Don’t Let the Sound of Waves Fool You

June 18, 2019 – When I woke up the first time this morning at 4 am, I could hear the waves crashing into the shore and figured that meant it was too rough for me to go out, plus it was pouring rain – same basic conditions as the day before and in line with the forecast. When I woke up again at 5:30, conditions were the same. I forced myself back to sleep since there was little I wanted to do in the pouring rain. I then woke up at 10:45. Yes, over 15 hours of sleep. It was no longer raining but I could still hear the surf. I got out of my tent anyway.

I looked down at the water (my campsite was up above the beach) and it was calm! Very calm! I scrambled as fast as I could to get breakfast, strike the campsite, and pack up BABS. We were on the water by just before 1 pm, heading south. It rained mostly all of the time and the wind started to pick up after my first crossing of 3.5 miles. The islands were really beautiful. As the water became more and more challenging, I started to picture worse case scenario. Then I stopped myself and remembered some of the work I did with Alex, where I substituted the doom and gloom scenarios with an actual photo or video of me enjoying myself and doing very well in the thing I was worried about. So I smiled, put on a good song in my head, visualized myself competently and joyfully completing the crossing and the rest of the day’s paddle.

By the time I got to Hunts Inlet, the northern entrance to Grenville Channel, the water was really rough so I eventually found a decent beach on which to camp. Of course, after I got BABS unpacked and was starting to pitch camp the water became and stayed dead calm. It was too late to try to pack everything up, make the crossing, and pitch camp. As it is, it’s now 10:45 pm.

The neck gasket on my drysuit blew out today. So as soon as I had camp set up I set to work on a field patch which turned out even better than the ankle gasket field repair Andrew and I did on the suit a couple of years ago. That fix lasted over a year. Of course, I wasn’t wearing it every day for three months so hopefully this fix will last me until I get to Bella Bella, where I can buy a jar that is the correct diameter to impersonate my neck and replace the gasket with the new one I brought with me.

A total of 13 miles today. Between Sunday and today I have 27.5 in from Prince Rupert. If I can do an extra 4.5 tomorrow I will be caught up to my goal of 11.5 per day. Of course, I will still need to make up for the two days late I go to Prince Rupert, plus since I didn’t start paddling until the 3rd of June, I will need to also make up for the 1st and 2nd. If the forecast is correct, tomorrow might rain until late afternoon and winds will only be 4 knots or so. It’s still looking good for Thursday and Friday, so maybe I can make up some miles in the next three days. That would make me feel a lot better about timing.

But we will see. Maybe there will be time only for part of it this year. Maybe I won’t feel the need to do the entire length by kayak. I’ve already modified how I did 40 miles of it. There are stretches like Grenville Channel that, despite me going through it three times, I haven’t seen; it was in the dark each time, so this will be the first time I’ve actually seen it. Those are the more important places. If I catch a ride from Bella Bella to Port Hardy, that will be ok. I’ve seen that segment, at least from a higher, louder vantage. It’s stopping in Bella Bella that is important to me. All of this will become moot the next time I’m on the water, when all that matters is my body, my kayak, my paddle, and the Inside Passage all around me. Flighty I am still.

Lovely Grenville Channel

Written by

kyleenaustin

I am passionate about outdoor exploration. In the recent years I have discovered how much more I can experience from a kayak. I am a professional musician and own a dairy where we produce raw milk, butter and cheeses. My son tells me I have "too much on my plate". He is correct, but I wouldn't live life any other way.

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