Day 42, Saturday August 4, 2012

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Saturday August 4th The sun is out!

I thought I was done with beautiful white shell sand beaches on this trip after Brown island in Smith Sound.  I was wrong. I am sitting propped up against a log using my life jacket as a back rest as rolling waves crash into the logs on the beach in front of me on Boston Island. The sun is out; I have washed my main sleeping clothes and attempted to get a tan on my body, not just my hands and face.

It is Fucking, awesome, beautiful here!

I quickly caught a 4-5 lb. humpy in about 15 minutes on the way here today. A 17+ mile slog of a paddle against strong currents the entire way, but we got up really early and the seas were so calm that we just ran a direct course away from land navigating by our dual gps units in the light fog. The effort took us just over 6 hours since our speed was so slow, 3.5mph. A great speed for trolling, however that did not last long. We will eat our 3rd species of salmon tonight. I hope to hook a fatty king tomorrow.

We left Tree bluff and cut across the Milbank Sound and the mouth of Portland Inlet today arriving here just before 1:00pm to a rapidly rising tide. A humpback escorted us this morning in the fog for the first few miles.

Boston islands are quite beautiful. Comprised of contorted, twisted, tilted and uplifted igneous rock with brown and white striations, white shell pocket beaches, surging blue waves and a backdrop of alder, spruce and beach grasses. From the beach I can see ribes, thimbleberry and cows parsnip in the underbrush, just to name a few species. Being a sea gypsy I will not leave the drift logs and beach if I can help it – So a short list of plants viewed from the beach is all there is.

Getting up early – making our miles in morning calm and arriving to spend the entire afternoon and evening on a beautiful beach is the way to go – and we do it.

Tonight we will eat…..
Steamed pink salmon filets with butter and dill.
Instant red potatoes, perhaps some cheese.

Today, I set out pink salmon roe (eggs) for a big raven on this beach to eat, it did not take long – Raven feasted and calls to me for more treats.
On Kitson Island, a juvenile eagle patiently waited and watched as the tide dropped, so it could retrieve the Coho carcass I tossed into the water. Then it dragged it over to a large rock and ate as 2 ravens stood about steeling pieces of the meat when the opportunity to do so came. I sat up on a log watching and feasting on steamed Coho as they maneuvered to make off with a few scraps the young eagle did not get to.  Yesterday afternoon at Tree Bluff a mature eagle flew overhead with a seabird in his talons screeching its final song.  I paddled out off shore and caught a large orange rockfish for dinner as 100’s of sea birds ate and frolicked while humpback whales fished in bubble nets all around me.

After paddling for over 6 hours, sitting here and watching the incoming water and waves surge against the sand beach and logs in my shorts in the sun is awesome. I have a very interesting odor – a mix of smoke, musky body smell and salt. Not stinky, I bathe every day in some way, but I am certainly not laundered either.

When I think about what I was most looking forward to on this trip one of the things was the opportunity to live off the clock and live on natures clock. Live by the tides, currents, weather and sun. It takes quite a while and an observant eye to catch onto the pace that exists for all of nature, (us modern humans excluded for the most part.) After living outside for six weeks, moving slowly in our loaded kayaks, moving up and down with the tides. Lying low in bad weather, and catching fish in good weather – some days the miles go by quickly others are a slow perseverance, you come to realize our modern civilized world’s sense of time is so unnatural. These past 6 weeks we are moving in the easy days. The summer days of long daylight and oceanic feasting, warm weather and light winds. On days like these you must feast and soak up as much sun as you can between the tides. Soon fall will come, we will return to our unnatural chaotic schedules under the artificial lights of our modern world and move about in our scheduled, unnatural time. But I will have experienced and lived in natural time – even if just for a few weeks- A true life experience.

Saturday August 4th Marine Radio Forecast
“Quasi stationary trough located on a ridge off of SE Alaska. Fog banks forming before morning Dixon Entrance East winds NW 5 -15 knots light in the morning, then becoming Southerly Sunday evening. SWEET, SWEET, SWEET.

We do Dixon entrance in the morning, Alaska is only 1 mile away from these Beautiful Boston islands. It looks like we might just have good weather for the last few days of this journey into Ketchikan, I can hardly think that is true, since after all this is SE Alaska. But if so…. AWESOME, I will be able to fish and eat and dry out on the warm rocks. Perhaps even tan more than just under my chin and nose, hands and face. My knives are so rusty. I have been honing them every day a bit to keep my filet knife working, but those Rock fish are killer on a sharp blade. I should have brought a small wet stone.

The old Raven just poked her head around the log looking for more of my fish egg treats.
Kwaaaa Kwaaaa.   Now I should move again, set up the tent and think about cooking dinner. Turn over some drying clothes on the logs. Perhaps a bonfire tonight??? If I have the energy.

#1 Substrate
Traci & I give the #1 substrate vote for camping to the pea gravel beach under the power lines on Texada island. Gravel heats up, is easy to move, its clean and does not stick to everything and your kayak slides easily on it without scratching.
Chocolate Bar count: we’ve lost count

Mile 756, Boston Island

Conditions: cool overcast foggy morning, clearing to a spectacular sunny afternoon, low 60s; barometer 1019

We got up super early (4:30am) or the dropping tide would leave us stranded in a rocky, muddy flat. Nice sand at high tide, treacherous rocks at the low. Lights and markers abound in these waters, as aids to navigation. Because of the fog – which wasn’t all that thick, but covered the land in a grey blanket – we just set course directly to Tracy Island. Our final goal was the Boston Islands, but we wanted to pass by our namesake. This was actually the second Tracy Island on this trip; another is near Eden Island/Joe’s Cove in the Broughtons.

Slow going. A slight NW breeze at 6am died a few hours later. Mirror calm. A Humpback escorted us north in the first hour, a few seal heads popped up, shy Dahl’s porpoises raced before us. Slowly Pointer Rocks came into view, and even more slowly we approached them. Enter the Twilight Zone – or Groundhog Day. We stopped to eat and drink, and drifted back a tenth of a mile in mere moments. Repeat. We set course directly for Boston Island, which theoretically would save us a couple miles, but it turns out we had to ferry across the current so it was no savings after all.

Tracy dropped a line, and within minutes bagged a salmon. Pink/Humpy this time. A little smaller than the last two salmon, a little more reasonable for the two of us.

We glimpsed a white sand/shell beach, and it is beautiful. We reached it as the tide was coming in, and now at high tide a small stretch of sand is still usable. Unbelievably, I have cell coverage. I called US customs in Ketchikan, and it sounds like no big deal. Then I called home and got to say “hi” to both David and Rachel this time. Yay! Tomorrow we will re-enter the US, but may have to back-track to Wales Island to fill up on water.

The evening sun hitting the trees and rocks in golden hues is unbelievably beautiful. Tracy says it is a crime to leave such a lovely place; I agree.

Quote(s) of the Day

TL Sea Gypsy version – YO, HO, HO, IT’S THE PIRATES LIFE FOR ME.
I come on shore and drop my drawers…. to pee, YO HO
I rip off my clothes, if the sun is out…. and wash in the sea.
Drink up mates, YO HO.
I fish, clean, and eat, my fare down the beach, YO HO
I swill from my flask, either Whisky or Rum, YO HO
So drink me up mates YO HO
YO, HO, HO It’s the pirates life for me. – TL

Tracy lands a humpy, video by TraciC
GoPro video by TracyL
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