Loc: Cambridge Bay
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4
Dist: 53,3 km
Start: 5:55 End: 17:20
I did not sleep well, too many thoughts about my trip finish are going through my head. The forecast confirms once more a dead calm day, though foggy in the morning. I do not car much about fog, I have a GPS, so I think. The sun rises in a tiny gap of the horizon at six o’clock and is visible as a red halo for fifteen minutes until she hides behind the thick fogbanks. It is an amazing view for this short while. My rest island after eight kilometers turns out to be rocky allover, and though I might be able to land with some care, I feel rather like pushing on. I can pee on the water, and hands and feet are okay cold for now.
I swithch on again my audio book, and am happy there is not a ripple in the water which could maybe make me seasick in this thick fog. I cannot tell where the water stops and the fog starts, it is all the same color. When the sun starts burning slowly a hole through the banks, she leaves a color-free gray rainbow for hours to my left side. Amazing. Around ten-thirty, I am still engulfed in thick fog and maybe eight kilometers short to the shore, I hear a foghorn of a big ship. WTF, why is here and now traffic in this remote Arctic strait? I hear the foghorn again and again with gaps of a few minutes. The ship must be coming from my right behind. I cannot say I feel comfortable, and turn around again and again just not see it. Also fine, as meanwhile, I am sitting in bright sunshine, and the foghorn from the ship comes for the far bank. If it emerges anytime soon out of the gray, it will at least see me. But I also hear the sound passing to the west, and assume when it is bound for Cambridge Bay, it will hopefully take a wide berth and I am already out of the way, nearing the coast slowly but surely. Finally, I see a huge red ship appearing to my left behind out of the fog, far enough away not to be in my line anymore. It is a coastguard ship of similar size we already saw weeks ago north of Bernard Harbor.
I have finally reached the shore, and climb out for a pee and call Peter to let him know I am safely across. Thank goodness, there was some spooky half an hour involved!
I am just back in my kayak when a small boat stops besides me, a father and son, and we chat about my trip. They could possibly be of help in Cambridge Bay. I head across the bay to where the big coast guard ship has finally anchored, and hope for another chat. But besides a young person on the lower deck briefly waving at me, no one is on any deck or to be seen on the bridge. Oh well, I do not need to chat, if they are not on the watch. I leave the massive red wall behind me, and keep paddling the last kilometers on glassy crystal clear water.
I have only a rough idea where to aim for, and stroll finally along the city shore to the north to get an impression about the city and where possibly to stop and maybe camp. No one is paying attention to me, so I get out at the small coast guard shed where a rescue boat sits on a trailer, ready for launching anytime. I look around for a good camp spot, and find a place between coast guard and a floating dock where many people take their small boats out of the water. A good spot, I can watch people coming in their boats, and they can see me camping from the street. Someone at some point might show some interest talking to me, or I will look myself for some interesting people to talk to about my needs. But for now, I get dry and warm and cook a pot of spaghetti.
I am just done dining, when a small boat of the Arctic Research Station comes in with a few divers, I hear them banging with the bottles. That sounds like an interesting crew to approach! I get my bum out of the tent, and have a lovely chat with a lovely couple from the Arctic research Station just next door who connect me to another lovely lady on the phone. They all promise to look after me tomorrow in some way or another, thanks so much! It will all work out – picking my spare kayak from the airport, finding a warm ad dry work shed to do some repairs, storing my kayaks and maybe some gear over winter, and getting maybe a room with a shower, laundry and wifi as my phone does again not connect. Just what the doctor ordered to finish my trip section in style, and to feel like a human again. People in remote places are always lovely and helpful!