We spent a surprisingly comfortable night despite our cramped accommodation. Bill woke first and reappeared with cups of hot tea for the lazy heads. He watched our neighbours from Oregon paddling out of the bay at 8am and chatted to our lone neighbour who made his kayak from wood using a kit. It weighs 20kg and is beautiful.
Breakfast is granola with hot milk to make a sort of flavoursome nutty porridge. It tasted all the better enjoyed sitting on the rocks overlooking the bay in the early morning sunshine.
After Bills backache yesterday, Chris demonstrated some stretches and yoga on the logs in the campsite. Then we make some generously filled salmon wraps for lunch.
We set off shortly after breakfast with Chris navigating from the single kayak and us following in the 'mothership!' We make a short first leg around to the next bay to allow s short walk to view the six giant red cedars mixed between the rest of the native pine forest.
Next stop is Puffin Island, a funny little tick they had s couple of trees sprouting out of the top of it at odd angles, that featured in most of our sunset photographs last night.
Unfortunately at this point two things happened:-
1). Chris caught a very ugly rockfish that caused a huge tangle in his fishing line
2). A large bank of cloud and fog crept in from the west and we could only sit and watch as Chris tried desperately yo disentangle his line.
All sorted we set off into the cloudy weather, although for a while, it did feel as if we were the only area still in sunshine.
As we paddled along a bald eagle suddenly flew overhead shoring is s clear view of his typical block nodu and shore head
We stopped on the beach at Clarke island for lunch. The sea fog rolled slowly in as we watched - blue skies and sunshine to the west of us,but grey/white clouds and fog to the east. The fog felt cold and damp and we were soon pleased to be wearing kagouls and trousers instead of rash vests and beach shorts.
To reach Clarke we had paddled over s shallow shoulder of pebbles, but the ebbing tide had left them exposed and dry by the time we were ready to move on.
Dressed in warm layers, we paddled on to Benson Island.
The fog got thicker, the wind freshened, it started to rain and the swell increased somewhat so that our double kayak bridged the waves and banged down between them. All the islands around us vanished except the coastline that we were closest to. It was a bit daunting, but at the same time exhilarating and exciting - a dramatic contrast to pootling along in the sunshine in our beach clothes!
We paddled on, fishing lines still trailing behind the boats. The change in conditions reminded us why this area is regarded as one of the most challenging places in the world for sea kayaking and how important it is to be prepared and able to use compass and chart to navigate - it would be so easy to get lost.
Eventually we turned along the coastline of Benson and pulled up onto the beach. We walked up into the forest to see the Tsesaht statue and read the information sign boards - a brief summary of what Hank had told us last night.
When we left Benson, the fog had started to clear and the sky was brightening. We could see across to the other side of Coaster channel and decided it was safe to paddle across.
Once across we paddled around Beckett and Wuwa Islands before stopping at the campsite on Gilbert for afternoon tea - chocolate brownies with salted caramel!
After tea, full of energy, we paddled back across the channel to Turret - it felt like home!
We got the camp fire going and nibbled on teriyaki beef jerky and chunks of Gouda whilst we prepared a gourmet dinner of chargrilled corncobs with melted butter, steak cooked on sharpened stickers over the coals and Spanish rice with crispy sugar snap peas.
We carried out loaded plates up to the driftwood logs, to sit and watch the sunset.
As darkness fell we returned to the fire for a second round of steak and rice, an followed that with baked bananas topped with toasted marshmallows!
We decided on an early night and an early start tomorrow, so after sitting chatting and watching the fire for a while, we turned in.
Whilst getting ready for bed we were slightly perturbed to hear wolves howling in the distance, and on returning to the tent I heard a rustle in the bushes a few feet away and froze... A small fawn stepped out into the clearing and started quietly grazing, seemingly oblivious to me and my torch light. It walked slowly forwards and then continued on down the path to the beach, pausing once to look back and pose for a photograph!