Saturday, June 12, 2010

Everything is starting to come together :)

As our date of departure rolls closer, I guess it has finally hit me the immensity of the trip ahead of us. We are going to attempt to kayak along the coast of British Columbia over 1000 km while trying to eat mainly wild foods on the way. I am so excited because this journey has everything pointing towards life changing and learning to see the world in a new light.

We were going to leave last weekend but the weather was damp and cold and quite discouraging. While I'm totally prepared to spend many days with the liquid sunshine, I didn't really want to start off with it. Might put a damper to things, so to speak. Anyways, we waited a week, which was a great idea. We have been out kayaking in the Fraser River delta almost everyday and dehydrating up a storm with three dehydrators going on at once. While our goal is to eat mainly wild food, we do have a bunch of back up food and starchy things to go with our fish. However, even on the days that we did eat food from storage, I decided that it would be food that we prepared ourselves, keeping with the theme of food that this journey is about.

Food and human strength are kind of my themes for this journey. They are both daily concerns for us as we paddle up the coast and we will be reminded that human strength is not just physical but also mental. Additionally, these two themes are central to the purpose of the trip. We are doing this trip to raise money for the Mama na Dada organization in Western Kenya that, among other things, provides community childcare for orphans of HIV/AIDs and malaria. Mama na Dada is a grassroots organization and a truly inspirational example of human strength and local leadership. The money we raise will go towards buying chickens that will both give many nutritional benefits to the children but also a valuable source of income as they are able to sell any surplus eggs.

Anyways, to give you a little idea of our route, our plan is to kayak up the coast from Vancouver, Canada to Ketchikan, Alaska over a period of just under 3 months. We're going to start in Lions Bay, close to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, then cross over to Gambier Island before crossing over to the Sunshine Coast and following up the shore. We roughly predict that we will be in Powell River in just over a week and then ready for a well deserved little break in Desolation Sound, just north of Lund. Desolation Sound is reputed to be one of the best spots up the coast of B.C., with warm, calm waters, plentiful fish and mussels, clams, oysters and etc. We will relax here for a few days, maybe a week, before heading up the coast once more.

At this point, the distance between Vancouver Island and the mainland of B.C. narrows to a series of islands and narrow passageways. Our first here and probably our biggest overall is the Yucata Rapids. However, these rapids occur with the tides and it is well documented that it is very safe when you time it right to go through on a slack tide. We go through the Discover Islands and up Johnstone Strait, staying on the mainland side. Soon we are very near the tip of Vancouver Island.

We then enter the wild Central Coast of B.C. where roads and people become fewer, though there are still many First Nation coastal villages we go by. The Central Coast is famous for the beautiful channels of the Inside Passage and most of our route is skirting between close coastal islands and the mainland. We will probably pass through Namu, Bella Bella, Klemtu before swinging around Princess Royal Island, stopping at the town of Butedale and then a final hurrah up the Granville Channel that will put us up by Prince Rupert. We might take a detour and swing out to Goose Island, which is said to have a tropical microclimate since it is a point where the cold currents from the north meet warmer currents. The cold currents drop and the island is supposedly a little slice of paradise with warm water and beautiful sandy beaches. We also heard about some hotsprings almost up at Prince Rupert that we may investigate. If anyone has any more information or suggestions of places to stop, please let us know! :)

From Prince Rupert, Alaska is a stone throw away (abet a stone throw by a huge giant...) and we will follow the coast up to our final destination of Ketchikan in the Alaskan panhandle, completing a journey that involves paddling over 1000 km powered by nothing more than human force. Arm wrestle, anyone?

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