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PART 5 - Jul. 10th - Day 42 - Sea Kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation

Updated: Feb 4

Vancouver Island - West Coast - Brooks Challenge Paddling Group

We started early to arrive at the rendezvous point with the group van outside Zeballos. As we paddled up the Esperanza Sound I chatted with Justine.

“So, what is your next trip after this one?” Asked Justine.

“Well, this journey will be about two months when it’s done. I would like to do something bigger for when I turn forty in 2024.” I said.

“You could go around Ireland. I’ve done it. Takes about the same time. Although the weather might not be as calm as we’ve had here so far, with enough time to spare, you can afford to wait out the storms.”

“I don’t know. Maybe. With enough time, I could go around Britain as well.” I said jokingly.

“Well, I have a few friends who’ve done it. If you go to a kayak symposium in the UK, I’ll introduce you to a few folks in the UK who might want to meet with you along the way.”

“Have any of them gotten a corporate sponsorship to do it?” I asked.

“Hmmm. I don’t know. Maybe they got some discounts on gear. Things like that, not much. Oh, I have an idea, there’s this guy in Australia who ate nothing but beans until he consumed his body weight worth of the stuff to show the nutritional value of beans. With a little determination, you could do that with your canned pasta.” She joked.

“One hundred and eight pounds of pasta in six months? That’s about one can per day. It’s doable, although I think I might tire of it.” I said. “I think that a beer company like Guinness would be a catch. I think their harp logo would look nice on the sail, and I could give away free beer to folks I meet along the way. I would be an active marketing campaign."

“Maybe , but I think Chef Boyardee has potential for you. You’ll be advertising in a market where they have almost zero penetration. Adults.”

“You might be onto something. Those are ideas that deserve some thought…”

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Our flotilla paddled up Esperanza Sound until we reached a narrow tidal passage into the Little Esperanza Sound where a gravel road off ramped into a dirt path by the water. This was the first road I had seen in two weeks and the rumbling of a vehicle passing by seemed like an alien sound. JF set up the food table for one last lunch together while we emptied the hatches and carried the boats and gear to the roadside and waited for the van to pick up everybody.

“Hey Felipe, do you want these?”

“Oh, you are my best friend, JF! That's the best gift ever!” He had just handed me a brand-new roll of toilet paper.

When the van arrived, things happened very quickly. Boats were loaded on the trailer, I picked up my dolly, which I was happy had not been lost, and all the luggage was thrown into the back seats.

We took one last group photo to commemorate the occasion. “When you get to Friendly Cove, look for Donna and Doug. They are friends of JF and mine and we’ve worked as their release lightkeepers before. Donna bakes great cookies, she might offer you some.”

And with that, folks wished me a good rest of the trip. Everyone climbed in the van which quickly made a U-turn off the bridge ramp. They gave a last parting honk and disappeared around the road bend. The sudden and abrupt quietness gave me a feeling of anxiousness. The group hadn’t been gone for more than five minutes, and I already missed their company. I paddle most of the time alone, but as I made my way back through Esperanza Sound, the return to the normality of being alone with only my thoughts for company felt unfamiliar.

“You’re in charge of the journey again.” Said a voice in my head. That felt empowering, but also fearful.

“Tahsis is a long way still, and you must get there today. Get paddling.”

Sea Kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation


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