Whale and Butedale
June 25, 2019 – I slept well despite having consumed two s’mores and two ginger ales after supper. I haven’t had that kind of sugar surge in years. Perhaps all of the kayaking is just burning it off. First thing this morning I went to the generator shed and took out my nicely dry drysuit which had come off the Scotchman. After a thorough examination I am pleased to report that the new neck gasket is perfectly sealed and dry. Thanks Jeremy! It feels good to know the suit is in full working order. The new gasket is actually more comfortable than the old one.The next thing I did was a solo morning soak in the hot springs. Then, as expected, Jeff, Bjorn, and Vitali were working on frying up the fish caught last night. They were delicious but a bit boney. Then I set to packing up BABS for a 10 am departure. We were on our way by 10:24. Not bad.Finally a sunny day. A beautiful sunny day, and I timed the big crossing perfectly. At one point BABS and I were flying at 6.6 mph. Not a lot of wind but enough to help keep me from overheating. Just after crossing into Princess Royal Channel I had a single humpback come up all the way and fluke – twice – about 30 feet from me. After the second time I got the camera out but the show was over. I will get better at that I promise. Knowing it was going to be warm, I tried wearing just my swimsuit top under the drysuit.After the 26-mile paddle to Butedale both of my armpits are trashed. Big red welts, blisters, and sores on both.But don’t fret… I was exhausted as I pulled into Butedale today. 26 miles, my biggest paddle day yet. Before the entrance to Butedale was an inviting sandy beach. However, when I came in there was still over two hours left in the incoming tide. I knew that beach would be covered at high tide. I had no choice but to pull up to the dock area that already had two yachts in it and at least spend a rest period there.By the way, Butedale was a humongous mill back in the day, with an enormous and beautiful waterfall, flume, all sorts of buildings and houses, etc. Most of it has fallen into the ocean by now, but there are still a couple houses and other buildings that are still standing. During my research I had read that there is a caretaker who wil greet you and let you park at the dock for a fee.When I was at the hot springs, there was a cruiser dude there who told me the caretaker was no longer at Butedale, that Canada Parcs is turning it into a marina and resort kind of thing, and that when the caretaker was here, that he would block off the flume and had hooked an alternator to it creating a hydroelectric dam for power generation. Frankly, I was not interested in stopping in Butedale for many of the above reasons that are not in alignment with my wanting a natural beach with no people kind of experience. But there were absolutely no landable or campable beaches between McKay Reach and Butedale and I was wiped out.As I got close to the dock, there was a man standing on the end who asked me if I was visiting. I said yes, but that I was more interested in camping. He directed me to a lower dock, better suited for kayaks. Then he introduced himself as the caretaker. When I asked him about his hydroelectric setup he said that information was not correct. Then he asked if I wanted to stay in the cabin up the hill, with a propane stove, real bed, running water, toilet, and protection from the white grizzly who had been around yesterday watching folks down at the dock fishing. I asked how much. He said it was free, that the place is not a real marina or a going concern yet, “it is just a place right now so there is no charge”. I said done! Then he told me he had wi-fi and gave me the password.Next one of the couples belonging to one of the yachts also greeted me – Ruth and Steve. They are actually not a couple but are great friends. Steve’s boat is called Waterfall and he bought it a couple of years ago from a Ketchikan man. They invited me for a pork chop supper and I could not say no. After getting cleaned up I went down to the Waterfall for supper. It was delicious, and Ruth and Steve are very kind, intelligent folks. They are on their way north where Steve will drop Ruth off to camp with her partner. Then he will head back south. Steve also pulled out his ample first aid kit with some creams that should help my armpits heal faster and/or, at the very least, hurt less.I suspect if one were to come to Butedale in the next couple of years it will be very different from this oddball, gorgeous, low-key space. Tonight, here I am in a house – an old, real, small, two bedroom house, with a view to die for, with BABS parked again at a dock for easy loading/launching.Gratitude is the feeling that I have experienced all day and in this very moment. This is the experience I hoped for when dreaming about this odyssey. It may have been a rough start, but now things are aligning in an excellent way.