Day 38 - Thursday - July 3 - Myers Chuck to Change Island

Paddling out of Meyers Chuck on a cloudy morning.

I had a nice quiet night at my campsite on the lawn in Meyers Chuck and was pushing off from the dock at 6:20am. The clouds were low, being almost at tree top level, which gave the little town an almost storybook look about it. I paddled through a group of small islands before reaching Lemesurier Point and saw my first sea urchin of the trip. The cloudy skies hid far off mountains from view and made everything look various shades of gray. The winds were light, and it was not raining, so I considered myself lucky after having to deal with the winds of the last few days.

A mountain peak breaks through the clouds as I cross Union Bay.

After crossing the 4½-mile mouth of Union Bay, I made it to Union Point at 8:30am. For the crossing of Vixen Inlet, I stayed close to shore until I came in line with Sunshine Island and then I headed across passing Vixen Point at 10:25am.

Easterly Island in Ernest Sound with Dear Island in the distance.

I pulled into Emerald Bay at 11:45am and spotted a possible campsite at the head of the bay, but since it was so early, I decided to keep going. After reading that this area has a large population of Black and Brown Bears, I thought it might be a good idea to find a small island far from shore on which to camp.

Change Island in Sunny Bay.

As I entered Seward Passage between Deer Island and the Cleveland Peninsula, I spotted a small island in the distance that looked promising. It turned out to be Change Island in Sunny Bay and would be my home for the evening. Landing was easy and it looked like a clear, flat spot in a grassy area would make a perfect campsite. There were wildflowers mixed all throughout the grass, and although grass can tolerate short periods of exposure to salt water, I did not think wildflowers could. It looked like a safe place to camp above, what tonight would be one of the highest tides of the month. The only thing that concerned me was the small pieces of fresh seaweed that I found scattered about in the grass. The only way they could have gotten there was to have floated in on last night’s high tide.

My campsite on Change Island.

Since I was not sure, my campsite was above high tide, some special precautions were called for. I did not set up the tent opting instead for just the pyramid tarp for shelter. All the gear that would not be needed overnight went back in the kayak. I also tied up the kayak with two different lines so it could not go floating off if the tide did come up higher than expected. High tide would be at 1:50am so I set my alarm watch to go off at 1:00am. As it turned out, there was no need to set the watch since I could not get to sleep anyway, as the water began to rise eerily around me.
As the water started getting closer to the pyramid tent, I could hear a noise like rain but it was coming from under the ground cloth beneath me. When I turned on the flashlight, the source revealed itself, hundreds if not thousands of amphipods (aka beach hoppers) were moving through the grass as the tide rose and flooded their lairs. When these little critters move about they pop up in the air and go in every direction thereby causing the rain like sound under my ground cloth. They are creepy looking but harmless and really were no problem.
By 1:00am, the water was right up to the edge of the pyramid so I got up and started moving things a little higher. The air was dead calm and I knew there would not be any big boats passing this area of the coast so boat wakes would not be a problem. By 2:00am, the water was receding quickly and by 2:30am, I was climbing back into the sleeping bag eager to get some rest.

Looking southward down Ernest Sound from Change Island.