Club Expedition to Alaska “Day 5”

Club Expedition to Alaska “Day 5”
20th August (Monday) – Olsen Island to Island Halfway up Unakwik Inlet

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After a very wet day of not doing much (well for those who opted out of the excursion), everybody was camp crazy, so we decided to move on. The day started really as it meant to go on – grey, overcast and wet. The tents were wet, the kit was wet, it was wet – many of us considering what we’ll be changing for the next trip. Nevertheless, we were on the water for the now routine time of 9am. So, all afloat, we made for our one and only crossing for the day.

Getting to the end of island took significantly less time than the excursion the day before – just saying. There was thick fog and visibility was low, so compass bearing decided, we grouped up in a fat diamond and started the crossing, keeping an eye out for any boats taking a route avoiding the main conditions. Land came into view, and all was good.

As we continued up the shoreline, the landscape always takes on a spooky theme with such conditions, with low lying cloud, fog and the mountains being dark silhouettes that take on a sinister hue.

Weaving around some islands and small inlets, the map clearly indicated that there was a way to pass through, so off we headed between the islands towards our passage way. Low and behold, the map lied (well, maybe a white lie), and we were presented with some shallows. Now to a Sea Kayaker, this was an epic problem. The decision to get out of one’s boat for a “portage” is just not something one should consider, fortunately to those canoeists in the group, this wasn’t so much a portage as a wade, and that’s over dramatising it. So out we got and quickly floated the boats over the shallows and hopped back in. Unfortunately, this was still too much for Andy and Chris, so they took the 1km detour and paddled around, joining us a “few minutes” later.

And then came wildlife central. Noticing a cabin, we decided to paddle over and investigate. Approaching, somebody noticed a bear (I believe this was bear number 2) and then all bets were off, and the group went bear chasing, completely missing the fact that every sea predator in the sound was staring at us for invading their space. Sea otters, seals, sea lions, bears, birds, the lot. They most definitely weren’t happy that we might be there to steal their salmon, although most likely they were just annoyed that we’d upset the damn sea lions – who started to grow in number and make it very clear we weren’t welcome. So a good laugh :-).

Through the mudflats and then we continued up to come across our camp site for the night, we named Misery Cove. A small island just about high enough to camp above the tide (albeit it was close) with a convenient area to eat, and a grass area should we have to retreat to higher ground.

Martin Aldridge     More Photos……….       Audio Report……..