Mikhail Belikov Photography (nature, adventures, travel)

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Kayaking North Vancouver Island Straits Solo

DAY 8:  TO

I walked up at 6:00am: fog and drizzle, but the surf was light, so it was a day to travel. My next destination was an area close to Lizard Point – around ten nautical miles away from my present location and likely my last camp on Malcolm Island, if everything would go according to my plans.

After rounding Bere Point in moderate wind and swell, I had decided that, instead of hugging the shore, I would cut across the bays directly to Lizard Point, already visible. Besides reducing the distance, by doing so I would keep my back toward the following sea and the wind that should push me in the right direction. There were so many fishing boats in the area that I felt confident that, if something happened to my kayak so far away from the shore, the help would come quickly. The whole trip took no more than 2.5 hours. Considering that my cruising speed in flat water was less than 3 knots, I was sure that it was the wind, the following sea and the current of the rising tide that had accelerated my progress.

I had selected a tentative camping site and landed. The flat space that I designated for my tent was a bit closer to water than I was comfortable with, and I decided to wait with establishing the camp until seeing how far the tide would reach. Meanwhile, I cooked my lunch and enjoyed the seascapes.

The tide had reached its highest point, still some distance away from my camp, and I felt safe to pitch my tent in this area. The beach was relatively narrow and sloppy, all covered with the driftwood.

I felt lucky that I had managed to find a flat area above the high tide. The sun was getting unbearable and I had decided to seek shelter inside my tent, still hot, but better than being under the direct sun in the open. A light breeze had developed over time making my shelter more tolerable and I even managed to get a nap. When I woke up, I could not see the opposite shore: the weather was closing in. Suddenly, the sun was gone and everything around was covered with a heavy fog. Then the wind had picked up cooling down the air to the point that I needed a jacket. It was hard to believe that just a short while ago I was suffering from the heat.

There was nothing else to do but explore the surrounding area and I went to check Lizard Point that was covered with the old growth forest. This little piece of land was protected by a small local park that had saved the trees from the logging. All adjacent lands were cleared of trees some years ago, now overgrown with bushes and small trees.  A light beacon on Lizard Point was likely visible for miles, making it a good reference point on a fogless night.

After returning to the camp, I had cooked my dinner. The fog had disappeared and it was getting dark. I saw a cruise ship, all lit up, passing by relatively close. I wondered how different the passenger experience must have been from mine. They were likely enjoying the evening activities, all dressed up, while I was eating my very basic dinner on a deserted shore, unshaved and wearing the dirty clothes. Still, I did not think that I would have traded my evening for theirs.  

Before going to bed, I had checked the tide tables: the next high tide was coming in at 3:00am, 0.5m higher than the previous one. Although it was presently quiet, I was concerned that that my tent could be flooded at high tide if the surf were to build up overnight.

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