We arrived back on San Juan Island ahead of our scheduled time. Mainly due to the weather in Johnston Strait and the limited amount of time my paddler partners Kyle and Katie had to enjoy their spring break. Just to note for some reason SPOT, our tracking device did not record all of our kayaking route. Not sure why but thought I would mention it.
We arrive on Quadra Island in BC Canada on the 22nd and made our way to Surge Narrows Road. This would lead us to an area where we could get the kayaks on the water. It was a short but steep carry to get all the gear down to a tiny dock. This is where we loaded kayaks and took off. We left the dock with little light left in the sky and headed toward the Octopus Islands. We were luck that Surge Narrows was nice and calm when we passed. Since we had just put on the water and were pushing to make camp before it got much later. We moved along and the water conditions were fine. Beautiful views all around. We made it to some unknown small rock of an island and it was decided this would be home for the night. It was not the best place to set up tents, but would have to do. Dinner was done and time for bed. Rain came during the night and so did the wind.
After waking and having a bit to eat and a scout mission for fresh water. We decided the forecast as not that great but we needed a better camping spot. As we headed out the wind died off and the water was great. Nice current moving through, but overall the water was flat. Light rain was off an on. Along the way we found a nice place to camp with a few flat areas to set up tents. By the time we had the kayaks unloaded the rain started to get a bit heavy. It was time to get the tents up fast and get all the gear we needed dry inside. A bite to each for lunch and then wind had started to build and rain was not stopping. So we headed off to our tents. Laying in the tent there was not much to do. I made a few journal entry's and snuggled deep into my sleeping bag. As time passed I as in and out of a sleep. Waking making wild guesses at what time it might be, but not really caring too much. Eventually night time came and the rain and wind were still going strong. No dinner that night, just slept right through. I remember waking the next day to the sounds of wind and rain. As many as 15 hours has past since I entered my tent for my hibernation. It was time to get out. Rain gear on and ready to go out to view the weather, yep, still raining and still windy. We had some food and it was decided to kayak back to the car, regroup and head to Cortes Island.
As we made our way back the winds backed to a light breeze and then stopped all together. The gray skies reflecting gray off the water. It gave you a sense of being caught between two layers, compressing down. Fog draped over snow covered tress and the sounds of streams running on the Strait. As we approached Surge Narrows we could hear the accelerated water generating waves as it passed though the narrow slot. We made a plan, not a very organized plan, as we were being pulled into the waves. We all headed for what we thought was out best route. Heavy loaded kayaks getting smashed into a rock would be very bad. It was exciting and fun bringing smiles to our faces. We all passed though safely.
Off to Cortes Island, a small wonderful island. We drove around looking for a place to get more fresh water and camp for the night. Water was easy, we got it from the tap at the local Co-op in town. We camped at Smelt Bay and the forecast was for clear skies with increasing winds. The next morning was a bit cold and a strong wind. A bit of discussion was made and it was decided to make the long journey back to San Juan Island. After 4 ferries and a day of travel we landed on San Juan Island around 1030pm. I set off to grab a beer and catch a few laughs with friends. One of the nice things about small island towns, you can show up from camping and smell like hell and it is ok. A few of us made it back to the house where it was shower and bed time for me.
Today Kyle and Katie are off kayak near Cattle Pass. It is Kyle's birthday so we will be having a bit of fun tonight and they plan on leaving tomorrow.
You never know what a trip to nature will be like. I know it is always fun and I learn new things every time. Though it was not as long as we planned it was still a great time.
Here are some of my photos. I will post some photos from Kyle and Katie soon.
In my home town of Friday Harbor Wa waiting for the ferry with all of our gear to start the trip.
Kayaks on the front deck of the Wa State Ferry.
Hmmmm, A weak battery never makes it when listening to music waiting for the ferry. Horseshoe Bay.
Leaving Horseshoe Bay.
Here is the start of the paddle. Nice calm water. Too bad the winds had to pick up.
My trusty MSR FURY tent. Amazing, all I can say!
Kayaks pulled high on the island for the night.
On a small island in Johnston Strait.
Getting ready to head out on the water.
No wind and flat water. Surge Narrows is just ahead around the point.
Katie just after we passed through Surge.
Kyle getting the camp stove ready.
If I look cold it is because I am.
Ah, snow in the Mountains.
A view from Cortes ferry dock.