Day 36 - Tuesday - July 1 - Point Higgins to Niblack Point
The sun coming up over Caamano Point across Behm Canal.
The first thing on today’s schedule was the 7-mile crossing of Behm Canal. I woke up at 4:45am and after getting everything packed up was off at 6:10am headed to Caamano Point on the far side. The crossing went smoothly and just as I reached the point at 8:35am, the wind started to pick up.
Approaching Caamano Point.
After paddling about two miles up the coast, the wind was so strong I decided to try something different and take a break in the middle of the day to see if the wind would calm down. This was the first time I had taken a mid-day break on this trip, usually opting to stay in the boat all day and not even land.
A convenient spot to take a break.
I spotted a notch in the rocky coastline that hid a gravel beach protected from wave action. It looked like the perfect place for a mid-day stopover and a good spot to camp if conditions worsened. Obviously, others thought it was a good place too, because someone had built a cabin up in the trees.
The sun was shining brightly so I took the opportunity to lay my wet things out to dry while waiting for the wind to let up. I had my kayak tied to a big rock with the bowline as I always did when I was more than a few feet away from it. This was fortunate because all of a sudden it tried launching itself by sliding down the slick gravel beach into the water. If not tied down, I definitely would have had to dive into the water to get it back.
The wind whips up Clarence Strait.
At 12:15pm, after waiting 2 hours, the wind had quieted down enough to give paddling another try. Back towards Caamano Point, a group of Humpback Whales was feeding along the route I had taken earlier. There are many gravel beaches to camp on along this shoreline most of which look to be made of green pebbles. On one of them, I saw a Black Bear feeding among the drift logs. This was the first of many Black Bears I would see along this stretch of the trip.
My campsite on the beach at Niblack Point.
I had hoped to put in over 20 miles today but the wind and current were both against me and at 2:15pm, after paddling only 14 miles, it was time to stop for the day. A beach near Niblack Point composed of small rounded pebbles and with beautiful views up and down Clarence Strait would be home for the night. Far to the south down the strait, I could see a wall of fog slowly heading my way. It was odd looking because the sky was still clear and blue while the fog was a thick layer hugging the ground up to about 500 feet. Luckily, it did not reach my location and I had a clear, dry afternoon. Big cruise ships passed all evening heading north out of Ketchikan to their next port of call, probably Juneau. My cell phone curiously worked today but not yesterday, when I was even closer to Ketchikan.
A cruise ship heading north out of Ketchikan in Clarence Strait.