Mon 17/04-2017 Day 24

Pos: 50.6834, -128.2526
Loc: San Josef River campsite
Acc: tent
Dist: 52 km
Start: 07:15 End: 18:45

The residential bear stayed away from us, we have been too noisy last night. But when it came yesterday to decide whose tent is to be put up closer to the spot where we have seen him, Justine was so polite to leave me that one!
We could pack all gear dry, the sunny afternoon yesterday did an excellent job. Ok, besides stuffing the always soaking wet tent in the morning…yuck! We headed straight over to the lighthouse, hoping to land there as it was supposed to be already in cell phone reception from Winter Harbor. At the last couple of hundred meters, the current washed us a bit further out as we liked to, and we had to paddle hard into wind and current to reach the rocky landing site for larger boats. Justine got out on the rocks somehow for a pee and to check the cell phone signal, but I felt we better should paddle to the nearby beach just across for a more convenient “office spot” where I could take out my laptop to eventually send out my overdue updates.
After landing there, we saw there was also a small sandy beach just behind the rocky jetty site with the staircase…well, bad luck, as we may have visited also those lighthouse keepers for a dry and warm “office hour”…now we unpacked everything on the beach in fortunately dry conditions to do what a modern traveler in these days (thinks he) has to do once online again. I also could call Peter for longer, nice to eventually catch up with my partner while watching a whale jumping three times high out the water just upfront our beach! Justine could send at least J.F. messages where we plan to be tonight and where and when he could pick her up. While we were quite freezing our butts off on this break in the morning, we both had a lot of fun to read all those comments on our face books, especially those who admitted being keen to eavesdrop our conversations!
Yes, it was already the last paddling day with Justine! Time is passing by so quickly. We decided to push on to San Josef’s Bay, where the last pick up spot would be before Port Hardy. We knew Tuesday and Wednesday would be no friendly paddling weather, but I would be able to continue Thursday around Cape Scott – without Justine.
We were lucky to see another whale jumping just upfront our path for about ten times, what a delight! At Topknot point I wanted to have a pee and lunch break, but the corner had rolling breakers and did not look to give much shelter. Behind Commerell Point, it was the same, but we found a halfway calm spot afloat for a break. Landing on the steep beach did not look like worth the effort.
Behind Cape Palmerston and before the last headland to turn into San Josef’s Bay, the sea looked different and calmer, no rollers were breaking on the rocks any more. Some offshore reefs calmed the sea already down, so we could not see any regular pattern on the occasional boomers over inshore reefs, developing quite out of nothing. I sensed already quite early that this was a strange place, and I mentioned it to Justine. I better stayed for a while closely behind her, just in case… and then, that steep piling boomer came up which neither of us could avoid fully. We both had to brace hard into it, but both recovered with some loud swearing. I could sprint out to sea in time right after, but Justine was unlucky to have to catch another even steeper boomer developing again literally out of nothing. She capsized on that steep peak breaking violent on her, but being a good girl, she did not put me to work on such dangerous place for a rescue, but rolled up safely. Thank goodness to have a skillful paddling partner! I could see the break and her capsize, and fortunately it did not move her closer to shore as it was not one of those long rollers which would have been much worse.
She did not lose anything, was still good spirits with her cackling world-famous laughter all over the water, and we carried on into San Josef Bay. There were fortunately no breakers, rip currents or standing waves at the river mouth as everywhere announced, but on high tide it had just low rolling waves on the shallow beach and flat water on the river mouth. A young man ran up to us for a chat, as he and his friend also had kayaks down at the beach.
We continued into the enchanted river mouth with wild unspoiled nature for a few kilometers upstream until we found the boat launch and campsite. No one was there, the site had ample space, but there were barely any facilities in shape, some piles of trash scattered all over the place. We put up our tents on a nice grassy spot close to a small hut with a halfway in shape roof which had a table and a non-working sink. When we carried our cooking stuff inside, we noticed there was also a composting toilet in the dark corner…who cares, it was a somehow dry spot to cook!