We left Craig on Aug 17th and made our way across Bucareli Bay to Port Estrella. Along the way we were kept company by a frolicking humpback doing what can only be described as an armless butterfly swimming stroke.

As it swam along the whale would launch itself forward out of the water before slamming it's chin back down with a huge splash. It kept this up for about 2 miles before switching to barrel rolls. Then, seemingly tired of this also, it lay on the surface and casually slapped it's flukes back and forth. The whole time it appeared to be having a "whale of a time" so we decided that being reincarnated as humpbacks could be all right!!

At Port Estrella we made camp and enjoyed a halibut dinner, thanks again Stirling! The next day we made our way past the fishing resort at the old Waterfall Cannery and through Meares Passage to the outside of Dall Island.

The outside of Dall Island was an area that we had been nervously anticipating. Before setting out from Victoria we had been given some notes made by Craig Peterson, a kayaker who had travelled the Outside passage. Some of the worst sea conditions

       
Humpback practising "armless butterfly"

Craig encountered were at the southern tip of Dall Island, an area with few pull outs. What made this even more ominous was that the weather conditions had been mild, gentle swells and little wind.

We encountered excellent conditions, sunshine, winds less than 5 knots and about a 1.5 metre swell and were able to relax and enjoy the spectacular Dall Island scenery. However, at Pt Cornwallis and Liscombe Pt. we did encounter a surprising amount of chop given the benign conditions - supporting Craig's experience that even mild conditions can create nasty seas in this area.

Making our way past Cape Muzon we camped on a steep gravel beach at Kaigani, a lonely fishing boat anchored offshore. Next morning the fishing boat was gone but we got to eat breakfast to the sound of "Like a Rock" (think Chevy's!) blaring across the water as a sport fishing boat cruised offshore.

A 15 mile crossing took us across the mouth of Cordova Bay to the south of Prince of Wales Island which we then followed around to Cape Chacon. The forecast was for another low pressure system with gale force winds and heavy rain - hard to believe given that we were paddling in beautiful sunshine, calm winds and without a cloud in the sky.

Some seiners were working the shoreline near Cape Chacon and one skiff took time out to call us over. We were really impressed when he asked if we had heard of the storm warning, inquired if we needed anything and then advised us of the good shelter to be found at Stone Rock Bay.

Reaching Stone Rock Bay we have a short debate about the merits of heading further north before deciding to make camp here. With a beautiful calm evening it felt strange to be hunkering everything down for the impending storm.

Sure enough the storm arrived overnight and we awoke to heavy rain and poor visibility. Toppling white caps out in Clarence Strait showed that the winds were strong and from the southeast but on the south side of the bay we were pleasntly sheltered from the winds.

The weather forecasters continued to get it right as the low stalled and we ended up spending two days sitting it out in our tent reading and sleeping. the third day also started with heavy rain and poor visibility so we stayed in bed . When we resurface, the winds have died completely and the rain has stopped.

We hurry to break camp and get on the water. Our plan was to head north to Hidden bay and make the 15 mile crossing from Hidden Bay to the Percy Islets. However as we leave Stone Rock Bay, Duke Island starts to appear out of the mist. The seas have died down and Clarence Strait is relatively calm. A spur of the moment decision had us turning our kayaks and aiming for Duke Island instead - a 25 mile crossing.

Seven and a half hours later we pull ashore on Kelp Island, south of Duke Island. The weather had closed in again as we approachd Duke Island and it was a cold damp evening. Two tired Kiwis were happy to curl up in their warm sleeping bags that night!

The cold damp weather continued the next day and was now accompanied by strong southerlies. It was a hard slog to make the 12 mile crossing to Tree Point on the mainland and along to the Cape Fox where we made camp at the inviting beach we had noticed on our way north all those weeks ago! Although we were tired after pushing it for 6 hours to only make 15 miles there was a psychological boost gained from coming back into familiar waters!

Another day of battling strong winds and heavy sea had us skirting Dixon Entrance and Main Passage and passing Port Simpson before we finally admit defeat and camp on a small islet. Prince Rupert will not be reached today!

Winds increase overnight so we sleep in then bake a chocolate cake for breakfast. Another spur of the moment decision gas us setting out and battling the winds again in a mad effort to reach Prince Rupert. Slow progress was made along Tsimpsean Peninsula before a last push took us to Duncan Bay and Metlakatla. We had considered camping here but the winds suddenly die and we enjoyed calm waters as we paddle the remaining miles to the Govt dock near the Ferry terminals in Prince Rupert harbour.

A pay phone at the B.C. ferries building was put to good use and we were soon dining on fine pizza! As it was late we arranged to meet up with Goychi and Cecilio the next day and made a makeshift camp on the dock.

Our push against the winds to reach Prince Rupert had tired us physically and psychologically. We were once again extremely appreciative of the hospitality shown by Cecilio and Goychi and looked after us as we cleaned our gear and took care of some substantial wear and deep scratches in our kayak hulls.

This time we were able to enjoy a visit to Rossland to visit their cabin and that of their friend Danny. While here Cecilio also took us to see the incredible lava beds at Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Park.

 
                 
     
Fishing resort at old Waterfall Cannery
   
                 
       
Approaching outside of Dall Island
 
 
Upthrust rocks on outside of Dall Island
 
Crossing from Kaigani to Cape Chacon
 
Sitting it out at Stone Rock Bay on Prince of Wales Island
 
 
Duke Island - 20 miles to go
     
 
Rocky reefs of Kelp Island
 
Cecelio at the helm of his boat, heading to his and Goychi's favourite fishing spot
       
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