Day 44, Monday August 6, 2012

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Monday August 6th

Yesterday evening when we landed here in SE Alaska paradise  we decided to stay as long as this beautiful sunny weather does.  Slept in this morning, only getting out of the tent at 6:10 am to pee, stretch and then most out of character, go back to bed.  What a luxury!

This morning the sunlight hit the North end of the beach by 8:00 am and its slowly marching across the small white sand cove towards our cook/food station on the South end of the beach.  I made crumbly whole wheat cakes with raisins for Traci and chocolate chips for me this morning. A slow work filled process when on a beach and working with a small 8” pan and MSR whisperlite stove that only wants to cook on high and the highest snow melting temperatures.  You get about 1 out of 4 properly flipped cakes, no matter how much butter you apply.  We used up the last of the chocolate chips Traci brought along.  She declared 2 days ago; “I am done with chocolate!” So I will have to keep eating the chocolate bars we have left over the next several days.  (That’s just too bad, isn’t it?)

Traci attempted to get me to eat up a big bag of raisins this morning since she has been packing them around for the past 6 1/2 weeks.  I stopped at 1 handful, at least for this morning.  We have been eating as well as you can with the great variety of dried fruits and vegetables and soup mixes Traci brought along.  Although, I find that for long paddling days and cold ones the venison jerky and cheese keeps me going the best.  We can both feel the difference mid-morning between days when we have had coffee and oatmeal before heading out and the days when we are getting off the beach quickly, just eating our various energy bars.  When you are lean, a full happy stomach results in an easier day on the sea.  Right now as this marvelous SE Alaska sun warms up the white sand and rocks, the tide is low. About 20 – 24 feet below the log I am using as a backrest as I write.  When I finish this I am going to pull on my wet paddling top and neoprene vest, pull out my mask and snorkel and see if I can stand the cold water temperature and dive around these rocks.  Perhaps I will find some urchins down there for miso soup, this afternoon?

Any artist would have subjects to paint here on this little beach for years.  Last night as the sun slowly marched Northward across the thin scattered cloudy sky, the colors on the rocks, trees, sand and water changed about every 20 minutes.   We landed around 6:45 pm floating on turquoise colored water over the white sand, with reflections of orange and brown from the fucus laden submerged boulders.  The sky was bright blue with high stratus clouds of various hues of greyish white.  As the hours went by, those colors slowly darkened into oily greenish grays reflecting on the gunmetal black colored water.  The trees became silhouettes of every dark emerald green you can imagine.  The white glimmering sand picked up interesting shadows adding texture to its surface.  Truly, can this be Alaska?  An artist would use every tint and color in the palette to paint just the transitions in color from last night on this lovely beach.

Today I will swim, tan, rest, work on my fishing tackle, clean and dry the tent, collect firewood from the beach on the other side of this island.. (The Westward side) beachcomb, perhaps make some jewelry, charge up all of my cameras via the sunlight.  My Goal zero solar charger is working great.  Just to name of few things I will do.

Over the past, almost 7 weeks Traci and I have camped and slept in 0ver 40 new places.  Staying in place for a day or two is really enjoyable.  Being on a little island beach paradise like this in the sun is really more than I could have imagined possible a few days ago.  I think we should remain for a few days if this beautiful weather holds.  We are ahead of schedule and we can pound out the final 50 or so miles to Ketchikan anytime we want to at this point.  As I look towards the South end of the beach I see what reminds me of the old copper tan commercial.  The one with the little girl laying on her stomach on a beach, half naked buttock up towards the sky as her small dog pulls down her shorts.  Only this is Traci C, floppy paddling hat covering her head and neck, purple tee shirt and small black shorts pulled halfway down her butt.  There is no one here but us.  So clothing is always optional.  It’s very relaxed, you don’t have to be self-conscious at all.  No men or any people, just us 2 fit, lean, very salty, middle aged sea gypsy women.  It’s quite relaxing actually, without any thoughts about appearance, sex, etc.  that come along with taking off your clothes, when you are raised in our culture.  I have never been much of an exhibitionist, even when I lived on Maui I always wore my bikini at the nude beach when diving or body surfing.  I am just not comfortable taking it all off.  So this is another nice experience that comes along with a journey like the one we are having.  Sorry guys – you have just missed out on us 2 old gals sans clothing at every sunny beach we landed on with warm rocks. As Traci C put it a few weeks ago as we lay on the sun warmed rocks in Desolation sound warming up our cold bodies….  “If David knew how much I would get naked out here when camping, he would want to come along!”  Hey, perhaps that is the incentive for future trips, shorter trips, with our husbands.  I just looked down the beach, no more sun hat, tee shirt or shorts down there. I think I will try the cold water now.   See if I can take the cold and explore what’s under the surface.

3:30pm  Fishing Report

I Just finished tying up a new hook and trimming a pink hoochie on my salmon killer spoon.  I’m ready to go out fishing again.  Yesterday, while travelling here; around 30 miles, I trolled whenever I could.  I really, really, really, wanted to get another salmon.  As soon as we crossed Point Fox and headed North there was a US gill netter about every ½ mile, setting and pulling in nets full of salmon.  Unfortunately, a big black rock fish grabbed my line and stressed my poorly tied on hook.  At least protein for dinner was in the bag.  I kept on trolling, having to use my back up leader, (pink skirt with double hooks, one trailing) There was a ton of eel grass and kelp, so at least half the time my hooks were not fishing and every time I slowed down, my line dropped and a  rock fish hooked up.  I let 3 of them go before keeping the last one for dinner and reeling in my line.  So…. no salmon last night.  We did have an amazing 4 cut up filet’s of rockfish sautéed in flavored rice with carrots and tomatoes.   Traci is a real trooper and patient partner in all of this, because fishing slows down my kayak speed especially when I have to stop to check my line or fight a fish.  She never complains, just talks about how good the fish tastes.  I really appreciate this because being able to fish and dive for the occasional urchin is a major reason for my doing this trip.  To just paddle on by some of the best nature in the world and not partake in the natural food web and miss out on all of that great fishing and gathering fun would be crazy, the way I see it.

Recap: Yesterday I hooked 5 rockfish, kept 2 ,  No Salmon would bite!

I braved the cold but beautiful waters off this island with my mask and snorkel.  It was truly beautiful under the water, worth the hour or so it took me to warm my body back up in the sun.  I found no urchins or crabs large enough to grab.  I floated over 6 foot tall eelgrass fields covered in epiphytic algae, periwinkles, egg cases and a myriad of other life forms just a bit too small to try to identify.  Besides, I was looking for things to eat.  Small olive green kelp crabs were in abundance and several  different species of kelp and ulva covered, actually littered, the bottom making it impossible to see anything underneath them.  The many shades of olive green and browns of the kelp and brighter greens of ulva were broken up now and again by pink splotches  of coralline algae.  There is so much life that the water itself here is not clear.  There were clouds of algae and plankton floating all around like drifting snow in the water column.

As we paddled up from Cape Fox yesterday, we paddled through rainbows of bright orange and slightly pink algae blooms.  Campbell’s tomato soup mix came to mind to both Traci and I.  That is exactly what some of the water looks like in places.  This morning even our beautiful turquoise water over white shell sand beach had a pinkish orange line on the shore from the algae.  No shell fish would we consume here this time of year, even if I found it.

The colors here on a day like this are amazing! I attempted to wash my hair and scalp with soap today after snorkeling, no go.  I can’t get the suds into my scalp at this point.   My salty dreadlock hair is too stiff.  It will have to wait for hot clean fresh water.  Sea Gypsy that I am. My once clean and state of the art new Epic 18x is now a true sea gypsy craft complete with the following items I have brought along or collected from the sea.

Abalone shell
Old wood paddle
Fish net with fish in a white bag.
Carpenters level.
Smart wool sox.
Camping spoon.
Skull of a dead predator (I might not be able to carry this one)

Time to go catch dinner.    Its so calm and there still 5 more hours of sun!

10:30pm – Oops that’s 9:30 Alaska time.   Sitting alongside the beautiful bonfire up on this white sand beach.  The seas are calm, the sky is dark in various shades of grey, still pinkish light on the far northern horizon.  I am hot.  Sweaty even, here by the fire in my long pants and black sweater – bug protection.  The tide is low again and far below me.  Traci has gone off to bed.  This is likely the last beautiful night I will be able to enjoy like this – so I will linger.  “Never sleep away the summer night”, so Knut says and of course as all people of the North know, he is right.  (I just knocked a big ½” bug off my left hand)  I am using my headlamp to write. Bug attractor.  No salmon this afternoon.  I paddled out to troll.  They are jumping everywhere, I even watched them swim under my kayak and follow my spoon.  One strike only, no real biters. Frustrating! So I jigged and brought up a true cod and the largest rock fish I have caught to date.  Dinner was exceptional.  Battered and pan fried fish with garlic mashed potatoes.  First class, Traci can really cook and what a view we have here on this beach!

The weather is supposed to change, perhaps fog and some rain tomorrow.  So we will pack up and head North.  Two giant cruise ships passed on the Sound this evening and you can hear the low drone of fishing boat engines in the background at all times.  Ketchikan draws near.  Time for bed.

TracyL
Chocolate Bar count: I’m sure we had some today…

Rest day: DeLong Islands

Conditions: sunny and warm, low/mid 60s; barometer steady at 1019

Unlike the past several days, many days, this day started clear and bright. Simply lovely. I will take pictures, but no one will believe this is SE Alaska. I wouldn’t either if I weren’t here myself! Slept in, listening to the varied bird calls, now stuffed with pancakes and looking forward to a sunny day in a beautiful spot to do nothing. No paddling, no gear schlepping, just a whole lot of nothing. My body is tired!

***

Unbelievable. Sunny hot lazy day. Everything is dry, all the electronics are charged up. Unfortunately, it sounds like the rain will return tomorrow, and settle in for a few days. Tracy wants to hang out here another day, but if it rains I want to move on. Today was a gift, a blessing, but we can’t expect another.

This whole trip has been a gift and blessing. The areas that were supposed to be tough and difficult ended up being mild and calm. This was partially due to planning, looking at tides and currents, listening to weather forecasts, listening to the birds, listening to ourselves, watching the sea and sky, and some sheer luck and good fortune. Other spots turned out to be unexpectly difficult or challenging: constant headwinds in Johnstone Strait, barbed wire on Yorke Island, Broken Islands bear, pinned by wind at Lewis Cove and Bedford Island; it sounds trite, but without the trying times would we truly appreciate these glorious days of beauty?

***

And today I got *sunburned*? In southeast Alaska?? I put sunscreen on my face and arms, but I was running around in shorts. Yes, even at latitude 54 the sun will burn! Not bad, just pink. Stupid! The sun was sure nice though…!

***

Mink occasionally run across the beach. I just saw on catch and carry off something almost its size out of the corner of my eye. A rat?

***

What I am looking forward to in Ketchikan:
1. Shower – hot and soapy!
2. Laundry
3. I am going to drink a quart of the best, freshest orange juice I can find

TraciC
Quote(s) of the Day

“I think I really want a carbonated beverage”  TL

GoPro video by TracyL
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Day 43, Sunday August 5, 2012

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Sunday August 5th

We left Beautiful Boston island and headed North towards Fox point. Stopping along the way to collect water at stream located the day before on my gps. It was an amazing steep beach with giant round boulders and river rocks. We climbed up over boulders and huge drift logs to find the stream and mini water fall that poured out of the Forrest. After collecting several liters of tea colored water we both braved the ice cream headache and rinsed out our hair in the small pool made by the stream. Then back to climbing over giant logs and boulders and down to our kayaks. We launched again heading towards Cape Fox and beyond. The seas around the Dixon entrance were calm and although we had to fight a current most of the day we slowly worked our way North. It was not boring paddling because of the dynamic scenery and gill netters every ¼ mile to pass. We stopped at Tree Bluff light house for a break. This was a cool spot that could be campable, even old building still in place, but it is very exposed to the West, so we pushed on and on despite being tired, to the Delong islands. A fisherman told Traci tomorrow will be even nicer weather – of course he was right. Fishermen know weather, they have to. We landed on the beautiful sand beach!

Amazing moments –

 The colors of the bonfire on Delong island.  Glowing embers orange, on the white sand beach, as the water was an oily, gun metal grey and the sky turned dark with a glowing pink horizon.

Dolphin escort in the fog as we left Blundon harbor early in the morning. The sound of the large pod as they swam and then turned to pass near us….. Amazing!

Fishing out near the navigation buoy off of Tree Point amongst all of the feeding birds as humpback whales bubble net fished all around me.

The Eagle clutching a seabird in its talons as it squawked its death words……

The absolute stillness and grace of a Big Grizzly bear as it approached our tent in the tree line on Broken island.

TracyL

Chocolate Bar count: lost
EXPERT KAYAK MERIT BADGE

Paddling the entire BC coastline!

Mile 786, DeLong Islands

Conditions: cool grey morning, clear afternoon, low/mid 60s; barometer steady at 1019

We took a lazy, leisurely approach to the start of the day. Well, not exactly lazy, but while we didn’t rush, we didn’t dawdle either. Got a good breakfast of oatmeal, did the gear schlepping, and got off the beach. Then Tracy realized her GPS batteries were dead, so I just drifted gently in the cove while I waited. Quiet. And then there was a head, right at the junction of my kayak and my paddle held perpendicular across my lap. Good morning seal! My thinking brain was torn between the desire to reach out and touch the nose (that close!), or to try for the camera. The rest of me merely stayed still, in the moment, and experienced the connection with the seal. After a moment, she slipped under my boat and popped up several yards away on the other side.

Tracy got her batteries set, and we paddled over to Sitkan Island where her GPS showed a stream. Yes indeed, right on target. We filled our bags with the tea-coloured water – should be enough to get us to Ketchikan. We got back into our kayaks, with no particular destination in mind, but several options open to us. Two miles later we crossed the border into Alaska/USA. We have paddled the entire coast of British Columbia!

When we reached Nakat Bay, the last opening before Cape Fox, Tracy set up her fishing operation. We could see a few other boats fishing in the distance around us. We soon encountered red algae, which flowed around us the entire width of the bay. At some points it was as thick and orange as Campbell’s Tomato Soup (condensed). It would thicken and thin, in striated layers, but never completely disappeared.

The sky was still and grey, with a light early mist – heavy mist – giving way to lighter greys. We passed between Cape Fox and Fox Island. More fishing boats appeared, and as we rounded the cape they were lined up every quarter mile as far as the eye could see. Gill netters.

We ate a quick bite, and because the conditions were so mild we took advantage of that and kept going. More red algae out here, and incredibly it was even thicker and brighter than in Nakat Bay. At Tree Point, the first US lighthouse (manned until the 1970’s) we spotted a small beach just south of the light. We pulled into a steep, cobbled beach, which turned out to hold the buildings and winch for the old lighthouse crew. More tomato soup sea and a very steep beach, so we didn’t stay long.

The wind was still mild – switching/variable from light NW to W, supposedly eventually to S. We thought it best to clear Dixon Entrance while the conditions were good, so back into the kayaks. Very tired, we ended up making it to the DeLong Islands, at the north end of Foggy Bay. This area was supposed to have some good camping, and we found a superb white sand beach still in the sun. Paradise, after a lovely day! We came ashore, and like good sea nymphs stripped nekkid in the sun. Glorious. Eagles in the trees, mink on the shore, sand above high tide – we will take a rest day here. And I thought I wouldn’t see the sun again this trip.

GoPro video by TracyL
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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.

TracyL
#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.

TraciC
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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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.

TracyL
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.

TraciC

Kitsun Island in the morning, video by TraciC

Tree Bluff in the evening, video by TracyL
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Day 40, Thursday August 2, 2012

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Thursday August 2nd 2012.

I caught a 10 – 15 pound Coho today, too heavy to lift up the net with one arm. We ate it this afternoon with a small portion of instant cheesy potatoes. My belly is very full, my feet are warm and happy, My clothes are dry.

After being held up due to weather the past two days, we awoke early and paddled over to Porcher island to collect water on our journey here. Alongside Lewis island we saw a pair of Sand hill cranes and then later several others calling. They make the most interesting calls and eerie noises. We also saw a family of white tail deer as we stood in a creek collecting water, when they noticed me, they headed back into the woods. The water is so calm today. Absolutely no indication of what it was like just a day ago. It’s simply amazing how everything can change so much in 6 hours.

When we landed here I stripped down and took my castile soap down to the water’s edge to dunk my head and body and wash my hair. Brrrr. But I don’t smell bad, salty dreadlocks and all.

Evening:  Sitting on a log next to my kayak on a Esperance golden sand beach on Kitson island. Listening to the ravens making strange calls and the thrum of their wings as they glide over my head. My view is out over the opening of the Skeena river, Porcher island to my right and down towards the Grenville channel . I am drinking Bacardi gold straight from the flask and eating my vanilla pudding. Today was an excellent day!

So I will end it with an excellent view and a half inebriated state of bliss and instant vanilla pudding. Why Not? I deserve it. The wind is calm and the skies high overcast. An Alaskan sunny evening. Two ravens and a gull work the water line about 20 feet below the raff line where I sit now eating, drinking, and writing about it. All that’s left to do is to lay down in the tent and fall asleep. Kitson island is a beautiful and safe place to stay. – no worries here. My belly is full of Coho Salmon that I caught today and steamed in butter and dill. I think I ate about 4 pounds of it and Traci C ate the rest.

8:10pm 4 shots of run and bowl of vanilla pudding. I think I am done for this most excellent day.
AARGHH!! I just have to rinse out my bowl, cover up my kayak from raven, brush my teeth and head up to the tent in the tree line.

Today’s highlights
Passed the 700 miles mark.
No rain.
Saw deer and amazing sand hill cranes.
Collected water at a stream.
Paddled 19 miles.
Caught a big Coho.
Ate all of it.
Basked in the Alaska sun.
Bathed and washed in the sea.
Dried out most of my gear.
Watched a juvenile eagle eat my Coho carcass as I ate the cooked salmon.

TracyL
Chocolate Bar count: 32

Mile 713, Kitsun Island, just outside Prince Rupert

Conditions: clear, calm, high 50s/low60s; barometer 1025 – wow

Gorgeous day. We got up early – 5am – to get the early morning calm conditions. I like paddling early, so that when we reach our destination we have time to relax and enjoy it (weather permitting, of course!). But I’m getting ahead of myself – except let me say now that today is about as perfect as you can get. We headed over to Porcher Island to get water, and while chilly, it was easy to do. We passed some sand cranes, always in pairs, who make the most amazing call.

Currents are either neutral, or mildly with us – except for some weird swirly stuff as we approached Porcher – probably from the Oona River, and probably due to increased flow from the rain yesterday.

Tracy started trolling after we left the shallow waters off Porcher, and about three miles from Kitsun she asked if the currents had turned against us. No, not that I could tell. She stopped to reel in and check her line – yep, something was on it. In fact, a big, fat, shiny, beautiful silver was on the line. Holy cow, what a gift! She netted it and stored it on deck, and Kitsun was right there in front of us like a mirage – large sandy beach, hammock in the woods, camping safe from the high spring tides. Simply amazing. Once ashore, I strew my gear about everywhere, washed in the sea, and rinsed my shorts. Big improvement for all.

Solar panels charging, belly full of fish, this amazing adventure continues. While we were eating our fish, a young eagle was keeping a very close eye on the salmon carcass Tracy had thrown into the water. Two crows were keeping a close eye on the eagle. Wasting no energy the eagle waited for the retreating tide to reveal the carcass, at which point she swooped down and grabbed it, and started log-hopping to keep it from the crows. Another eagle called from the trees, but did not partake in the action.

I am OD’d on delicious silver/coho. It is amazing how much fish two skinny white girls can pack away.

As I write this, a group of kayakers is coming ashore – three singles and a double, one with a sail…

(…later)

Turned out to be a nice group – family actually – finishing a five day trip. This was just a pit stop for them, so after chatting a bit they took off. They gave us some pointers on nearby camping spots, so we are set for starting the home stretch.
Tracy had cell coverage! Go Verizon (still nothing from ATT). I got to call home and say “hi” to Rachel. Nice! David wasn’t home yet. Bummer – not so nice :-(

TraciC

Sandhill cranes video by TraciC

Tracy lands a silver! video by TraciC
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Day 39, Wednesday August 1, 2012

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August 1st.   (Not that it matters out here.)

Inside our tent weather. Courtesy of the Kestrel pocket weather tracker:
Humidity 88.8%, Temp. 62.8 Barometer 1018.8
Yesterday’s miles on the water = 0
Miles covered walking on logs = 3
Hours spent in the tent = 16
Everything is damp:
The tent.
My sleeping bag.
My wool socks, jacket, hat, & boots.
My hair –  of course.
Basically everything – but that doesn’t mean it is cold or soaking wet.

Well, August is starting out with a blow. We are still tent bound on Bedford island up on our high water deck. The rain started along with those gale force winds about midday yesterday and continued all night long. We set up Traci C’s small tarp to catch rainwater and channel it into a plastic container that I cut in half that was washed up on the beach. We will have to venture out this morning to see if it worked or if the spring high tide messed it up. I still have around 4 liters of water and we have plenty of food, so its more for security and experience than a desperate need. If the forecast is right we should be able to hit the water this afternoon when these winds calm down. It doesn’t sound like it is raining anymore. Of course, everything we were wearing yesterday afternoon while eating a quick bite and setting up the rain cache is soaked. The only way to dry anything is body heat and that is a long and uncomfortable process even for quickly drying clothing like we have.

Despite the high winds, cracking and billowing blue tarp and the loud pounding of the rain on plastic, I managed to sleep quite a bit. Around 2:00 am I crawled out onto the deck in the storm to pee and retrieve my water bag. A white skinny naked lady crawling alongside the tent underneath the low blue tarp, trying not to fall off the planks. What a sight that would have been!. When I got back in the tent I attempted to massage some of my muscles to get as much rest and recuperation as possible while we are weathered in here. I don’t have all that much left to massage. Even though I can’t see myself, I can feel that every part of me is smaller. Hah, people used to say that I was lean – nope. Now I am lean. Before I was just a safe, well fed, healthy modern athletic weight. I now have a truly lean body. It does make you realize how we as a society are used to a well fed, fat normal. I had plenty of reserves on me before this trip. Now I don’t. I feel just fine however, and eat whenever I can and as much as I can. I sure would like a chance to catch another salmon. That was the best eating I have ever done and I would love some more of that.

7:45 am still blowing.
I think I need to venture outside. Try to set up some things to dry a bit and wipe myself down. Then I think I will switch into my dry suit.  This sort of weather is what I brought it for.

Wednesday 8/1/2012 2:45pm  After the storm and rain.
It is simply amazing how a change in the weather can change life’s possibilities.
It’s not blowing and raining now however we will rest out this day and continue North in the early morning. Probably against a NW headwind and perhaps a tidal current- but who cares. We will be rested and ready to leave our deck on the island. Gypsy’s never remain in any one place.   Some outdoor words of experience come to mind here such as: Wait to emerge from your tent and continue your travels when nature says its OK to go. For instance, when the birds come out you know its ok to be outside and use energy again. Nothing is ever wasted in the natural world. Waste of energy is a unnatural, modern world human habit. In the natural world if you waste energy you die. Thus the animals will tell you when it makes sense to break camp and continue, if you listen.  Traci and I figure that given the amount of energy and time it takes to break down a camp and move and reload the kayaks, then repeat at a new location, its is not worth the energy spent unless you can travel at least 10 miles. This equates to just under 3 hours of kayak time at our average speed.  For me, part of the joy of this experience is to be able to move and live on natures time. This can be frustrating unless you give up the artificial idea of modern western time. You live in a sort of dream time/nature time. Never knowing exactly when you will arrive or what will happen when you get there. How long you will stay in a place, when you will eat, or brush your teeth, if you will be able to fish or build a fire, sleep in your tent or under your tarp. If you can camp on the beach or have to be up in the tree line.  But if you are smart, in tune with what nature tells you- you can be pretty confident that you will arrive when you get there.

The birds came out this afternoon. I will build a bonfire this evening between the high tides and we will leave Bedford island early in the morning.

Last night I awoke at high tide around 2:00 am and went outside the tent. Balancing on the boards of our deck to pee and take a look around. The silence was so loud after being in a gale for a day and a half. I could see light off I the distant North sky, even at 2:00am . All around me, where the beach is was black water, the still water of a 22 foot high tide. Only now it was silent water. Not a puff of wind from the sky or wave to be heard. A truly amazing transformation from the raucous 2 nights before with waves slapping against logs and storm winds cracking the blue tarp and tent along with the pounding of rain drops on the plastic. The silence was so overwhelming that Traci and I had trouble falling asleep. You could hear every crack of a branch that creeping animals in the woods made, every fish jump, and every gurgle of the relentlessly incoming spring tide.

TracyL
Daily Menu
1 dark chocolate bar dipped in nutella.
5 pan sized chocolate chip pancakes in butter.
water.
cashew nuts.
1 landjager peperoni stick.
Lots of cheese.
Dried mango slices.
How to stay in good spirits while weathered out.
Warm coffee when you can.
Dry wool socks.
Traci C reading Tim Cahill stories in the tent.
Reading my wacky journal entries.
Taking care to wipe yourself clean whenever you can (chamois baths in rainwater with Castile soap.)
Eat several times a day in between the rain squalls.
Chocolate Bar count: 31
EXPERT KAYAK MERIT BADGE

Three days in one location – a record

Weather day, Bedford Island

Conditions: strong SE winds; barometer 1018

Tent temp: 62F, 88.8% humidity

I wonder if the barometer is still working, as it is remarkably steady for the high winds in the area. All night long the wind howled, blowing through the trees and ripping through the tarp and tent. Our “stinky cheese tent at high tide” was much more secure in its new location, but with all the sounds we were still wakeful most of the night. The wind was still howling in the morning, and the weather forecast was for it to continue until the afternoon, so here we will stay and rest for another day. T2 is unconcerned about water, but I am such a boy scout that I set up a tarp to catch the rain into a water container we found on the beach. Partial success – turns out the container had a leak, but between that and the water trapped in my cockpit cover I got nearly two liters. That makes me happier.

An interesting thing happened today, which surprised and shocked me. I have exceeded my chocolate threshold. I didn’t even know I had a chocolate threshold. I have always been able to consume copious amounts of chocolate. Preferably, dark, plain, or with hazelnuts… I long ago turned myself into a chocolate snob to put some limits on my intake. Tracy and I have frequently enjoyed sharing good dark chocolate after a training paddle in the winter – we both definitely preferred high quality, high cocoa content dark chocolate. Well, here in the wild we found we both preferred milk chocolate, and even better with fruit and nuts. That alone was a surprise! Well, today we had chocolate chips in our pancakes, and something about the heavy pancakes and dark chocolate chips was just too much. No. More. Chocolate. Done with it.

***

It is now 1:30pm, and the wind is definitely calming down, and the birds we haven’t seen are starting to come out again. Good sign. Hopefully it will be calm in the morning and we can continue. Full moon tonight – spring tides, but they should start easing for the rest of the journey.

T2 is concerned that I am “wussing out” on her, but I am ready to be on to Ketchikan and home. I decided I want to be in Ketchikan by my birthday (the 13th). I am enjoying this amazing adventure, am totally thrilled to be here and doing it, absolutely no regrets, but I am tired of this island and ready to be moving forward to my family, home, and friends. Soon.

I also need to mention the amazing candlefish here (can’t remember the native name for these oily, sardine-like fish…). T2 went to clean/wash in the bay, and the fish were swarming and spawning in vast quantities. A swirling mass of fish. With a scoop of her cookpot she brought up three of them. A little bigger than sardines, fat, oily, and happy. She released them as we have plenty of food, and they are likely very boney as well as oily. Their presence would explain the eagles we saw on shore when we first arrived.

Random Thoughts (three days on the island has me writing more!)

Sounds of the inside passage

• Silence with the sound of water running, made by the passage of Pacific Whiteside Dolphins on a still morning outside Blunden Harbor
• The “African Queen” sound of what turned out to be the David B heading down Mathieson Sound
• The utter silence and stillness of Reid Passage
• Loons in Grenville Channel/Klewnuggit Inlet
• Owl on Bedford Island
• The blow of grey, humpback, and minke whales
• The various sounds of water, always. The lapping up to our camp on Camano Island. The tidy bowl effect on Smith Island, waiting to run the rapids. The relentless approach on Bedford, wondering if we built our platform high enough.
• Sand Cranes! On Lewis, just east of Porcher Island. I took a video simply to capture the haunting, echoing sound. (note: this particular sound was added August 2 – look for the video there)
• Humminbirds dive-bombing us everywhere
• The squawking of a dying seabird carried in the talons of an eagle at Tree Bluff (note: this particular sound was added August 3)
• The early morning calls of morning birds, unseen from our tent, as I wake in the morning. Ravens I recognize, but other sweeter calls, chirps, trills, and songs.

Food

• Chocolate. I am tired of it.
• Mashed potatoes – surprisingly still good. Packed too much though, and I’ll probably not want them for a while after I get home.
• Dried mangoes = AWESOME
• Cheese and venison jerky = MORE awesome
• T2’s salmon with garlic – best of all
• What I want when I get home: fresh fruit – lots of it. Fresh squeezed orange juice. Yogurt.

Gear

• Love my JL polypro top. Wearing almost daily.
• She-skin tights were not a good choice. Not breathable enough. Mostly using on shore for bug protection.
• Lotus capris – very good. Great for paddling, but full leg coverage for bug protection on shore is needed.
• Mysterioso shorts and short sleeve mock-T – also very good, but I should have brought the full-on tights.
• Kokatat jacket and pants, gore-tex light – AWESOME. Whenever the JL top isn’t enough, I pop the jacket over. Pants mostly used for protection on shore, rather than for paddling.
• Kokatat drysuit – either I’m sweating up a storm or it is leaking. I’ve only worn it a handful of times because it is too warm, and not so good for relief while paddling.
• Kokatat cag – this is great. Only worn a couple times when paddling, which turns me into a giant orange pumpkin, but it is great for extra coverage when stopping.
• Keen sandals – working great and good grip on rocks. My standard paddling footwear. Barefoot underneath for the most part, but when it’s cooler I’ll pop on a pair of wool socks.
• Kokatat boots – almost great. If they were waterproof (the neoprene lets a little water seep in at the seams) they would be perfect. I had second thoughts about keeping them initially because they were hard to pull on, but I’m glad I kept them. They have held up well, good grip, and pack up easily.
• Eta Packlight stove – amazingly faithful! Ignition is occasionally overwhelmed by moisture, but it still works at odd times. With a lighter it fires up every time, and it is reasonably fuel efficient.
• North face sleeping back (Cornice model, I think – I’ve had it a while) and silk cocoon – great. I have been warm every night.
• Spot – quirky, but I get amazing peace of mind knowing I am able to update friends and family. Odd worries at times: what if it breaks/gets lost/stops working? Still going strong. Recommendations: should be neon orange! The software sucks! Can only look at options/settings/history (on iphone) if actively connected to the SPOT. Sometimes history doesn’t seem to record a successful message (I send again in this case; David says that’s resulted in dups). Once I accidently deleted all the contact/message info on the iphone when the device wasn’t connected and my cold fumble fingers hit the button saying “I don’t have a SPOT device” by accident. Bad SPOT software!

What has surprised me

• The relative ease I fell into the outdoor life. OF course, T2 is the consummate outdoors woman, so I just supplement her expertise. However, I am not fond of camping in the rain with high winds and tides. Like now. Blech.
• The different, varied, *intelligent* calls of Ravens. I will miss them when I return home to raucous crows.
• How much time and effort it takes to simply load and unload the kayaks, and to move them up and down the beach (chasing or running from the swiftly moving tides). Time to set up/take down camp, cook and eat. Sometimes the effort to even create a campsite – scraping space level, building wood platforms, a new home every night…
• Leisure time = none. Or if there is any, too tired, sore, aching to do anything like knit, sketch, or paint. My hands were a mess for the first few weeks – healing blisters from bad gloves/taped paddle at the beginning of the trip, then swelling, then a couple scrapes and/or barnacle dings. Doing pretty well now, but I still get the white fluffy fingertips of death from cold and wet all too easily.
• How important journaling is. This = my leisure time, and absolutely critical to record each day’s varied adventure before they all run together in memory. Time has no meaning out here, other than tides and currents, and nature’s opportunities – or not – for paddling.

Best purchases

• Tim Cahill’s “Jaguars Ripped My Flesh” at the Refuge Cove used book exchange. Great bedtime reading for adventurers! Although T2’s journal may be even better.
• Deoderant. Has kept us civilized (and able to remain friends while sharing one tent)

What I hate

• White fluffy fingertips of doom!

TraciC
Quote(s) of the Day

(Random thoughts in dream time, aka 16 hours in a tent.)   “New sea gypsy names for ourselves:  “Tracy the damp hair”.   and “Traci the white hyde”.  – TL

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Day 38: Tuesday July 31, 2012

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1:00 pm Tuesday July 31st.

July is not going out with a whimper here. The forecast was for a gale force SE winds building in the morning. We took down the tent and tarp, at breakfast, saw the white caps by 8:00 am and declared this a rest day. Weathered in. Since the spring tide tonight will be 22 plus feet, even 2 feet higher than last night, we rebuilt our awesome driftwood deck/tent pad up another 3 feet. Just above the salal line. It’s quite a view and great for airing out the tent. I put some biology knowledge and common sense to work and wiped down the entire tent in salt water. That should kill most of the mildew (Salt = osmosis death.) We are now in Alaska summer = no sun and high cool air.  Even so, the tent will dry in 15-20 knot winds up on this deck. I will repeat this process of salt wipe down every opportunity I get to avoid our lovely tent becoming a cheese hut of smelly mildew. I also wiped out the tent bag and soaked the rain fly in the sea. Then rinsed and greased the zippers. Other rest day chores include cooking up chocolate chip pancakes out of the wind in between huge drift logs down the beach and eating them until we were both sick of chocolate. Since we are ahead of schedule, we have no time worries with weather and we have more food than we want to carry. So, we try to eat the heavy items first before the lighter ones. We certainly did not underestimate on food supplies and we have covered a lot of miles in the few days since picking up our box in Klemtu. The chocolate bars are heavy and we need to eat lots of chocolate – oh darn!  Although I over did it at breakfast between the logs this morning. Pancake mix is heavy, so down the hatch they went. Burp.

The coast guard chopper flew overhead a few minutes ago with its rescue basket hanging down. I hope everyone is safe, like we are today. The forecast is for this South easterly to blow through today and calm seas in the morning. If that is the case we will work our way up from here in the Gibson islands to Lewis island,  5.5 miles and then island hop along Porcher island up to Kitson island, about 20 miles if we can. The nice thing is that there are pull out options along the way if needed. I am very glad we made such good progress through princess Royal channel and the ditch. Really who does all that in 4 days????? (0nly us I think).  We are currently about 6 days from Ketchikan and we have just over 2 weeks to get there. So, we can afford some of these bad weather days. I would love to see a couple of sunny days before the end of the trip. You can tell we are near Alaska by the weather. Colder, grey skies, wind and rain. I am very thankful that it has not rained hard here, since we arrived yesterday. Just blowing a storm, cold and grey. Although …..now the rain has started to fall.

One amazing thing I saw this morning was the spawning of candlefish on the shore. It was so cool to be in a place at the right time (full moon & spring tide) when they come right on shore and spawn. A big ball of fat little sardine like fish. I dipped my cook pot in and scooped up 3 of them to show Traci C. Decided not to cook them up since we have so much food and I think they would be pretty oily with lots of small bones. I thought the eagles would swoop down for a feast, but they did not. Perhaps my presence scared them away? If so, the fish are lucky this time. I tried to film it and I think I got it just before my camera battery ran out. This was another amazing sight to see.

I might be finished filming since my go pro would not charge up from the battery pack for some unknown reason. It has worked so well over the past few weeks. I’ll be bummed if it fails now in the last stretch.

Traci C is napping as I write this. Later I will try to catch some z’s as well. I don’t nap well mid-day it seems.    We both needed a rest day, so this storm is good timing for us actually. We have quite the cool set up as well – now if only I could get the blue tarp to be quiet when it flaps in the wind.     TracyL

Chocolate Bar count: + 2 more =31
EXPERT KAYAK MERIT BADGES

Setting up a rain catch system.
Waiting out a wet gale in a tent.

Weather day, Bedford Island

Conditions: stiff SE winds; barometer ???

Last night was an interesting one. We retreated to our log platform camp, and as the tide rose along with the wind, we began to wonder if our platform would become a raft. The tide rose considerably higher than either of us expected, but we remained above it. Neither of us could sleep until we were sure it had turned; it was rather disconcerting to feel our “raft” shake as logs bumped our support structure. *My* air mattress would float, I’m not so sure about T2’s 😉 High tide in the Stinky Cheese Tent on Bedford Island. Yes, stinky cheese tent. We didn’t use the blue tarp on Gribble Island a few nights back, lulled into false security by an evening clearing and glimpse of the moon in the night sky. In the morning, the tent and everything else was soaked with rain. Wet drybags are no big deal – the gear inside does stay nice and dry – but the tent got packed away wet and there has not been any opportunities to dry it out. This morning at least it was dry – and very windy – so T2 washed it down with castile soap and salt water. At least it smells better now. It’s drizzling, gusty, and wet right now. Thankfully no bugs. The weather report is for gale force winds, so we rebuilt our platform at a higher level, and are hunkered down for a rest/weather day.

TraciC
Quote(s) of the Day

When you are a Sea Gypsy like me you:
Never stay in one place long.
When you arrive you unpack all your gear and spread it all around.
You pitch a tent and hang your stuff up all over the place.
Poop and pee wherever you feel the urge to do so.
You don’t have time to launder clothes or do a full body bath.
You take your trash with you when you depart.
No wonder Gypsy’s seem so uncivilized to those who remain in one place.

TL

GoPro video by TracyL
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