Day 23 - Saturday - June 30 - Alder Bay to Peel Island
Getting ready to launch from Alder Bay.
After looking over the tide and current tables for today, and the chart indicating I should travel on an ebbing tide, I decided to leave as early as possible to take advantage of favorable currents. When I launched at 6:45am the weather was just cloudy and gray, but before long, it started to rain, and it did not stop until 3pm. The temperature also dropped today to the coldest I had yet encountered on the trip.
Paddling through Alert Bay with Cormorant Island on the right and Vancouver Island on the left.
The shoreline along this stretch of Vancouver Island was mostly mile after mile of shallow gravel beaches backed up by unremarkable lowlands. There was also more kelp than I had seen anywhere else along the route so far. The kelp turned out to be helpful because it calmed the waves stirred up by the winds in Queen Charlotte Strait. I was able to stay on course while picking my way through channels in the kelp beds.
The Coast Range comes into view across Queen Charlotte Strait as Malcolm Island is passed on the right.
On a clear day, the view across the strait would have been spectacular with the Coast Range rising up on the mainland showing off its snow-covered peaks. Today though I had to keep my head down and paddle for hours into the wind with the rain in my face and the scenery obscured by low gray clouds and mist.
Round, Deer, and Peel Islands come into view in Beaver Harbor.
I only stopped once today for a quick break. I found that as long as I was paddling I could stay warm but if I stopped for just a short time chills began to set in. From miles off, I could make out a group of islands that held my destination for this evening, Peel Island. I could not get there soon enough.
My campsite on Peel Island.
I could see planes taking off and landing from the Port Hardy airport that was visible from the water and marked on my chart. I knew I was getting close. As I passed Deer Island and entered Beaver Harbor, the seas calmed and I was able relax a little for the first time today. Peel Island came into view and I started searching for a suitable campsite. At 2:15pm, after paddling 23 miles in 7 ½ hours I found the perfect spot, a crushed shell beach on the far west side of the island. As if on queue, the rain stopped just as I was setting up camp giving me the first break of the day.