up at 8:00am. There was no rush with the departure - after sweating
against the tide yesterday, I wanted to wait for a strong afternoon
flood tide to
push me through Grappler and Mackenzie Sounds. I had finished the rice
leftovers for breakfast, adding the fruit-and-nuts trail mix for the
sweet taste, and completed it with the coffee from my thermos. Then I
photographed the sawmill ruins.
I also took pictures of the rocky outcrop next to my campsite,
crocodile. This was the place where I got stranded yesterday expecting
a dangerous encounter with a bear only to end up facing flirting
the campsite at 12:30pm. The tide had pushed me most of the way to the
rapids and I only paddled leisurely, except in a few places where I
experienced counter-currents. In one hour I had reached the passage
where Roaringhole Rapids were forming during the strong tide. I could
not see anything unusual there, just the calm water and no current.
I was advancing into the passage, ready to speed out if the current
would pick up. Twenty meters in, I had finally detected some light
current that quickly accelerated as I drifted deeper in.
I had turned around and just managed to get out before the current
would overpower and suck me in. I still saw no rapids in the passage,
just the smooth water as far as I could see. I had assumed that the
rapids were farer ahead, invisible from my location, and I still wanted
photograph them. The only way to do so safely seemed to be from the
shore. I had found a suitable place where I could leave my kayak tied
up to the shore but safely floating inside a field of seaweed. From
there I would try to walk through the forest to the narrows and then
along them, trying to reach the rapids. Just when I was about to leave,
a motorboat had come very close to the narrows and then stopped. The
two people aboard had discussed something, most likely that it would be
too brave to continue. Then the boat had turned around and very bravely
ran away at a high speed, sending a wake so powerful that it had
picked up my kayak from the seaweed field and would have deposited it
on the rocky shore if I did not manage to stop it with my body.
was no way for me to leave the kayak unattended in this environment, so
I got in and paddled back to the rapids. Now, I could both see and hear
them, from a safe distance. After taking a few pictures, I headed for
Kenneth Passage leading me into Mackenzie Sound. Unfortunately, the fog
had limited the visibility to only nearby hills and I could see no
mountains -- the main reason for undertaking this trip. Still, I had
paddled through the sound for an hour.
it was a very quiet and wild place. The only signs of human presence
were logging scars on the slopes. Otherwise, I could have been in a
completely different century.
a number of Bonaparte's Gulls throughout the day. By 4:00pm I had
the middle part of the sound. There was no point to move any further:
the fog/cloud cover had not lifted, so no vistas ahead. I had floated
for a bit, enjoying my late lunch and waving to a sailboat passing by -
the only boat I had seen in the sound. Then I had turned back aiming at
a campsite at Hopetown Passage entrance, listed in the guidebook.
did not feel the current, but the front wind was slowing me down. In
about 1.5 hours I got close to Hopetown Passage and started looking for
campsite. Unfortunately, I could not locate the site marked in the
guidebook and at the end had settled on a low-lying shore, next to
Hopetown Passage. I had found a small patch of grass, just enough for
my tent, and camped there.
raccoon scat nearby had indicated that I had neighbors. The area was
quiet, except for a dinghy motoring around, with two people
-- their sailboat had passed me in Mackenzie Sound and was now anchored
nearby. I had also seen one or two dolphins, likely feeding. After
cooking pasta with cheese for dinner, leaving enough for the cold
breakfast, I went to bed at 9:30pm. The plan for tomorrow was
pass through narrow Hopetown Passage at a slack. The timing had to be
just right. If I started too early, while the tide was still ebbing, I
would have to paddle against the tide further down the road. If I
started too late, the tide in Hopetown Passage would be against me, and
the narrowest part would create a strong current, impossible to paddle
against. The tide tables had indicated the slack in the area
around 10:30am. Since the tide timing was never precise, I had decided
to be ready an hour earlier, just in case. After Hopetown Passage I was
planning to paddle again through Sutlej Sound and camp in Cypress
Harbour on Broughton Island, some 20km away.