Loc: Neah Bay
Dist: 27,8 km
Start: 6:25 End: 12:45
I peeped out of my tent this morning, saw lights of boats far out, land to the right and left, and was happy: NO FOG ANYMORE! The surf on my small remote beach made me a bit nervous all night, but it sounded worse than it actually was. Just time it right, and you are out…as usual…
Dozens of small fishing boats probably thought the same this morning, and it looked like the whole harbor of Sekiu was emptied out this morning – or was I just simply seeing all those boats today? I still railed the coast, happy to eventually able to enjoy the scenery. Nothing really special, but after five days of mostly blind flight, each forest and cliff looks special to me. I powered through the kelp beds, enjoying the challenge now, instead of hating it when I had to stay so close to the coast in dense fog. Still I had to watch the rocks…in the last wide bay with the distinct Seal and Sail Rocks, I paddled close to shore again to try to get also out of the now strong headwind and counter current.
I paddled along daydreaming, as I almost hit one rock which I hadn’t seen – suddenly it was there, just 1 m in front of my bow. And one half second later, the light gray sparkled rock was spouting! I almost hit a whale! My jar was literally dropping, as a whale in this shallow water could get in trouble very soon – and maybe make me trouble also, when he might flip his fluke on the surface to try to accelerate…? But the 6-7 m long guy (anything else but no humpback…) was calmly swimming along close besides me just under the surface, as there was absolutely no water depth to hide. I could easily keep his pace for a while, following his clearly visible white silhouette. Amazing to see the wide fluke moving up and down! He was occasionally spouting, until we were in deeper water and he dived down. What an amazing encounter!
The next amazing encounter provided the cliffs on the coast just behind the Sail River and before the Third Beach. The soft sand stone boulders looked like someone had poured concrete between them, they were so nicely smoothed out into really interesting formations with holes, caves and pillars. Cliffs, like I have never seen them so far! Like someone had glued a layer of cliff bordures on the forest bottom. One could probably easily walk along them – if I could have landed. Maybe from Sail River, there would be access. Sail and Seal Rock were probably of the same origin.
I was wondering why the beautiful Third and Second Beach before Neah Bay were not busy in this high season with people? Again private land??? I saw a “Beach Front Property for sale” sign above the pretty cliffs…the headwind was pretty strong by now, but as my distance for the day was short again, I rather appreciated the challenge after those easy going blind paddling days.
I had agreed on Chris’ suggestion to meet up at an official campsite just across the boat ramp in the marina…well…I have to get used to camping in a city…the campsite itself was rather a small RV park with the usual full hook-up with water gray water and electricity for the huge vehicles which are most common in the US. For a tent with a kayak was no really friendly space here besides a grassy parking stripe close to the noisy road…and they had no facilities at all! Well, I am used to have none, as I rather prefer my en-suite facilities anyway. But I wouldn’t have minded a proper shower and hair wash. I eventually showered behind my tent, but obviously did not manage to hide properly, as a car was honking when I was squatting naked with my water bag behind my mobile home. Who cares…the next nights, I will be back in the wilderness!
Chris arrived around 6 pm, we sorted his gear, and discussed the trip. He may be the least experienced of all my paddling partners up to date, but feels comfortable enough to be out there with me in decent conditions. I reassured him he will be fine with the conditions we will pick in mutual decisions. But still, he knows he will be fully responsible for himself and his own decisions. I hereby state, he knows I am not an official qualified coach or teacher, but surely do my best to keep us both safe in the conditions which suit us both. We will have a good time! Conditions will be fine for tomorrow, but we already may have to have one or two days off Sunday afternoon on. Then it will look better again! Heading out tomorrow morning early.