Wed 22/08-2018 Day 274

Pos: 57.3390,-158.1758
Loc: 4,5 km south of Mud River
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 26,6 km
Start: 07:10 End: 13:00

Walruss, Caribu + 49 glassballs

I started early to catch the lowest seas, wind and following current. Some not too friendly shore dumper, good timing with a small jump while legs still out, and I was afloat.

About 6 km into the day, I spotted something which at first looked to me like a stranded whale with a bunch of bears sitting on top and happily having a feast…but also a bunch of bears in the water? Ok, that lump turned out to be a small walruss colony of maybe 100 animals, and as they do, they are sitting piled on top of each other on a small spot on the beach. They must be freezing, or they are just very social…

One single walrus was about 200 m apart, maybe he was dead…or mobbed by the colony…I could catch a bunch of nice head shots in the water with some walrus with long tusks and whiskers smiling at me! They breathe with a small spout almost like whales, and are probably as friendly to a kayaker on the water. At least I am not feeling threatened at all now after my initial unexpected walrus sighting with Michal a few weeks ago.

The tide was running up, and I was waiting to see the entrance of a wide river…there it was! Barely any breakers in the river mouth, so I hopped in for a short easy landing stop on the north side where I spotted a strange object I liked to investigate. Behind that piece which might be a metal wreck piece of a plane or ship, I soon saw some turquoise glistering in the sunshine…a glass ball…and another…and another…one of those “nests” at a highest tide wash up of a river mouth never traveled!

I need a bag…for now, I made small “deposit” piles…I couldn’t top collecting…at the end of a small water filled side inlet, they were even still afloat…five here, two there, three on the other shore…I need to wade across to get those! In my next life, I become a professional glass ball hunter…my hunting instinct was once more full on!

I left four “nests” of glass balls behind to walk back to my kayak to get one of my large gear bags…have I really thought where to store the new batch in my kayak??? I carry already 69 glass balls from only two other hunting spots!!!

But where is no space, there you make space…! I am a packing genius…but I also have four and a half full water bags…ok, two of them need to sit between my legs. This kayak will be a submarine…but i could paddle even with those two water bags. Al glass balls did fit either to the others in the large space behind my footrest, or in the back hatch. My day hatch already also contains 2/3 glass balls.

The sea is calm, but the two water bags between my legs bother me…I dare to dump the contents over board and have now two 1/2 left, counting I will be either easily tomorrow evening or the next day in Pilot Point – or I find another creek around to refill water…glass ball have priority over drinking…LOL!

With the tide turning to ebbing, the headwind increased and the additional counter current didn’t really make a pleasant paddle. But I made still 4-5 km/h – until I felt the offshore headwind became kind of scary when I had to give some breaker zone a wide berth…there will be more zones like that when the water goes more down…I didn’t feel comfortable any more out here, though the sea was relatively calm and the shore break doable on that strong offshore wind. Though I really liked to turn into the mud river for a dead calm landing…but the water displayed more and more breaker zones on lower tide, and behind this one, the landing looks easy…I go in!

Quick decision, when I am not comfortable any more out there, I land. Especially heavy loaded with glass balls, I do not like to afford any trouble…! Though it was only 1 pm…

I walked up the beach, contemplating to launch again, but now it was really blowing heavily offshore! But the water and shore break looked still calm…but where it was breaking offshore, the waves sprayed high scary looking fountains. Hmmmm…shall I not launch again? This all looks doable – besides the strong offshore wind…but I had spotted some caribou from the water I liked to see again, and there out in the dune grass, wasn’t that some antlers…and it is nice and sunny and warm, I could do some household jobs like washing and polishing glass balls…and repacking to make them fit better! Ok, I’ll stay!

If I’ll finish my trip section north this year in Pilot Point, Egekik, Naknek, Clark Point or Dillingham – who cares! Sure Naknek or Dillingham are preferred with either Trident or Peter Pan Seafod storage options, but I may fins also others. I will paddle as long as the weather and sea allows me – until 31st of July latest. Those late warm summer days are really a gift – thank goodness I didn’t fully listen to Tony and his fishermen saying this might have been it with the good weather window when we hit those stormy days…I would have kicked myself in the butt, having lost to different distractions already so many paddling days this season!

And this was also the reason why I really got a bad feeling when the wind after an hour I had already made camp – turned south west and went back from 20 to 10 knots only…NO! I do not pack again! I rather stripped fully, and enjoyed the warm late summer sun rays on my bare skin.

Suddenly, I spotted a ship out there…binoculars to me! I haven’t seen a ship since my two sand storm days! This one turned out to be a tender with a fishing boat in tow, coming pretty close to my beach…if they had also strong binoculars, they might have been wondering about that naked single figure on that remote beach, counting and polishing his balls…! LOL!

Two caribous tried to walk past my camp, they looked pretty non-scared until I tried to reach my camera and binoculars – and bear spray…I guessed they might like naked women? But both hopped soon away…my appetite for a good caribou steak was wettened!

Later I did a short beach walk, and with my binoculars, I spotted three large caribou sitting on one of the outer sand banks, with huge antlers on their heads! Beautiful! I walked a bit towards them, but turned around soon to leave them their peace – and to spot another single glass ball…thank goodness, only one here. Einer geht noch…einer geht noch rein…I really run out of space! 118 balls now, from basically collecting only on three spots!!! Three water filled ones, many with the net pattern still on, but I kept only one with a pretty looking net around, the other about ten nets I cut off as they were mostly rotten.

See how far I am getting tomorrow! I had put my small stiff seat pad vertical behind my footrest to prevent my balls from rolling between my legs through the pedal space…occasionally, I have to reach down and to re-arrange my balls…LOL…otherwise the pedals might squeeze them or they might press too hard against the front bulkhead…but it works!!! I can carry them all! And this time, I will carry them also HOME! Different to Nelson Lagoon, where I left about 66 behind with the local policeman…I should simply have sent a parcel back home! Too stupid! Still waiting for news to get my HUGE glass ball out…