Hello everyone! Jonathan here. We stayed at the West Coast Backpackers in Port Hardy last night and have been cleaning and drying our stuff and provisioning for the next leg of the journey. Pat Kervin of Odyssey Kayaking has been really helpful and has a great system set up for rinsing and drying gear.We've also had a chance to catch up with our blog. Its been great reading Jim's updates and seeing all the information that has been contributed by others, particularly Jon Dawkins and Dave Resler. We're very grateful for all the help! Hopefully, we'll have the opportunity to repay you all soon.
As usual, it rained all day long today, but it wasn't a problem because we've been indoors! It was our first day spent indoors in 20 or so. The trip so far has been much wetter than my previous BC coastal trips - on which I experienced a mix of rain and sunshine. This time it has rained on most days and either drizzled or poured on the others! Actually, we have had a couple of really nice sunny days too, but 17 days of rain in 20 is a bit of a challenge when you are camping and traveling on the sea, and on several of those days it rained all day/night long. I guess they didn't name it the Great Bear Rain Forest for the dry sunny weather! And we have seen bears and plenty of forest. Nevertheless, we have our systems dialed in and have been well prepared for the weather, so it hasn't stopped us and it has still been a very worthwhile trip. Even in the rain this is a stunningly wild, rugged and beautiful place to be. We've had some memorable experiences, seen many beautiful sights that few others will ever experience, and we have had exciting wildlife encounters every day so far. The power and scale of it all is something that's probably impossible to express in words, but is felt in every sinew of our tired bodies. I expect the others who have paddled this coast know what I mean. Its a heck of a lot harder to paddle than it looks on an overview map, and every one of the many open crossings is much wider, more exposed and challenging in person, particularly in threatening weather and sea conditions, than you might expect looking at those apparently small channels and gaps between islands on a piece of paper. And paddling the open ocean is always humbling.
As was our plan from the beginning, Kirti is going to finish her trip here and drive our car back to Portland so she can get back to work. I'm going to keep paddling south and Jenny seems to be game for continuing on too, despite the fact that the forecast for the next week seems to call for more of the same rainy weather. But it does look as though we should finally get some favorable winds to go with the rain instead of the persistent southerlies we have been experiencing, and the temperatures will steadily increase as we get further south. If all goes well we will leave here tomorrow morning.