Pos: 48.6611, -124.8245
Loc: Cloo-oose River west
no paddling today
I was watching monster-breaker-TV all day – when it was greatest 2,50m seas the other days, these were easily 4m. And 4m at the Pacific means long rollers breaking around every previously safe corner unless it is not a safe harbor going around least three bents. My nicely sheltered beach from my yesterday’s landing was still having lulls, but when the fat ones came in, it was as intimidating breaking as on the other side of my beach. I could see across to the main beach of Cloo-oose River, and massive monster breakers were rolling in all day. The passage between the outer rocky reef and the main beach I took yesterday would be deadly today. No day to be out there! Well, if out fully, it may be not too bad, if you are lucky to stay away from the rolling monster breakers. But I did not try! Additionally, Karel forecasted headwinds up to 20 knots with stronger gusts. No day to go out.
It looks like all strong westerly headwind days are sunny here, and low to moderate easterlies are cloudy or foggy, like yesterday all morning. I had to spend my first day at the beach, off all phone reception and people. I was busy with hooking off my list of small gear improvements and repairs, happy to do so in lovely sunshine and sheltered wind. It could be worse… Sure I was happily sleeping in first, then finishing the read on my Kindle of Sarah Outen’s book “Dare to Do. Taking on the planet by bike and boat”. Sarah’s adventure was quite in the same time going on as I was busy with my South American circumnavigation, so I knew about her trip, but did not really realize or follow what was going on. Now I must say – I am quite impressed! There are many ways to amuse yourself, and Sarah did some of the harder and versatile ones. Her book is a must-read to any adventure-lovers, very well written. And I feel for her for her hardest decision of the trip. Fantastic job in all regards, girl! Sure, I was also interested in the kayaking part with Justine along the Aleutians, where in parts I will be myself on my next leg of my trip around North America. This was quite a successful steep learning curve of Sarah kayaking, with the best teacher-girl to paddle with for that purpose. Good on you both!
My chores for today included trying to fix another almost invisible crack in my bow, hoping I found now all leakages, as my last beach-fixing was reducing the water inside after a day’s paddle, but did not seal it fully yet. If this does not do the job, I must carefully check with water filling while being in Tofino soon. I also changed the rudder skeg holder in the way I did on my other kayaks and have not done on this one yet, hoping the sand friction of the spring-loaded blade will be again reduced to a minimum. No good to have the skeg blade successfully deployed, and the paddle over some kelp or such and the thing disappears and not pops back out again itself. My tent interior design is almost finished now with sewing the last gear- and laundry-line loop holders in position, and to add two finger-thick fleece plugs to the hole where the three inner-tent zippers meet, and ants love to crawl through. More than once I had ants marching straight through my tent in search of delicious sticky bits…one night in SA they occupied my pee pot and I did not notice it being half asleep at night…ouch!
Late afternoon, I decided to climb the steep landslide side of the beach to reach one of the huts, found directly on the West Coast trail path. I followed it first to the main beach of the Cloo-oose River mouth, to have a curious look on the actual surf there and the river landing possibility. No way to go in there safely! Fat rollers allover, and the river mouth reaches around a corner and gives no shelter or safe landing. The best place to land is where I did.
But I also reached a sign on the trail which said hikers are now reaching the terrain of the indigenous Ditidaht Tribe, and are supposed to stick to the trail and are not allowed to camp. Ok, sorry I did not know, hoping the sandy beach is ok for me to camp on and somehow “no man’s land”. A hiker may be able to plan better and not be too dependent on safe landings and so much on the weather like a paddler. There was no one at the quite abandoned looking houses anywhere to ask anyway. But the trail itself is well kept with log bridges and stairs allover where it would be wet and muddy. I felt a bit scary inside the for me new forest of another country with huge pine trees, imagining how great a (solo) hike here would be feeling. But I also felt stupid to make noise on purpose or being talking to myself to let the resident bears know I am coming. That is really against my pure nature feeling! When I leave my camp, I always carry my camera, sat phone and newest some bear spray around, just in case…not sure if I would get reception in the thick forest just in case. But there will not be any “just in case”!
The winds should be down tomorrow, and hopefully also the seas. I aim to hit one of the sheltered small islands in Barkley Sound tomorrow. It should be a kayaker’s paradise!