I woke up at 5:30am. I
was planning to start my day
earlier, however I needed to get some sleep after the overnight
a calm morning, as the weather service had forecasted, and I planed to
far as I could, hopefully reaching Wells Passage and therefore finally
the open sea behind. But first, I had counted my losses due to the
high tide. It looked like I got lucky this time: the damage was limited
to only a liter or so of the
boiled water, left in the cooking pot and
contaminated by the sea water, and two hours of my sleep.
This was a
beautiful morning to paddle: no wind and only the gentle ocean swells.
My by now familiar neighbors were Rhinoceros Auklet, passing
by in small flocks.
two hours I had rounded Lewis Rocks and turned into Wells
had stopped at Ommaney Islets to photograph harbour seals on the rocks.
photographing, I had almost ended up on a reef. I was slowly drifting
islet shore, getting closer to a patch of seaweed that I mistook for
indicating a safe depth, except at low tide. Unfortunately, it was a
type of seaweed, growing on shallow reefs, and I would have ended up
if I did not notice the difference, just a few meters away. A bit later
observed a bald eagle flying with the fish ahead of me and soon reached
islet where I saw a pair of bald eagles at their nest.
One of them was just settling down after a flight.
After a quick
granola bar lunch while safely tucked in a kelp bed, I had continued my
journey. The light
waves and the tide were gently pushing me into
Wells Passage. It was so nice to beat my farewell to the open sea,
now on my travel plans would be primarily based on the tidal currents,
predictable than the waves and the winds. I had decided to camp at a
creek in a
bay north of Popplewell Point, hoping to stay there for a day to get
some rest, do the washing and planning the remaining part of my trip.
Ducks, resting on kelp, did not mind me passing by. The
males, beautiful in their breeding outfits, were almost
indistinguishable from the females this time of the year.
On my way to Popplewell
Point I had decided to check Kenneth Bay, shown on the chart as a vast
tidal area with a river flowing into it. If I could see an area
suitable for a camp, I would
stay there, and try to fish:
fish often likes being in the estuary, as the salmon caught earlier
testified. Unfortunately, when I got close to the bay, I had found it
clogged with large rocks, and this was at high tide.
So this was a very shallow bay, very likely completely drying
up at low
tide. I did not want getting stranded here as in Cohoe Bay, and so
continued to Popplewell Point.
I had found a loon, not a very common bird. It was calling
time to time, maybe signaling a partner that it was loonely?
Finally, I had reached Popplewell
Point. It was noon. In less than four hours I had covered around 20
kilometers: I had just completed a full and very productive day of
I had entered the bay at high tide. The bay was
pleasant, however access to its end, to the creek and the likely
blocked by several fallen trees. They were passable at medium and high
but departure at low tide would require long portages to the the middle
bay, around the fallen trees.
After finding a suitable
campsite I had unloaded my deck bags and went fishing.
area across Wells Passage displayed clear signs of human activities,
most notably the bald hilltop, indicating a logging site.
Then a float plane had taken off on the opposite side of the passage:
was there a resort inside one of the bays?
an hour of fishing, I caught two greenlings, enough for several meals.
After setting up
the camp, I had enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner of fish and mashed
followed by the tea. It was already late in the day and the tide was
The fallen trees were by now out of water, fully exposed. A mink had
searching the tidal area for food.
It was an early evening and the wind had died completely. Myriads of
mosquitoes had descended on me, in the numbers I had not seen in that
the world before. The only way to survive was by hiding inside the
tent. I had
immediately dismissed my original idea of staying in this area for a
rest and pulled out the guidebook and the charts to prepare for the
of my journey in Broughton Archipelago. Although
I had a general plan for my month-long trip,
I had left the details unplanned, as much depended of the weather, the
available time and other matters that were hard to predict in advance.
when I spread over my charts, I saw a few no-see-ums inside the tent.
that these blood-suckers got in when I was opening and closing the
tent, I had quickly disposed
them. Then the new
ones had shown up, and I had disposed them as well, but the numbers
increasing. It took me a few minutes to realize that the no-see-um net
tent entrance was not no-see-um proof. Then I thought
not be after me, they might be hiding in a dry place to pass the night.
hope was immediately dismissed with a firm bite in my finger. At the end, I had given up
the fight taking a
refuge inside my sleeping bag. The planning would have to wait until
I had covered my face with a hood of the sleeping bag insert, leaving
tiny hole for breathing, and fell asleep.