The forecast for Sunday called for the wind shifting more eastwards and dropping to ten to fifteen miles per hour, the wave heights were forecast to be in the five foot range. Our observations on Saturday showed that the entire trip to York via Raspberry would be sheltered and probably a much lower wave height by the afternoon so after we woke up and had breakfast we started breaking down camp with the aim of being afloat around 2pm.The crossing to Raspberry was through some confused waters, the wind funneling down the south channel between the mainland and Oak Island colliding with the wind bending around the west coast of the Island causing a confused wave pattern of West bound waves meeting South bound waves. Both our kayaks were blown around a fair bit and it was tough to find a good skeg depth that kept the kayak happy. The Explorers took great care of us and we maintained a brisk pace across the passage.We stopped for a short break on Raspberry sitting on the dock wall and watching the waves break against the northern tip of York Island. We could only just see the white flashes of the waves so we knew there was not much wave height to worry about. We checked the marine forecast again then headed across to York. As we got about two thirds of the way there I noticed another couple of kayaks in the distance, their direction and distance apart kept changing dramatically and it was apparent they were have a difficult time in the wave. I turned my pace up a notch and put the kayak into high gear, closing the distance at a sustained five miles an hour in my fully loaded kayak. As I caught up with them it became apparent what the issue was, the kayaks had no right to be out in the open water in wavy conditions, an Old Town 14 footer with no skeg was unable to cope with the conditions, it was taking everything the paddler had just to keep going. I escorted them the rest of the way to the island. I went ashore first, catching an exhilarating ride in on the surf, managing to steer in with a great stern rudder and land without incident, the next kayak in was not so lucky, they rolled in the surf the paddler wet exited and ended up on the shore side of the kayak, and were immediately thumped hard a couple of times by the loaded, water filled, kayak. Finally he worked out he needed to get out of the way. I waded in and helped pull the kayak ashore, the rest of the party including Ron made it a shore just fine, enjoying the surf in. The “roller” had no wet suit on, no dry suit on and was frankly lucky to be alive, if they had rolled in the waves out in the open lake I think the outcome would have involved a burial, the water temp was around 38F.We set up camp at York Camp site #2, and enjoyed a good meal and another great sunset.During the night I fell sick, something had clearly messed with my digestive system, not a pleasant experience being ill while camping. I was glad when the sun camp up, I had not slept much. I could not eat so loaded the kayak up and headed ashore with Ron. We went to the east to examine the shoreline as the eastern sides of the islands generally are more interesting due to the erosion caused by the waves from the prevailing winds. I was unable to pay much attention to the beauty of the island, it took all I had to remain focused on driving the kayak back to the mainland and to find a restroom. I didn’t hang around, demonstrating yet again that the Greenland Paddle is capable of pushing a kayak fast when desired… not a fun way to end what was otherwise a great trip. I can’t wait to get back again.Several of these pictures are courtesy of Ron, his full set are available here.
Apostle Islands Trip, Day 4+5
by Christopher Crowhurst | May 19, 2011