Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cape Caution

I've been looking at Cape Caution on maps for a long time, and now I've paddled beyond it. As with so many dreaded ventures, this one was relatively easy. Not because of my own skills, but because the weather was cooperative. Nevertheless, the experience of being on the ocean swells, in a very small boat, on a grey, foreboding early morning, and all alone (the last human form I've seen was 3 days past) provides enough anxiety without bad weather.

Light breezes and low swells marked the long morning paddle toward the Cape. I paddled off shore almost 2 miles to avoid the rough water. If you get in too close, the reefs and shoals and rebounding waves from the shore make for difficult paddling. And then I paddled more than 3 hours to get to a decent place to stretch my legs. And that was it. It was done. It was easy, and I'm glad it was.

I've had a couple peeks at the sun, but mostly these last few days have been grey with low clouds and sometimes rain. Temps get up to low to mid 50s F.

It's surprising that it's only been 3 days since leaving Port Hardy--it seems at least a week.
The first day I was paddling by 4:30am from Port Hardy to cross Queen Charlotte Strait. The day was peaceful and grey, and the crossing went smoothly I seemed to have a favorable current because I was to the mainland by 9:30--less than 5 hours.

After that paddle, I had a nice long day at a beautiful camp marred only by the hordes of flying insects. The mosquito head net was a sanity saver.
Next day was a side trip to Hakwakto Rapids with its 16 knot ebb flow (They say it's in Guinness.). I wanted to see what that would look like, but I had to settle for the miniature version. I watched the current start to build, but then I had to hurry back to the boat to get out the Slingsby Channel to the Sound before too much water started funneling out. As it was, I had tide rips and whirlpools more than 2 miles out into the Sound. Nothing too vicious, but not at all relaxing. Not sure what it would have been like had I waited for the faster water. As it was, I was sailing through the Outer Narrows of Slingsby at better than 7mph.

And now I was out in the great Pacific swells. It had been so calm the day before, crossing from Port Hardy, they were hardly noticeable. But now they are--big, wide and comfortable. A few mile paddle to camp, and then wait for the right weather to round the Cape.

Who would have guessed the right weather would show up the next day?

PS...I'll go back and put some pictures up when I find a computer with USB ports. As it is, the only access I've found to the internet in Bella Bella/Shearwater is at the hotel reception desk. Thank you, Janice!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dude you are my hero! Very cool activity. Stay strong, have fun, and good luck the rest of the way. I am in Chios Greece working on cassini, not bad but the word working is in the sentence! Bob (your neighbor for alittle while longer).