Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Off again into the blue

Thanks to Mark and his mom, Vanessa, we were able to resupply in nearby Port McNeil. Port McNeil is a mere 20km away and would be a full day's paddle...or 20 minutes by car. Really puts things in perspective!
Anyways, we bought lots of food for breakfasts and snacks and looking like we'll be completely self sufficient for the next two months! Half of my 19 foot kayak is also completely full of food!
A really special thanks to North Island Kayak in Telegraph Cove for their warm welcome, support and great advice. Their guides are really awesome and it's a good shop. They totally welcomed us into their little family and we thank them.
We are off to Hanson Island and beyond to the Broughton Archipelago before heading up Cape Caution and then up the Inside Passages.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Telegraph Cove - 400 km and counting!

We have just landed in Telegraph Cove this morning, just in time to catch the finals in the World Cup game and the team we were rooting for, Spain, won! Yay! Telegraph Cove is on the north end of Vancouver Island and is a cute little place with a marina, general store, restaurant and a pub...most of it set on a charming wooden boardwalk. Everything here feels like I`m walking around in a museum. The plaques on everything help that feeling along. We are here for a couple days to resupply and recharge on burgers and beer before heading up the long and lonesome Central Coast.

Our last little bit has been fantastic. We had some crazy headwinds through the Discovery Islands and the channels leading up to Johnstone Strait. It would be paddling 100% all the time because you had to keep paddling hard when the wind gusted or else it would blow you back and between gusts, we had to paddle hard because that`s when we made our distance. As can be seen on the GPS tracking map, we were doing about 6 to 15 km after a full day of paddling. While slow, it was still pretty fun. When there is wind, we hug the coastline because all the little bays can give us a little shelter and on the plus side, we have really explored all the nooks and crannies for a part of the coast!

We were a little apprehensive heading into the Johnstone Strait because it was our understanding that it was where these crazy winds were blowing off from. However, Johnstone Strait has been a fantastic time after figuring out the mystery of the currents. Since Johnstone Strait is part of the water that wraps around Vancouver Island, it actually flows both ways at once. We didn`t know this at first and was wondering why there was a 5 knot current flowing in when it was supposed to be an ebbing tide (high tide to low tide.

Johnstone Strait is just so full of life. There are little herring jumping out of the water (for God knows what reason...) and occasionally, a salmon. No luck catching salmon yet but we have been catching some huge rock cod and ling cods! We have seen two types of porpoises (Dal`s porpoise, which kind of looks like a miniature orca, and harbour porpoise) and the Pacific White-Sided dolphin, which is bigger and faster than the porpoises. I had no idea that we had dolphins in B.C.! As always, we have had seals for company when we paddle. In fact, we have probably seen at least one seal a day and it`s kind of reassuring to see a seal now. They seem to signal that everything is alright, going as usual and the environment is good.

We have also seen whales! Johnstone Strait is a world renown place to check out whales, especially orcas, and the Robson Bight Reserve is located on the south side of it. The Robson Bight is where orcas come to hang out and rub themselves on the pebbly beach to get rid of sea lice...or because it just feels good!! Because it`s a nature reserve, we`re not allowed in it but we were damn close as we camped on both sides of the boundaries! On the eastern side, we camped with Bill and Marsie, amazing staff with Coastal Spirit kayak adventure company, and then bush camped on the western side at our own private little beach just stone throw away from the boundary. We saw so many orcas and they came super close to the beach. Once when we were out fishing, we saw this pod of orcas coming our way. We backed up into our bay a bit to give them room and the next thing we knew, a mama and baby orca was behind us. They had swam under us! The next morning, we woke up to the sound of the blowhole of a bull orca whale working back and forth in the bay. He was there for about half an hour and got as close as 20 meters from shore! We only caught smaller fish that night but it was totally worth it! We also got to see a humpback whale flipping its tail in the sunset.

Anyways, till next time...which might be a while. I don`t expect much internet up the Central Coast so probably will not hear from us until Price Rupert!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shoal Bay - Crab Haven

Fun fact of the day: Shoal Bay, a sleepy half a dozen houses kind of bay today, in the 19th century was the largest town north of San Francisco! It was a big spot for gold mining and people from all over came here to try their luck. Today, boaters come and dock here to enjoy the great crabs and the great view of snowcapped mountains up the inlet across from the bay. We enjoyed a 100m diet for dinner tonight with 4 rock cods, 1 greenling and 4 dugness crabs including one HUGE one that was over 12 inches across, and salad from the garden here. Tasty tasty and cooked over a campfire!

It's been a good paddle up so far. We spent a few days in beautiful Desolation Sound which looks like a someone scattered a bunch of emerald islands onto a jade sea. We stayed at this one place that was right beside a beautiful lake and there was this stream that ran right by our camp. It formed a little tumbling waterfall pool right beside our campsite so we had our own mother nature's jacuzzi. We finally pulled ourselves away after a couple days; we got a bit restless and ready for paddling again! We paddled up the channel between East and West Redonda islands where we saw our first porpoise! Yes, we have dolphins here! And they are so curious. We see them off in the distance and the next thing we know, they are right beside us checking us out.We had a pod today that came up so close we heard their blowholes!

Yucata is the biggest and baddest set of rapids and whirlpools on our trip but was calm as can be as we went through it on slack tide. There was still a bit of current but it was just kind of nice because it was less paddling for us! Yay! We spent the night at Big Bay, camped out at the community marina set between the private resorts of the rich. If you don't know what a private resort is, it's a resort for friends and family only. However, one had a really nice caretaker named Jeremy that gave us a couple huge slabs of salmon when we looked so sad finding out there was no restaurant here and the store only opened between 4 and 5pm!

We passed through Dent Rapids today, also on slack tide. There were some faint outlines of the whirlpools where local fishermen used to boat right up to and pull the fish out of. We tried pulling our fishing-lines but to no luck. The current was working in our direction but the wind was working against us and we were kayaking against the headwind the whole way! It was an arm workout today! We made it to Shoal Bay, about 20 km away from Big Bay and about 6 hours later. Shoal Bay has a sandy bottom, which is the habitat for yummy big Dugness crabs. Mark, another kayaker that we met in Powell River that is heading up to Prince Rupert, has a collapsible crab trap so we had a seafood feast tonight. We brought in fish and he added the yummy crab boiled in seawater.

Anyways, it's dark now and too soon before morning rolls around again. Tomorrow, we hope to hit the Green Pointe Rapids and this German restaurant that is right before it!