Mamalillaculla Third Visit 

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I had little time in the May 1st weekend, but much motivation to explore, so set off and at Telegraph Cove had a large breakfast fixed by the nicest blond lady that I told of my plans some. I paddled out seeing an eagle right away. I crossed Johnstone without trouble except some tide rips. I passed through the Plumpers and headed over to Compton. I saw whales in exactly the same lane in that crossing as the first trip. Soon I was at Compton. I didn't know that that island had been dedicated to a tour group that had leased it from the Indian Band. I slid onto the white midden beach which I saw in the forest was very deep indicating a long history of Indian usage. There is a very attractive hut here with a huge fish painted in totem style on its side. It is a major landmark for you in making your way through the Whitebeach Passage, but don't stop there anymore as there are plenty of islands around for resting, camping. These islands really test your launching and landing techniques so you'll be an expert by the time you leave.

I camped in the hut and it made the cooking easy. I hike into the woods to try to find the trail that leads to the 360 degree view point at the top, but I guess it starts around the far side of the island. I slept well there and even though it was storming the next morning, I was totally protected in my shelter there. Around noon I decided that even with the storm I would try to get to the chief's bathtub and the petroglyphs. It was rough paddling, but finally I got to the northmost point of Berry Island to the natural carved in stone bath right when the tide uncovered it so I could see it. The long war canoes would pull up and slaves would empty the cold sea water out of the bath and pour in the hot water they had brought with them from a camp fire heating. The chief would then bath here if he was the chief with the highest status of the whole region. It is a perfect shape for it, and all around it were petroglyphs.

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I paddled on further and saw something weird, but highly structural at the top of a cliff. I figured it was one of the cedar burial casks that I had heard of. Even though the tide was very strong, I tied my boat to a fallen tree below the cliff and climbed the cliff to where the intricately carved wood box stood. Once up there I saw that I had stumbled onto the burial site that Tom Sewid had spoken of. First he had said do not go onto that place, but then later he said that it was okay to go there for us, but don't touch anything.

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There were broken open casks everywhere. The whole side of the island was a depository. Every nook, hole, cave was full. There was a grand paradeway between two huge rock walls with no trees on it. I wanted to go one exploring as I could tell there was much more to see, but I had this great fear that my kayak was floating out to sea at this very moment since I hadn't planned on staying up here so long. I hiked back down and the boat was still there. I took off and kept going around Berry Island until I thought I was lost since I seemingly was never going to find Compton again. Finally there it was and I slept well.

When I woke up it was still storming so I figured I just had to wait it out before going back towards home. I laid down and slept on the midden beach for an hour with my camera around my neck as I had been taking some shots around a bit. When I woke I rose my head and saw a bear right in front of me turning rocks over looking for shells. I shot every picture in the camera and then went back to camp and sat there to get out of the bear's way. The bear began circling my camp closer and closer and my nerves got tighter and tighter. Finally I snapped and got my drysuit out and used most of my energy up getting the damned thing on. I  quickly packed gear and pulled ahead of the bear out into the storm and headed across.

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This was much worse than the second stormy trip's wind as the wind was at a weird angle which I could not keep stable in. The waves can only get about four feet tall here, but they seem higher when you are in their trough. About every seventh wave would go all the way over my head and I was barely able to handle my balance then. I prayed all the way because I thought sure I was going to die that day. Even though if I capsized I had the drysuit, and could swim alongside the kayak, the waves would make it hard to breath and I didn't think I could make headway. The tide would just carry me out to Queen Charlotte Strait and I would die of exhaustion allowing drowning. This is where I started learning that kayaking is not safe for people on a schedule. One must have the patience to just move to another island if a bear takes over, and stay holed up until the storms quit, but this time of year that might be a week. I was in the grip of fear for I don't know how long it took me to finally get over to Doublebay and hide behind a large rock outcropping. I had spent ten hours in ten foot waves before, but nothing compared to this. I'll never go in the sea again without having a drysuit with me.

The quiet behind this rock from the storm was a great luxury. I observed each thing with a new appreciation for my life was spared. Two minks were playing from rock to rock. When they jumped out on a rock from swimming, the first thing they would do is give on quick thrust with their body that would fling all the water off of their beautiful shining smooth fur. After resting I checked my watch to see that I was a little early for the Plumper passage, but paddled over there. The wind was bad and I was cold. I tucked in along a wall of sea urchins and ate candy bars to prepare for the last crossing. There was a sea urchin right by my head. I offered it a Starburst candy in jest, but it sucked it in and ate the whole thing. I couldn't believe it but it passed the time until I saw the same log that had ebbed out of the passage come flowing right back in. Then I took off, but I very much was not looking forward to the tide rips and the stormy wind on this crossing as I had almost no capability to stay awake anymore.

Somehow I missed the tide rips, and even the the wave were huge rolling four footers, it seemed that Blackfish Sound had now made me an expert for these very stable things that just simply lifted my boat up and down. It was easy paddling though Telegraph Cove seemed so far away and I couldn't keep my eyes open. There is a last resort island here that one could stay on overnight or rest at, but it was so cold I decided to keep on paddling. I remember how I would close my eyes for a few strokes and just keep saying we're getting closer. Little did I know that since there was no boat traffic on the water, everyone was in at the cove restaurant right now watching me through telescopes cursing me for making them worry about me. When I finally pulled dog-tired in and landed the kayak there were a bunch of angry faces all saying something like, "You don't ever cross when it is like that!" The only response I could think of was, "You should have seen Blackfish Sound!" The lady from the restaurant said that she didn't work there so that she could worry about people, so don't make her worry again.

There was a kayak aficionado there who had been waiting for the weather to calm some. He wanted to know every little detail about my trip and what had happened. He was an expert. He had every navigational map of the area filed flat in the back of his pickup truck canopy. He knew the name of every plant and animal in the area. He made sure I knew every mistake I had made, but he helped me unpack my kayak seeing how exhausted my energies were. I changed clothes and got out of there fast, vowing to never return again even though I loved this place.

Fourth visit to Mamalillaculla