Wed 21/08-2019 Day 453

Pos: 65.1753,-166.9404
Loc: before Port Clarence
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 27,0 km
Start: 7:15 End: 15:00

I was glad the wind and seas calmed down again overnight. It was also not as freezing cold as yesterday’s clear morning. We were to round Cape Douglas today and would have to punch again straight into the NNE wind for a while. The cape was not as lumpy as yesterday, and beach after beach, we worked our way forward, and the whole sea became calmer again and landing easier. We had a shore break after two hours, not much to see than the usual ATV wheel tracks, the usual bear track and a very rotten walrus a bit down the beach. Sure, already without tusks…
The wind freshened up to around 15 knots, Ross became slower and slower, but my spot where we would haul over into a lagoon and the bay came closer. We landed, unloaded and walked four times with all the gear and kayaks the short 165 m over to the shallow lagoon shore. What a different world! After a refreshing lunch, we were up to paddle a bit “inland”, as far as we would get. Not that here was no wind, but the whole thing felt much easier than outside. No waves, no breakers…as long as we were inside the lagoon. We paddled out of the first exit and crossed over to the second. As soon as our beach inside trended north-north-west, the full 15+ knots wind hit the shores and it became quite lumpy! I landed briefly with Ross at the point before it became rough, to ask how it was going for him, and knew the answer already…It was only 1 pm, I felt I liked to paddle a bit more, and I suggested to team up in a tandem? He agreed – as long as we’d stay close to the beach…? Sure, I’d not cross the 10 km over to Port Clarence…
I hooked my towline into his bow toggle, and off we went! Finally, I could work out a bit harder…and Ross just named me in a short break, after we crossed a small bay, a “beast master”…was that a compliment? LOL! We launched again with the tow already on, but I had to swap the belt under the hull three times before we got straight in a line and the rope did not entangle with my rudder. Another half an hour on lumpy onshore seas, where Ross basically just had to stay upright behind me, but he actually paddled also hard. I was envisioning he would capsize, and I’d not notice…thank goodness he is tied with the bowline to the kayak…and if I would finally notice dragging the kayak minus passenger behind me, I would just land to the close shore with my tow belt on, and pull the fish on the hook including kayak to shore LOL!
Ross later said this was the lumpiest seas he has been in so far…ok, good training! But actually, there was no real need to push on like this, I just had fun with this workout! And it was no danger at all with the onshore wind here.
We had just made camp on some clean shingle gravel, when I startled – on the outer side across the small pond between our inside beach and the outside beach, I spotted a HUGE musk ox bull with a fur coat reaching to the ground, with a smaller female strolling behind him. What the heck! I did expect here maybe bears or caribou, but not musk ox…we pulled out cameras and binoculars, but also soon double bear spray and bangers…but the two beasts decided to turn around and to stay on the other side of the pond. See, they were clever…leaving us our space, and we will leave them theirs. Mutual respect is the crux in the wilderness…
We decided to have a short walk to the abandoned fishing camp we spotted just before we landed. It was three-building frames out of driftwood, simply knotted together with some nylon rope. Some tarp was on the ground under some more wood. A bunch of “interior design” utensils were spread all over, plus some fish was hung out to dry to death. Means the fish was over-dry, will never be eaten by any humans anymore, and was simply left behind. Also left behind was a rotten snowmobile and a halfway-intact looking ATV plus an ax and a rusty but loaded rifle by its side. People have too much money here…no person around anywhere, all clearly abandoned. We also found a golden Cinderella girl’s slipper and an open outhouse with two fully loaded buckets….
Later when we had dinner in the tent, the two musk ox decided to walk the other way and past our camp, maybe 150 m away. But they seemed not to be interested in us…
Last night, we refilled four of our ten 4-liter water bags with some river water from the marsh. Ross did not trust the tanned, a bit iron tasting fresh meadow water, and bothered to filter some of it today. I wouldn’t care…but at least it doesn’t hurt. We might have different tolerance levels about water from nature!