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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
This area was more lush than the outer coast. The deep green was refreshing to the eyes.
flowers on the hill above the tent site
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.
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.
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