Sun 30/07-2017 Day 128

Pos: 57.7923, -152.3870
Loc: Kodiak
Acc: Deb and Eric’s house
Dist: 77,1 km
Start: 4:20 End: 20:10

It was good I forced myself yesterday evening to sleep at 9 pm, as we decided to launch early at 4.30 latest, and the last nights were not the longest either. We had to be through the Whale Island Passage, 35 km ahead, by 12.30 pm, not to get caught into the strong flood current. The ebb current was supposed to be like nothing, according to my current chart, but an hour before slack, we were still washed through with 12 km/h on the ebb…strange, but all good.

The long Rasperry Passage before was friendly calm with low to moderate headwinds. A bunch of lodges along the way, and old rusty cannery and a few scattered houses around the mellow hills – we are nearing civilization, with also a bunch of fishing boats buzzing around.

Whale island was aptly named, as some dozens of whales were hanging out in the strong current around the island, just with gaping mouth to filter all the small krill getting washed in. Their spouts decorated the green tree background of the island like a concert of firework fountains, spraying up and down, here and there and up to six or more at the same time – a real spectacle! This will be my favorite camp spot on my way out to the mainland next year!

The headwind became a bit nasty, but crossing over to the big Kodiak Island the next 8 km was not too slow with amazingly again some helpful current. Still Eyal needed an urgent nap on the other side, lacking obviously more sleep than I did. We took a break on a small rocky beach, where Eyal received a message from Tom Pogson on his InReach device that it would be nice if we could arrive before 7 pm? Ok, we will do our best! Let us paddle hard!

We were passing the Narrow strait between Spruce Island without much counter current, but lots of headwind. But as soon as I smelled and felt the open ocean again with a tiny gentle swell, my energy level was raised back to the max, and I was flying along, the near goal of having a longer break on my mind. Eyal was obviously not on his highest peak yet, despite his nap and consuming some Energy-Gel sachets. When I discovered those suckers on the small rocky beach, he reassured me he “got those given” and has “not tried them yet” …hehehe, you have silently been “doping” yourself all the time! And I enjoyed kicking him paddling even stronger and faster to challenge my ambitious co-paddler to get the last bits of energy out of him! “Freya’s Bootcamp” has still a lot to offer on the last miles! Like, I had my fun to annoy him to paddle two times a full circle around him and to catch up again…

I am not all the time competitive, and eventually prefer to get going calm and smooth like very much most of the time with my last paddling partner Josh. It is so much more relaxing and so much more pleasant! But with my ambitious, competitive and testosterone-loaded 34-years young co-paddler Eyal, the 53-years old “elderly lady” very much enjoyed being still able to kick his butt!

But the revenge came soon…despite Eyal was grinning at my antics and was huffing and snuffing along doing his best, silently he saved some reserves, and was exploding inwardly by my impudence of paddling two circles around him while he was sweating. After a small snack and pee break, he really managed to get two kayak lengths ahead of me, before I caught up in his wake, touched his stern and he gave up again. Tie break! At least on this one…

We were both fully worn by now, also as we paddled today 77 km! But I think if we had to continue tomorrow, none of us would have been paddling so hard. It was just a final race of two wonderful challenging weeks of paddling. Eyal, despite occasionally being a bit of a cute smiling young bigmouth and smart aleck, proved to have some good paddling skills, and when he eventually listened to the “elderly lady”, also improved on many more. I did my best to pass on everything I knew, and I think we both learned a lot, had a lot of fun, some wonderful weather, wildlife and wild nature. Sea kayaking of its best! Thanks a lot for joining me, and for your great pictures you took!

As being an “elderly lady”, I may still prefer on the long run a somehow less challenging paddling partner who does not need to prove himself all the time, :-), but I would also always go again with Eyal! But not “two Eyal’s” in a row!