Mon 11/06-2018 Day 229

Pos: 57.0337,-156.5104
Loc: David Island
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 25,9 km
Start 08:30 End: 14:50

Our choice of beach was really not the greatest…we slept well and relatively bear-safe. But we should have taken into account our landing time yesterday evening was not the low tide-level of this morning…so we had to carry our boats and gear much further out than in. But actually, not really, as we could float them over a wet reef area with ankle to calf deep water with slippery sea weed. Glad we didn’t slip and broke whatever…next day, we pick again a more clever landing beach! Waiting would have been no option, the wind breezed u pretty soon again to headwind of 15+ knots.

And – now additionally, the sea was finally for real sea kayakers and not for tourists only! Some big swell, some rough seas, all after the first headland with an island offshore which shows on my (Virtual Earth) satellite image more than 20 fishing boats in action! The swell seems to gather here on this corner, not only to make rough seas, but also good fishing! We had a sunny start, but a thick fog bank came in very soon, which made the scenery eerie. Glad to have a GPS…

Some next headland was inviting to go through a gap in big swell and rough breaking seas – when it was not a lull…I took the chance on the third lull and went through, helmet and PFD on…Catriona was already far ahead away…ok, as no way she would have been of any help here, just in case…the gap over an inside of the next island was very surfy, again, good timing and no big deal…

I caught up with Catriona, and was happy she felt all right here in this relatively big stuff! Good girl…she went outside everything to be safe.

The wind breezed up even more we resisted a tempting calm beach in the lee of an other small headland and kept on punching into large swell and 15+ headwind…Catriona is paddling strong in headwinds! Every time I am stopping to check my GPS or to change the batteries, she is far ahead and I have a hard time to catch up with the tough little red-haired Irish bitch! Love her, and not only as a paddling partner! Occasionally, she has a different idea of where to go and needs to make some short extra miles…lol…we caught up again as agreed in the lee of the north eastern corner of David Island, where we wanted to decide if to go inside or outside of the island…and a lurking beach on the south eastern corner was not the best place to go, as outside is no real wind shelter and too rough seas today.

So we finally went inside along David Island, and rested in the lee for a pee on a wee beach, plus had for some lunch. The plan was to go another beach across the channel which was even marked as “good landing” on my chart, but as we kept on rounding David Island, a beautiful beach on the island itself topped another short windy headwind crossing…and we went in! No great distance horizontal today, but add a lot of vertical one and we are allowed to be done for today!

Bear free island? Not with 1 km distance to the mainland…deep dug holes in the fine gravel and an old poop pile showed traces of some furry visitors here at least at some point. The best thing for us to discover was a wonderful freshwater lagoon just behind our beach! 150 m x 50 m, about chest deep with muddy rocky ground, well (solar-)heated to about 18-20 degrees made the refreshing cleaning swim a *real* swim and a luxury to hang out in the natural pool! Just imagining mommy bear teaches her babies here to swim…?

I was tempted to have a climb up the rocky hills behind our beach – a stunning view! Catriona took a bit longer to decide it was worth the climb to come up, while I was already descending from another peak. But then she was as thrilled as i was about the stunning view! No bears at home here…

Four artificial dots caught our attention from above – a red bottle box, two blue canisters and a white bucket, they don’t belong here in those wonderful natural freshwater pools! we collected them and put them in a seclude spot.

One fishing boat crossed our beach in the evening, only the second one at all to see around here. Fishing season seems not to be opened yet…

Wow what a day… more head winds but I have to say I do enjoy the workout and challenge, I don’t get in front of her much, so any opportunity to get a leg ahead has to be taken…. We do have great challenge paddling and she has me working hard. (Freya: I think it is the other way round! My month long touring pace would be less fast without the Irish red head kicking my butt!)

Today the sea was fairly big on the headlands, especially the first, 2 meter swell, 15 knts wind and flooding tide, thankfully all coming from same direction, but the headland was causing some back eddies and confused water. I had got to the headland when I noticed Freya stopped, I drifted back to see what she was up to and if she found a quiet passage through…. and all I see was a washing machine on spin cycle and she was smiling. Again I have learned, don’t follow Freya unless I am full sure I want to!!! So off I went around the big choppy seas ALONE…. half way around I thought, shit.. no PFD on… and I wasn’t stopping there to put it on either.

I carried on around hoping Freya made safe decision, but I really thought this girl needs a talking to!!! lol So when we met up again, I said to her…. your mum must have had a hard time with you…. and quickly she answered “look in the mirror, lady…” lol Turns out her son Helge and me have the same birthday and she reckons she knows me as a result. lol

So the next headland, again I seen her cutting inland, after the last one, I just decided out and around again. This headland not quite as big but still big. We met up again and set out to cross to the island, again strong strong headwinds and the 2 mt swell. We punched through deep. At one point I said to Freya, the one thing I am really missing in the boat is being able to have contact with knees and boat for bracing and added security lol she answered you don’t need that, you only need contact for rolling or side surfing, neither of which you are doing. (Freya: A surf ski doesn’t have knee braces either, goes in big seas, and that is what you are paddling!) So I said OK…. but I still would love knee contact lol Tomorrow I will tighten my backrest and hope that will move me forward slightly.

No bears today…. thankfully. Just a sea lion on his own studying me for awhile. Plenty of puffins on all the headlands but still cant get a photo of one. When we reached the island and had a breather, we then set of for a 6.8 crossing to our planned campsite. BUT as we rounded the next corner, this amazing wee beech came into view. Freya looked across at the planned beach and then again at this wee magical place and I shouted… are you thinking the same as me lol both smiled and in we went.

Wow what a beautiful island. As Freya said, this place is a gem a real Paradise island. Desi you would love this one. Thankfully I am convinced no bears here tonight….. but will they swim in for the low morning tide??? Who knows!! Oh that fresh water pond at 20 degreees… NOT…. more like 10 degrees, 12 maximum… boy it was cold, she kept shouting its soooo warm!!!! So in I went – Burrrrr bloody freezing!! But I did get a lovely hair wash and cold dip!!. We have been so fortunate so far, every other day we have been able to wash and dry our clothes….. but I had a real luxury this morning, I put on fresh paddle suit – amazing the luxuries we can cherish when out here.lol

Hints and tips today really are all about watching this lady plan and work. Every landing is scrutinized, where will tent go, is there access to fresh water, can we get the boats in and out, is there land exits just in case. Even lunch spots are explored for quiet landings, behind reefs or rocks. Great to just watch and learn. She is constantly studying her GPS with detailed maps, every rock marked, so surprises are minimal. Terrific learning… she asked me in the middle of the big seas if I want to come closer and look at her GPS to learn something ….like I wanted to stop out there in middle of that lol I asked could I do it when we get in lol Fingers crossed tomorrow apparently we have a tail wind…. heres hoping