Here in Courtenay at the home of my, so-much-more-than-gracious hosts, Doug Taylor and his partner Penny. They have taken me in and attended to me like they have known me for years rather than the smelly guy in a damp dry suit that wandered into their home just last night.

A few blisters on my hands that were not expected but not really an issue.  I suspect they are due to the repeated correcting strokes in the quartering seas that have been consistently from the SE in the Strait of Georgia.  I’m not complaining as I’d much rather have it astern than ahead.  My low back has really been getting sore after a few hours in the boat.  Its not the kind of sore like I pulled my back out, its more of a conditioning of those sacral ligaments and tendons that are required to keep you in the paddling position. It should work out with time.   My body is feeling great otherwise.   I am certainly going through the fluids at a much higher rate than expected; that will prove to be an ongoing challenge.

I arrived on Orcas Island Friday and hitched a ride from the ferry terminal into Eastsound where I caught up with Leon and Shawna.  They had the Nordkapp sitting in their barn, waiting to be unpacked with all my gear next to it.  Wow, this is really happening!   The Nordkapp, in many kayaker’s opinion, is one of the most beautiful kayaks to look at.   Its seaworthiness has been tested and proven in all the major oceans of the world.  There are a few great kayaks out there with no less seagoing credentials but none as pretty to see, hauled up on a desolate beach as the Nordkapp.

The Nordkapp

I camped the first night on the SE end of South Pender Island.  A rocky beach that offered little protection but it was getting dark and I needed to get off the water and Customs had already closed.  I hauled the boat over the rocks on driftwood “rolls” to get it well above the high water mark and then secured it with line.   When I got up in the morning I just had to laugh…   the tide was falling and the water was already a long ways away.   Completely unload the boat, move it to a continuously receding waters edge, reload it then launch.

Of note: The boat with me and the water is > 300 lbs.  No rock gardening on this trip.

The Nordkapp and a lot of the stuff that needs to fit into those hatches.

My paddle speed is unchanged; averaging a little over 4 knots consistently; I’m covering about one nautical mile every 15 minutes.

At this point I have a decision to make.  Given my time constraints, I am concerned about getting partway down the west coast (the best part of this trip) and running out of time.   I must be back on Orcas Island to end the trip on the 12th of July to join my wife and daughter in Seattle on the 13th.  That leaves me with 20 days and the weather is the final arbiter of whether I paddle or not on any given day once on the west coast.  So….   a total circumnavigation is unlikely.  More likely is leap-frogging some of the more trafficked and developed coastline coming up and starting from some point along the Johnstone Strait.  That decision will be made tonight and I will begin again tomorrow.

Thank You’s:

This trip is a real gift from so many sources; my wife who, with quiet reservations, has supported this voyage completely.  That said, while I attend to to the joys of this challenge, it is she who lives with the uncertainty, waiting to hear each day that all is well.    Shawna and Leon at Body Boat Blade who made getting a boat possible and welcomed me into their home. Their friendship and logistical support has helped make this trip happen.  A very big thank you to Claudia and Melissa who drove to SeaTac at midnight to pick me up and allow me a couple hours sleep in a real bed before getting back up at 0500 to take me to the Anacortes ferry terminal.   I also thank my colleagues at Derry Medical Center who have supported my taking this much time off knowing they would be picking up the slack in my absence.   Thank you again to Doug and Penny whose generosity overwhelms me.           Thank you, thank you, thank you !