Short Windy Trip

I didn’t sleep very well last night because the winds did not die down after dark as they usually do. And at around midnight, the tide came way up to the log by my tent only a few feet away. By morning the wind was still blowing hard and it was a bright sunny day.

My problem now was that I was running out of water. Normally in these windy conditions I would not venture out for safety’s sake. But I had only one day’s worth of water left. If I stayed put, hoping that the next day would be calm, but it wasn’t, and I could not find water, then what would I do? That is a potentially very serious situation so I made the decision to pack up and move and go search for water. I had no other choice really.

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I was still somewhat protected in my cove from the northwest wind. As soon as I emerged from that I got buffeted hard. I paddled west across to another little protected cove on the other side of the channel. I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I would just head in the right direction along Eden Island until I found some topography that might indicate flowing water. My crude map showed that there should be something.

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I left this cove and had to make a dash across some open water to get to the shelter of more land a kilometer away. I was taking big waves and I could see waves crashing 20 feet into the air way off in the distance on an exposed reef. When the winds blow down the strait they really pick up the small swell that there is and produce some big waves. I estimated the winds to be 60 km/hr at the time. After the trip I compared with sticking my head out of a moving car. They were actually more like around 40 km/hr.

Somehow I managed to actually film this whole episode and I luckily had the wind mostly to my back as I went downwind and around to some more sheltered water. The coastline did not make sense with respect to my map so I realized that I was not where I thought I was on Eden Island. I was a few kilometers back. I thought that yesterday went by too quickly given the miles I thought I had covered…..

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I rounded a lee point and began taking headwind from the other side of this island I was sheltering behind. I was getting a little worried so I found a relatively sheltered bay and tied off to some kelp and finished off most of my Life cereal, as well as having some dates with peanut butter. When a strong gust of wind grabbed my boat the kelp broke so it was time to move on. Further on I could see some higher hills with what looked like a valley so I headed for those since there would probably be water.

I had to cross another piece of open water and I was getting pushed hard from behind and the side. It was frustrating because my boat naturally wants to turn broadside into the wind, and I was having to continually use my paddle to straighten myself to keep going forward since it has no rudder. At least with headwinds the boat tracks reasonably well.

I finally got around the lee point and turned up into the inlet which was nice and calm, although of course still windy. But there were no waves. I was home free. The inlet ended in some lighter green alders which usually signifies water.

I landed and yes, indeed there was a trickle of water coming in! I could also see some footprints in the mud bank leading to it and when I found the campsite it had been recently cleared with a saw and the branches were out on the beach. I checked my location with my GPS and I was now on Eden Island, in the best, most sheltered spot, exactly where I wanted to be actually. And it was also the place that Bryan and Maggie had stayed at not too long ago! I had wondered why they only went 5 km that one day and ended here. Maybe they encountered winds just like me…..

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The wind was still howling and I could hear over the trees the waves bashing the other exposed side of the island, which sounded to be only a few hundred meters away. I set up my solar panel to charge more batteries and I also pulled out my two-part epoxy to use to seal up the bottom of my wooden paddle which was become abraded. I wouldn’t want too much water to get in there and cause expansion and cracking. I mixed it in a clam shell, of course.

Later on an interesting looking pleasure boat came up near to the inlet and then turned away. I realized that this was the only sign of humanity I had seen today. Yesterday, I saw several kayakers.

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The wind kept on long into the evening and before bed I checked the weather forecast as always and it called for, again as always, calm and fog in the morning followed by wind in the afternoon. That is what they always predict, and they are usually right. Sometimes they are wrong and it is windy right from the get go. Sometimes they are wrong and it stays calm most of the day. But usually they are right. We will see what kind of day tomorrow will be.

The campsite is up a steep little embankment, on a soft mossy forest floor underneath thick second growth conifers. That is typically how the forest regenerates after logging. Small trees come in very dense and then gradually thin themselves out as they become bigger and more crowded. During the dense stage the forest is often brown and dark, with sparse understory vegetation, and is not too pretty to look at. I was impressed with how dense the trees were.

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I had learned my lesson about water and I was now going to always carry several days’ worth. The problem is that I had no more containers. I did have a 10 litre drybag which I was keeping my computer in, and I could use this if I moved my computer elsewhere. I did this and went to the small trickle to filter water. Again, it was brown from tannins.

I had a meal of dal curry that night. I have brought lots of spices with me and some garlic too. I am glad that I came with lots of good food; without it it would be an unpleasant experience, especially since I don’t have time to depend on fishing for sustenance. You really need to take food seriously on these kinds of trips and ensure that you will be properly nourished and stimulated with tasty food. It is no place to play Survivorman and try to live off the land, unless you have practiced and are very knowledgeable about how to do it. The caloric demands of paddling all day are just too high. You won’t last and you will be miserable.

I began to think about how much certain animals must miss out on life’s pleasures because they don’t use spices and can’t chew their food. Those animals that just swallow their food whole …. they miss out on so much.

Anyways, the curry was very good and I was content and went to sleep among the noisy creaking trees after only paddling about 3 km, which is fine because I now knew where I was and I covered some open water.

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