Day 48 - Sunday - July 13 - Hobart Bay to Sand Bay

A beach along the shore in Stephens Passage.

After fighting the current for a while yesterday, I decided to try to time today’s departure so that I would be riding the rising tide as it flooded north up Stephens Passage. Since low tide was around 4:45am, I wanted to launch near that time to take advantage of the current going my way. With this goal in mind, I woke up at 3am and had the boat packed up and in the water at 4:20am. I noted throughout today’s paddle the direction of the current at different times and places and found that it seemed to switch back and forth from one location to another. This was probably due to my being close to shore and being caught up in eddies.

Sunset Island appears through the fog out in Stephens Passage.

Today was the first day that I had to deal with fog during the early morning hours. Because my route was along the shoreline, it did not really matter because it was easy to follow the coast. The fog did present some interesting photo opportunities of scenes with an unearthly appearance. The view of Sunset Island out in Stephens Passage was one such shot. Small icebergs drifting in the foggy waters were another amazing sight not seen every day by an Inside Passage kayaker.

Clouds and fog across Windham Bay.

As I was paddling along the shore and approaching Windham Bay, I spotted a large sea lion in the water about 50 feet ahead of me. It was looking straight at me, so I felt it had seen me as it slipped quietly below the waters surface. In a few more strokes, I was right where the sea lion had been and presumed he was in the water somewhere close by and below me. All of a sudden, he surfaced about 5 feet from my kayak and his head was turned away from me. He had not seen me until this moment and as he turned his head and saw me, he panicked. Immediately, he flew out of the water and did a backwards dive, desperately trying to get away from me as fast as possible. I was amazed at his huge size, weighing probably around 500 pounds and spanning 8 feet from head to rear flippers. It all happened so fast that I did not have time to be scared and even surprised myself at how calm I was as it happened. I rated this event as the most exciting close up wild animal encounter that I had on this whole trip.

Approaching the beach at Sand Bay.

By 12:50pm, I had passed Point League and Point Lookout and was paddling into Sand Bay after traveling 27 miles. The northern edge of this little bay is formed by a peninsula that provides a great campsite with unbelievable views up and down Stephens Passage. All afternoon Humpback Whales were surfacing and feeding just offshore of the peninsula where I was camped. This campsite is definitely in the top five of all the sites I stayed at while on this trip. The beach here consists of cobblestones, which is not my favorite for launching and landing but the scenic amenities more than make up for this slight inconvenience. There is space up in the trees for a tent during nights with very high tides or during stormy weather. Luckily, I was able to stay out on the beach this night with the pyramid pitched over a bed of small gravel. I did not notice any fresh water source at this site.

Looking south from my campsite on Sand Bay to Stephens Passage.