Friday, January 18, 2008


No photo today, unfortunately. There have been some memorable visual moments, but I am unable to download photos at the moment... maybe later. Oh well, a word is worth a thousand pictures, eh?

If it's the right word.

Monday saw an inauspicious beginning to the adventure, although it was a good taste of what I'm sure is yet to come. High winds in Bellingham, no way to put in at Lummi, so Marc dropped me off at Larabee State Park, and I paddled for a grand total of 2 miles to an unofficial camp site in Chuckanut Bay. Not a great beginning at all. The wind howled all night and even with ear plugs in place, I could feel the changes in the air pressure as the gusts approached over the water.

At 4:30am the wind died and by 6:00am, the water was calm. I got underway at sunup, a bright, perfect day that couldn't have been more different than the day that came before. I passed the original launch site, rounded the north end of Lummi Island, and set out on the crossing to Matia. From there I went to Sucia Island and although I wanted to keep going, the wind had come up enough that I was easily persuaded that Sucia would be a fine place to spend the night.

Up before dawn the next morning and immediately crossing to Saturna Island. Made it to the other side of Boundary Pass just as it got light, then up Tumbo Channel and into the Canadian Gulf Islands. I stopped on Mayne Island briefly to call home, then paddled on to Montague Harbour, where I stayed at the Marine Provincial Park. (Its only occupant, actually).

Yesterday morning, I got up at 5:00am and was on the water by 6:15. I have never paddled anywhere that was so dark as Trincomali Channel in the hour before dawn. The solid cliffs of Galliano Island blocked all light from the east; a few navigational beacons were all I had to measure my progress until the sky grew light again. Then it was across to Wallace Island and on up the chain: Mowgli Island, South and North Secretary, then Norway and Thetis. I crossed over to Yellow Point and almost called it a day at the Yellow Point Lodge, where I'm sure I could have procured a bottle of Chardonnay and some peppered sausage while waiting for a manicure and a massage...

But the weather was cooperating, so I continued. Up the Vancouver Island shoreline to Round Island, a little speck of an island just south of Dodd Narrows. It was starting to get dark and there was no way I could make it to Nanaimo at that point.

This morning, after the first real good sleep of the trip, I got on the water, passed through Dodd Narrows on a 3 knot current and negotiated the whirl of marine traffic to get into Nanaimo. Log booms and tugs, huge ferries, even a freighter conspired to change my route and slow my pace. I still made it in by 11:00am, set up camp on Newcastle Island, and brought myself into town for some fish'n'chips and the internet.

That's right around 60 miles so far. I am planning on leaving tomorrow, but the weather may have other ideas. The high that has held for the past 3 days is supposed to give way tonight to some truly windy weather coming from the northwest. Since Sunday is going to be an off day for me anyway (Go Packers!), I may be a Nanaimo resident for the immediate future.

There are a whole lot worse things I could be.