woke up at 7:00am. Everything was covered with the fog and it was
drizzling. After a quick breakfast of pasta leftovers and coffee, I had
checked the tidal zone for a good area to load my kayak. The tide was
low and I could not depart from the same place inside the creek where I
had landed the day before. Finally, I had located a relatively flat
place with not too many sharp objects, out on the bay side, quite a
long and strenuous walk away from the campsite. Portaging and loading
the kayak had delayed me until 10:30am; the tide had already turned to
flood when I departed. My primarily concern was getting through Patrick
Passage, again against the tide. Once on the other side, I would be
carried through Grappler Sound by the flooding tide.
Channel was full of boats. Closer to Patrick Passage, I had switched on
my GPS to see how much the adverse tide was slowing me down.
Surprisingly, it had showed me moving at 5-6km/h, while my normal
cruising speed was
up to 4-5km/h. Most likely, I was full of energy in the morning, and
the tide was virtually unnoticeable. Close to Patrick Passage entrance,
my speed had slowed to 4km/h and then the GPS had died, depleting the
batteries. I had replacement batteries readily available,
I had decided to press on through the passage, while the adverse tide
was still relatively light.
in the passage, I could
feel how much the current was slowing me down: it took me a long time,
at least an hour, maybe more, to pass through the narrow one
kilometer-long strait. Sometimes I was making very little progress,
while paddling with all available energy. I was glad that I did not
delay getting through the passage any longer: I felt that even a
30-minute delay would have made my task significantly less likely to
complete. At some point, while I was struggling, a man in an inflatable
dinghy under motor was passing very close to me and had very kindly
slowed down, minimizing the wake. This was a rare but very welcome
gesture: in most cases during my trip, motorboats would roar through
without reducing their speed, requiring me to turn the kayak bow up to
the waves. I did not think that this was intentional: motorboat
operators who had no experience kayaking (or had not seen
flipped over by the wakes or had not been cursed by the kayakers) did
not realize the danger (to say nothing about the inconvenience) that
sudden steep side waves posed to an unsuspected kayaker.
through Patrick Passage, I had started gradually picking up the speed.
After entering Grappler Sound, I could finally put down my paddle and
relax, letting the current carry me while I was resting and enjoying my
granola bar lunch. My rest did not last long: it was a cloudy and dump
day and, after sweating through the passage, I had quickly cooled down
and had to start paddling again. Several seals had followed me for a
while, cautiously observing from a distance. This had reminded me a
documentary about the fragile relations between seals and sharks: even
knowing that the sharks fed on seals, the seals would follow them at a
distance, maybe observing their behavior, maybe making sure they knew
what the sharks were up to. Did the seals consider the kayakers (or the
boaters in general) to be the predators?
An hour later I was
finally getting close to my next campsite, on Watson Island, with the
sawmill ruins next to it already visible. I had landed at 3:00pm, on a
broken shell beach. The recommended campsite was up in the forest.
However, someone had recently created a tent pad on the beach by
leveling an area big enough for a large tent and removing overhang
I had left my kayak on the beach and walked on a
rocky outcrop, protruding into water, to see if there was anything
beyond, also suitable for a camp. Just after reaching the other side of
the outcrop, I was surprised by a loud noise in the forest above,
indicating that a large animal was moving through the bushes. Then a
squirrel had screamed angrily, as if facing an intruder. Concerned
that this might be a bear, I had clapped my hands several times to
alert the animal about my presence down on the beach. The noise had
stopped for a second and then resumed, moving in my direction. This was
very unusual and had indicated that the animal did not care about my
alert. Most likely, this was an aggressive or at least a curious bear,
as all other wild animals would have stopped or run away, and I did not
expect any domestic animals on this island. I had rapidly
evaluated my options. I was still on a rocky outcrop, with my kayak on
a beach to my right, too far to reach and depart in time. If this
was an aggressive bear, the only feasible option was to jump into the
water hoping that it would not follow me. The other alternative was to
fight... While I was mentally preparing for an inevitable encounter,
little squirrels had jumped on the shore from the bushes, one
another, ran across the rock I was standing on, the beach where my
kayak was, and then disappeared in the bushes above with lots of noise.
I could not believe that these two little animals could make so much
commotion! I guess, they were totally consumed by the flirting or
fighting for the territory, ignoring everything around them.
I went up the shore into the forest to check the recommended campsite.
It looked like someone had enjoyed a pignic
there: pieces of foil and
styrofoam, and an empty BBQ sauce bottle were spread all over.
Definitely not a place where I would want to camp.
So I returned to the beach site and pitched my tent there.
The falling tide had left behind something that looked like a jellyfish.
with canned meat and tea made my dinner, with enough rice left for
a satisfying breakfast. I then warmed up sea water in
pot and enjoyed a bath. The evening was approaching fast.
the light would start fading, I sat down to plan my next day trip to
Mackenzie Sound. However, as soon as the last wind died, the mosquitoes
had descended on me and I had to seek refuge in my tent, where I had
finished my planning and went to bed at 11:00pm. Overall,
was a good campsite and I could have stayed for another day to give
myself some rest. However, the constant boat traffic through the Watson
Point narrows, passing relatively close to my camp, made me feel as
being on a display. My plan for the next day was to check out
Roaringhole Rapids -- an entrance to Nepah Lagoon turning into a
roaring tidal stream. Then I would continue to Mackenzie Sound, hoping
for picturesque landscapes with snow-capped mountains, if the sky