July 20 — Wolf Tracks
This morning was to be spent making the mount for my new video camera and audio recorder. I need a separate audio recorder because the GoPro HD camera is in an underwater housing which captures some audio but obviously not of a good quality, being in a plastic housing. So I will use a separate audio recorder to record sounds, and then bring the audio and video files together later. And I’ll mount both on a mast somewhere on the front of the boat on the triangle support I already made during the five days off I had in Powell River.
So I opened up my “bag of stuff I rarely need”, as opposed to the other bags from which I always need something and thus I pretty much always empty every day, and removed the tools and various bits I would be needing for my construction exercise. I dumped them all out on the ground.
I found a stick on the beach which would serve as my mast – straight enough, but still had a few knots, and partially decomposed to make the wood soft and easy to work. I put two brackets on the bottom, 90 degrees apart to give support in those two directions. I drilled holes with my drill-bit-in-a-baby’s-sock getup which I found on Thormanby Island, and figured out in Powell River (of course, if you find a pair of baby’s socks on the beach you have to take them with you. You never know when you might need them. The sock provided protection for my hand while drilling the bit through the wood). I put wing nuts on the bolts to allow for a quick release. The third support came from a string with a cinch down squeeze type nut thingy. The string I found on the side of the road in Telegraph Cove. The cinch nut I had brought with me; I brought several since they are so handy. This string was then wrapped around the front point of the triangle at the bow. It took a couple hours to finish but it turned out well and I had all the parts I needed. I had planned it well.
As you can see my audio recorder was protected by a plastic bag and a little synthetic towel. They are very handy. It is held on by several rubber bands. The issue with the audio recorder is the wind. This would create a lot of noise in the audio recording with all the wind I am experiencing. However, it comes with a wind screen which sits on top of it. And in addition to this, the little towelk also dampens the wind, as well as protecting it from any odd splashes.
This spot has a nice view up Queen Charlotte Strait. I recknoed it was atl least 50 km to the farthest point of land I couldn’t see . This next shot is looking north up the Srait towards the mainland coast, which I will soon be paddling in a few days.
I managed to hit the water in the early afternoon as the fog lifted and it turned into a nice day. I went eastwards along the north side of Hanson Island for a kilometer or so, past a big fishing lodge in one of the inlets that I realized was the center for all the fishing boats around. The kelp beds were pretty to look at and they revealed that I had some very nice currents behind me, and the winds were light. I then turned north to cross over to Swanson Island and continue east along its southern shore.
There were some private residences as I went eastwards and I was tempted to go check out one and see if it had any fresh water I could have since my campsite last night had none. But I kept on and as I rounded the south-eastern tip of the island the current really picked up. I was MOVING. That current must have been at least five knots and I paddle at 3 so that’s a pretty good speed. Then as I rounded another little point it suddenly stopped, and actually changed direction. Now I was fighting it, going from point to point riding the back eddies in the bays.
To my right now was Crease Island and actually by this time the wind was starting to pick up (that time of day again….) so I decided to keep an eye open for a campsite. The channel I was following northwards meets up with a larger channel going east-west, which is actually the opening to Knight Inlet. I was very close to Knight Inlet. Actually, the inlet itself kind of breaks up into the whole Broughton Archipelago at its mouth so it’s hard to define. As I headed northwards the winds started getting strong and I decided that it was probably best to not try to cross “Knight Inlet”. The crossing is only about a kilometer long but it’s exposed to Queen Charlotte Strait so it has the potential to get big waves. I noticed a little inlet on the east side of the channel, which went into Crease Island.
. I hopped over and it turned out to be a great little sheltered bay, or so it seemed. It was a muddy bay with eelgrass and lots of barnacles in places. At high tide it actually forms a little island and the tide was coming in. For some reason I decided to try paddling through the shallow waterway separating the little island, and of course scraped the boat on the barnacles. I scratched my head afterwards at how I could be so foolish. There was no reason to try to paddle through that part and I was risking my only mode of transportation.
Oh well, no harm done so I pulled up to the muddy beach ten yards back, threw out the anchor (my crab trap) and started unloading. As soon as I got on shore though I noticed a print in the mud …. wolf prints. They were pretty large, and just above the water line. I took a few photos and before unloading I thought I’d walk down to where I was trying to paddle to before, the next little cove over, and see if it was more suitable for camping, away from the mud flats. But no, the beach there was bouldery and exposed to the open water so it was getting a pounding. I returned back to my mud flat and had to readjust my boat with the rising tide. I wanted to take some more shots of the wolf prints, but they were gone … in only a few minutes. It makes me wonder what other wildlife opportunities I have missed only by a few minutes or some other variable. If I had arrived a few minutes later I would never have been the wiser to a wolf frequenting the area.
The best camping spot was a grassy area a ways down, just above the high tide. The grass had completely overgrown a field of some football sized rocks, and from a distance appeared to be a nice campsite but the rocks were definitely still there to be felt. But it was acceptable, and I pitched my tent.
I set up my solar charger to take advantage of the waning sunshine. There appeared to be a little wet draw at the opposite end of the bay which I would check out the next morning for any water. As I hunkered down for the night in my tent I fired up the computer to download.