Mikhail Belikov Photography (nature, adventures, travel)

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Kayaking North Vancouver Island Straits Solo


I woke up before 6:00am to check the surroundings. Once I looked outside, I could not sleep any longer -- the foggy sunrise was amazingly beautiful. And so I started the day with taking pictures.

My next destination was Malcolm Island; however, to get there I would have to cross Broughton Strait, now packed with fog.  I could hear fog horns, some quite powerful. I could only imagine the density of the traffic and the size of the vessels navigating in extremely limited visibility. Certainly limited enough for a captain of a ship to run my kayak over without even noticing it, and kayaks made very poor radar targets. Crossing the strait in these conditions was out of question. So, the plan for the day was to wait and hope that the fog would start clearing up by noon, so I could pack up and leave by 2:00pm, taking advantage of the falling tide that would work in my favor. Departing later in the afternoon was risky, as I needed plenty of time to reach the next destination and find a suitable campsite before dark. Meanwhile, I had decided to rearrange my belongings, hopefully reducing the size and the weight of the large deck bag, and do some near-shore fishing.

The fog had cleared only by 4:00pm -- too late for the departure. Meanwhile, the fishing was not very productive – I only caught a small flounder, barely enough for dinner. Cooking had turned out to be an unexpected challenge. The initial plan was to cook with the Zipstove. However, the stove did not want to start, as all firewood, including the driftwood, was surprisingly wet, maybe because of the regular morning fogs. After many fruitless attempts, I had dismissed this stove. It was only some days later when I had tried the stove again and found it working perfectly.  The problem was finding dry starters. Once fired up, the stove worked fine even with the wet fuel.

The evening was completely clear of fog and rewarded me with views of a ship passing through the strait. I was happy that I had made the right decision about not crossing the strait in the fog. Facing one of these ships in near zero visibility would not have been wise.

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