Pos: 49.8044, -126.6479
Loc: Santiago Creek
Dist: 32,4 km
Start: 07:20 End: 18:15
It was a bit of a harder push for 20 km into 15 knots of due north wind to reach the lighthouse on the South-Eastern corner of Nootka Island. No pleasant hugging the coast paddling, because despite of calm seas, still some big rollers were hitting the beach to our right. Justine suggested to land at the sheltered natural harbor by the light house for a lunch break. The light house keeper saw us coming, and was waving at us from above, and shouted an invitation to come up for a cup of coffee. Sure, we’ll do!
We had just dragged our boats up and secured them to a log, when Ray, the Indian care taker of the adjacent official camp site, came down on his quad bike just to tell us there would be a landing fee here on “his” beach, but we girls would be fine without just walking up to the light house…obviously hoping for us to stay in his campsite.
We took our lunch bag and walked up the many stairs first to the helicopter platform, where a beauty of a brand new red coast guard helicopter was just parked on a stop-over. At the housing area, all buildings in very well-maintained shape, Caroline and Jeff, the lovely light house relief keeper couple, served us home-made cookies and big cups of hot tea to our delight. Very much welcome, as we felt sweaty, chilly, and hungry! Thanks a lot for that!
We had a wonderful time chatting for about an hour while, while the cookie plate was emptied quickly. It’s not too much of an easy life out here, and Caroline admitted her hands were kind of always stuck either in “dirt, dust, diesel or dough”…The couple were also paddlers, had previously heard on face book about our trip, and were happy to have us at their home!
We checked a huge chart of the area at the pilot’s room to finally decide to really paddle inside Nootka Island, also said “Hi” to Daniel, the coast guard helicopter pilot. He was not too hard to convince to give us a tour around his red baby, unfortunately not really a tour *with* the latter…but if we had given him a reason, he promised he would be there! Was it reason enough to have the urgent need for a chopper-flown in candle light dinner with a bottle of champagne at our next campsite? Well, not…but we were just launched again when we heard the helicopter sound above us. Daniel on the flight out, performing a loop of honor for us! Justine suggested I should simply quickly jump in the millpond-like water to pretend to be in the urgent need to be winched up for a rescue and reanimation…
Diving deeper into the fjord around Nootka Island, we were fascinated about the simple natural beauty of the fjord, despite being a rainy day. A bunch of logging workstations lined up in the coves, but we kept on pushing in a good pace on the millpond water in almost no wind. Wasn’t there some forecast of some stormy conditions today? We checked Trowwin Narrows for a potential campsite, but Justine suggested one marked site 2 km further north. we were a bit disappointed by what was on offer and just jumped back into our kayaks, when we pointed out some obvious landing site just a bit further up. Here we go! A perfect grassy “official” spot.
Despite it was still raining, Justine was happy to run quickly the stove outside, still in her dry suit, and soon a hot meal of spaghetti and pesto with freshly chopped onions and pepper was ready to be served. Eating standing up with the pots in our hands, still a bit chilly allover, we heard a boat approaching and were waving some friendly greetings. The boat stopped, and the three guys were wondering if we were in need for help? Did we look like being damsels in distress, with mouth full of spaghettis? Anyway, it was another nice chat, the guys throwing us two cans of beer, and two bags of chips! One can obviously hit the ground and a small spout-like fountain of beer found first it is way to the sky from the can afloat, but soon quickly also the way into Justine’s mouth! Thanks for the drive-in service, guys! Not really the envisioned 5-star chopper-dinner though, but we gracefully accepted the take-away style this night…if this friendly local service keeps on going like this, my kayak will never really get light weight!