November is grey and wet. An opportunity to paddle over to South Secretary arose around the four day weekend. It has been so long since I was on the water...
Pachena in August
Up the river, we saw a young bear walking a log and peering at us as we pushed up on the tide as far as we could go. Later I paddled out along the east shore and collected some kelp fronds to be dried and sprinkled in my breakfast this winter. Then the kayak was in storage all through September and October.
Matthew arrived late morning, and I quickly took care of the last commitments, grabbed the gear I had, some food (I managed to forget the Butterflies and shortbread)then we boogied on down to the storage. Pulled out my tote of gear, found my paddle and strapped on the kayak.
Stop for groceries, twice! I stayed in the van packing stuff into the drybags at the second stop, realizing all my drybags were in the other tote! Luckily Matthew had extra. Extra water too, I appreciated the ballast as I was anticipating some rough water.
It all fit of course and we set off along beside the Black Forest out of Hong Kong loading slings of logs out of the water. A tug and a crew of men with pike poles and (I hope caulk boots) jumping around on the booms. The mill was spewing out its usual steamy clouds, the wind mostly in our favour and once past the bridge, thankfully behind us.
Crossing to Tent was easy; the water like glass, few boats out, no wakes, and the sky cleared in a large oval to the west giving us some sun.
Matthew insisted I run up and down the beach with him. I took off the spray skirt and PFD so my lungs could expand and chased him for at least two laps. By then my knees were complaining fiercely. Some chocolate, crackers and cheese and a HB egg for sustenance and we were off again. I had fingerless gloves and pogies around my larger than standard loom stick. The tips of my fingers took a long time to warm up. Once I was I in there I stayed, no pulling up the rudder or having a drink while paddlin for this boy.
What a joy to be on the water, birds galore and undulating jellyfish of all sizes. The water, crystal clear along the rock gardens so lots to see. Seals in abundance as well; following, regarding with curiosity and reacting with surprise.
Talking with Matthew has always been easy, and the time slipped by with little effort as we spoke of the past, present and future. In the moments of silence there was plenty to reflect upon. Remembrance of things past, friends, lovers, family and a lot of years watching waves lap on those shorelines.
I love how strong Matthew is, makes me feel like an old man! watching him carry the empty kayaks up under the tree high above the tideline. He has the key, unlocks the door and we dump our stuff. I get the fire going, thank you to whoever left the wood sitting there. It is soon blazing, we didn't bring a stove or propane, so this is it. Water on for tea and he throws together a soup to go with the corn chips and salsa. Wonderful, simple food beside a roaring inferno. Ten feet back, the cold air is waiting for an opportunity. We sit and talk, tell stories and play dominoes by the light of the fire and a few candles. Someone likes candles, there a few boxes of them here. I will make a point of reminding myself to buy some replacements.
My phone was not receiving well. It rang then the connection is lost 3 or 4 times and I text my regrets.
Matt speaks with a friend who might show up on the morrow, at the moment off to see The Three Jackasses... wow what a contrast.
The moon is bright on the water, closing in on first quarter and low on the horizon. I wonder if Elke saw the moon today... It is quiet outside, a Heron squawks, the water laps gently, off to the right some light reflecting off the sky, probably Ladysmith. Few lights are visible on Saltspring, we really are alone. I relax and enjoy the completeness of being here.