- Radford Bean
Four-Day Kayaking Expedition in the San Juan Islands - Day 3
We broke camp early and, after a breakfast of oatmeal and blueberries, began making our way to Stuart Island. Today would be our longest paddle of the trip. There were places where the current was strong that required some serious paddling, especially crossing between Jones and Speiden Islands.
We paddled at a leisurely pace along Speiden so we could look for wildlife that had been placed there years ago in an attempt to turn Speiden into a game preserve. We did spot some fallow deer, some harbor seals, and a couple of bald eagles, but not much else. We didn't spot any harbor porpoises or killer whales during the long crossing, which I had hoped we would see.
From Speiden Island, we crossed over to Stuart Island. Our first stop at Stuart was Gossip Island where we had lunch. Gossip Island sits at the entrance of Reid Harbor on Stuart. The little beach we stopped at was really pretty. The crushed shells that covered the beach reminded me of beaches I'd visited in the South Pacific.
After finishing lunch, we headed through the channel separating Stuart Island from John Island to the east side of Stuart. Our destination and where I campsite would be for our final evening was Prevost Harbor. We stopped at various points to check out kelp crabs and make trumpets out of the stalks of bull kelp.
The sun beat down on us mercilessly. I was roasting and concerned I might suffer heat exhaustion.
We finally arrived at our campsite, which was a pretty site overlooking the harbor. We unloaded the boats and set up camp.
Unlike our campsite on Jones Island, our campsite on Stuart had running water, so I was able to wash myself off to cool down from the hot paddle.
I had wanted to hike out to Turn Light, but it was a six-mile hike, and I was exhausted from the paddling and the heat. Instead, I just walked to the old one-room schoolhouse. Even that hike was grueling. Stephanie decided to remain behind at camp because she was tired. I started to wish I had done the same thing after having to climb some steep sections of the trail. The return was much easier because we took the gravel road instead, that is until we came to the stairs. By the time I got back to camp, I was pooped. I barely had energy to do much of anything.
Dinner tonight was lentil burgers and a vegetable medley of asparagus, chard, and mushrooms. I have to say that I haven't been all that impressed with the food on the trip. Other than our first lunch that featured turkey wraps and today's lunch of salami sandwiches, our meals have leaned heavily toward vegetarian. I would have liked some meat on the menu. The breakfast on day one was good and filling; can't say the same for breakfast this morning. When I mentioned to our trip leader somewhat jokingly that I was expecting seared salmon, he replied that I would have had to fork over more money. Really! I paid $700 for the trip and provided my own gear and transportation. The least he could have done was come up with a menu that also included meat, at least for the first night. There are a lot of meats you can get in vacuum-sealed bags that keep for months. I've purchased sealed bacon for other expeditions I've done that requires no refrigeration.
That gripe aside, the paddling has been great, and Michael is very knowledgeable about the sea life in the region. And seeing orcas the first day was amazing!
I went to bed listening to the calls of a barred owl. I was so tired and hoped that I would sleep better tonight than last night.