Loc: Cape Douglas
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 13,0 km
Start: 7:40 End: 10:50
I looked outside the tent this night and saw a red big moon rising from behind the mountains, beautiful, though already a few days past the full moon. The night was clear, and accordingly cold. But we did not freeze inside the tent. Ross just froze his butt off on going to the “bathroom” this morning. I saw at some point briefly his interesting style of sitting on a log for this business…we called that in old military German “Donnerbalken” – “Thunder Log”…LOL! I have my convenient PPP for that, a “Pee and Poop Potttie” or my “en suite facilities”, which is simply a large Lock Lock box covered with white tape not to see the contents once filled. Works perfectly at night for me for peeing, and in the morning, once my tent partner is outside, for number 2…
We had a northeasterly offshore wind this morning, maybe 12-13 knots, no surf, and still very calm seas. But it was supposed to be breezing up to 19 knots today, and the sea would be lifting. So far, we would be able to paddle in the shelter of the coast in calm water with not much to suffer than a moderate side wind. Right after I launched Ross, he barely realized how fast he got drifted offshore on fumbling for ten minutes with his spray deck and gloves…I was quickly after him on the water, but sat waiting close to shore and expecting him to realize his drift and to come back to me and the coast…well, it took a while, and I already grabbed my tow belt…but conditions were dead calm and not too strong offshore wind, so I let him have his experience. He was not in the greatest mood as he was hoping I am coming out to help him with his spray deck, but no, he could come back to me and to the coast, even with the deck still open?! We later had a bit of a talk if I was too harsh with him getting him independent from my help…? We agreed all was ok.
He was also fine with me paddling usually slightly ahead, as I read clearly on my GPS, if I’d be paddling by his side, he’d slow down. He is happy and getting rather motivated with getting dragged along behind me, which *I* would be hating with a faster paddling partner by my side…but as long as everyone is happy! Ross doesn’t like to chat very much on the water anyway, so we’ll likely keep it like this.
We came to a 90 degrees corner along the coast, kind of a pre-headland of Cape Douglas. I knew we would be catching now the full headwind, but as it was still around 15 knots, I thought it would be ok for this brief 350 m distance back to shelter. I saw Ross’ feeling not happy behind me facing suddenly a wall of solid rocks with small breakers, a light chop and some surf on the new beach looking from the distance scary…but come on, it is only 350 meters back to the shelter! Dig in deep, and we’ll be back to the beach in no time! I felt he was kind of paralyzed, but he said he paddled as hard as he could…well, I had my tow belt handy, protected him from getting too close to the rocks, and saw us moving forward on the GPS, first with 1-2 km/h, then 3-4 km/h, and soon we were back to the sheltered coast and could continue.
But there was still the “real” Cape Douglas to round, and this one was much longer before we would get back to some halfway sheltered area. Ross needed a rest, the wind would not get less including the chop around the next cape, and so I decided to call it a day just here between the points. We walked out to the cape, and we saw I decided right. Tomorrow is another day, especially in the likely calmer morning!
The long afternoon, Ross played with making a campfire, always nice! He tried it first in the “manly” way with magnesium splits and flintstone sparks, but it was too windy. He could not find his fire starters, so a gas can wit stove and some paper needed to do the job. I like campfires, but most don’t bother myself to make one. Only at my home in my back yard fireplace…
We made another walk back to the dreaded rocky cape later in the afternoon. ATV wheel tracks, caribou, moose and bear tracks, some old bones and smaller treasures, not much to find.
The plan for tomorrow is to start as early as possible to hopefully have still lower (north) wind to get around Cape Douglas, and then paddle in the shelter of the coast up to the spot where we can haul over the sandy land spit. We will be better protected inside in most conditions. Either we reach the same day Port Clearance, or on Thursday morning, to maybe find people there to spend a very windy Friday. With shelter from westerly winds, we can paddle up to the spit on Saturday, and then we’ll see how it goes to cross the mere 7 km over to the coast trending west. Up to the Bering Strait, we would have great shelter from northerly winds until Wales. Hope it won’t be too many southerlies then…!