Bathtub Paddling, Rain, and Being Back on the Edge of the Continent

August 1, 2019 – Two months ago I got on the ferry in Bellingham headed for Ketchikan, Alaska. I’ve made it two-thirds of the way home. I’ve slept in my MSR Hubba Hubba tent 90% of those nights. I’ve traveled 893 miles, 792 of them via water, 580 of them in BABS, and 101 via roads. Wow.

This morning I took a 40-minute roundtrip drive to a pawn shop in Port Angeles and bought a used pair of Bushnell binoculars for $40. The optics are not as good as my Nikons (which I sent in for repair and should get back in a week or so), but they work, and I need binoculars. Thanks Andrew Emlen for introducing me to the world of pawn shops.

In the afternoon I paddled the SSJF from Twin River to Salt Creek Bay, a journey of 12 miles. Even though I took my time and played at zigzaging through open lanes in the vast bull kelp forests, rather than paddling the main channel outside the kelps, it only took just over two hours. The windless day made for paddling in a gigantic bathtub, albeit a kelpy bathtub.

No marine mammals today but 17 common loons! They were calling and not shy so I could get some good photos. Well, good for me anyway. I had a common murre surface six inches off my port bow. We both gasped, me with joy, the murre with alarm. Then it dove.

With today’s weather, I could have gone around Cape Flattery today with no issue but I wasn’t ready. I need to continue this steady march out the strait to prepare for the paddle around the cape. I need to scope it out from the top again. So off to Hobuck Beach where I’ll set camp for the next four days. Based on the current marine forecast for Cape Flattery, Monday is now the target date. I may have someone to go with me or I may do it solo. What will be will be.

It was a gorgeous drive in the Saab out to Hobuck Beach. Coming into Neah Bay, raindrops started lightly hitting the windshield. By the time it was time to set camp, it was coming down constantly and hard. That was almost three hours ago and it is coming down even harder now, along with some wind. Tomorrow may be a hiking/scouting/museum kind of day.

My view just after launching from Twin Beach. The farthest point is Tongue Point, my destination.
Kelp forests with Vancouver Island in the background.
An uncommonly handsome common loon.
This is a photo my camera took while on the water. I have no idea what it is – maybe the end of my Werner paddle? I still think it’s cool so I’m including it here.

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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