There’s nothing that soaks your will to start your day in the morning more than waking up in your tent and hearing the rain pouring. “Oh, do I have to get ready? Everything is damp…”
I delayed getting ready, until of course, call of duty forced me to get up. I unzipped the tent, got my shoes on, and stepped outside. The campsite was again dead quiet. No one else it seemed was awake yet. I decided to retribute the hospitality the gentleman in charge of the school camp showed towards me. I walked to use the campsite outhouse, and after finishing my business left the lid on the toilet seat up to release the noxious aroma from the latrine pit and took with me the only roll of toilet paper. “Good day Sir!” I thought.
After pushing off the beach I took a north heading towards Orcas Island. Finding the way was easy, I just kept an eye for the ferries that run to and from the mainland. They are large barges with the car deck some two stories high, and can be seen from several miles away. However, I felt a little alarmed whenever they approached from behind. Their engine is loud and has a rumble that is difficult to tell how far away they are without constantly looking back to check.
The town of Orcas is perched on a steep cliff some fifty feet above the water. There was a narrow beach at the foot of the cliff, but I am not sure how much of it would remain at high tide, and the tide was now rising. I pulled my kayak up far enough to where it seemed I would have enough time to take a walk. I climbed up the escarpment until I reached a road that led to the village store. I was disappointed the store didn’t have any canned pasta. After eight fish meals of the past four days, I was looking forward to something different in my camping nights. I instead bought three ham and cheese pastries and a bag of salted potato chips for lunch.
I sat on a bench outside the store next to the ferry loading ramp. After less than five minutes the seagulls showed up and I knew exactly what they wanted.
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“No, not for you!” I told them, but they were persistent and were almost jumping on me until I tossed them a few chips to leave me alone. Had the seagulls been people, the scene that unfolded would have been a riot as birds started screaming loudly while others were trying to steal morsels of chips from one another. Eventually one grabbed a particularly large piece and made a run for it with most of the others chasing after him.
I paddled a few more miles to another small town called Roche Harbor on San Juan island. From here it’s a twelve mile hop across the western arm of the Juan de Fuca channel to arrive in Canada. The Roche Marina was fancy and filled with large and expensive looking yachts, and had a wide boardwalk overhanging the water. There seemed to only be one hotel in town that I could walk to with my kayak, the Hotel De Haro Resort. The word resort is a bit misleading here, it means they charge you an extra resort fee. Which is usually not disclosed when you book a room online. What does the resort fee include? Well, nothing.
“Is breakfast included?” I asked the front desk.
“How about laundry?”
“Well, what does the resort have to be a resort?”
“There’s a tennis court up the hill, and a swimming pool. The golf course is extra.”
“Oh yes, I’m sure people come all the way here to play tennis and golf”, I murmured. I looked on the map and saw that the golf course is on the opposite end of the island, some 10 miles away as the bird flies.
“It’s $249 plus the $20 resort fee. We have one room with a shared bathroom. You can park your kayak in the back with the golf carts. You want it?”
“Want is one thing, need is another. Yes, I’ll take it.”
Little did they know that tonight I would be washing all my equipment in their communal shower.
Sea kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation