With Karen having returned to Victoria, it was just the two of us again as we paddled out of Tofino on Oct 14th. As we passed by Chesterman Beach we kept an eye out for Rob, Steve and Kent surfinh the waves, but were unable to make them out.

Landing at Long Beach for lunch, Garth gets caught out by a rogue wave and had the only capsize of the trip. Just great - the only time when people happened to be watching us land!

After lunch we continued along in brilliant sunshine and made camp at a small beach south of Wya Pt. Dumping surf make for a tricky landing but no capsizes occurred this time. Next morning the surf was bigger and we are unable to launch from our landing spot and have to carry our kayaks to an a

Leaving Tofino

rea with smaller surf. Even then Kev was knocked off his feet by a rogue wave as he prepared to launch.

White water and spray created by the swells rushing onto rocks provided a vivid backdrop as we cruised past Amphitrite Pt. lighthouse at Ucluelelt. At Alpha Passage we gave way to the Coast Guard vessel Tanu, on it's way to Uclulet, before crossing to the George Fraser Islands.

From the George Fraser Islands we made our way over to the Broken Group - the mecca of West Coast Kayaking. Mid-October seemed to be the time to visit these beautiful & sheltered islands - Beautiful sunny weather and none of the summer crowds these islands are known for. However, we were intent on making Bamfield for the night so rushed through the Broken Group, vowing to explore them fully another time.

Barkley Sound provided a picture backdrop as we paddled through the tranquil evening, ariving in Bamfield at dusk. finding a spot to camp we then hit the pub for a good feed!

The next mroning we contacted Liz Isaac, owner of Bamfield sea kayaks. We had met Liz a year earlier when we particiated in the Bamfield Sea Kayak Festival. She met us for coffee and then invited us to her place for brunch. While there we phoned her son Shawn at work, trying to convince him to join us for the last leg to Victoria.

Although we intended to be on our way that afternoon, a check of Kev's boat showed a dep scatch and gelcoat damage that needed repairing. A hasty repair job was done and Liz kindly let us crash in her shop for the night.

Next morning we were back in action and made our way along the West Coast Trail. Garth had hiked this popular trail in 1995 and enjoyed being able to now view it from a kayakers perspective. The scenic Tsuisiat Falls campsite was atypically empty but we chose to pass by t and push on farther south. Howeverthe abrupt arrival of thick sea fog forced us ashore just south of the falls.

A solid days paddling took us past the fishing boats working the local river mouths and along to Port Renfrew. Chilling out at the pub one local fisherman came up and expressed amazement at the distance we had travelled that day. Having watched us paddle by near Tsusiat he had expected to overtake us on his way home to Port Renfrew. To his amazement it wasn't until he was within sight of the dock that dock before he hauled us in. It had certainly felt like a big day and we retired early to bed that night.

Mike's parents, Tom and Denise, drove him out to meet us the next day and arranged for usall to spend the night at their friend Dan peter's s bed & breakfast in Port Renfrew.

Dan was an entertaining fellow, an ex-bush pilot and now was making traditional style skin on frame kayaks. We all enjoyed an evening sitiing around a wood stove in his garage, sipping on wine, enjoying the smell of fresh cedar shavings and listening to his stories.

We set out from Port renfrew around 9.30am, using the flood tide to push us along the Juan de Fuca Strait. We were on the look out for Gordin and John (the two who started the trip with us) who were going to put in at Jordan river and paddle back to Victoria with us.

Stopping at Bear Beach for lunch, Gordin and John come into sight around the next headland and we enthusiastically paddled out to meet them and then continued the reunion as we casually paddled along to Jordan river.

It was 4 pm by the time we left Jordan River and we knew we would be pushing into the dark to reach Sooke, our intended destination for the night. However Gordin had arranged for us to stay at his in-laws house in East Sooke and the prospect of another night in a comfy bed and hot showers lured us onward.

After 7 months on the water it was good that we paddling could still instill a sense of excitement in us and we all had a lot of fun participating in our first night paddle. None of us, except Gordin, had navigation lights so we hugged the shoreline, our eyes and ears straining as we listened for the waves on the shore and searching for house lights on shore.

As we approached Wiffen Spit at the entrance to Sooke harbour we had another new experience. Incredible phosphoresence would splash blue and green fire with each stroke and white hulls glowed brightly where they sliced through the water.

It wasn't until after 10pm that we finally arrived at Fred and June's - a long day for the three of us that had left Port Renfrew. However June was soon rejuvenating us with an ample supply of food and drink.

Gordin had been recovering from a bout of bronchitis so decided not to paddle around to Victoria, leaving John and Mike to accompany us on the final day of our journey.

We used the flood tide to push us along East Sooke park, through race Passage and across to Victoia Harbour. At Ross Bay our friend Neil Fleischamn joined us and then as we approached Cadboro Bay more friends joined us - Kristy and Stu along with Peter and Jecca and then more friends were waiting on the beach to welcome us home.

The celebrations then shifted from the beach and on to Tom and Denise's home. Despite having only met us two days earlier they had insisted upon hosting a welcome party for us. (And what an impressive spread Denise provided - we were soon finding our lost weight!)

Pulling up at Gyro beach, the same beach that we had departed over seven months earlier, proved to be a bittersweet moment. While it felt great to sucessfully complete our goal and to be reuniting with friends and family after seven months away, there was also a tinge of sadness and regret. What had become a very special way of life was now coming to an end and we would be going our seperate ways.

At least until CanKiwisKayak Again!

Leaving beach at Wya Pt.
Relaxing off Amphritite Pt, Uclulet
Liz Isaac, Bamfield
Tsusiat Falls on the West Coast Trail
Mike and Kevin leaving Port Renfrew
Catching up with an old friend (Gordin).
June farewelling us at East Sooke
A Denise special - a Key-wi Lime Cake
Celebrating the completion of our goal
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