Sat 25/08-2018 Day 277

Pos: 58.2419,-157.4954
Loc: Bishop Creek/ Egegik
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 38,2 km
Start: 08:00 End: 14:00

Back to civilization

Hmmmmm…, rain all morning…I’ll stay in my warm and dry bag for an hour longer. No need to get up in darkness, the current window starts around 8 am anyway. At around 7 am, it was nicely light and almost dry, and I saw the sea calm as forecasted with 60 cm only. I kicked my butt to go now! Easy launch behind the outer, this morning low sand bank break – but sure, when I paddled out of the gap at the end of the outer sand bank, some last bit of non-breaking high swell got my face wet on paddling out. I think my best concentration and watching skills are worn out by this long section now…high time to finish this leg! Three more paddling days…

The day stayed rainy, but calm seas. I switched my music on, and sang at the top of my voice the rain away…it worked! After about 15 km at the river I was aiming for yesterday, I saw a bear strolling around. I haven’t seen one since Illnik Lagoon, barely bear footprints anywhere, but sure, at a river mouth, that’s where they like to be these days with the salmon run. I let him be, and was too lazy to land to refill water, though I was on the last half a liter. I relied on reaching Bishop Creek at the Egegik river mouth very easy today, my destination for camping. Should do! Rarely, I am running so low on water…but never ran out of water in my career!

Not much to see besides low dunes and sand, one cabin at the spit. I spotted something like a crane in the distance…where was that beast sitting on? Probably afloat on a pontoon or tender…and there it was, on a barge with a tug boat, sitting behind the middle sand bank in the Egegik river mouth (where I once more caused a stampede of about 500 seals, sorry, but no chance to sneak past unnoticed…).

I decided to give the tug boat a visit, see if the guys are on watch…they probably get the shock of their life seeing a mirage coming out of the misty horizon…soon, four guys showed up outside on the bridge, and three of them ran quickly down on deck, two of them in t-shirts only…”You’ll be freezing your butt off!” I shouted to the surprised looking guys, but they only smiled and surely were interested to hear my story. They offered me a banana and grapes and jerky…very much welcome, thanks! I let them keep the melons (yuck…same as cucumber…) and the bunch of Clifbars (nice, but very much over-eaten by now…), sorry to be picky!

The guys on the tug boat were waiting for high tide (it’s now…), to drag the barge with the crane into Egegik river. The captain and three other guys were still sleeping. I told the guys to make a bet with their captain – they REALLY have seen a lady in a kayak outside their tug boat chatting happily to them, no, they are NOT drunk or drugged or having seen a mermaid…they have a photo proof…

For me, they were the first people I was chatting to since I got dropped back to my spot by the tender “Watchman”. Ten days now…ok, the short satellite phone calls do not count. And it was the second boat only after I left the Port Moller fleet behind me…

They needed to go, and I was aiming for the Bishop Creek beach, an easy sheltered landing 1,5 km away. A bunch of cabins were around I did not really see on my satellite images, so I was not alone here! Vehicles are around…

I was walking up to my closes neighbors working on some roofing on two cabins, and the thee guys, Victor from Romania, José from Mexico and another young man offered me a bunch of friendly amenities like staying in their cabin 3 miles down the road, hot coffee, shower…but I was rather after my independence staying in my own “Hilleberg Hotel” and being able to launch early if I like to. Thanks anyway, guys! They really helped me by loading my still loaded kayak on the small trailer platform of a four wheeler bike, and carefully drove the whole thing up to a dry sandy camp spot where I could unload it in still pouring rain.

The rain didn’t prevent me form seeking a hair wash in the close by creek…plenty of fresh water available! Yeah! How to do this in chilly rain without freezing your butt off? Keep the dry suit fully on, but the hood out of the way…bend down, and use a pot for rinsing the long hair without touching too much of the scalp with the cold water! I needed three washes to have a reasonable lather…and in between, look out for bears…footprints were around, as to be expected at a creek! I have to be a bit more on the watch this night.

The refreshing rest of the body wash came after stripping my wet dry suit in the shelter of my tent, out of sight from the cabins, and able to hop in quickly for warmth. Not sure if I needed to swap this refreshing experience against a hot private shower…now, the huge space in my four-person tent comes in handy with all the wet gear!

I ate a bag of jerky from the tug boat while cooking my rice, and drank probably three liters of crystal clear fresh cold river water, so nice! But I had to lay down to digest it all…

I might stay put tomorrow, it’s Sunday…and I paddled seven days in a row now…and it will be rainy again, and Karel says seas in the afternoon will be up to 1,80 m, and I hae no sheltered landing on high tide…not sure if this really happens so deep into Bristol Bay, but I am in no hurry to finish. Monday and Tuesday will be (hopefully it stays…) reasonable!