Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Back to the other reality

Clouds rolled in quickly, the wind came up and it rained again in the night. The water had turned that steel grey with chop that can make it challenging to paddle through. Neither of us were all that enthusiastic about leaving as we ate our breakfast and cleaned up the dishes. All the wood I had carried in was stacked beside the stove and a now dying fire. We stuffed dry bags with gear and the remains of the food. I carried it all down as Matthew effortlessly hoisted each kayak and placed them at waters edge.
Already my hands were cold! The wind blowing from the SE meant we were in quarter seas till rounding Saltspring then straight into it to get home. However, as I paddled away jamming my hands into the pogies there seemed to be little wind at all, and once past Jackscrew the water leveled off and it was an easy paddle to the light on the reef by Saltspring.
Paddling back to Tent Island was easy, more giant jellyfish drifting by beneath us and of course seals everywhere. Pulling up on the beach at the north end I recalled the many times I had been there before. In fact the first time a friend took a picture of Matthew's mother and I with the little guy walking along the beach. That picture made it into the paper.

Matthew, impressed by the profusion of Arbutus berries, snaps a picture capturing an eagle. Two more follow checking out what the gulls were feeding on in the channel. Apparently not worth their interest, they returned and perched in a big fir making conversation.
The venting steam from Crofton indicated only a slight breeze so we took our time and Matthew got some shots of the guano stained sandstone on the west face of Tent.

Quite a different colour now that the birds have gone and the rains have come. I find it hard to describe or express the magnificence of the sandstone etched, carved and smoothed by the elements. One of the reasons I find kayaking here so compelling. The physicality of our environment is like an amazing taste of ambrosia or the unexpected touch of one's lover while focused elsewhere.

Meanwhile it was time to go home. Across Stuart Channel, then back under the bridge, the tide high ( I have spent a few occasions dragging my boat through inch deep water cause I didn't check beforehand!). We powered past the men in pfds still loading logs to go offshore. By now the deck was piled high. They found us a strange sight I think, as they stared long and hard while we slipped by towards the boat launch.
Matthew collected the van as I emptied the hatches, so grateful for the adventure and impressed at my lack of soreness. I bought us each a hot drink at the bookstore cafe, tempted as I was by the stacks of unread books, I didn't dare. Back to civilization; traffic, storage lockers, computers and the warm embrace of familiarity, home and community.

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