and find where the glaciers melt into rivers.
I am surprised to have cell service tonight. I expect not to tomorrow, and then none until perhaps the 15th.
Posted on May 31, 2012 - by Nadia
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Shelter Point Park, Gillies Bay, Texada Island
The nutritional value of enthusiasm isn’t on the food pyramid (or octagon, or whatever it is now,) but if it were, the stuff being served up at the concession stand at Shelter Point Park would be a protein shake and then some. George kept call me Josie and Marie kept correcting her and either way was fine with me. The genuine enthusiasm these two women had for life in general, and my expedition in particular, was uplifting and infectious. When Kevin and Kelly came in for dinner, they too, caught Josie fever and I caught a real affection for this industrious island.
“This is the view from work,” Marie said, waving across the broad Straight of Georgia at Mount Washington, glistening under last night’s snow, on Vancouver Island. “This is the kind of place you can’t wait to get away from when you’re growing up. But once you leave, you can’t wait to come back,” she said.
She spent a serendipitous year in Thailand thanks to Rotary International, and is scheming for ways to indulge that travel bug while she figures out her next career or school move. Meanwhile, the concession stand with the amazing view seems and unlikely crossroad for locals and travels, but it puts her in position to live up to Texada’s unofficial small-town motto: If you haven’t heard a good rumor by 10 a.m., start one.
Kelly had a similar story. He moved away for years, then came back to be near his father after his mom died. Now he’s busier than he can handle as a mechanic on an island loaded with machines and things with engines that break. He’s got plans to buy a nice power boat to take his father fishing in comfort.
Such good cheer – and a scorching hot park shower – made up for yesterday’s generally sodden situation. Today started out with a soaking downpour, which makes packing a slick mess. Everything goes in the boat wet and comes out wet. Between me and my gear, the smell, well, is best left undiscussed. The wind that stopped my progress yesterday sped me along today. The waves never got as big but I had nice following seas that tested my already sore triceps as I had to draw to the left all day to correct for a push to the right.
Tomorrow, I head to – or toward – Powell River. Kelly recommends skipping it and cutting the corner north to a couple of islands. It sounds good but I don’t have notes on camping at the nearest island and pushing for the very attractive second island might stretch my endurance. We’ll see what the weather brings, I have about 10 miles of cliffy coastline before I have to make up my mind.
Whatever I do, after tomorrow, or the day after that, I will lose cell service for the next 10 days to two weeks. The Spot satellite messenger should continue to send a daily update. I’ll be better about leaving it on for its full cycle, a couple of people said they missed yesterdays send. You can see where I am at the end of each day by looking here.
My route ahead will take me to places beyond the end of the road. Which happens to be at a town called Lund, and I might be able to post one more update from there tomorrow. It will take me into the Desolation Sound area. So called because Vancouver found its dense forests, high peaks, persistently wet weather and tight, winding waterways depressing. Kelly says I’ll like it, and I think he might be right. I find the huge water I’ve been on the last few days a bit impersonal. Challenges ahead do include taking enough food and carrying and finding enough water. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ve got a handle on those things, but I will resupply a bit at Lund and a couple of other outposts along the way.
Before I go, though, a word from my guest authors:
Hello. We are Nadia’s hands. We take a lot of punishment out here and yet she still expects us to type at the end of the day. This work is crazy. The pay is lousy, health benefits basically amount to the occasional bandage, and while people say the left of us doesn’t know what the right is doing, what they don’t know is the right is waiting for the left to lead. What we mean is that we are healing up, even though we look ugly. We’ll see how we’re doing when next we blog.
(I’m having trouble loading photos. If you don’t see any, it’s not because I’m not taking them. I’ll get that sorted out in Port Hardy.)
Posted on May 30, 2012 - by Nadia
Lasqueti Island, Strait of Georgia
That awkward, halting voice on the VHF radio put the cherry on it this morning: The Whiskey Gulf military range was active today. I was camped on the edge of a chain of little islands strewn just a mile or so off the coast of Vancouver near Nooscum Bay. Most of them were part of some Whiskey-something military range. I could never quite tell when the VHF voice said it what exactly the place was called.
I passed the night on Southy Island, across from the main military island. Southy was a very cute island, speckled with oyster shells and wild roses, contoured with scrub oak and hard, gray cliffs. I made the nine miles from Newcastle Island easily once the winds died, but waiting for an evening departure always makes me edgy; I never truly trust that the wind will die and the wait will be worthwhile. I hauled my boat high up into the hard, edgy rocks, pulling it over a road I made with wet logs. I consulted my tide notes, and hauled some more. The tide was due in at something over 14 feet. I’d arrived at about 7-foot. I tied my boat with two lines, though it was tough to find an anchor that seemed worthy. The next morning it was clear I had not hauled high enough, and I had hauled high. My boat rest at least a foot higher than I’d left it. The idea of it floating alone in the middle of the night makes me catch my breath.
At 5 a.m. the VHF woman gave the news. The military range was active, starting at 7. It meant I would have to detour around the islands, not slip through them, an option which had looked very attractive the night before. All week the range had been inactive. They felt the need to practice for war right now?
I slid up the coast before cutting the corner and made Ballenas Islands by 8:15. A bot over four miles in an hour. That’s about what I paddle. A fisherman gestured frantically. I think he was trying to tell me about the military exercise. I waved my radio at him, hoping he would just call and tell me, but he left me guessing.
I headed into the Straight of Georgia proper now, wind already rising. The waves built as I set my own laser-like sites on an island 5.4 miles straight ahead. At that distance, a foreshortening happens and for a very, very long time it seems you are almost there. You are not. You are not there until you are actually there, and even then, there may be no sheltering bay. In this case, there was not.
I caught my breath and turned head into the wind. The boat rides well in the waves but it demands attention as it bucks up one side and slams down into the trough. I picked points of reference on the long shoreline of Losqueti Island, straining to make headway. I made my way to the point and around it, shifting so the waves broke on my shoulder
Now the bombers started flying low overhead, using the straight I was working as their approach. This did not help me exude cool confidence to the sea. I felt them before I heard them, and as it was impossible to look up, I couldn’t see them until they were well past. They don’t seem to have bombed anything.
I cleared a tiny point. There was a cove. Things calmed down. But the beach was rocky and steep and the waves broke with too much force. I kept on, around the next small point. Another cove. This one a calm slot literally paves in oysters. I coasted in, but saw this was to be a temporary stop. This slot clearly flooded and joined the other side at high tide, and the tide was rising. I wrapped up in a tarp against the wind and ate an entire sleeve of Date Newtons (no, not as moist as fig,) and leftover quinoa from last night. Tall stalks of pink flowers mixed with a gnarled cedar forest and lawn-like grass. I startled a bunch of feral sheep, cute, undocked tails flying. I napped. Then it was time. I floated into the next cove and around a point where the power of the windblown day still held sway. My goal was to get around Young Point and into Sabine Channel, where things were likely calmer. I had come something like 19 miles but hoped to make another four. It was not to be. I rock gardened my way into the next cove, determined to wait out the wind and go for my miles. It was 2. I dried out the tent, wrapped in my tarp and started reading Annie Dillard’s amazing novel about settlers in Bellingham. I waited. I trusted that the wind would die. And as the tide fell, I pushed off back into the cove. The wind had faded, but not gone. It was not so choppy, the whitecaps had let up, but the rollers were six feet or so and threatening to break. I could see the point I wanted to get around, and I wasn’t going to go there. I paddled about 400 yards, turned into a cove with a long shell beach and coasted into my final stopping place. And now, just as it was when I woke up this morning, it is pouring rain, but I am off the water, fed and plan on an early start to beat the winds tomorrow, because really, you can’t trust that they’ll die in the afternoon.
Posted on May 29, 2012 - by Nadia
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
Look here to see a map of my location for the last week.
I finally put down the Thermarest insurrection, but it was a battle. It started, well, it started in 1979 when I bought my Thermarest at The Wooden Nickel. After that quarter century of service, the classic sleep mat started sagging a bit in the morning on this trip. It wasn’t flat. But it wasn’t firm. But really, that describes so many of us in the mornings these days, so I didn’t complain. But the night of the crunching raccoon the mat seemed to have gained air inside its dry bag. The ensuing struggle to extract the mat was epic and Pyrrhic. I got the bag out, but it no longer held much air by morning. Get new mat was added to the resupply list of things to do in Nanaimo.
So it was that I met Bernie, the gregarious bus driver. Nevermind that Route 3 was the slow tour of north Nanaimo, Bernie got me through the sprawl. First to one recommended camping store, then the next, and finally, in an awkward dash from the bus stop to the Outfitters Warehouse at 5:56 p.m., I scored a new mat with the phrase: “You are NOT closed, I have four minutes and I know what I want.” It had been four hours of bussing.
Bernie, Steve the campground caretaker and Rich (I believe,) the driver of the very, very cute ferry all put the nice in Canadian Nice and made up for the guy at the sports store (We’re closed,) and the very bad coffee.
Boom! A cannon just fired off the bluff above the harbor at Nanaimo. It is tourist season. The waterfront mall IS pleasant and does have some services, despite what the shaggy man living on the hard-loved sailboat said. If it is tourist season, it is tourists come to what is still a blue collar working town. Nanaimo was Founded on coal mining and the ability of the Hudson Bay Company to anchor down almost any outpost. It went on to host rock quarries that produced the limestone doric pillars for the courthouse in San Francisco, and the mill stones that ground pulp for paper at papermills across Canada and the US. I’d love to know if Missoula ever had a millstone from Newcastle Island.
I arrived in Nanaimo at 11 yesterday morning after a well-timed coast on the tail end of the flood tide through Dodds Narrows. Dodds is even narrower than Deception Pass, and can work itself into a full furry at full-tide. There is a workaround, but it is longer and since the slack was with me I left early and enjoyed the wild limestone concretions of the island shore I followed.
I love concretions, the collections of impurities that work themselves out of limestone. Usually, they collect at the bottom like so many cannonballs. But here, amid the cannonballs, were (I swear) glimpses of giant human bodies forcing themselves out of the rock – a rump here, a belly there. And where the limestone was not smooth, it was like lace or like the frozen force of a wave. Pretty cool.
Less interesting was industrial Nanaimo Harbor, though there were cowboys in little boats riding herd on breakaway logs corralled by the giant rafts of logs that were once trees. I’m sure they are really lumberjacks in those boats, but they drove the stubby little tubs like cutting horses. Past them, and the ferries, and the chaos, I found the meticulous Newcastle Island Park, which I called home for the night and too long into today as the Thermarest Rebellion spilled into Tuesday as I waited for Post Canada to open to send the mutineer home in hope of sending it back for repair or replacement, along with a large handful of stuff in an effort to clear room in the boat for more food.
The truth is, I might be dragging my feet. Tomorrow I start four days of crossing the Straight of George to Powell River. It consists of an 18+ mile day that includes a five-mile open water crossing; a day of island hopping up Texada Island’s cliffed out West coast; same thing, no islands; A 20-mile day with a 5-mile crossing to Powell River. It will rain the next couple of days, but with early starts, I should be able to make calm crossings and avoid the wrath of the force whose name shall not be spoken. I’ll check in again from Powell River. (Oh, and sorry about the photos. I’ll try to fix the size when I get consistent wireless with a plug nearby.)
Posted on May 27, 2012 - by Nadia
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Wallace Island., British Columbia
Kelp is the telltale of the sea. The long ribbons, unfurled lace or bullwhip tails stream in the direction of the current. Even when the wind, eye or logic say otherwise, the kelp does not lie. After an early morning start while the day was calm, the kelp of the afternoon made it clear to me that the phrase “Everything’s going my way” comes from sailors. Wind was at my back, tide (both ebb and flood, go figure) were going my direction. After a brief stop at the site I had intended to camp, I pushed on into a clear blue afternoon and made something in the neighborhood of 24 miles.
Wallace Island is a BC Marine camp with lots of campsites and campers but I found the more remote Cabin Bay empty and gorgeous: Carpeted with walls of moss and an island annex that juts out into the Trincomali Channel. About a mile wide, with an even tempered current, the Trincomali looks like the Hudson River, but without any people.
Extremely high tides kept me scampering around as I let the tide bring my boat as close as I could before I hoisted it into a nest of huge drift logs for the night.
Yesterday was the day of the varmint. I saw least a half dozen raccoons fishing as I went by; one giant raccoon brawl and at least two mink. The raccoon fight was brutal. They tumbled out of a gap in the rocks, locked together and snarling and screaming. When one fell or jumped into the water to get away, the other dove right on top of it and kept fighting. I thought they both would drown. Then they got out and it carried on. I could hear kits mewing in the rocks. Domestic violence, apparently. As I approached my campsite, I saw another raccoon, this one looking a bit shabby, blind in one eye and soaking wet. It took one look at me and loped in the direction of camp. Oh, boy, it thought. Peanut butter and almonds for dinner. I hung my food and kept a tidy camp. As I nestled into my sleeping bag, I hard the hard crunch, crunch, crunch of someone eating pretzels. I got up and spotted a raccoon, digging up clams or crabs in the shallow water, crunching through their shell. My human food stash went unmolested.
The breeze this morning is dying down, but I’m taking a late start and hoping for a calm and similarly blessed afternoon. I am two days out from Nanaimo and camping is a bit limited so today will be short, staging for an early push to town tomorrow.