Fri 08/06-2018 Day 226

Pos: 57.6023,-155.7407
Loc: South of Dry Bay
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent

no paddling today

Our first day off paddling…not that we couldn’t paddle today, but this was the worst forecast out of a range of god to reasonable weather day. Up to 17 knots headwind nw. I decided for myself during the night we should have today a day off paddling to recover our sore old bodies aching in many corners, after seven days of continuous paddling.

Catriona with her three weeks paddling together with me rather thought we could have also gone today, but my experience on ultra-long distance paddling told me, a full day off is better than two half-days of paddling. And I have some more months to go…

Tomorrow, we have following winds, and we should paddle a longer day to one of the upcoming bear-free islands…lol…Catriona said, she can’t remember when she had a day “off”, but this day “off” is only a day off “physical paddling” for me, not off the trip. Many chores to do today…and yes, this trip is kind of work for me. Very pleasant work, for sure, but it is not a “holiday”. I am full filling my commitments in many ways.

We thought this morning, we discovered another bear track on top of ours, but were not fully sure. Nothing to notice during the night. Maybe we should carry a rake to wipe out all prints from the previous day to be better able to see the new ones? I could use our our wee red tent brush for the job…

Our tent was noisily shaking all night, Iit’s probably good to chase all nosy animals away. We leave both end’s doors half open from the top, rolled and clipped down with a cloth peg to be able to view the surrounding area during a short wake up at night…you never know. Rather *I* am viewing, as I have to pee twice at night, I have no idea how Catriona manages to not pee for hours on end on paddling and during the night…?

In the regard of round view, my Hilleberg Allak two person tent was unbeatable, but we decided to go for a roomy four person tunnel tent for the two of us, which we enjoy very much with plenty of personal space and two entrances. We usually sleep head to toe, each of us sticks her head out to the private entrance. A great setup if you are not a loving hugging couple!

But we kind of “love” each other, respecting each other, so far no serious argument, and we think it will stay like that! Catriona is great company as I knew her from our few mutual days around Ireland, and from her caring support on my UK/ Ireland talking tour when I was sick. Thanks for that! She is a skillful paddler, eager to learn what she doesn’t know yet, very ambitious to top herself, tenacious and stubborn when the going gets tough(er), and a lot of fun to hang out with. Simply a great paddling partner!

I didn’t wake Catriona this morning, and she raised one eye at 7 am to say good morning, but closed it very soon again when I said we’ll have off today…and she slept in until 10 am or such. I meanwhile started working, means editing about 1000 mutual pictures…until I dropped the laptop to join into sleep until lunchtime…we had some wraps for lunch, and the same sleeping/ working thing continued for me in the afternoon, until I was through with our pictures. Not much else done today than feeling my aching body, sleeping and working on the pics…but around seven, I joined Catriona on the rocks who enjoyed animal watching with her great quality binoculars.

I made a fire for burning our trash, and kept it going with heaps of driftwood until we finished our risotto rice dinner. Fully recovered, I’m eager to paddle tomorrow again!

Catriona: Freya is correct, I was at aloss as to what to do on a day off… Desi will tell you, I don’t know how to stop lol and climbing the hills, wander up the lovely river or just heading for a stroll ….was out of the question…. on the bear imprinted land lol what to do??? As we went to sleep early last night I was actually awake at 5am and enjoyed another wee map reading and measuring distance done and distance to do on my phone… 525 km still to do… the excitement of it is still a ball of adrenaline in my chest…. a feeling I enjoy.

When Freya said we were having today of, indeed I grew concerned, being aware of the distance to do and need for almost all days paddling, allowing maybe 1 or 2 for bad weather days. I really want to make it to Sand Point… I know I will have to accept if I can’t…. but like Freya says I can be very focused and determined sometimes. lol.

So today I set myself a task of some mindfulness, mindfulness in what I see, hear and in what I am experiencing. Today I reflected on the past 10 days, first my days with Deb and Eric… Deb, today, I found the little note you left me in my journal. Thank you so much. It was just what I needed today xxx

While reflecting, I was enjoying my binoculars. It’s amazing how much goes on around us that we don’t see, but is visible through the extra lenses. Today, I watched a full whale display, maybe 20 or 30 whales, breaching and splashing, maybe a thousand birds around them. I tried to photograph, but even zoomed right in and then the photo zoomed in all I caught was a splash of water. But through the binoculars I could see so much. I leaned against a rock and used the rock to balance the binoculars as I do have an awful shake in my hands. Without that I probably would not have noticed them.

Then out of the corner of my eye, this wee fox strolled by me within 2 ft of me, probably the one Freya saw earlier on on top of the grassy cliffs, it glanced at me sitting still not wanting to move a muscle, then it scurried on past. Wowww. I savored the moment. and I learned, sometimes waiting is good, sometimes doing nothing and the best things arrive. I also watched a pair of eagles through the lenses. One bald headed eagle and another eagle, was it a juvenile, was it a female. At first I thought they guarded a nest as they seemed to take it in turns to fly, but then they left together. Beautiful experiences. While at first I did wonder about a day off the water… now that the day has reached its end, I see Freya’s point, a day off the water…. is not a day off the expedition. Lots of learning again today.

Now its after 10 pm, the light at this time is like 7 pm at home. It’s so hard sometimes to think of it as bedtime. But I expect an early morning awaits for more paddling and more learning from the expedition guru. One funny learning today was her fleece sleeping bag liner which she is sewn to when in the tent, its consistently wrapped around her. But she states, she hates overly warm feet… so the seems are not fully sewn to the bottom… leaving room for her to be totally covered by her fleece sleeping bag liner, but with her feet out…lol the picture will explain all lol

On a previous day, GPS was the focus of conversation, while I have always had one, I have never really used it, preferring the “old school way” to use maps, tidal information, charts and tidal atlas for planning. For Freya, she never uses any of these. Instead she uses a GPS (she has three of them, just in case…), sets her way points, reads local HW/LW, currents and sun and moon rise on the GPS, and just paddles… “then you just see and adjust to what comes” she says. I didn’t realize the amount of functions on a GPS!!!. With map chip installed, it has detailed maps, tidal information, distance measuring and loads loads more. The settings need changing depending on whether you use ordinary batteries or rechargeable. Unfortunately I wasted batteries on the first 4 or 5 days as it was set to ordinary batteries instead of rechargeable, and used twice as many.

Trevour Coulter recently recommended GPS also to me, but I didn’t have enough time with him to learn more. I am so looking forward to playing with it more in the future and keen to learn lots more from Freya about its uses while I am here. We are running low on batteries though so my GPS has gone aground for now, to make sure we have enough batteries to the end. But I will still hopefully learn lots while Freya follows hers. night night for now…. paddling tomorrow and looking forward to it. With some luck, maybe them whales will come and visit… and hopefully the bears don’t tonight lol