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North Broughton Kayaking Adventure

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North Broughton Kayaking Adventure

August 31st, 2014  · stk

Moore Bay Forest Recreation Site | Aug 21

Again were woken to the sound of ravens cawing above us. We finally pried our eyes open enough to check on the time and we felt like we had slept in ? it was 0611 hrs.

We began to emerge from the tent and go about our morning routine of making breakfast and packing up the tent. We both took turns tootling off to the outhouse and we were much appreciative of James and his father’s craftsmanship (they have built another outhouse down near the camp). They really are much nicer constructions than the usual forest service green boxes. These outhouses have little porches on them and the wood doors have been linseed oiled.

We enjoyed our coffee/hot chocolate and cereal as we sat on the bench overlooking the bay. As we finished up we began to see signs of life stir from the three yachts moored at the marina. The second couple that came through camp yesterday afternoon returned to take their little dog for a walk this morning. The lady was such a treat with her thick Scottish accent and animated ways. We enjoyed chatting with them again.

We loaded up our kayaks after Scott paddle-towed them from the dock back to the beach. The packing process is already becoming much smoother as we fall into a routine and things find a home. We were pushing off from the beach at 0850 hrs this morning ? earlier than yesterday despite the extra few minutes of sleep.

We paddled out to make our way around the end of the marina dock and one of the people from a yacht came out to talk to us. She told us that they had seen a Minke whale swim down into Greenway Sound this morning (we were sorry that we had missed it). We think that she came out more to give us a warning rather than to tip us off to the possible sights to be seen.

We made our way around the headland of the bay and began what felt like a long paddle up Greenway Sound to the mouth and into Sutlej Channel. We passed by a few fish farms and saw lots of water fowl, but no whales or anything else. At one point, though, the birds were all in a frenzy and kafuffle as though they were feeding on something close to the surface. They would all swoop in and land in a small area, churning up the water like it was boiling. After a few minutes, the raucous settled down and the birds were peaceful as they sat on the surface of the water. There must have been something below the surface causing the fish to swim close, or other such disturbance.

At last we rounded Walker Point and made our way into Sutlej Channel. We had figured that we would have the current with us down the channel, but the first few kelp beds that we passed indicated otherwise. We didn’t see much more kelp after we got a little further down towards Woods Point and the opening of Cypress Harbour, so we can’t say for sure what the current was doing. If it was against us, it wasn’t of a terribly significant nature, but we didn’t seem to be racing down the channel like we had thought we would be at the peak flow of a flood tide.

Our tummies were beginning to grumble a bit and Scott was getting eager to stretch his legs our so we kept our eyes open for a possible landing spot. It wasn’t until we were just around a small point from Cypress Harbour when we came across a rock shoulder just below the tide line that lead out to a small rock outcrop. The bridge of shallow ground and gently sloping rocks made an ideal pull out and we decided to stop for an early snack/lunch.

We were lunching across from Stackhouse Island, and there was a pod of dolphins in the water between us and the island. They played in the same spot for quite some time and we enjoyed watching them as we ate our lunch.

As we grazed on our variety of lunch foods Scott decided to go for a little dip to cool off. The clouds that had initially hung overhead this morning have cleared to a few wisps. The sun is now out and if it weren’t for the gentle breeze we would be cooking on the rocks. Rachel likes the heat more than Scott does (perhaps it is more appropriate to say that she has an aversion to cold water more than Scott), so she was content to sit on the sandstone shelf while Scott enjoyed the dip.

As we were preparing to continue on our journey, Scott suggested a change of course. He wanted to head across the channel to Stackhouse Island and then make our way to Philip Point or Magin Is. before heading across the mouth of Kingcombe Inlet to Bradley Point and More Bay behind it. With our new course agreed upon we set out.

It was only a few minutes after we left our idyllic lunch spot when we realized that the conditions had changed. Perhaps we had lunched in a protected spot, but out in the channel the wind had really picked up, putting some chop on the water, including a few whitecaps. As we headed towards Stackhouse Island we stowed our non-waterproof cameras away in dry bags for safe keeping. We were a little unnerved by the change in conditions, but then we both realized that we were more than capable of handling such conditions and had been in significantly worse chop/swell in the past. Nonetheless, we felt better with our cameras away and safe as we took the wind and chop broadside.

As the odd waved splashed over the bow of Rachel’s kayak she was reminded that we had not yet addressed the lack of neoprene hold covers. We had been lulled by the great weather that we have had so far and somehow hadn’t made a priority of the covers. Good think she had packed things better using the extra dry bags that we brought with us at the last minute.

We reached Stackhouse Island after about 15-20 minutes. As we rounded the North West end of the island and saw Bradley Point ahead, we decided to head straight for it rather than going by Philip Pt. or Magin Its. The more direct route would put us on a better course with the wind, waves and possibly current. Instead of taking the waves broadside they would now be coming from behind us which is much preferable.

Changing our course made a huge difference to how our kayaks handled the waves and we seemed to make quick progress. Magin Its passed by on our left and we were already closing in on the distance to Bradley Pt on Gregory Island. As soon as we rounded the point and tucked in behind it, we were protected from the wind and the water calmed down. We now had Moore Bay in our sights and were on the final approach to camp.

While Scott chose a direct line toward camp from the appendix that sticks out on the North side of the island, Rachel opted to venture back towards shore and follow it down as it was likely to provided more interesting paddling than the open water. Well, she was wrong. As Scott was about half way between the point and camp he noticed a dolphin in the water ahead of him. He stopped to watch and then noticed that there was a couple in front of him as well. Before he knew it, he realized that they were all around him. At one point, he thought that two of them were about to surface right beside his kayak, but instead he noticed the water underneath him become turbulent and then he saw the flash as one swam right underneath him. By this time, Rachel, who was about 100 meters away, realized what was going on around Scott. She turned toward him as three dolphins approached her, coming up in unison and diving under again as they quickly covered 30m or so. Just as we were expecting them to surface again right beside her, they disappeared, not to be seen again for a good three minutes at which point the surfaced behind her before turning to the east and heading to join the rest of the pod that was further out in Kingcome Inlet. What a thrill that was.

We continued the paddle for the last kilometer or so to Moore Bay Forest Recreation Site. We haven’t seen a single other boat since we left Sutlej Channel and we were stunned by the tranquility and beauty of this big bay. How amazing it is to us that there are no other kayakers or yachters here.

We pulled in at the rocky beach to the west of the boat dock. Rachel got out of her kayak to look for the camp sites but the grassland was marshy and made for tough walking as the long grass laid down and hid the dips and holes between clumps of mud. She finally made it up into the trees and found four sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Similar to last night, however, although there are lots of sites, there is really only one level spot for the tent. Thankfully however, it is the one closest to the beach so that would be our spot for the night.

The next problem to be conquered was unloading the kayaks. The pebble /rock beach wasn’t an option as walking across the grass was like navigating a mine field. The boat dock posed other problems in that it was so high out of the water and the kayaks have such a low center of gravity. Getting from the kayak up onto the dock would be a challenge as would even reaching over the edge of the dock to unload the kayak still in the water. The only alternative was to land against the blackened, more steeply sloping rocks down in front of the camp. After paddling around from the pebble beach we found a small channel between the shore and an outcrop where we could stand beside our kayaks to unload them, and it wasn’t too treacherous of a climb up to the camp.

Once we were unloaded we had Scott tow the kayaks over to the boat dock and then clamber out (with some difficulty as Rachel did her best to stabilize the boat). We tried tying them up against the dock like we had last night, but finally opted to pull them up on the dock. The likelihood of anyone else coming by is so slim, but even so, we made sure to keep the path to the gangplank clear and leave room for a dingy to tie up in need be.

It was now 3pm and the sun was blazing down on us. We were thankful that our camp was in the trees, but even so, going for a dip to cool off was appealing (even to Rachel). We walked out onto the dock and Scott dove in, but it was too high to climb back out onto the dock again. We tried taking some rope that was laying around on the dock and making a stirrup with it, but even so, he couldn’t get out. The next problem was that the beach rocks are so barnacle covered that one doesn’t want to get out bare footed. Rachel finally met him down at the rocks with his Crocs, and after watching all his struggles the appeal of a swim was diminished and she didn’t go in.

We then sought shelter from the sun at the picnic table in camp where w mused over the days events and reviewed the maps for the rest of the trips plan. At about 5pm we ventured out onto the rocks to enjoy the view and the cooler late afternoon rays. We still haven’t seen another boat go by, but the fish jumping out of the water are keeping us well entertained.

It is now just after 7pm and the sun has dropped behind Mt. Connolly in the Mathew Range. We have already donned our long pants and have our long sleeved tops at the ready. Scott is finishing up with the dinner prep of Mexi-Can with rice and then we will be climbing into our sleeping bags for another good night sleep.

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