Day 41, Friday August 3, 2012

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Friday August 3rd 2012 9:15pm Tree Bluff.

This past morning we left from Kitson island around 7:30 am in light fog. Used the GPS to navigate safely from islands and rocks, paddling quickly across the shipping lanes going into Port Rupert. The fog lifted as we got to the main shipping area and no large vessels were near. Smooth sailing. Then we had to work against the strong current all the way here. It was slow going in cold cloudy skies. The 22 miles covered seemed to take longer than usual but we arrived here before 1:00pm just the same. I think it was the expected sunshine that never came that made it seem harder than it really was. No rain although and only a small head wind (breeze).

The long expected sun finally came out today at 8:15pm. It is way beautiful. The tide has gone so far out here, that we would not be able to leave this long, beautiful, cobble stone beach even if we wanted to. We are camped on the pea sized cobble just up against the blue spruce tree line behind the logs on the beach. The trees are amazing. Bright greenish blue spruce draped in veils of moss. When you peer into the forest the floor is covered with moss and trillium with giant devils club scattered about. Its magical and bright green, eerily quiet, except for the loud crackling sound that Traci C heard earlier today that sent us moving our food cache another ¼ mile down the beach. We positioned our kayaks along both sides of our tent and pulled a big log back behind us under the spruce tree. This area should not have any cougars or bears hanging around – but neither should there have been a grizzly on Broken island – so we just take precautions and sleep soundly. The next 2 nights we should be on islands again.  So a much lesser chance of dealing with large predators in the next few days. I had success again this evening at being one myself. I had to paddle out about 1 mile to the navigational buoy to get deep enough to try to catch a lingcod or rockfish for dinner. I floated out there in the Chatham sound surrounded by 1000’s of feeding seabirds. More Artic loons than I have ever seen, gulls auklets, etc. The sounds they make are amazing and they paid me no heed and just splashed, dove, fished and floated all around me as I worked my wrist jigging my dart up and down, trying to find just the right depth, while not snagging my treble hook on the bottom or the profuse amount of kelp that grows here. Fishing like this is like you are the only person in nature. Truly amazing! I thought for a while after failing to get even a bite, that I might get skunked and have to paddle the mile back to shore empty handed. But, then that has not happened yet and I hooked a very large orange rockfish as a couple of humpback whales swam around me fishing by making bubble nets. I paddled right over one on my way back in to shore. Got a few pictures on my camera as well. Then returned to shore and paddled half a mile away from camp to a sand bar to clean and filet the fish and get rid of the carcass. I dropped the filets off down the beach by our food cache along with my filet knife and net, washed off my kayak and returned to camp. Later, we walked down the beach to cook dinner. Steamed rice a roni and pan fried rock cod filet. It was amazingly good. Tomorrow we head towards Boston islands just 2 miles shy of the US border. I will try for salmon once again. I can hear crackling in the trees as I write this, I hope it is nothing big. I can also hear seabirds galore calling and whales spouting far off shore. Of course, there is the ever present hum of the bugs trying to get into the tent. We will get up at 4:30 am to catch the 2nd half of the ebb tide and avoid being stranded. That will put us near Boston island near mid-day. Who knows it might be sunny?? Anyway, it won’t be windy and we should get a favorable current. I found an old heavy wood paddle on this beach today, I am going to keep it as a souvenir and it would make a good weapon as well. OK – now I heard a louder sound in the forest, (makes it hard to sleep, that is for certain, it woke up Traci C).

The sun came out after dinner. It makes everything seem so wonderful when it comes out.

9:50pm I need to sleep now. Very tired and 4:30am will arrive soon.  I can hear an Eagle screeching as it hunts for sea birds. The tent is covered in small bugs trying to squeeze through the netting, humpback whale just breathed again……We are starting to smell, well musky in this tent. Too many days without laundry in the same clothes….

10:00pm still light outside especially to the North. We are at latitude 54 now.
Nature knows to never sleep away the summer sun. Just the same, I need to sleep.

Chocolate Bar count: 33

Mile 735, Tree Bluff

Conditions: cool foggy morning, overcast afternoon, low 60s, light wind from NW; barometer 1023, down from 1024 earlier in the morning

Both T2 and I slept damp and clammy last night. Not sure why; possible reasons: processing all the fish we ate? Tent site in woods instead of beach? Airflow reduced because the back flap of tent was closed? Cooler temps? Some combination of any/all the above? Not sure.

Went out to the beach to make breakfast around 5:30am and heard a *thunk*. I looked up – kayak. Really? I mean, really?? This island is grand central station! Another paddler just making a pit-stop, on his way to Porcher. Calm and foggy, so he was a bit concerned about his course. Tracy brought out her GPS to confirm his compass headings. He took off, and a short while later so did we. Farewell, lovely island. Nicest campsite since Brown Island. Did I mention the huge hammock? And water caches? Thoughtful amenities. We took brief advantage of the hammock, and left the water for others.

The fog lowered a bit by the time we launched; a little unnerving with the potential shipping traffic around Prince Rupert. We headed to the next island group (K-something), out of the shipping lanes. We saw the BC ferry head south – good news for us. The fog lifted a bit and we had good visibility, and an assisting current. Crossed the shipping lanes uneventfully. Phew. We then lost our assist and it was slower, cooler going along the outside of Digby Island. We saw Metlakatla in the distance, but were disinclined to visit. I think we are both a bit weary and reluctant to add miles.

Rock hopping and dodging we reached Tree Bluff, with long sandy (but not too fine of sand) beaches. Looks like high tide will allow us to camp on the beach head. Good. Especially since I heard some larger critter in the woods. Not sure what – our last bear encounter was silent. Full critter protocol though, food and garbage waaay down the beach. T2 is out fishing right now, and I’m almost hoping she doesn’t catch anything. Other critters: a pair of eagles when we arrived, and a mink loping up the beach when we ate lunch. He got quite close; I don’t think he saw us. He turned and went the other way when I stood up…

Well, T2 did catch a fish, and it was delicious. Rock cod steamed over Rice-a-Roni. We had a long-ass beach instead of a tiny island for a change, so all our food and cooking was far from the tent. Just after dinner the sun finally broke through the clouds for a gloriously golden evening.


Kitsun Island in the morning, video by TraciC

Tree Bluff in the evening, video by TracyL
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