Today I accomplished another milestone and circumnavigated Portland Island solo even with some odd weather rolling in. I gotta say, taking a nap on a warm day on an uninhabited beach definitely is as good as I thought it would be. I planned out the trip carefully and brought some extra gear with me in case I had to stay for the night. I really paid attention to the radio and was able to catch the ferries communicating their intent in the various passages. As I left the island, the winds came up making for a fun and challenging bit of chop and swell in the more exposed sections.


The morning weather was calm as can be and the tide was fairly low. It's always a bit of a rough walk to the distant tide line at Roberts bay. Incidentally, it was full of great blue heron at the intertidal zone again this morning which more than made up for the mucky put-in. Seems morning and low tide is when they like to hunt. There were very few when I made my way back later in the day. I packed the boat and launched crossing Tsehum harbour and making my way to John passage. Turns out every speedboat in the region was transiting John, so I followed Page passage which was being ignored because of it's shallow depths.


From Page passage I stayed east and took Iroquois passage out to Swartz bay and happened to make it just as all ferries were secure. I crossed easily to Pym Island, the water was flat and the visibility was wonderful; you could see Saltspring and Moresby clearly. Pym's an interesting little island, it's very small with a bunch of high dollar cabins lining a fenced off coastline. Passing Pym, I had my sights set on landing on the shell beach behind brackman island. I needed a bathroom break something fierce.


Arriving on the shell beach, I was half surprised to see kayaks - lots of them - resting above the high tide line. I landed and just asked the first person I saw, where's the bathroom? I felt sort of weird tramping through their campsite toward the outhouse. When i got back to the beach, they were 10 minutes of so from putting in to circle the island. I thought they were probably fairly new to the sport - no wetsuits among them, lots of doubles and odd paddle choices. They were definitely a cheerful bunch and as I left I surmised that I'd meet up with them again before the day was over.


The west coast of portland was quiet and rather shady with a few secret pull outs with more shell beach. It was a quick paddle up to the south point of chads island. and I was surrounded by seals. seals covered every rock, scrap of land and water space. 3 or 4 of them were just astern of my kayak snorting loudly. the ones on the rocks just looked at me and went back to basking in the morning sunlight that filtered in. Just as a I snapped a few photos of the seals, my VHF started squawking about an outbound superferry intedningto take Gosse Passage. It was time to exit stage left and go land. Surfing a ferry wake 100ft out wasn't on my agenda today.


I saw not one but two ferries as I rounded Chads island. A queen class and a spirit class headed for Gosse in opposite directions. I thought it might be wise to get off the water before the wake rolls in. I'm sure it would have been fine, but this wasn't really a good time to experiment. So I headed due east and landed at arbutus point, the north camp site on Portland island. I pulled out of the water onto a nice groomed beach and saw no one around, just some tents here and there.


The ferry wake hit the island a few minutes later and made a whole lot of splashing as it hit the shore. you can see in the photo above that the swell really isn't all that bad, but it makes big curly waves and crashes on the beach. Once the wake passed, the place quieted down, birds, clearly everywhere, were singing lots of different songs. I hiked up to the campsite to see if anyone was around. empty. Not a soul to be found. A couple came walking around the rocks about 10 minutes later looking for a trail into the island. They were sailors with a 27 foot boat moored at Princess bay to the south. They found their path and hiked into the forest, so I decided to have a look around.


Arbutus point has a lot of pretty awesome looking arbutus trees all with lots and lots of strange knots and wind damage. A number of eagles perched on the wind shorn limbs near the top of the tree a few times during my visit. I watched the people I had met earlier on the shell beach working their way up the east side and eventually arriving at the beach. I guess I'd have some company after all.


They pulled up to shore and exited their boats with huge grins on their faces. Even that short paddle had them talking about technique and boats to buy. I just sat off the side watching them figure out new and creative ways to not get their feet wet when leaving the boat. Usually it ended up that everyone would get drenched. I asked them if it was a guided trip and they pointed to a guide in the group. Apparently this was their warm up for their broken group islands excursion later in the season. They asked me some general questions and basically it boiled down to be careful, I felt like such a mom.

I had some better advice for them though: get your boats up on the beach, because there's a ferry coming by. Most of them promptly walked down and moved their boat 6" up the beach. We all watched it roll in and it quickly pulled most of the boats out to sea. One actually went a little father out than I expected, but they got it under control. These people had the kayaking bug big time - boats, where to go, what stuff they need... sometimes I think it must be neat to be a real guide and chat about all this stuff with newbies. So willing to learn, the doors so open to new knowledge.


I told them about the seals around the corner and they all suited up and were gone. I thought it was time for a nap while I waited for the tide to turn on the beach. I found a nice piece of driftwood and rested my eyes for a couple hours. I awoke to a stiff breeze and sailboats raising their main sails in anticipation of fair winds. I still had about half an hour before I was in slack territory, so I slowly got everything packed in my boat and checked the VHF weather, I was going to be treated to 10-20knot winds on the way home - joy!


I left my little island paradise and worked my way back south toward Princess bay. The wind was mostly westerly and at my beam with enough fetch to send some fun wake under my hull. I just worked with it, still heading into a weak flood current. The boat doesn't cock too badly in waves, so I felt pretty confident along the coast. I arrived in princess bay with a face full of sea spray. I had a look at all the boats and saw a nice wooden sea kayak perched on top of a small trawler. Everyone was anchored the same direction - facing the tortoise islets. I took a wind speed measurement just outside of hood island and I got a solid 15kt average.


The wind kept my hands off the camera in between swartz bay and pym. The swell was being amplified and I was falling into rather large gaps in the waves. I braced through most of them and jumped a few others getting just covered in water as the wave broke over my bow and stern at the same time. It was awesome! Once I got to the entrance to Tsehum harbour, I had to take it pretty slow because all kinds of traffic was coming and going. Sailboats going out and nauseated speed boaters coming home for the night. Out by the little group was thick with whitecaps and all the sailboats were lining up for their turn to go fast.


Here was a neat bit of weather in action. Looks like a pretty mean updraft, would have been fun to be in a plane at this point. The clouds didn't amount to much, though. Seems there's another front coming in and it changed my peaceful flat water into a bumpy ride. When I returned to the beach I was delivered a few feet from the car. The tide had come in a long way

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