Day 4 - Friday - May 30 - Smith Sound to Rivers Inlet and Duncanby Marina
I take one last look at my red sand beach campsite before I head out across Smith Sound.
I spent a good night on the red sand beach, although it seemed almost every little noise woke me up. The alarm went off at 5am and I started getting packed. This took a little longer today since I had to get sand off everything before it could be loaded into the boat. Launch time was 7:20am.
Brown Island in Smith Sound has a beach that may be a good campsite.
There were some low sea swells coming in to Smith Sound off the Pacific and only some minor wind waves. The four-mile crossing of Smith Sound with accomplished with no problem. While passing Extended Point, I saw a couple of people walking on the beach of a small island nearby. These were only the second and third people I had seen since launching four days ago, the first being a man in a boat in Skull Cove.
Looking north up Fitz Hugh Sound as I round Kelp head.
As I paddled up the coast around Kelp Head, I had to be cautious of sea swells that would suddenly rise up out of nowhere when they reached a shallow spot or a rock submerged below the surface. In just a couple of seconds, the surface in front of me could change from calm flat water, to a three-foot breaking wave with the potential to flip me instantly. Since this phenomena only occurs in areas exposed to sea swells, it is not something that a paddler encounters along most areas of the Inside Passage.
A nice beach at Open Bight in Rivers Inlet.
The tide was falling as I rounded Cranstown Point creating a one to two mph current against me as the water drained out of Rivers Inlet. I was just barely able to overcome it and make slight headway. As soon as I rounded the point, I was in Open Bight and out of the strong current. I stopped here on a nice big beach and took the first mid-day break of the trip. This would have been a nice place to camp but it was only 11:30am and not time to stop. My destination for today was Duncanby Marina, which lay five miles away in Goose Bay.
As soon as I entered Rivers Inlet, I started seeing lots of different wildlife. All around me were Humpback Whales breaching and diving, sea lions, eagles, and pods of dolphins. By hugging the shoreline, I was able to stay out of the strongest current and I made good time arriving at Duncanby at 1:45pm after paddling 17 miles.
The red roofs of Duncanby Marina come into view as I approach Goose Bay.
Duncanby is easy to spot from far off. The cluster of white buildings with red roofs on the eastern shore of Goose Bay cannot be missed. When I arrived at Duncanby, the manager, Rick Dunn, met me at the dock and informed me that there were three brown bears about 50 yards away. After tying up my boat and grabbing my camera, I was able to get the best bear photos of the trip. The bears consisted of a mother and two cubs feeding along the rocky shoreline completely ignoring us as we moved about on the dock trying to get into the best photo position.
I got this shot of a mother Brown Bear and her two cubs while standing on the Duncanby Marina dock.
Duncanby Lodge and Marina turned out to be a great place to spend the night, and since it was off-season, there were only a couple of other boaters there. During the main season, it may not have even been possible for me to spend the night, as fishing lodges like this are usually crammed with guests, and they do not have the time or inclination to bother with a lone kayaker. Rick turned out to be a gracious off-season host and was able to provide me with a place to sleep, shower, and wash my clothes. To get current information on facilities, seasons, and lodging availability look up Duncanby Lodge on the internet at www.duncanbylodgemarina.com
The lodges at Duncanby Marina.