Sunday, July 1, 2007

July 1, Day after Ketchikan

What a great day this has been. It's amazing what good weather combined with a nice camp can do for my spirits.

When I got up this morning,m it was raining and it continued raining through my boat packing on the dock and through my first 2 hours of paddling. I had called a taxi for a 5:15 pick-up so I could be on the water by 6am. That would give me the last 2 hours of ebb tide to get out the Tongass Narrows Then I would do the 5 mile crossing of the Behm Canal around slack tide and have the flood tide to push me up Clarence Strait. All that meant I needed to get picked up at the hotel by 5:15am.

Everything went well, although it's kind of miserable to have all my gear spread out on the dock and getting soaked while I'm trying to get the kayak into the water and loaded. Once I was paddling, the rain wasn't a bother at all.

There were a lot of seaplanes taking off at 6 so I had to do a bit of jockeying to get through them all. I think a lot of freight gets hauled early in the morning and more flight seeing happens later. There wasn't much boat traffic at that hour, mostly sport fishing boats headed out to Higgins Point to troll for salmon.

Throughout the morning the low clouds slowly lifted and I went from paddling in a cloud to paddling under an overcast sky. The crossing of the Behm went well with just enough slop from waves and swell to keep it interesting. By the time I was across, there were patches of blue sky visible. And when I went around Camano Point, a humpback surfaced, arched its back to dive and lifted its tail high in the air. That was a sight to behold. I never saw it again so I assume it dove deep.

And not too many miles further, I came to a beautiful gravel beach with a small offshore island to protect it from southerlies. The beach has plenty of room to pitch a tent above high tide (and we're at the high part of the cycle again) and the sun is shining and I've got the whole afternoon to spend in this lovely spot. And there's a breeze so the bugs aren't bothersome.

I spend the afternoon setting up camp, having lunch, reading, dozing, repairing my hip and thigh pads in the boat with the barge cement I finally found at a shoe repair shop in Ketchikan. I swear, that stuff must not be imported into Canada because I couldn't find it there, though to be fair, Prince Rupert is the only town of any size I searched. I snooped around the forest behind camp as it was particularly open with little undergrowth. Some big stumps indicate its been logged, but not in recent decades. And I make some brownies, plan the next couple days on the map, fix spicy Thai noodles with peanut sauce for dinner, write in my journal, hang my food bags, close up camp for the night, read and go to bed.

I know my energy has been a little low the last few days because of some soggy weather and long mileage days with little time to do anything besides paddle. But days like today are re-invigorating. Yahoo! Maybe there'll be more where this one came from.

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