Sat 08/04-2017 Day 15

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-08 at 21.07.49.jpeg
Arriving in Tofino - picture by Justine Curgenven

Pos: here Loc: Tofino Acc: Justine’s and J.F.’s house Dist: 40,7 km Start: 11:00 End: 18:45

I may have had company on today’s paddle – if unfortunately Justine’s VFH-class in the morning wouldn’t have taken that long! I was dropped off by J.F. at Little Beach at 10.45, peeped out of the bay and thankfully saw almost half the size of seas than the other day. That should be doable reaching Tofino! Wind and seas were supposed to be even more dropping the afternoon. My kayak was at least half loaded for better stability, and I felt all right in still somehow big stuff off the rocks.

Just the delicious, but unusual fried egg, beacon and veggies breakfast J.F. was cooking this morning was sitting in my stomach in a position which was close to coming out again. I need my carb-loaded oats in the morning before a paddle! At the tiny natural harbor of Florencia Islet, I ate now eventually just those on top to soothe my stomach. You can’t really get out there on half tide, though it was a relatively sheltered spot, so my pee had to be done afloat with my Freshette as usual. But the first time, I got interrupted in that job by a small swell wave flooding the harbor, and I had to back paddle, the just freshly filled funnel still pressed to my body. But surely not pressed enough without hands to keep the delicate liquid from running off the funnel to the wrong side…ähhhhhh…thank goodness I can use a shower and washing machine tonight!

And then I obviously got so distracted from the regular pee procedure by this to me new yucky incident, that I forgot to close my pee zipper and paddled the following section of big stuff with an open one – really BAD job! Now, THIS was not the very first time I have left the zipper open, but a swim would here would have come out dangerous then. I remember two other times in New Zealand – once I had to roll on launching and it was running down into the open zipper, and once I was jumping out in the shallows. Both not friendly, but also not really life-threatening. In case of a swim, this one could have…

My stomach was better on the next section, and along Long Beach, the sea was naturally calmer. A few sea lions and otters, two dolphins, but no whale sighting today, despite two spouts. It was hard to judge if the scattered islands off Portland Point were giving some shelter in these conditions or not, I decided to paddled inside a few, but couldn’t really say I found much calmer water. It was rather very confused and rough, with reflecting clapotis and the current playing up now against me quite a lot. I spotted only one smaller beach with a potential safe landing today, everything else did not look inviting to go in at all.

But I didn’t plan to anyway, and kept on pushing hard around the last corner into the wide opening to the west of the Esowista Peninsula, leading to sheltered Tofino. Big swells were running in here, until I was far enough inside to eventually feel relaxed. Before, I was hoping to be able to hide behind Frank Island, but it looked like it was connected to the mainland at the now lowest tide. I sent Justine a text once I was just 5 km off Tofino harbor, and thank goodness she was waiting for me at a fully sheltered shallow sandy beach. Glad to be expected and picked up by! As Sunday was ugly again, we simply drove back to her house. She had agreed with J.F., who has to work the next week, to join me on Monday for full week of paddling together! Yahoo! this will be fun! Thank goodness, wind a seas may be looking decent as far as possible to be seen, so I am hoping to make good progress now.

For those who don’t know Justine Curgenven (who does not?) – she is one of the top-end expedition paddlers in our small dirty sea kayaking world, has paddled around Tasmania, New Zealand South, Terra del Fuego, Vancouver Island, Haiida Gwaii, Sardinia, Ireland, along all the Aleutians, in Antarctica, Iceland, Indonesia, her homeland Britain and wherever else I may have forgotten. She is probably the most skillful and experienced expedition partner I can think of! Besides, she is the world most famous sea kayaking filmmaker and also recently has won the “World Paddle Award” for that, amongst many other awards. We have crossed paths the other years on many symposiums and events, but never really paddled together for longer. I’m honored to now have the opportunity. It will be a fun trip, old girl! Looking so much forward to it!