Fri 12/05-2017 Day 49

Pos: 54.3193, -130.3185
Loc: Prince Rupert
Acc: Pioneer Guesthouse
Dist: 38,5 km
Start: 07:40 End: 15:20

Karel’s forecast was not really inviting for the crossing over to Prince Rupert with around 15 knots SSE, gusts up to 28 knots. SSE may sound nice firsthand going NE, but on an open crossing, you must point very much into the wind to not get blown off track. The strong wind was eventually a fully quartering headwind. I pondered seriously to go at all, and asked Karel with a text on the sat phone how it would be on Saturday before I turned around once more in my sleeping bag. When I woke up again maybe half an hour later, his answer was not really encouraging better for Sat and Sun, so I guessed I may also as well just go now. The visibility had improved with diminishing rain, and it did not look too bad – from my sheltered beach at least!
I was up and packed quickly once I decided to go, not bothering too much about keeping tent and gear dry and clean as I would be in a dry room tonight anyway! The first 15 km were sheltered from the SSE, seas were flat, and I already guessed the forecast may be not coming true that strong. But I already saw whitecaps in the distance…as soon as I came off Porcher Island and hit the main current, right at the time of the tie change, the wind doubled in speed to 25-30 knots “continuous gusts”, and whipped up the current to sizable waves. I had to lean into the wind all the time not to get blow over, and pointed my bow many degrees to the EAST of the easy visible Port Edward to keep my track! Well, I could have done it easier the straight line from my camp beach would have been passing the Kinhan islands to the east, and then entering the passage between Digby and Kaien Island to reach Prince Rupert. I should simply have let go, instead of forcing myself to pass The Kinhan Islands on the luv side, heading straight north with the strong wind and whatever current to enter the channel north of Dingby Island, then hoping to have shelter enough to go with or without current up to Prince Rupert? It may have been a detour distance wise, but it may have been less fighting to keep a straight line.
Between West and East Kinhan Island, I was close to do exactly that, but ten my stubbornness told me to keep on punching into the strong side wind. I still made good speed of 5-6 km/h, and it was worth to keep on going. As East Kinhan Island was blocking my view of the channel entrance east of Dingby Island, I was not sure what was going on, and where I eventually had to really go? I remember Port Edward was on the right side of the entrance??
Finally, I was free of East Kinhan Island, and the channel entrance showed up. Time for me to carefully let go – means I suddenly was speeding up even to more than 10 km/h, as now obviously a strong eddy current added to the wind. Not too bad! Also, because I saw a ferry approaching from the north, and knew the ship must turn in just where I was. I flew along to get out of the danger zone and close to the south-eastern shores of Dingby Island. All god!
I landed on a sandy spot to text my Prince Rupert host John Androsky I would be across, and where to meet? The Yacht Club was the place to go. I did not have much to paddle to get there, wind and current carried me at easy to Pillsbury Point, then things slowed down a bit. I really enjoy to “cool down” after such an exciting crossing approach of new shores, and to slowly settle into the new surroundings.
John was meeting me at an early jetty together with Kevin from the local paper for an interview. It is so nice to be expected by a host in a new town! Thanks very much, John, to look after me here! He invited me for the first night to the Pioneer guesthouse, where I could take my well-deserved hot shower, did laundry, and sorted and kept my gear. We also had a look on my kayak hull, how Wayne Robert’s repair held up. His concept of stiffening the whole hull was also preventing the dreaded bulkhead spots to wear out more than the rest! BUT – the last 1,5 m where he did not reinforce the hull because we guessed it will be all right there had now the same “disease” – the layup broke at the last tiny stern bulkhead just before the rudder, it soaked water and became soft over 30 cm…and another long but not deep scratch tended to do the same…so we need to do the same repair also for the last section of the stern. We should have done this that other time already in Shearwater…Thankfully, John has a small shop for this kind of job, and is also skillful in those kinds of jobs. THANK GOODNESS! Always a helpful male hand around if needed…He also brought me some parcels I ordered – a new deck bag sponsored by North Water, a Crazy Creek inflatable camp chair which looks very promising, a new GPS as one of my old ones doesn’t get satellites any more (shit electronics…) – but the most needed “optimizer” device for posting my updates via sat phone as usual will hopefully arrive Monday!
John picked me up for dinner, and also to meet up with Mike Dziobak, who is interested to paddle the next section to Sitka with me. Mike has just been driving for four days from Michigan/ USA across the whole continent, and was so tired and opted to not join us for dinner with four other friends in a nice restaurant with live Jazz-music from some of his friends. John is also a musician, playing drums and newly double bass. Quite interesting!