Denny Island... or Shearwater
The campsite challenge game adds anxiety to each and every day. Many of the sites do not work at high, high tide and the full moon was upon us as we made our way to Shearwater. Nothing worse than being tired after a long day and finding out your planned site just won't work... paddle on... not knowing if the next site will be any better.
The last site just 8 miles before Shearwater required my Leatherman and some serious vegetation modifications to set the tent up above high tide. Why does it rain when you have the crapy camp site? No worries , we broke out the Frisbee for some beach time agility training.
Shearwater was early the next morning as we glided by Old and new Bella Bella with some tidal help. And for the first time ever I turned to channel 66A and hailed the harbormaster about "docking" our kayaks.
They allowed us to pull them up on dock and park them there... cool! This became our staging area for the next two days... a very short walk from our hotel and all the facilities.
As we checked in with the Harbor Master, Jim and Lynda were checking in Albedos and soon we'd accepted an invitation for drinks on their yacht and dinner at the local eatery... the only restaurant at Shearwater.
Lauri and I had one simultaneous thought... Laundry! Shower... must smell reasonable....
Shower, check, laundry, check. Late lunch, check. We must pre eat, before dinner, so we don't embarrass ourselves with the quantity of food we order if we don't pre-eat.
The next action item was to determine when the box (charts primarily)being sent to us would arrive. We had landed several days early due to the water taxi and mail to Shearwater is notoriously slow.
Alternatively, we looked into buying the charts and supplies we needed to see if that was even an option.
The Marine store was out of every chart needed, but Monday the barge was coming and charts had been on order.
Nothing to worry about except how to coverup the campfire burns in my "only" pants I have on this trip. Good thing Shearwater is very casual.
Drinks and dinner went great with easy conversation with experienced maritime travelers. Jim and Lynda have logged over 35k miles up and down the left coast. Jim was able to answer all my inane questions about the area and piloting a "big" boy boat on the Inside Passage.
As it turned out we successfully found the charts as the marine store was inventorying their latest barge re supply. Luck was with us, but they only had 250,000 scale chart for most of our route to Prince Rupert. Lots of area covered, but VERY little detail.
The office above the store let us slice, dice and laminate the charts... so in a few hours on Monday afternoon we were ready to depart.
Only one thing left, go see Jim's drone video of our departure at Fury Island and get a tour of Albedos. All I can say is wow... what a boat. Built for serious ocean travel in the height of comfort. The color screen lifted out of the back of the dinning sitting area and soon we were enjoying the unique perspective that only a drone can provide.
We said our good byes and agreed we'd look for each other at Prince Rupert.
We were just getting the boats ready to slide off the Shearwater dock as Albedos left her slip at 6AM. The early bird misses the wind... hopefully.
The short paddle on Sunday to Shearwater and the hectic Monday in Port still had us ready to paddle early on Tuesday. We got to our destination, Roar island, drama free, but decided to press on Dowager Island to shorten the following very long day. Sigh... then the rains came.
The island campsite off the SW tip of Dowager was not easily found, but we eventually found the hidden gem. The rain tarp came out and was was quickly becoming our favorite piece of gear. I had also purchased an additional tarp in Shearwater and we put that to use too. No mater how hard we tried almost everything had serious moisture content.
The following day we would experience the Inside passage as frequently described. Wet, check. Ocean swell, check. Fog... double check. It seemed to be lifting as we left our camp site heading north towards Keith Pt. on Dowager. This would give us the shortest crossing to Swindle Island crossing the transition from Milbanke Sound to Finlayson Channel... hah! It was a pretty short crossing and wind and the ocean swell wrapping around Price island was pushing us fast. About 10 min in to the planned 50 min crossing the visibility dropped so that we could just see about 3 miles. The destination was visible, but to be safe Lauri and I went to an exercise pace to shorten up the time in the channel. 10 min later the fog obscures everything. Paddling in a fogged whiteout, with 3-4 ft refracting waves now bouncing off our destination island. Let's just say I'm out of the running for husband of the year.
The crossing was well within our skills, but was all new to us and likely not an experience we will seek out again. I should not have admitted that I thought it was a cool experience. The afternoon was saved by a Momma Humpback teaching tail flip tricks to her offspring. Whale saves marriage.
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Denny and Lauri