The Royal Round, Part the Fourth (and final)

kayakwriter

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(Hi all, Sorry this last installment has taken so long to post. Kept trying to get to it, and kept get getting mugged by life...)

July 6th dawned clear and dry. It’s sooooo much easier to pack when you don’t have to plan the logistics to keep the critical stuff dry as if readying for a spacewalk.
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Paddling the southern end of Mathieson Channel was like kayaking across some huge northern lake. The water was mirror smooth. So much so, it was sometimes vertigo-inducing. As I looked at the rock walls on my right, the border between real and reflection was seamless.

My plan, formulated the previous night, had been to camp at Cockle Bay, where I knew there was a first-nations cabin. According to my Wild Coast guide, palefaces like me were welcome to camp on the beach. But despite hearing a boom box playing from the cabin, and hailing several times as I bobbed offshore, no person appeared.
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This fellow did though. Sure, he put on his best Benji for the camera, but trust me, he went completely Cujo every time I made a move towards landing.
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Taking the hint, I paddled on. On the islets at the south end of Cockle Bay, I came across a guided group tour from Kingfisher Adventures. This was rather cool, since I “knew” Andrew (the owner) from back in the day on the paddlewise web group, but hadn’t met him in person before. I lunched with them, then tagged along as they ran Perceval Narrows. Just beyond, they spotted a possible camping beach on Cicelia Island's northwest corner. Don – the assistant guide – said they’d probably camp there. I carried on, and landed, pretty bushed, on a flyspeck islet at the south end of Cicelia.
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As was my wont after a day spent in the wetsuit, I wore nothing but my sandals, sunglasses and hat while I made my portage runs up and down the beach. On about the third shuttle, I glanced up from beside my beached boat to see the Kingfisher tour group bearing down on me. I quickly slithered into the only bottoms to hand – my rain pants – and stood there to greet them. Since this was one of the few large tent sites in the area, I’d half anticipated they might show up. So I’d already scouted a place for my hammock that wouldn’t take up a tent site, and assured Don there was room for all. They allowed as to how that was alright, and back-paddled, trying to avoid eye-contact. Apparently sharing a small island with a perve who worn sauna pants in the summer heat didn’t appeal. Especially since this one was clearly going commando. Their loss was my gain, as I enjoyed a superb site all to my own. Perhaps I’ll pack black leather chaps and a matching captain’s hat for future trips where there’s competition for campsites.
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July 7
Splendid stars during the night. The day dawned so warm and sunny, I opted not to wear the wetsuit – just as well, as I’m sure I would have been incapacitated by heat in the afternoon.
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I threaded through the reefs around Harmston Islet, then made my crossing of Seaforth Channel. I had about a two foot swell on the starboard beam, but with no wind running, it wasn’t spilly. I landed on Dufferin Island just east of Gale Passage. As I turned east for my run down Seaforth, a breeze came up from the west. I set both sails, and glided effortlessly through the emerald shallows, soaring over marvellous reefs and ell grass. Further out to sea, one commercial long liner and flocks of sport fishing boats jostled like oversized seagulls for the salmon running.
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I pulled into the campsite at Hose Point to scout it out for future reference, but swarms of flies drove me off without even rewatering. On the plus side, the wind speed fluctuated, but never slowed to the point where I could not get at least a boost with one or both sails up. This was especially welcome as my right wrist was a bit throbby after many long days of upwind paddling. Completing my content, the sun shone, the water sparkled, and the wave-tolled bell on the buoy near Dryad Point Lighthouse lent a jauntily nautical air to my journey.

Just after 16:00 hours, I landed on Rainbow Island. No unicorns to be seen, but there was something just as welcome. After a brief moment of annoyance as I contemplated the sloped, cobbled shore that promised all the comfort of bedding down on a bag of baseballs, I discovered that the tall reeds and natural berm at the top of the beach concealed a miniature meadow, flat, grassy and protected from the highest tides.
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July 8th
Alarms and excursions during the night. Hearing an animal bumping and thumping against my kayak, I trepidatiously investigated by headlamp, half-fearing it would be a racoon or worse yet, a skunk. It proved to be an otter – part of a whole raft of them, which proceeded to scamper hither and yon, ricocheting off my boat and one another, each one all the while snarling and hissing contradictory commands about which way to make their collective escape.

The sun woke me at 8AM by turning up the heat in the tent. I happily rigged the tarp again – this time as a sun shade rather than a rain roof, and proceeded to dry all my possessions, and to shave for the first time in twelve days. The breeze was just strong enough to keep things from being too warm or too buggy. Spent the rest of the day in delicious sloth, finishing off my book (The Ancestor’s Tale, by Richard Dawkins).
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July 9th
Up at 6:30AM, painless after yesterday’s rest, and in any case, sleeping in by comparison with my typical 5AM starts on the outer coast. I paddled through cool, clouded-over calm the couple of nautical miles to the pull-out at Shearwater. I made my phone calls to let the world know I was safely landed, then headed to the marine pub for lunch. As I took my first pull on my first beer in weeks, I realized it was still only 11AM. Ah well, surely the sun was over the yardarm somewhere in the world.

With lunch done, I wandered over to the super large map of BC on the pub wall, and began scoping out places I haven’t paddled yet. So nice to live in a country with so much water that wants exploring…
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chodups

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Wonderful trip. Wonderful writing. Thanks for taking us along. If I ever run across a beach perve wearing only sauna pants I'll know not to run away.

About that Cockle Bay cabin.........We were lucky enough to catch it between Baccchanalia and after cleaning up heard only Ravens, Eagles and Wolves.

from http://3meterswell.blogspot.com/2009/07/pr2ph-2009.html

The cabin was empty but had a recently lived-in “feel”. The cabin log spoke of much partying and debauchery by the locals. Every guy seemed to know Melissa pretty well. Her parents will probably be proud grandparents soon but the father will only be determined by DNA testing. Quite a bit of garbage was strewn through the place, containers of unfinished food and milk were in abundance and the revelry of the night had clearly not settled well for one individual who had gotten out the door and onto the deck before speaking in the ancient way. It took us about an hour to clean the place up. We got everything packed into garbage bags that had been left but not used. Not much you can do with some smells as none of us had thought to pack a bottle of Fabreeze. And what is it with discarding socks? I understand burning a pair of socks that have become foul beyond redemption but leaving them behind when you clearly had a fire? They were scattered everywhere. All sizes, mostly white (originally) and thrown around. Under furniture, on top of it, one here the other there. I really don’t get it. Did they bring extras or go home barefoot? Otherwise, this was a very nice cabin with lots of bunks, a nice view and a decent outhouse.
 

kayakwriter

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chodups said:
Wonderful trip. Wonderful writing.
Thanks chodups. Coming from someone who can string together words as wonderfully as yourself, that means a lot.
 

SheilaP

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kayakwriter said:
Perhaps I’ll pack black leather chaps and a matching captain’s hat for future trips where there’s competition for campsites.
Love it! Why didn't I think of this before??

A wonderful write up once again. :) I need to get me a sail like that.
 

chodups

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kayakwriter said:
July 8th
Alarms and excursions during the night. Hearing an animal bumping and thumping against my kayak, I trepidatiously investigated by headlamp, half-fearing it would be a racoon or worse yet, a skunk. It proved to be an otter – part of a whole raft of them, which proceeded to scamper hither and yon, ricocheting off my boat and one another, each one all the while snarling and hissing contradictory commands about which way to make their collective escape.
This still cracks me up. Haven't read it for a couple of years but it still pleases me as much as it did on that first reading.
 

kayakwriter

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chodups said:
kayakwriter said:
July 8th
Alarms and excursions during the night. Hearing an animal bumping and thumping against my kayak, I trepidatiously investigated by headlamp, half-fearing it would be a racoon or worse yet, a skunk. It proved to be an otter – part of a whole raft of them, which proceeded to scamper hither and yon, ricocheting off my boat and one another, each one all the while snarling and hissing contradictory commands about which way to make their collective escape.
This still cracks me up. Haven't read it for a couple of years but it still pleases me as much as it did on that first reading.
Thanks Chodups. That reminds me, I've been meaning to post "director's cut" versions of my trip reports over on my blog.
 

chodups

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kayakwriter said:
I've been meaning to post "director's cut" versions of my trip reports over on my blog.
I can't wait. That will be a very entertaining read!

How about adding the Polar Bear Attack? That's a great one.
 

cougarmeat

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Alas, no pictures of your hammock setup. Was that a Noah tarp (12x12 or 16x16?)?

Thank you for sharing. And inspiring. My trip reports have been aging for a few years now. Time to get on it. I started it a year or more ago but underestimated my photo sizes and the post kept crashing. Now things are resized to fit and your trip report gives a push.
 

kayakwriter

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designer said:
Alas, no pictures of your hammock setup. Was that a Noah tarp (12x12 or 16x16?).
From another trip, but here's the set-up. It's not a purpose-built "camping" hammock, but it is quick-dry synthetic. I just use my regular kitchen tarp (an MEC's Guide's Tarp) to reduce bulk and avoid carrying duplicate gear.
 

kayakwriter

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Can you tell it's a snowy day and I'm stuck inside? Yet another thread bumped on account of I've fixed the photo and video links.
 

CPS

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It's been great reading this adventure all through the day. What a great trip!

Thanks for updating these, I love reading a trip report, even if it's a decade old.
 

chodups

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Always a joy to read and the diversion allowed more snow to melt which won't need shoveling. Double bonus. Thank you, Philip.
 
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