was still raining at 7:00am, when my alarm rang. To my disappointment,
I had found a puddle of water inside the tent. I had pitched the tent
on gravel, so the water could only have come from the roof leaks
or the condensation. Fortunately, as the tent was on a slope, all the
water had accumulated in one corner, away from my sleeping bag.
rain had all but stopped soon thereafter. To
minimize cooking in the wet, I had only prepared coffee and then
enjoyed it with a cereal bar. My neighbors were also awake and we had
discussed the porpoises with white dorsal fins that we had observed
again near the shore. Later, I had found that these were Dall's
waited for a while before starting packing, until the rain had stopped.
While packing, I left the tent and everything dry inside
for the last moment, as the water was still coming down from the trees,
shaken by the wind. At the end, I had to pack my tent still wet --
there was nothing I could do about it. Meanwhile, my neighbors had
finished their morning chores, packed up and departed at 11:00am. Once
again, I had appreciated the power of the group: everything was much
faster when there was an extra pair of hands to share the chores and
to work in parallel.
I had only left at 12:15 and initially
headed for Berry Island, to check out a petroglyph on its northern
shore. Surprisingly, I had to fight the opposite current when passing
through narrow straits between the islands, while the general current
flow supposed to be in my direction. Once again, this had confirmed
that in a maze of islands the currents could behave in very strange
No matter how much I tried, I still could not locate the
petroglyph. After searching for a while, and for some reason again
paddling against the current, while I should have been carried on by
the flood, I had given up and continued toward Beware Passage.
I had reached the east end of Berry Island, I was happy to see that
the passage between it and the adjacent island was open: it was shown
as drying up at low tide. This had saved me at least 15 minutes and,
after getting through the shallow but still navigable waters, I was on
the south side of Berry Island. There was a settlement a few
kilometers east of my present location -- this could only be Tanakteuk
-- a First Nations village on Harbledown Island, and Beware Passage
was just to the left.
was a good moment to rest and enjoy my lunch while drifting, this time
in the right direction. I had finished a couple of granola bars and
then checked on the GPS the remaining distance to my camp. It was about
7 kilometers, as the crow flew, and likely at least 8 kilometers for a
kayaker, or about two hours of paddling. After some work, I had reached
Beware Passage entrance.
could feel the opposing current, so the tide must have just
recently turned. The flow at the passage entrance was quite strong, however I
had managed to cheat it by catching a ride in a counter-current, and
entered the passage at a respectable speed, without paddling. This
nature of the currents cannot stop amazing me. Whenever there is a
strong dominant current, there are usually also small counter-currents,
often along the shore, flowing in the opposite direction. While
kayaking, and if one is lucky, it is possible to move against the
dominant flow by riding these counter-currents.
had warned about the rocks and the shallows in the passage, and that it
should be navigated at low tide, to see the obstacles clearly. So
far, I had not noticed any -- maybe because it was still high
tide? Initially, I was moving at a reduced speed. However, after
seeing no obstacles, I had gradually started speeding up. According to
the charts, the tide inside the passage was almost unnoticeable, and
indeed I could only tell that I was going against it by the direction
of the kelp leaves -- usually quite a reliable indicator.
passage was quiet. The only indication of human presence was numerous
buoys, most likely associated with fishing, as I had noticed many
similar ones in the vicinity of the First Nations settlement. The
boat traffic was also very light -- just one power boat overtaking me
and then returning much later. The wildlife was barely noticeable -- I had only observed a seal and a porpoise.
already 5:30pm when I had reached my intended campsite. This was an
expanse tidal area, however not much in a way of flat surfaces large
enough for a tent. After some searching, I had found a flat spot under a
tree, and hung my tent there, above the ground, to dry up.
forest in this area was clear-cut logged recently: I could see a
clearing behind a thin line of trees along the shore, no more than 100
meters deep. The logging tapes were still on the trees, one of them
with an animal jaw attached, definitely a carnivore by the look of the
a meat eater myself, I had opened a can of ham, cooked the rice and
enjoyed my dinner. Was inside the tent by 9:00pm, writing up my daily
notes. The plan for tomorrow was to explore the ruins of the First
Nations village, about 2 kilometers away, and to check out nearby