July 17, 2019 – I awoke at 4 am. It was almost completely dark so I just listened. It was perfectly quiet except for a gentle slapping of the water on the shore. I decided I could sleep more and still launch at 7 so I went back to sleep. My eyes opened again at 5. It was light and there were a number of curling surf waves lashing at the shore. I could not think of a way to launch in an ebb with surf waves, especially not those surf waves, so I read for another hour and waited to see what happened. Even though the tide was going out I coud hear the surf getting louder. By 7 it was looking like a fun surfing day, only this isn’t a sandy beach. It’s a rocky beach with barnacles on the rocks so, um, not going to do that to BABS.
I got up and made some tea and just watched. Far off shore I could see it was very lumpy. When the campground office opened I went in and asked if I could stay another night and the gal said it was no problem. She also said that the three First Nations canoes that launched from here earlier this morning (when it was calmer) had to get out not too far down at Qualicum Beach because the water was too rough. I thought, if Native canoes couldn’t pull in this then I’m glad I didn’t try paddling in it. I was still torn because the anti-chafing stuff I got is working very well and I’m ready to get back on the water.
Acceptance… After breakfast I started planning. Uncle Sidney is meeting me at cousin Roger’s place on Orcas Island. I needed to plan out my route there. That took a few hours of Google Earth work, along with my paper chart, and Dennis Dwyer’s list of campsites from his prior Inside Passage trips, to figure out. It went against my desire to figure things out as I went along but, now that I’m in this area where I either need to pay for or get permission to camp, it was a necessary activity.
After all of that planning was done, and don’t think I was suffering too much (after all, I was sitting at a picnic table right next to the shore of Georgia Straight, looking out at the Vancouver coastal range, with harbor seals swimming by), I rewarded myself with a hike on the nearby regional trail system, complete with thimbleberries galore as well as more red huckleberries and a nice forest grove to contrast the waterways to which I have grown accustomed.
After my woodland hike, I ate supper at a local pub and then returned to my campsite next to the water to even gustier winds and waves. The forecast for tomorrow has no wind in it. It’s hard to believe with the gusts I am experiencing as I write this but I am hopeful it is accurate. If not, I’ll stay a third night here.
So a couple of years ago I had a dream about paddling and camping and oysters. Now it has come true. Yesterday morning there was a pile of fresh oysters right next to where I launched BABS. I checked the national alert system and they gave it a green light so I took the six smallest ones with me. I placed them on the floor of the stern hatch so the water would keep them cool while I paddled. Then when I got to my destination I shucked and ate them. Delicious. My first shellfish foraging, although not a very hard foraging job.
As I am writing this blog the wind is picking up and gusting harder than ever. It has shifted to coming from the northwest (it’s been the opposite the rest of the day today). It is exhilarating!