The sun is in control today. The skies are clear. It’s amazing. Our plan is to wait for high tide and paddle the kayaks up the river as far as we can.
Karen woke quite early, and was up at 5:30am to see what was going on in the anchorage. About 6am, a tender from the Maple Leaf sailboat was filled with 10 people and headed to shore, disappearing into a swale for some sort of hike. Karen was quite happy to be warmly ensconced in our boat, sipping on coffee and waiting for me to awake. Not long after the tender returned to the sailboat, both it and the wooden boat Discovery headed out to find greener pastures. Given that the small sailboat “Summer Wind II” had also departed early, we had this glorious anchorage to ourselves for a while.
About 9:45am, Karen spotted a grizzly on shore, our first-ever sighting. The bear was quite camoflauged against the reddish low tide shores, but we were able to watch for a while before he disappeared at a trot up that same swale the passengers from Maple Leaf had walked a few hours earlier! And then around the corner came…Sonata!
While we waited for the flood to come in, Karen set up camp on the foredeck with her Nook and consumed a couple of more books. She is up to 33 books read so far on this trip. Only the horseflies drove her back inside.
As the tide rose, so did the winds. We launched the kayaks with 15 knots of winds quartering from our sterns with light chop in the bay. We made good courses that kept the waves quartered on the bow. This was a non-direct course, but a much better paddle. Once near the opposite shore, the relative wind and waves were astern and we paddled the entrance to the river.
The entrance to the river at the head at Red Bluff Bay
We made our way up the river, riding the flood tide for about a third the distance. Then we found the outflow from the river creating turbulence where it met the tide, so we started to paddle harder. We managed to get within 50 yards of the navigable end, when the current got the better of us. No matter our stroke, we could do no better than hold our position.
After a quick 180 degree course reversal, we joined up and rode the current out. As we approached the end of the river and the entrance to the bay, we ran into headwinds again and more chop. It was a hard paddle back to Arctic Star. We’ll chalk this up as our daily exercise session.
Our friends on Sonata arrive in Red Bluff Bay
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing, looking for more bear (unsuccessfully), watching other boats come in (like the Nordic Tug Kirkwall), doing fuel calculations to determine our route options and generally enjoying the perfect weather conditions.
Dinner of Beef Bolognese over penne