North. On our final day together as a large group, we packed up our camp and paddled north along a familiar coastline. We could hear wind among the trees and I think everyone was ready to move back to the protection of inlets and away from the outer islands.
I had caught a bad sinus cold the previous day, and the pressure was hitting me hard. I took some sinus medicine and hoped the fresh air would keep my energy up. We joked about chatter among the group, and the stories quieted as we set a good cadence to cover some ground.
The sun was hot. We moved quickly, but also enjoyed a few moments along the kelp as some group members stopped to take a break. We spotted a Hooded Nudibranch drifting in the water along the kelp - it’s movement swinging back and forth looked more like a Pilates routine than a method of forward motion.
We broke for lunch on a small island near Tah where we all huddled under a welcome blanket of shade. Aaron and I enjoyed the last small chunk of salami and made a mental note that it would be peanut butter from here on out.
As we came around the edge of our lunch island, we hear the distinct breath sound of a whale. We stopped paddling and waited and watched as the whale surfaced its head as it chased its meal. The whale surfaced several times gracefully before diving again. Our patience was rewarded as the whale returned a few minutes later for another series of breaths before disappearing into the sea.
At times, indecision can hit when trying to select a campsite. We were looking for the perfect beach and land available for camping with access to water. Each spot was weighed and found lacking by the group. After a brief regrouping, we decided to return to a favorite spot from earlier in the trip. Klinkwan Cove. We paddled into the calm waters, found a great spot for our tent, and enjoyed watching the tide refill a cut near our beach. A small black bear popped out of the woods, observed our group briefly, and swam across to the nearby island. It was the perfect quiet encounter.
A toast with the last of our small flask of whiskey near our only campfire of the trip was the perfect way to say goodnight to the day. Fish began jumping near us as the tide fully covered the small spit of land between our beach and the small island in front of us. We fell asleep to the slaps and splashes of salmon jumping.