Next morning the marine forecast had changed (this was generally the case - the weather seemed to be impossible for anyone to predict). Winds would be building throughout the day to 30 knots through late afternoon and into tomorrow. I would have to get off the island and head for somewhere with deep cover, to ride it out. Whitehead Bay seemed like just the place, but it would be wise to get there early rather than later, in case the wind picked up sooner than expected. It was already blowing at about 15 kts. Again I packed up quickly without cooking breakfast, promising myself a fine cup of tea as soon as I set up the next camp.

The stretch of coastline between Whale Island and Whitehead Bay was simply lovely. There is island after island, ledges with cormorants and the occasional seal, lovely vistas, and the ledges make it all fairly sheltered from the full power of the sea. I wound through the islands and around points until I saw the island in the photo above - Three Top Island - which guards the entrance to the Bay. I took this picture because I was lost for a bit, thinking I'd rounded the last point and was facing into the Bay, and was exclaiming to myself that the bay was so huge that it looked like the open ocean! Then I realized I actually was looking at the open ocean, and that I needed to go round one more point and look for the 3-topped island. So remember to look for this island!

One side of the bay is inhabited, the other is not; so I went exploring for a suitable campsite on the eastern side, paddling into Yankee Cove and the Basin. There is some aquaculture here, but I stayed off to the edges where I would not disburb anything. There are multiple camping possibilities here. I found a spot that was pretty, would be accessible at all tides, had level dry land, and would be protected from the wind blasts. Marking the location in my mind, I figured to go ahead and paddle around the bay until the wind was too fierce.


I remembered that there was an old canal that had been dug into the most narrow point between Whitehead Bay and Tor Bay to the west, so that in fearsome weather sailors would not have to round Flying Point off the tip of Whitehead. Realizing that it was just across the bay from me, I paddled over to have a look. Perhaps I'd like Tor Bay even better as a haven in the wind.

Of course, I arrived at the canal at dead low tide....  It took about 45 minutes for the canal to fill. Then I was off to Tor Bay.


Right off, I knew I'd chosen wrong. Wind on this side of Whitehead peninsula was blasting at about 20 kts, driving straight up the bay unimpeded. The string of islands was arrayed east-west so they offered little protection from the wind. The Sugar Islands themselves, whre I'd intended to paddle (slogging directly into the wind) looked like they had little cover on them. The geology here was different; instead of the grand white granite slabs of Whitehead and north, here everything was shale. It was gray and lacked drama. The little town on the hill was pretty, with its white church perched atop the highest point.

tor bay

But I felt there was no reason to keep working my way toward the Sugar Islands, so I turned and crossed back through the canal to Whitehead Bay.


Wind was up to 25 kts, fortunately now at my back, but even so it was a struggle to work through the wind chop to the other side of the bay. It was a great relief to slip into the relative stillness of the Basin, and from there around to Yankee Cove and my chosen campsite to ride out the storm. It was a very good choice.

yankee kitchen

I set up a kitchen under a tarp and made myself that well-deserved cup of tea. Lilac bushes rimmed the kitchen - this must have been a homestead at one time. In the hummock of grass where I put the tent, I found an animal trail, and what looked like a place where a deer had slept. Rain was to start soon, so I set up the tent, pulled the boat above the high tide line, and got ready. The deer came by to claim her bed, snorted her displeasure at me, turned and kicked her heels at me and leapt away. I was sorry to take her place, but I figured she knew lots more places to sleep, and I had found only this one.

Then the rain pounded, and the wind roared. This little fellow took refuge under the tent.

yankee vole

He was a quiet neighbor - we got along fine. I settled in to read more of Blazing Paddles, my book selection for the trip. I highly recommend it to any paddling friends. It's the amazing story of a kayak circumnavigation of Scotland, well before drysuits and GPS. The tent was wobbling and shuddering in the wind. As I lay there wondering if it would tear under the strain, I remembered that it was set up for internal guylines. I rummaged around for directions in the stuffsack. Instead I found, in the bottom of the peg bag, two bundles of pre-cut cord. I'd never noticed them before! I made up what I thought would be reinforcing lines from one internal loop to another. When I was finished, the tent was umoving in the wind. I couldn't believe it had taken me 10 years to try this!


Next morning the marine forecast was for continued 30 kt winds and rain. Loathe to simply sit in the tent, I put on the dry suit and decided to explore every nook of Yankee Cove and the Basin, and then around behind Prices Island.

yankee seal

Several of these shy fellows were in the Basin. There were loons, kingfishers, and bald eagles to keep them company. The exploration was mildly entertaining but it was quite a job to get back to my campsite, even though I'd stayed out of the main bay area. After lunch I thought to explore on foot instead.

yankee berries

This area was more lush than the outer coast. The deep green was refreshing to the eyes.

yankee flowers

flowers on the hill above the tent site

yankee seaweed

My campsite was just around the corner on the right. Isn't it amazing that the seaweed is so yellow? If I'd been creating the world, I don't think I'd have thought of such a thing.

yankee kate

Doing my thing, checking out the rocks to add to my collection. There were a lot of agates here, but they weren't very pretty. Nothing was collected.

At last, Wednesday morning dawned fair. Wind was down to about 15 kts, coming from the north and cold. I piled on fleece, packed up, and set off.

yankee morning

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