Surf Traversing Vancouver Island Part 3: What it Means

In the course of a long ocean pad­dling expe­di­tion many ele­ments will for­ev­er be out of my con­trol.  An adventure’s unique char­ac­ter unfolds with the ten­sion between the pur­suit of the goal and the spon­ta­neous oppor­tu­ni­ties that dis­play the real­i­ty of a place.

Image by Herb Belrose

The bot­tom line is that the weath­er and the ocean call the shots. After a big cross­ing from Noot­ka Island to Este­van Point on the Hes­quiat Penin­su­la under mel­low and cloudy con­di­tions, I pulled in to the small cove by the light­house near a colony of sea lions on the rocks. I set up a camp in the trees behind a short totem head­ed by a for­lorn, rat­tle-clutch­ing human form. The calm­ness was soon bro­ken by a front of south­east wind and rain. I had hoped to push on and catch up with friends in Tofi­no but was stuck in the cove for two days.

Image by Herb Belrose

I sat under a tree in the rain and watched a pod of grey whales swim and breathe in the lit­tle cove. I met a black bear on the beach as I walked to the creek to get water and inad­ver­tent­ly flushed him into the for­est toward my camp. I hur­ried my task and caught up with him. Since he was set on avoid­ing me it was easy to send him on his way out of my camp.

Image by Herb Belrose

Lat­er in the after­noon, I was in my ham­mock under a tarp when an eagle came careen­ing through the trees and land­ed 20 feet in front of me. It had a ling cod head in its talons. I couldn’t tell if it was aware of me or not, but it stood there a minute and then stashed the cod head near a downed tree and flew away.

It was a good, qui­et cou­ple of days. Then the weath­er cleared. I cranked out an exhaust­ing 25-mile full-day pad­dle, pulled into the Tofi­no har­bor at sun­set, car­ried my board up onto the grass of a park and changed out of my soaked wet­suit and into dry clothes. I felt very for­tu­nate to be in the warmth and com­pa­ny of my friends in Tofino.

Thanks for fol­low­ing along. There’s only about 100 miles to go. Stay tuned for anoth­er update fol­lowed by a more in-depth recap of the whole trip. Talk to you again soon!

Watch! Eli pad­dles his board and talks about what it all means.

Read all of Eli’s updates!

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3