Thursday, April 06, 2017

Around the Redondas: kayaking near Desolation Sound, Aug 1-6 2016 Day 2

August 2 dawned cloudy and calm; we were in no particular hurry as we made time up Lewis Channel, as our planned campsite was only a couple hours' paddle away. Rounding the corner into Deer Passage, reflected waves made for some choppy conditions - nothing hairy, more of an annoyance than anything. I don't think we saw one boat pass in "busy" Deer Passage the whole time we were there.

We made the Deer Passage campsite just after noon. We had lunch, then beat through the bush looking for a good place to camp. We didn't find one immediately, and weren't terribly inspired to look harder or get more creative about it. The place was a bit gloomy and cheerless, and I don't think it was just the weather. We'd only covered about 12K today, and had plenty of energy to keep going. A quick conference settled it: we'd make for our projected third-night campsite in Toba Inlet.

A wall of dangling, fleshy anemones distracted us for a while.

Decided to cut a beeline for Elizabeth Island, at the mouth of Toba. (It's the dark hump just to the left of centre in the photo below.)
An uneventful crossing, with some weather gathering. As we chattered, approaching Elizabeth Island, we were brought up short by the sound of loud voices - ours, reflected back at us in the most perfect echoes I've ever heard. It's an effect that is almost worth a trip up there just to experience.

As we rounded the corner into Toba Inlet, the skies began to open up, and within 15 minutes it was a Biblical deluge. We thought we'd stop at the Toba Wildernest (where other paddlers have stopped, chatted, hiked) to see if they maybe had a cup of coffee to sell us or something. As we approached the dock, the friendly proprietor greeted us with folded arms and said "Is there somethin' I can help ya with?" The tone of his voice let us know without a doubt that there was nothing he could help us with. A minute's chat with the charmer confirmed that there was nothing to be had there, and we paddled on in lessening rain toward our destination. 

We fruitlessly explored some likely-looking candidates for the campsite, but the promising beaches were boulder-strewn and steep. Around the corner then, and another 1/2 hour's paddle brought us to our home for the night - Gastineau Bay. A very inviting little stretch of mixed sand and cobble that would be almost invisible at high tide. 

It's a wonderful spot, pretty much ideal, with great views to the south and a lively stream just a short walk away. The best tent site was covered with a fallen cedar, but there was another good one not far away.

The view to the south, with Channel Island centre and Mount Addenbroke wreathed in cloud. You can just see the mouth of Waddington Channel a little to the right.
We could hardly believe we'd come so far in just two days! We decided we'd stay around Toba for two nights - depending on the weather tomorrow, we'd either stay a second night at Gastineau Bay, or if conditions were calm we'd venture to the Toba Islet campsite another 21K into Toba Inlet tomorrow.

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