Jul 30 to Aug 3 2005 was the long awaited Johnstone Stait kayaking trip. The five of us rented some lovely glass boats at Telegraph cove, loaded up the boats, and away we went. Our intended destination was Kaikash or farther, but with some wind, rain, and a sick group member we weren't making fast progress. We pulled into the campsite at Blinkhorn pennisula for a rest stop, and instead decided to stay for the night. We set up the tarp and made a comfortable camp. The sun broke through a few times, giving us hope. The next morning it was still raining and we began a rainy and foggy paddle. Somewhere in someone's mind there are glimpses of a day where we paddled along the straight, aiming to make the crossing to Sophia island to camp. But much dampened by a slowed paddling speed, we reached the site just before the Orca reserve, and after huddling under a tarp and emergency blanket during a lunch the decision was made instead to not test the limits of the group and camp instead a Kaikash that night. Mutters were made about heading home if the weather didn't clear, and two or our group opted to sleep in the ranger's cabin at the desserted site. We had the prime camp site, but spent most of the evening under the tarp. Two lessons were learned: West coast touring demands a wetsuit, and a full separate set of paddling and camping clothes. Two of the five of us had this. For my next trip I will insist all members do. By the morning of the third day, Aug 1, we decided that the first two days hadn't happened and were not to be spoken of. The early riser came through our campsite announcing 7am. After asking if it was raining I emerged and was greeted by a stunning sunrise. I had just come back from the outhouse when the call from the beach came: Orcas! Apparently, Kaikash is the best beach from which to see Orcas. They come by morning and evening, usually near the changing of the tides. After breaking camp, we headed North through Blackney passage where we spent a lot of time watching a humpback whale surface and tail flip(!) and proceeded into the islands, setting up camp on Mound island. We arrived in the area just after another group had arrived, and we began to do a little searching for campsite dance. There are two main sites on Mound island, and a few small ones around the area, but we were very lucky to get the shell beach Mound site which had ample room to dry our very wet gear in the hot afternoon sun, and stairs up to soft campsites. We were happy again. At this point we discovered someone had left their jacket in the cabin at Kaikash, and so much discussion ensued about how to recover the jacket without too much inconvienience. We did some evening paddling in the area, and a couple of us stayed up into the night marvelling at all the stars. Just before bed, we discovered there was bioluminescence. It has been my goal to either swim in, or paddle in water with lumiescence, but at midnight, bundled in fleece, and the boats already tied up for the night, I remained content to throw rocks and swish my hand around. Next time. The next morning we headed up to Village but didn't stop there, the worked our way through the islands back to Blackney, stopping at some nice little beach for a lunchtime sunning. Back at Kaikash, we found the jacket and even a decent campsite among the masses. The Orcas came, moring and night. Two of us again, stayed up for the stars and luminescence, but it wasn't as strong in the waters of the Strait. Temperature dependent maybe? The next morning as we paddled back to Telegraph cove we encountered a pod of orcas with young. We watched them play for some time and them headed onwards. It was about two and a half years ago that I first stepped into a kayak, and the addition proceeded radpidly from there. Every kayaking trip has its challenges, rewards, and learning experiences. The rewards on this trip were the Orcas and Humpbacks, the stars and the calm waters. The challenges were a few crossings and currents that had to be handled carefully, and were done successfully. We learned that even a group of experienced paddlers needs a declared leader, and that sunny weather is never a given and those with wetsuits and good gear usually have to give up their dry clothing to those without! All in all, a great trip. Now where to go next?