Loc: Cockburn Islands
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4
Dist: 41,2 km
Start: 5:50 End: 16:00
After sticking my nose out of my bay, yes, I feel uncomfortable crossing twenty five kilometers due north-east, into fifteen knots headwind and lumpy sea at four degrees Celsius and soe drizzling rain almost all morning. So it is the long way via the Galena Islands.
I can divide the day into sections, and stop again and again on some islands. The first four kilometers are the worst. I heard already all night the different sound of the waves reflecting from the cliffs with the north-easterly wind, just like when I arrived here. Yesterday with the nrth-westerly, it sounded different and was likely also not as lumpy. So it is another four kilomteres of a rough Bronco ride along the cliffs. I focus at the distance, and have to ride it out. I do not like it, although it is not really dangerous when balancing well. Bracing is rarely necessary, but it feels not good, as there is also no landing at these cliffs. S soon as I leave the cliffs to cross over to a lang narrow island, things become a little better, but it is still rough seas. I am relieved when I can hide behind the island and relax. I am even contemplating that that ws it for today. Fifteen knots full side-on in lumpy cold seas are also neither funny nor fast.
But after I got out of my kayak and walked a bit to get the blood in my feet a little working again, I jump back in and see how the now due east direction to the Galena Islands feels. Those are only six kilometers to the next shelter and get-out. It is still frizzling, and calm is something else. But the seas are supposed to get better by the hour, also the more I am getting into the bay and into the island shelter. But the wind stays all day around fifteen knots, and slows me down to well under five kilomters per hour. There is only so much I can punch into the wind.
Still, after a short rest break between the dark, rocky and uninviting looking Galena Islands, I keep on paddling. Another even kilometers of open water to hide behind the first island of the Cockburn Islands archipelago. My pace is still slow and the wind still blowing in my face, though the seas are getting better the closer I get.
The first south-western island is dark and towering hig. On the eastern side, dark sharp boulders of house-size have been crumbling off the high cliffs. It is a view like out of an earthquake horror movie, and I feel I better get away from this wall very soon. The islands in the middle are more flat and mellow, but also mostly black sharp gravel. Still, l can land in many places for a brief rest and moving my frozen feet. Conditions are now ood enough to keep on paddling, as the sea inside here is calm. But it is blowing and blowing, straight into my face. I am glad I have a halfway decent chart with most islnds on it, and thread my way with few detours into the most sheltered areas.
I feel I have enough at four o’clock and after my regula forty kilometers, find a iny island which stays likely bear-free, and set camp on a small patch of tundra among the black sharp gravel. Many caribou droppings prove the animals also like this island when it was warm as it might have less bugs than the larer islands. I also find old bear poop, but it is very unlikely a bear is swimming over just today. The island is simply too small to find enough interesting food, and the season has progressed. I will sleep well tonight. For the first time, I have to leave my baby sleeping a abit distant from my campsite, as dragging it over te sharp gravel makes no sense. But I see it when I look ut of the window to my headside. I pulled it up high enough and even staked it down, just in case. I will be back to it tomorrow!