Queen Charlotte Strait Solo
The alarm woke
me up at 3:30am. I did not sleep well,
keeping listening for a potential visitor. Fortunately, the bear did
up. When I stepped outside, I could see that the tide was ebbing
yesterday fear that I would get stuck in the dry bay was materializing.
was portaging my stuff over an expanding tidal zone the bay
had dried up, except for a shallow stream in the middle.
When I put my kayak on water, the stream had already developed
I had walked
all way along the stream to the end of the
dry zone, to check if there was a place from which I could launch the
There was nothing, except launching on the ocean side, a few hundred
away and with the surf. The portaging would have consumed more time
the water came back to my departure area.
was disappointing, but I saw no other option but to wait for
tide returning in two hours, according to the tide tables.
While waiting, I had placed the kayak in a small pool connected to
stream, so far deep enough to keep the fully loaded kayak afloat.
The tide had finally come at 9:15am, flooding the
stream soon thereafter. I had immediately departed.
hours of the quiet morning time were lost,
but the ocean was still calm. I was paddling along the coast, when I
strange-looking kayak, with a short mast, coming in my direction. Soon,
close enough and I had changed my course to meet the paddler.
This was an
inflatable kayak with large dry bags placed
vertically behind the kayaker. The mast, about 1.5 meter tall, held a
microphone on the top and a camera much lower. Mark, the sole paddler
kayak, was on a six-month journey, on his way to Prince Rupert, then
bushwalk through the forest. Talking about the adventurous spirits! He
and audio recording his trip, with the plan to setup a website once he
to civilization, and post his adventures there. After sharing with Mark
camping options along the shore that I was aware of, we parted.
In the hour
thereafter the wind and the waves had picked
up. Again, I could not fight the weather hitting me on the broad reach
and had to urgently seek a shelter. The best available option was a bay
east of Aylam Point. I had no trouble running to the bay with the
wind and the waves. Soon, I was under protection of Aylam Point:
wind and only light waves close to the shore. The only confirmation of
turmoil outside was the white-cap covered sea, as long as one could
The bay was a
vast tidal area chocked with the driftwood.
I could not find any flat spot suitable for my tent, even
searching close to an hour and checking everything within the
distance from the water edge, from the tree line to the rocky outcrops.
Finally, I had
a "raft": three logs deposited on the rocky shore, above the tide
line. The central log was almost flat, allowing for comfortable
surrounded on north and east sides by uninviting vertical rocky walls,
with the forest. The ocean was on the south side, separated by several
logs, and piles of driftwood were to the west. As always, when
camping in or close to the tidal zone, with no obvious
way out, I had located an escape route, in case the sea would build up
anything else would force me to urgently leave the camp. It
was around 20 meters long, requiring to walk on
several interconnected driftwood logs that led to an opening in the
the shore, likely an animal trail. I had no illusions: during the
with the westerly winds, the bay would be the hell on earth. However,
present south-west wind, the bay was well protected, and the escape
a reliable way out before the situation deteriorated. Satisfied, I had settled in this
area and rested my kayak behind the raft, on a flat rocky outcrop.
had then pitched the tent atop of the raft, placing
it on a tarp and attaching to the logs with screws.
I then cooked my
boiling extra water to refill my flask, and went to bed after
10:00pm. Some time into
the night I had started having dreams that
I was surrounded by water, splashing all over me. Then something had
to wake up. I could clearly hear the splashing water, next to my tent.
pitching the tent, I had checked the tide line at the high tide in the
-- it was well below my camp, so I could not believe that the ocean was
on my camp. Still, to be sure, I put on my headlamp and stepped
first things that I saw were my water bottles floating around me. This
much higher than the previous one, and the water kept rising. Quickly,
I had collected all my stuff, left on the ground next to the raft,
the rocky outcrop, above the level of my tent. Then, as the water was
rising and already reaching the bottom of the raft, I had removed
from the tent, also placing it on higher grounds. By that time it was
I had checked the tide table: the high tide was one hour away, at
reluctant to remove my tent - this was more a mental barrier than
else, meaning that I had to break my camp completely. However, the raft
already partially submerged, with the water splashing through the
joints and reaching
my tarp. Unhitching
the tent took just a minute: the only thing
that I had to do was to remove the loops from the screw
I waited. A
mink had passed by, likely following its own trail from a log to a log.
definitely surprised to see a stranger, especially at such a late hour.
Meanwhile, the water had stopped rising and I realized that I could
the tent standing. At 1:30am I pitched the tent again, and went to bed.
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