Loc: Salmon River
Dist: 24,5 km
Start: 09:05 End: 15:00
At 6 am, the noise of the dory men launching their fishing boats told me it’s dawn…I still remember one boats spectacular high-speed-sliding-on-the-beach-landing on my last year’s arrival. Besides that, the night was relatively quiet in my log corner.
My body was naturally aching from the longish swim, but the real body ache from the first day’s paddle is tonight…feeling like an old lady in a sanatorium in my tent…
But the first day’s paddle was already 100% worth that feeling! I was still mourning my lost paddling buddy José, feeling a bit like I had sacrificed him to launching rather yesterday than today…as it was much calmer, as forecasted. But it was our mutual decision, though I should have pulled the break not only after going out and in again…
A nice chap came by on my launch, explaining he had paddled also most of the coast down south. He didn’t knew about me, and got my signature card to learn :-). Thanks for your launching help! Sorry I forgot your name…
I enjoyed very much the sunny day, though on the open coast, it was much more windy with 12-18 knots headwinds from SE than expected. I made my way, slowly but surely, listening carefully to how my body was starting to work again. i got back into my rhythm, my mind relaxed, my (stress-)coughing was gone, just by inhaling the open sea again…I made a vow to myself not to be off the water anytime anymore for half a year!
When I saw the first seal of this trip section, I felt fully back home in my element again. And then, this high white spouting…far along the cliff headland…again and again. Were those already the “Big fish out there, large enough to eat you!” the old bearded guy Roy sending us off yesterday warned us from? 🙂
I felt magically drawn to explore this “spouting”, and soon realized it must be a blowhole in frequent action. As it was…but this strong blowhole was only the first highlight of the cliff coast around Cascade Head! I spotted a high waterfall…with another active blowhole just besides it..and a huge dark hole to the left…a gigantic cave! I judged the swell, all ok, and was silently gliding inside, through the curtain of the waterfall and the spray of the blowhole in action into it’s magic interior. The cave was high and impressive like a church, with some dozens of seals on the altar-beach. I stayed away from them, separated by some rocks on lowish tide, far enough not to cause a distressed mass launch, inhaling the smell of the seal rookery cove. Those magic places get me alive…and I felt sorry I had sacrificed José’s company due to the combination of some mistakes.
Reflecting on the incident yesterday, we simply should have waited one more day…I was actually wondering does the local coast guard have no jet skis to rescue swimmers in distress like me? The helicopter with the daunting winch-man felt like a bit like an overkill…and they would truly not have winched up my kayak. I might have accepted a jet ski tow…but thanks again for their presence! Maybe the helicopter rotor blew me into the right direction…I still remember some coast guard practice like this on a symposium in Anglesey, causing a few kayak to roll continuously (for fun…). Myself, I have been winched up for practice in Iceland, finding myself up in the air with lovely Kristin Nelson! But mostly, I connect helicopter flights the other way round – jumping out of those…best when standing still in the air…it’s like a base jump… 🙂
Highlight after high light came along Cascade Head, a noisy sea lion colony, many narrow channels to pass on the right timing, a few more minor caves, and a beautiful double-arch where I was going through three times for “three times luck”. Can’t even recall them all now…too many natural wonders!
The entry into Salmon river felt easy on low surf, and once inside, a paddled around the bend to find the take out with the least carrying distance.
I have a wonderful dead-calm campsite, just a few houses across, and a handful of weekend-boats around. Life is good! Just missing good company to share…
I organized the last food and house hold items, still too physically tired to cook and hot meal. But mentally, I feel I’m back to my real life!