Today when my alarm went off at 5am, it was raining and the wind was blowing too hard to paddle. I stayed in the sack until 9am then got up and started getting organized, still not sure if the wind would ease up enough to let me launch. It started to calm down after a while and I eventually launched at 11:15am.
Looking across Portland Inlet with Parkin Island dead ahead.
I headed out around Flewin Point and passed through the tiny Parkin Islands then started the 7-mile paddle across the mouth of Portland Inlet. Just as I cleared Parkin Island at 11:50am, a Humpback Whale surfaced not far away headed up the inlet.
The wave motion made it hard to get a level shot as I looked up Portland Inlet half way into my seven mile crossing.
Although the wind had calmed, Portland Inlet was still choppy from waves generated earlier in the day. There were also some small sea swells making their way from Dixon Entrance but generally, the conditions were good. The crossing was uneventful, which is just the way I like 7-mile crossings to be, and by 2:00pm I was pulling alongside Boston Island.
Wales Island, Tongass Passage and the Alaskan border are straight ahead as I make my way across Portland Inlet.
After reaching Boston Island, I turned the boat around to have a good look at what I had just crossed. There behind me, not a quarter of a mile away, was a pod of Orcas, which included at least one huge male with his black dorsal fin clearly visible against the gray water and cloudy sky. I have paddled close to Orcas before, even having them swim under my kayak a couple of times, and I am not particularly scared of them, but being by myself out in the middle of a 7 mile crossing was bad enough without having to deal with a pod of Orcas. I am glad I did not see them until I was close to shore where they presented nothing more than a good photo opportunity.
Entering the mouth of Tongass Passage and the Boston and Proctor Islands.
I paddled between the Boston Islands and Wales Island and then through the Proctor Islands finally crossing Tongass Passage. After rounding the southern tip of Sitklan Island, I headed up Lincoln Channel until I spotted a likely campsite in a small bay just north of Garnet Point on Kanagunut Island. I landed there at 4:45pm after paddling 16 miles.
The Proctor Islands.
This turned out to be a very pretty campsite with beautiful views out across Portland Inlet and Dixon Entrance. The beach here is mixed sand, gravel, and shells with patches of grass among a large field of boulders. While I was setting up camp, a Humpback Whale came into the bay and started slowly cruising along the shoreline, apparently feeding as it went. I listened to its breathing for almost an hour before it disappeared. As nice as this campsite was, it was also very buggy, possibly because of the lack of wind this evening.
Approaching a likely campsite on Kanagunut Island.
Another interesting thing about this campsite was that I was actually able to connect with the cell phone service in Prince Rupert. The only problem was that all I got was a voice recording that told me I had to be connected to the “City West” phone service to get through. I could hardly believe it.
My campsite on Kanagunut Island.
Today was the longest day of the year and there was light enough to see clearly until late in the evening. A milestone of sorts passed today when I crossed over the border back into the US. I had now paddled the entire length of the coast of British Columbia and was anxious to tackle the coast of southeast Alaska.
Looking back across Portland Inlet towards Port Simpson from my campsite on Kanagunut Island at 10:20pm.