Mon 04/06-2018 Day 222

Pos: 58.1131,-154.5820
Loc: Geographic Harbor
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 27,1 km
Start: 08:00 End: 16:25

Sightseeing day! After the powerful crossing, we took it easy today. We got up and on the water late, as stretching our aching bodies took some time…we are the same age! (Catriona….two young Ladies)

It was lumpy 12-15 knots headwind, with the occasional shelter along the cliffs. Catriona practiced to get out through the low surf, all good. I took some water on my launch, and found a sheltered beach around the corner to full empty it out. My foam pad in the cockpit is nice and warm, but it is not easy to get the last liter of water out with the sponge.

Our fore arms needed frequent stretching, but thank goodness, I didn’t feel my sore right golf elbow at all any more already yesterday on the crossing. With long and hard acupressure during chatting to our nice host family before crossing from Kodiak, the pain went away. Lesson learned! Not that I like to deal one other year with tennis- and golf elbows…

Rounding Cape Atushaquik was pretty rough, the spooky calm water was yesterday, perfect for the crossing! The idea for today was to hide behind the large Takli Island, and then inside some reef islands. We had to cross one wide fjord, before things went less choppy and less wind. We enjoyed to land at a large inlet which reached in a wide curve into he mountains, it was an hour before low tide, and the whole huge area was dry with soft white sand first and some shell sand and “trampoline” mud sand on grass around the wide sharp bent later. Plus – hundreds of bear prints!!! Foraging paradise or the furry guys…but no one busy when we arrived.

Catriona nevertheless preferred pretty quickly to retreat the our kayaks, while I explored and took pics of wonderful deep bear paw prints further inside. I was talking to the invisible company, no one showed up…probably better. Next we land on a shallow inlet before low tide, we better land on a steeper side beach, as pulling the heavy, now fallen dry kayaks out of the soft deep sand back to the water was a mutual tough effort! Be smart, don’t work hard…and maybe don’t walk alone into a bottleneck full of pretty bear prints…

Dozens of sandy white beaches were lurking in a reef area on lowest tide, we stopped eventually at one where we spotted a small cabin. It was not pubic, but from the National park service, no one home, all windows and doors still nailed shut with (?). The hut had a boat solar panel, some small arial, generator and gas bottles. Life out here can’t be too bad then when on duty…

But or goal was the Geographic Harbor, an inlet of stunning beauty with towering snow capped and sun shined mountains all around. Not too bad of a place to get flushed in with 3 km/h! Catriona and I enjoyed tuna wraps and cherries for lunch, while being rafted up and getting washed with the tide and wind down the entrance channel. We felt like queens sitting in a horse drawn carrier pulled down the alley, while the best of all Alaskan panoramas was slowly passing by.

We checked on the beach to the left in the inlet, a very deep soft white sandy one, too much effort to land and camp. Deep bear trails…our choice was the other white sandy beach, which embraced a major stream. It is not salmon season yet…we dragged our kayaks upstream, and unloading was a short way only to camp in the wide open flat, visible for all furry visitors – and vice versa! I enjoyed my freezing cold evening dip, no rinsing with fresh water necessary! Catriona passed today on that…

Catriona…lol all I can say is we have two very different risk assessment and management plans lol when we found the multitude of furry friends paw prints in the sand, all fresh and some as big as my backside… and that’s a fair size…. My risk assessment was a code amber and possible danger… Freya’s risk assessment was “You go back and watch kayaks as food in her deck bag, while she goes back to explore further the frenzy of paw prints in the sand. All I can say is, i talked loudly to myself, got back to the boats and waited patiently for Freya to return… boy I was happy to see her lol

Will, if you are reading, your sentence was very apt, my risk assessment is a wee bit different lol Today has been amazing, loads of exploring, in fjords and around hidden islands and naural harbor’s. Despite many thinking Freya just ticks corners and goes around to beat a title or time, aint the case. She certaintly explores, puts her feet on soil maybe seldom explored, and looks around corners many wouldnt saunder by. She sees landmarks and nature like she has all day to look, and can pick out detail amid a dense landscape. We seen more whale spouts and otters and eagles today, and the familiar sounds of one particular bird, apparently singing “Look at me” remains hidden and unseen but heard consistently. I think of Deb from Kodiak everytime I hear it. It brings back lovely feelings of homely welcome thinking of her.

Today we finished early, tired bones and beaches just too nice too pass. The different risk assessments commence again. Freya finds this amazing place, beautiful, the shallow sea bed, casts beautiful shades of green and azure blue, the backdrop of snow capped glacier mountains and the sound of beautiful running river close bay. Then my risk assessment, yes beautiful it is…. with the biggest bear prints I ever did see and sooo deep in the ground he must be one heavy broot. The salmon season is normally started, but fishing salmon is delayed this year because numbers are low….. but I dont think the bears got that notice and they have certainty been visiting this river…. which we are camped 3 ft from…Literally!!! But she says there is enough room for them and us…. OHHHH DEAR….

But loads more learning from Freya. Jeff Allen is you are reading, Steve Miles too….. She took my nose clips lol I am sure you understand why this may be funny lol anyway she continued her attention to detail, this time on me. In some ways Freya can have no patience at all, when she sees a goal, nothing slows her down. But when it comes to paddling partners, I gotta say, she has the patience of a saint. She set about de-string me. Basically I had too many strings, all of which can cause entanglements. So she derobed me of my nose clips, cut my camera string shorter, my PLB string shorter and basically tidied me up. She also got me to fix my headdress properly, after all, can’t have bad pictures lol. She is some cookie. When it comes to gear, and this is probably my biggest learning so far, is we need to make our gear work. Simple things like how its attached, how functional is it and does it have more than one use. When fixing on my spray deck this morning, I happened to say I like the clip to tighten it around my waist , she let me know again this is one of her additions. She discovers the velcro somtimes fails, so she added her own clip to add to safety.

Another important learning is stretches, not just before and after a paddle, but during also. One of the most relevant to me has been the lower arm stretches… with elbows at 90 degreed press palms of hands firmly together then turn fingers inwards towards chest. really stretches the lower arms and meant mine were fine today but in past long trips they would be sore. Freya kindly offered to hold my boat when I was setting off this morning, naturally I didn’t refuse. Surf was only 1-2 ft but always nice to have the help. As we traveled and discussed my fear of surf landings and surf break outs, she assured me she would not go into any surf zone unless absolutely necessary….she cares too much for her kayaks…lol…So although I am dispensable, she has to get me…. and the boat in and out safely… and thats good for me lol

So tonight easy landing on almost high water and we are setting off at high water in the morning so no dragging boats or hauling gear up and down a beach…. the perfect campsite…. here’s hoping no visitors tonight…

Desi and Patrick hellooooo. Patricia, keep sharing this please on my wall and tag Desi and Patrick just incase they ain’t reading.
night night all