I don't have any photos taken from my boat while paddling today because I couldn't take my hands off the paddle for even a second.
A cruise ship passes far off shore.
Today’s weather forecast indicated wind out of the south at 10-15 knots. The same was forecast through this Sunday when the winds were supposed to be even higher. If I did not try paddling today, conditions would only get worse over the next few days.
After 2 ½ days of sitting on the beach and making no headway, it was time to see if I could handle the wind and waves of Dixon Entrance. I packed up the kayak and was launching from Cape Fox at 6:45am. After about 15 minutes, it was obvious to me that this was more than I could safely handle alone. There were big 6-foot swells coming in and breaking over submerged rocks all along the coast out in front of me. I would have to get out of this soon, or before long, one of these big waves would knock me over and I would be in the water getting washed over a reef. I briefly turned the boat around to see how far I had gone already and it was immediately apparent that going back was not an option. The wind and waves were so big there would be no possibility of making headway against them.
My campsite north of Cape Fox.
This coastline is very exposed and according to everything written about it, there are few if any places to camp along its length. Since my options were limited, there was no choice but to try and find a place to land out of the surf, and with a beach high enough to keep me above the highest tides. The seas were so confused that it was necessary to pay attention constantly to stay upright.
Stormy weather at Dixon Entrance.
After fighting the waves for an hour and traveling just two miles, a beach came into view that looked promising. The beach consisted of football-sized cobblestones so I did not want to run my boat up on it and risk damaging the hull. Just as I was stepping out of the boat a few feet offshore in about a foot of water, a wave came up from behind and lifted it two feet in the air causing me to loose my balance and go in. It was not a problem though, as I was already soaking wet and was happy to be ashore in one piece. I was actually laughing, just glad to be alive.
Another view of my campsite.
This campsite turned out to be not bad at all, although it wasn‘t as nice as the beach at Cape Fox. If launching or landing a kayak at high tide, it would be off a crushed shell beach, low tides would be in cobblestones. The top end near the trees would be above the highest tides and it is sheltered from all but a north wind.
Another kayaker was probably here a day or two before me as I found a campfire remnant and other indications of a human’s presence. A dump pile from some animal, consisting of mostly half-digested plant material, made me wonder what else besides a kayaker had recently been on this beach.
It was now obvious to me that arriving in Ketchikan on schedule would be impossible. I wanted to call home so my family would not be worried and contact the Coast Guard to come looking for me. From talking to a commercial fisherman on the VHF radio, I found out there was no marine operator for this area. My cell phone had no signal so that was not an option. I decided to call the Coast Guard on channel 16, report my location and situation, and see if they could relay a message to my home. On my very first try, the Canadian Coast Guard in Prince Rupert answered my call and requested I switch over to channel 83a. After giving them my coordinates and assuring them I was safe and had enough food and water, they proceeded to contact my family with the “All OK” message. The Canadian Coast Guard handled everything very efficiently and professionally and within about five minutes, I could rest at ease knowing there would not be a search party out looking for me.