July 8th Approaching the rapids
Well, we paddled 18 miles today, but we are on Stewart island and only a mile or so from the Yaculta rapids. Good staging for hitting the rapids at ebb tide slack around 9:30am. There is really no camping around here, so we are up on some granite rocks. The tent is perched on the granite. Its not very flat and definitely hard. But it’s high and dry. I am sitting outside waiting for high tide around 10:00pm to be sure our kayaks are safe. They are tied on the other side of these rocks, up in the trees as high as we could get them situated. I am sitting on the rocks outside of the tent being hassled by bugs galore. This island is bug city, so I have on all of my clothes and rain jacket, despite it being over 70 degrees. The water is so calm tonight, as I sit here writing and watching driftwood float on by in the current, heading round and round. This close to the rapids, it’s like a giant toilet bowl with the current changing direction every 20 minutes. As the minutes go by the tide creeps higher and higher up the rocks. I have placed rocks at the waters edge in the dimming light, so I can tell when the tide has reached it highest point.
Today we paddled alongside West Redondo’s shoreline – pretty spectacular forests and steep hills right down to the water line. I attempted to take several pictures of pairs of marbled murrlets today, but they keep diving under before I can get them, very shy birds.
Nearing 10:00pm, now, time to check on our kayaks again, which means scrambling over rocks and water again. Baahhh Baahhh, I am like a Billy goat running on these boulders, and very tired.
Total miles: 261, Stuart Island pirate camp
Conditions: hazy, barometer 1017-1014
Hazy day, NW wind in AM around 10kt, dying away to calm conditions. Word of the day: rhymes with DUCK. Bit messy getting off our island, with the wind slapping us into nasty barnacle reefs. I got off cleanly as far as the boat was concerned, but got a cold wash of water into the cockpit. Faaaak. Got secured when Tracy said “you forgot your line”. Double faaaak. Didn’t have a line before I found this one yesterday, so it’s not yet part of my routine. Went back to shore – calmer spot – reeled the line in, got cleanly back into the boat. Still – FAAAAK. Tracy’s shoulder is feeling better today and it shows. I’m feeling pretty good, but no extra zip. As we hugged shore to fight current I started shamelessly drafting, and that was pretty much the story of the day. We stopped at Rendezvous Islands for lunch, but both agreed we’d rather be closer to Stuart to time the currents tomorrow. On to Stuart we continued, with the partial promise of a potential campsite. We got there and found a great pull-out for the boats, but nothing for the paddlers. We found the partial promise spot, at the end of a logging road. Could work, but very exposed. We found a third that ended up being a compromise for both. Humans on a slanting rock ledge, boats taking the elevator ride up the rocky shore. We secured them on some logs which are hopefully above high tide. Tracy is keeping watch at the moment.
The water here never stops moving. We see the same drift logs going back and forth. And the constant sound of moving water. Feel like I’m sleeping next to an ever flushing toilet bowl. Tidy bowl campsite. Faaaak…