Loc: dry island
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 40,2 km
Start: 02:30 End: 11:35
It was a bright clear night as all the other here in Alaska, so our “night” paddle was nothing at darkness at all. We launched, yawning, but the water reached our campsite. If we might have made the effort to go further inland…we might have stayed dry over the low high tide, but who knows…nothing indicated here any tide line.
I kept my GPS on low light not to miss the next island, Fylkir had to follow me as his GPS was drowning in no-care moisture from changing batteries with wet fingers yesterday. It might revive the next days when he is putting it out of the Aquapac and into the sunshine.
The next island was clearly higher as expected, a few big “lumps” indicated likely some stranded dead walrus. We didn’t stop and check in the dawn light, though I’d loved to…on the third lump, I insisted to land for a pee and poop, and surely liked to explore the dead walrus…
I walked up there by myself while Fylkir had his morning coffee, and found tow stranded huge walrus, one longer dead than the other. Both had tusks still in! The longer dead one had only one, about 40 cm long, which I easily could pull out of the jar, though with still some blood clumps on it…yuck…but it will be washed off soon.
The other one had still two tusks of the same size, but it was so freshly dead I could neither pull the tusks out nor would enjoy sawing the tusks off…despite I just bought a saw for this purpose in Quinhagak. I decided for myself not to be too “greedy” of nature’s gifts, and would only take those tusks offering themselves lose, especially not after I had already bagged that long 1m-record tusk. I left the poor freshly stranded walrus in one piece for his destiny to be likely taken the tusks off later by some locals. I also prefer tusks with the natural open end instead of being cut-off with a saw.
Fylkir was refreshed with his coffee, I don’t drink any and had to fight tiredness on the next section. Fylkir rather seemed to fight boredom when I was paddling so slow half asleep and offered me to join forces and to hook the kayak together. Thanks, my strong man! In this way, you can work out nicely while your weak tired old woman can rest a bit with paddling a bit lighter on the tow…who wanted to camp on this wet sandbank and not to get proper rest on the next island…
Fylkir seemed highly motivated to maintain a good speed despite me barely adding to the workload. Good! He got the one functional GPS to follow up, and I had to watch not to fall out of my kayak half asleep…LOL
We landed twice more, found more walrus but without tusks, and finally, I woke up when the sun was higher on the once more blue bright warm sky and paddled the last ten kilometers without his assistance. Good to have a strong awake man! On the other hand, I did not see any reason to push hard today, as we could land on many places easily, to have a rest and no one was pushing us than our desire for a proper camp and good sleep.
We finally decided to stop on a higher spot on the last island, away from any stinky dead walrus. We “only” had to walk maybe 800 m up the island to be safe from the afternoon’s high high tide running in with low surf on this offshore side of the sandbank chain. We almost instantly crashed in our tent for an afternoon nap, in bright hot sunshine, sweating a lot. Sweating in Alaska! LOL! Nothing like that was to be expected…but we have enough freshwater to drink a lot.
Some boats drove between the islands, and we heard shots of likely seal hunters. No one came close to us, thanks, we liked to rest! Late afternoon, we slowly rose for some chores and dinner, feeling like old people in a sanatorium.
Fylkir’s GPS revived after drying out properly, thank goodness. Tomorrow, we like to push a long day of 85 km in best weather conditions to Tuksuk Bay! well-rested, and hopefully a bit less grumpy…