Loc: Behind Christie Point
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 29,1 km
Start: 7:50 End: 16:40
After a night with many wake ups due to too much sleeping on the rest day, I feel we are ready to get up at five twenty in the morning. The wind has calmed down to moderate, still from north east. But all white caps are gone, and we can launch with not much problems. But until we are ready to launch, it takes a while. Lilja has to get used to camp routine and likes to have a hot meal and coffee in the morning. Despite me taking both tent and bear fence down, plus getting both kayaks to the water and most bags, we take solid two and a half hours to start. It will be a little faster next morning.
We have camped on a slightly soaking spot, and my entrance is finally muddy from both of us using it during the rest day as it was the lee side. Besides the little fox yesterday, no animals came close to our camp. Many caribou tracks, no bear paws. This side of the inlet feels pretty bear safe, but you never know.
We paddle along muddy cliffs with some small chop in the shallow areas, but nothing really to bother much. Lilja might not be too sure about it, though, and seems not to trust the water and her kayak yet. Some points are quite shallow, but all easy going. Just headwind, headwind, headwind. It will be our destiny at least for the next week. At Scott Point, we aim to cross Iko Bay, which is across an opening of the outer barrier islands. With the constant north-easterlies the last days, some large pieces of ice floated inside the lagoon. At first, we are not too sure about what is going on here, too fresh are my rememberings of trying to paddle Peard Bay with Peter. But the icy floes are small, and really nothing to worry about. They only look BIG from a distance,and are also not many. Visibility is low, but we are carefully judging that the situation is all fine. We make good progress on the about five kilometers of the crossing, and closer to Ross Point, the random smallish floes are getting less. All good. We land briefly on a sandy spit, but soon launch again as it is chilly today.
We cross most small bays, spot a caribou herd in the distance, and pass Tulageak Point where we could have crossed over to Cooper Island and continue on the inside of the outer barrier islands. But the inner coast seems to us rather more bear-free, and we stay inland. Sorry that in this way, we miss to pay George a visit, a bird watcher and biologist living at Cooper Island all summer.
We paddle around Christie Point which leads into the large deep opening of Dease Inlet. We paddle on my chart all on land, so much solid ground has been eaten by the ice and sea over the years. Or this area has never been charted properly. In the distance, we see another caribou herd. We consider paddling more south into the inlet to have a shorter crossing tomorrow, but as soon as we spot a lovely small beach leading to dry grassy soil, we call it a day and have a longer crossing tomorrow and no detour today.Just before I land first, we see another caribo herd’s heads briefly behind the beach. Sure they run away as soon as I try a sneaky landing to take a picture. I got only their behinds.
But the landing and campsite is perfect, the grass is way more dry than yesterday’s site, and we happily unload to make camp. Not sure if the caribous appreciate our presence, but they have their space also somewhere else. No signs of bears here at all, but you never know.
I set the tent as always by myself while Lilja is still unloading, and today it is her turn to rig the fence alone. She makes the poles, but fancies to come in first to warm up and cook dinner before she rigs the trip wire. We have a wide view over the flat land, and my belief is if any, then the caribous might become too curious about us. But it is a good practice for more serious bear areas. I keep my shotgun as always close to me in the tent, plus the ten-gauge fire spitting signal pistol, the cracke launcher and our bear spray cans. We are ready armed to go to war, but have also only two hands.
Tomorrow, we are fresh and fit to cross the bay and find the channel leading to the other part of the lagoon before we cross the bar of the outer barrier islands, either through the last opening or by hauling over. Then it is only a short hop to find some civilization spot, but not sure is anyone will be there, and if we will reach that place at all. Maybe we get stuck in the shallows or lost. Not likely the latter, but shallows are always a danger!