July 27 / Day 1
Overcast with showers, Winds calm raising to SW @ 12 knots, Calm to 1’ wind waves, Seas rippled
Launching from the rocky beach adjacent to the ferry dock took me back 10 years to my last visit to McLoughlin Bay and first trip to the BC coast. Dave and I had been drawn together during the ‘70’s by our love of hang gliding. I had sold him his first glider and we had shared many thermals, windy launches and LZ’s but Dave’s move to Idaho had separated us geographically and we hadn’t stayed in touch. Then in 2004 Dave contacted me. He was back in town and it turned out that we shared an interest in paddling. He had taken a couple of kayak trips with Larry Longrie and Keith Blumhagen and wanted to share the experience with me. He had brought me to this very beach in July 2005 and introduced me to the magic of the Wild Coast.
By 2007 we had convinced my co-worker, Greg Polkinghorn, that he should come along with us, which he did, and he was returning now for his 4th trip. This was my 7th and Dave’s 9th.
Inspired by Washington paddler Chuck Curry’s accomplishment of paddling the outer coast to Sitka, we set the modest goal of paddling the outer BC coastline between Prince Rupert and Victoria. We would do it in bits and pieces. Emboldened by the “Outer Coast Guides” published by Glenn Lewis with the help of Harriet Rueggeberg, Reale Emonds, Karina Younk, Geoff Mumford and Ursula Vaira we felt the time was right for us to take a sizable bite out of the elephant and paddle the outer coast of Athlone, Price, Aristazabal, Estevan Group, Banks, Porcher and Stephens Island. I liked the fact that we were starting this trip where my BC coastal explorations had originally begun.
We shared the beach with two Canadians who were bound for Port Hardy in a double. Their plans called for spending the night, close to Shearwater, on Rainbow Island so that they could start their trip after an evening of pizza and beer. I suspect that their double, like a good horse, knew its way back to the barn and could deliver the cowboys safely to their camp. Sounded like a decent idea to me but we were off to the Heiltsuk cabin on Quinoot Point for the first leg of our journey.