Sun 10/06-2018 Day 228

Pos: 57.1884,-156.3504
Loc: Rocky cliff beach
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 40 km
Start 07:00 End: 17:05

BIG BEAR DAY!
A calm morning’s forecast, quite (head…)windy in the afternoon. Sunny, calm seas. Are we lucky with the weather, or is June in Alaska meant to be like that? Still, out of ten paddling days, we had nine headwind days…We paddled easy and fast pace all morning, Catriona rather opted for a straight line a bit offshore, whereas I enjoy very much going behind the rocks as much as possible. And there were many rocks today! So pretty going close inside the reefs of the line of the Channel Islands! And a lot of fun! We passed Titcliff Island, we were aiming for that yesterday just for the fun name…but stopped obviously earlier.

The next cape had the name Cape Kayakliut, and this was te most beautiful cape so far! It had a huge dry arch sticking out on a headland, and when I approached, I thought I saw some people on the bottom of it, exploring the arch? I was already looking for a boat, when the people turned out to be a mom bear and two cubs! They disappeared before I could take a wonderful picture of three bears inside an arch framework…but I was surely looking for them again behind the arch headland. I saw them walking and quickly disappearing up on the beach around the corner, and I could just take a bum shot of the mom.

But that was not the end of the bear game today! I was just sorry that Catriona rather preferred to paddle outside the reefy area, and couldn’t see neither the bear family framed in the arch and walking up the beach, nor the next single guy on the next, about 100 m wide, rocky beach. He was foraging peacefully in the sea weed on the high tide line while walking towards the end of the beach where I slowly and carefully arrived. I watched him for a while, at some point he saw me, sniffed and obviously got some wind, and he decided to rather turn slowly around to walk to the end of the beach where he came from.

I paddled a bit closer, but that seemed to be too close, he started to gallop away, but I didn’t notice he couldn’t get off the beach and up the cliffs in that corner! He turned towards me, and I backed away from the beach. I already thought he would jump in the water and swim after me, though this is not what they would do, but I backed out even more. This gave him space to run along a narrow ledge close to the water to an easier path up the cliffs, he previously obviously felt this would be too scary with me so close to his one and only escape way! Sorry, Teddy! I noticed too late this is your only stepladder out!

I caught up with Catriona who was far ahead of me, and when we had lunch in a very sheltered bay, I told her about my two bear encounters! She also had to offer a bear story in a small beach before our lunch beach, where she briefly also saw a sow and a cub on the beach!

As it had breezed up quite a bit just before lunch, we decided to not cut across the next wide bay, and this was the best thing we had done today! I saw on the GPS map a wide river with probably a rapid-free exit, and we opted to paddle a bit upriver – armed with bear spay handy…Catriona stopped at some point where it became a slight bit shallow, and I continued for about another kilometer upriver. It varied between about 20 m narrow and deep with more current and shallow and wide with about 50 m and less current. still, the riverbanks on both sides felt pretty close…and with them the possible bears…I decided to switch on my phone with my favorite songs and sang along loudly…no bears chased up on their lunch time siesta…all good, I turned around and found Catriona floating in front of a beach with some wreck.

We kept on paddling, just to continue with our bear watching day…I saw something light brown moving on top of the grass cliffs – another sow with two cubs came down to the beach! This trio didn’t catch any wind, and despite the sow walked right into the water after she came down with her kiddies, she was only to bath and cool down her tits (or such…like getting rid of parasites…) – whereas Catriona felt she was up to swim out and to catch her…and she accordingly paddled far away out…

The sow walked out of the water pretty soon and back to her cubs, explained to them how to dig in the weeds, climbed calmly the cliff and laid down peacefully to watch her kiddies playing downstairs! No sign of her being bothered by me close and Catriona far away watching! At some point the two cubs got aware of our presence, the more naughty on (probably the boy…) stood up on his short hint legs to check us out, but went back to grazing calmly very soon! No sign of the sow up on the cliffs being worried…and we let the be in their family life.

The headwind was stronger now, but we had some hope to find a decent beach on the island at the next headland – here are so many nice beaches everywhere! We checked on one before the cape, but that was inconvenient on low tide to land, we climbed a ridge to have a look over the narrow strait, also nothing rally inviting in the strong wind, so we opted to paddle downwind to the next suitable beach spot which was a rocky small ledge below a dark towering cliff. Ok, we had better campsites…but this would do for tonight! No sunlight on the camp spot, at least for cooking was some left. All good!

Catriona: A very mixed day, some hints and tips from Catriona tonight….. Don’t follow Freya into bays with minimal entrance…. She certainly is a brazen hussey lol When we seen the mum and two cubs together, the mum was certainly curious (Freya: but no worried at all, and about 500 m away from Catriona…lol) and close. I rightly paddled a bit off to be sure to be sure… whereas Freya paddled closer!!! I did venture back, get some pics and then hightailed it out of there… hoping Freya could take the hint not to push it too much… We have been called Ying and Yang quite a bit….. I am beginning to understand why. lol We had a great day with a variety of conditions and experiences. And even nicer when we shared them together this afternoon. Freya certainly is full of surprises and a very special person. I am a lucky person to be out here and very grateful to her for this amazing opportunity. Thankfully we have taking to lifting the empty kayaks rather than dragging kayaks. I really couldn’t get the hang of the dragging, but lifting empty kayaks is fine.

lol Freya has just now gave me another hint…. to warm your feet, fold them right under your thighs…. lol I wish…. they stopped bending like that when i was in
my mid thirties lol Another hint came when Freya was flying the tent like a kite….how to avoid rusty or stuck tent poles, baby wipes and WD40. Thankfully I have never had this problem, but as she spend her year in a tent, I understand why this would be significant..

She is a dab hand with the tent. (Freya: My Hilleberg Home is my castle!) She tends to put it up on the gravel or grass then move it to the sand where it will be for the night. This to avoid getting sand all over the tent. She also ensures the tent zips are sprayed with wd40 when it is being stored away… not that hers gets stored for long!!! Today, she was flying our tent like a kite to dry it before putting it up in the shady corner…hilarious…

Freya has a corned net behind her back on the opposite side to her day hatch, this is the perfect compartment for storing helmet when not in use. Something I will be adding to my Tarentella when I get home. Paddling is terrific, have to say I am loving the extended adventure, but I do miss being in contact will all at home, especially Desi, Patrick and Eileen. Hopefully I will be in coverage in a few days time and I will be on the phone. Tara, be sure tell Mary Icrry the personal alarm every where I go lol