Operation Bullwinkle: To Gibralter Island Camp

5 10 2012

This morning’s breakfast conversation focused on where to camp tonight. We kind of started chronologically backward. To get back to Portland by early evening and make the afternoon ferry on time, we’d have to leave Toquart Bay Campground by 7:00 a.m. the day of departure. So by default we’d have to spend the prior night there. But that day we could spend paddling mostly. So we picked a campsite farthest to the east – Gibralter Island.

We could take a long day paddling today and another long one from Gibralter back to Toquart. After eating we packed up our kayaks again…heavily laden of course. This time it was paddling east, to the head of Effingham, then north past a string of islands…Faber, Onion, Mullins, Keith, and then Jarvis and finally Jacques. There is supposed to be an interesting lagoon inside Jacques one can explore.

On the way we duck in behind some of these islands. Behind Mullens is the best underwater viewing I saw!

There was a quiet area with rocks and kelp. It was maybe 15 or 20 feet deep. More bat stars, sea stars, and even some 15-inch long fish. But the most amazing thing I saw here was the arm of a giant octopus. It was amongst a bed of seaweed atop a rock only two feet down. It was five inches in diameter! But just an arm. What chopped it off? Must have been something big. An orca?

We reach a shortcut into the lagoon at Jacques Island. Because of the low tide the channel is exactly kayak-width wide right now. The tide’s coming in, so we wait. And wouldn’t you know it a group appears on the other side and squeezes through!

Bill knuckle-drags his boat through and so I give it a shot. I feel the dreaded scrape of oyster on kayak but it’s not drastic and I do have a plastic boat. Lisa’s is kevlar so she wants to wait a bit longer.

We explore the lagoon and all of us decide it’s actually NOT that interesting.

Exiting the lagoon we saw the Lady Rose, a little ferry that shuttles kayaks from the mainland out to Sechart Lodge.

The Lady Rose

Gibralter Camp is just fine – and we’re the only ones here – at first.

Then a group of kayakers shows up, led by a couple of guides. One of the guides is a friendly Canadian girl and sure enough her conversation is full of “ey” and stuff. They have salmon for dinner and have lots of leftovers to offer us.

Tonight we play in the phosphorescence at the shore. Anything stirring up the water causes a brilliant effect!

Tomorrow we’ll take our time and head back to Toquart.