As Donna had mentioned, the Northwest wind did indeed lighten up in the early morning. The swells were slow and gentle as though the sea was taking a rest from its angry self. The words from William the Fisherman about the Hesquiat Peninsula echoed in my head. “Pick your day.”
“Today it is, don’t beat around the bush, and get going before the sea knows what you’re up to,” I thought while packing quickly to be on the water.
There was a slight and I put up the sail to gain some speed and catch up with the swells.
This tranquility was fleeting, however, and I was soon reminded of the image of the sleeping giant tossing about in his sleep, as conditions progressively deteriorated. After a swell broke over the deck I sensed that was the signal that the giant had just given a loud yawn, and I put away the sail lest he wake up.. I caught sight of three large foam piles which on closer inspection were islets barely above the water. I treated them with respect, granted them their due distance, and rounded Estevan point at least one mile out to sea.
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Once I turned into Hesquiat bay the swells died down, but the wind was now blowing directly against me. I considered maybe making a dash for Hot Springs Cove, but I had read in my guidebook that further up the bay was a place called the Cougar Annie Garden. It was the historical homestead of a crazy woman who ensnared men into living with her in the wild. She had four husbands over her life in this middle of nowhere place and a multitude of children before she died aged ninety-seven. I wondered which kind of female ferocity earned her the name Cougar.
The garden, according to the guidebook, was a grassy field with a rotting shack that made for a good campsite. Unfortunately, I hadn’t marked it in my GPS and only had the guidebook’s hand sketches to find its location. It was somewhere in the furthest reaches of the bay directly up in the direction of the wind. I paddled for two hours before arriving at the pebbled beach by a stream described in the guidebook, and then waded through the forest undergrowth looking for the shack. Unfortunately, I found nothing. No shack, garden, or tombstone of the cougar lady.
Sea Kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation