The sunshine and good times have followed us south and we have been fortunate to share the rays with many great people and places. The group of 12 has slowly dwindled down, Colin and Lia left us the other day to hitchhike the final leg.
Lucas and Lucy plan to leave tomorrow to catch a ride north to Port Hardy to surf some waves (on boards this time) and then head back home. Our new friend Murray took off this morning to Vancouver as he has to get back to school at the end of the month. It is strange to see our group reduced to only 5 for the last week of paddling, everyone will be greatly missed!
Before the trip, our good friend Tommy Meiners told us that we had to stop and visit the small island town of Sointula. He couldn’t really describe why, but he was adamant. Upon arriving in the town, it was immediately apparent what he was talking about. There was a buzz around the town, an interesting Finnish Utopian History, and a myriad of interesting characters. Time here was spent visiting with a master painter and adventurer by the name of Stewart Marshall, a world famous salmon and whale biologist named Alex Morton, and many others who radiate a passion for life. Two days in this place was not enough, we will certainly be back to further explore in the future.
Paddling on, we pulled into Port Neville to catch some sleep, and met up with Chet who was one of the few residents who still call the Port home. He invited us to set up our tents on his soft grass lawn, and we enjoyed the sunset while exchanging adventure stories from the sea.
That night we celebrated Lia’s birthday, the last birthday for the trip. Max was kind enough to whip up a delicious dessert. It was butter pecan cake, with a layer of peanut butter in the middle, topped with pudding and coconut flakes, speckled with huckleberries for show and flavor. Happy birthday Lia!
We headed out into Johnstone Strait the next day as the fog had began to burn off. Wind was at our backs, and we made use of it. Sails were set and we began to fly. The fog enveloped everything in our sight.
Due to the geography of Vancouver Island and the surrounding lands vast amounts of water has to flood and ebb into the narrow channels of Johnstone Strait and the adjacent passages, this means huge currents. We took this fact to heart and began paddling with the tides and currents did we experience. Colin clocked us at 8 mphs without paddling and a max of 13 mphs while paddling. We couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves more and the days were filled with similes, laughs, and disbelief (at our speeds).
The straits drained us into Seymour Narrows, a precarious section of channel separating the Northern part of Vancouver Island from the Strait of Georgia. Currents during max flow in this region can reach upwards of 12 knots. Whirlpools and flow that seems to defy logic in this section have been the cause for many boat accidents. In 1958 a large rock in the middle of the Narrows deemed “Ripple Rock” was blown to pieces in one of histories largest non-nuclear explosions. We decided to avert the thrill of running through with the flood and opted to paddle during slack tide. We were certainly happy with our decision, as a large pod of killer whales had the same idea. An unbelievable show ensued, with each whale seemingly trying to outperform the previous.
We have set the date for our arrival in Ladysmith, the end of the kayak leg, to be September 1st. Here we will celebrate with Seaward Kayaks and get ready to start pedaling. It has flown by, hard to believe how far we have come and how much we have experienced. Next step is to work the legs back into shape as we transition to bicycles. Thanks for checking in!