An epic sea kayaking adventure down the west coast of Canada.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Preparing for the Voyage

Its been a busy few days trying to get finished up with work and fully prepared for the trip. Aside from wrestling with the blog site, we've been rounding up all our equipment and test packing the kayaks. This has involved planning, buying, sub-dividing and packaging up food for 25 days, sufficient to sustain us until our first resupply in Port Hardy. We've also been buying and preparing what we can for after the resupply.

All our food is stored in zip lock bags, which in turn are in odor-proof bags, then in dry bags, and finally in kevlar bear bags. These slip right into our kayaks' storage compartments so we don't have to unpack and pack the food every day. At least, we don't have to take it in and out of these bags. Of course, the full bags will be taken out of the kayaks each night and hung, to make them a little harder to find (by bears) and to make it less likely that our kayaks get destroyed. We're hoping that with these precautions, coupled with careful planning about where, when and how we eat and camp, we'll be the ones actually eating all this food we're hauling down the coast of "The Great Bear Rainforest".  Making a compact bear bag hanging system that could handle this much weight was also a bit of a project, but we have that all done now too.

We've also had to manufacture and test three inexpensive kayak trolleys for getting our kayaks on and off the Inside Passage ferry, and to the water. Our neighbors have commented how "normal people walk their dogs around the neighborhood. You guys walk your kayaks!". At least we know the trolleys work, and I think the neighbors are used to our strange behavior by now. We plan to leave the trolleys at Prince Rupert because we will not have the capacity (or desire) to haul them on our journey, and we won't need them after the launch. Hopefully, other kayakers will get some good use out of them up there!

Jenny training for the voyage at the Oregon Coast
We've been training for the trip out on the Oregon Coast and on the Columbia River. After a few sessions of getting pummeled in the surf the past two weekends, our last two test runs this weekend were on the Columbia River. Sunday was a nice easy 15 mile cruise down river in calm conditions, but Saturday's trip in the Gorge was a true rough water test. We had gusty winds to 30 knots opposing a record river discharge, which made for some challenging "tide race" type conditions. We were able to find the limits of our strength and paddling skills, which always makes for a humbling experience. I think this kind of experience is good before a big trip because it reminds you not to let your guard down. The wind and sea can easily render you helpless if you make a bad decision. Don't wrestle Neptune!

The past few days preparing have been hard for me (Jon) because my father died on Friday. I've been struggling to reconcile some issues which has made it difficult to concentrate fully on the preparations for our trip. I took time out on Friday to go for a long bike ride, because he and I had many happy times cycling together, and I played a tune (Sgaruint Na Gcompanagh -- The Parting of Friends) on my flute to help him on his journey. Now I need to prepare for mine.

1 comment:

  1. My condolences to you mate, keep your backs strong and create your own luck on the journey ahead, very envious and I wish I had taken you up on the offer of this trip several years ago. Stay safe and keep an eye out Ursus Horriblis