Loc: before Cape Douglas
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 32,7 km
Start: 8:10 End: 16:00
It was raining all night and also when we woke at 6 am. We preferred to turn around once more for half an hour, but a lookout of the tent didn’t look too bad. Dead calm sea, no wind…just rain…we had to go!
Packing a soaking wet and sandy tent is not my favorite, but for the afternoon, Karel forecasted some sun. After half an hour, Ross felt like he had to change something on his seat and backrest. He decided his inflatable pillow would add some padding there where I had it naturally, plus it would give him some more comfort on his lower back. Well, whatever makes you happy! Ross seems just to prefer a different sitting position than I have. With his new padding, we made quite some reasonable speed. It is all about being comfortable!
We kept on going, thank goodness landing and launching is not a problem, when I go in first and leave last. So far, I always got Ross safely launched and landed here. He realizes the value of quickly going out including closing the spray deck quickly but needs some more practice. Also on landing, exiting a just landed kayak could be crucial in some surf if you can’t do it quickly.
After igloo Creek, we crossed a small 7 km bay offshore, but I prefer to hug the coast. It is mostly so little longer, but so much nicer! This would also be the distance we have to cross from the spit of Port Clearance over to the other side. Ross feels happy with that, for the larger crossing over to Kotzebue, we will see how it goes with us – and how the weather cooperates!
We ended up on the lovely rocky Cape Woolley, where in one small beach, a wrecked motorboat, and a left-behind ATV sprung in our eye. The motorboat was probably not been very lucky on landing, but the ATV looked like it ran just out of gas. People seem to have too much money here…the matching cabin on Cape Wooley was fully out of shape and full of trash. OMG! Why do people just leave their belongings behind like this…
The rocks around the cape at least were eye candy, white and gray, with red sand. Amazing formations! We spend quite some time onshore exploring. Even a small arch was lurking to paddle through, but it was to close to the beach.
In the bottom of the bay behind the cape, the water was shallow breaking, and I animated Ross to practice low bracing into the tiny breakers. He needs to get rid of the fear of the cold water! Maybe I should not have selected a “Florid Boy”? We still have to practice a wet exit and re-entry into the kayak…maybe tomorrow. I paddled on purpose into some shallow area where we had to drag our kayaks maybe 100 meters…mean…but I needed Ross to practice to handle himself getting out and in his own kayak. It worked all right, though later I had to assist him to re-adjust the inflated backrest-pad, and to re-launch the stuck skeg.
A small fishing camp village came up at the Feather River, maybe ten cabins or such which were still looking in use. But today, no one was present. We decided not to land for investigation, as here, the beach was steep and landing would be some effort. I also liked to make some more distance! I agreed with Ross to paddle until 4 pm, as there was no distinct landmark to land on. Just beach, easy to land again, with beautiful mountains in the background.
I challenged Ross we should “give everything” in the last half an hour, as he demanded some “torture” when he signed up for this trip, LOL! Well, ok, *I* paddled until 4 pm, Ross had to work a few minutes overtime…
We found a nice beach spot with dozens of caribou hoof prints passing along. How I’d love to see the herd! The usual bear paw prints, but nothing really fresh. The lagoon just behind our beach turned out to be freshwater, and I had a swim. And yes, my Florida-temperature-spoiled paddling partner also had at least a wash in the cold water! We went for a short hike, but besides some caribou-party places, more bear prints and one wheel track probably from the fishing camp, we found only a few whale vertebra bones, amazingly with a fur coat on? Ok, this must have been dried sew weed…One strange small animal carcass we could not classify anyhow. It had long claws and small carnivore teeth. No idea what that was. No glass balls nowhere, no dead walrus.
It was sunny all evening, but noticeable late summer and not that warm anymore. Still, Ross got all his clothes dried out, as he brought not the ideal underwear under the drysuit. Now, we can start tomorrow in the sunshine again, not like this morning in the rain…