Mikhail Belikov Photography (nature, adventures, travel)

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Kayaking Queen Charlotte Strait Solo


I woke up just after 3:30am. The bay had changed: very low tide, the island in front of my camp had become a peninsula. That meant a long portage to the water line and a delayed departure.

After finishing a breakfast of cereal and coffee, I had gradually portaged all my stuff to the waterline, loaded the kayak and had finally departed at 7:00am. When I had left the protection of the bay, I was pleased to see that the wind was still light and the waves small.

Soon, the ocean swells, unobstructed by any land, had started lifting and lowering my kayak, with the waves reaching up to two meters in height.

It took me an hour to cross Bolivar Passage. The wind and the waves had started building up toward the end of my crossing, but by that time I was already under protection of Race Island, the closest one in Deserters-Walker Group.

Looking back at God's Pocket, I had observed a ferry on its Port Hardy - Prince Rupert run. It was a journey of around 20 hours, and the passengers would only arrive to Prince Rupert next day.

After getting some rest, I headed through a group of small islands to the potential campsite on Deserters Island described in the guidebook. The current was by now ebbing, flowing in the opposite direction. It was quite strong, especially in narrow channels between the islands, requiring significant efforts to pass through. A fish farm dominated the north tip of Wishart Island. After passing the farm, I had entered a narrow channel between Wishart and Deserters Islands, with several islets guarding the north side of the entrance.

Paddling along Deserter Island, I had alarmed a group of birds resting on the shore. The birds took off and landed at a distance before I could get the camera out, but one of them got reasonably close a couple of minutes later, and I had managed to photograph it: most likely, a Pigeon Guillemot.

When I got close to the campsite, I, to my surprise, had found that the place was already taken by a wooden cabin with a floating dock, and a couple of rusty boats.

One of the kayakers had mentioned me a few days earlier that a cabin on the islands was available for an overnight stay. However, since I was not sure if this was the right cabin, and in any case was feeling uncomfortable about occupying someone else's place without a permission,  I had decided to skip this site. To get to the second potential site, described in the guidebook, I would have to turn around and cross Shelter Passage to Walker Group. However, I was not sure that it had not been occupied as well. At the end, I had decided to try my luck in this area and moved deeper into the narrow channel hoping to locate a suitable place for a camp.

Half way through the channel, I had found a long tidal bay on Wishart Island side.

After checking it out, I had located two relatively dry areas, above the current high tide. One was on a rocky outcrop, likely drier but also exposed to the wind. The second one was on a wet ground covered by dense tidal grass, but shielded from the wind. I had settled on the grassy site. A raccoon trail was passing across it, from the forest to the bay, with several scat deposits along the way.

After setting up the camp, I had gone fishing and soon caught a relatively large rockfish, around 500g. Fish soup, thickened with mashed potatoes, made my dinner. My plan for the next day was to explore the nearby islands.

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