Surf Traversing Vancouver Island Part 4: The Last Day

Over the past few days, I’ve been round­ing the cor­ner and enter­ing the Straight of Juan de Fuca. It was a mile­stone to see Wash­ing­ton State’s Cape Flat­tery and the Olympic Range as I pulled past Cape Beale. It’s a lit­tle embar­rass­ing to admit that some­how before get­ting here, I con­sid­ered this south­ern stretch through the Straight to be lit­tle more than clos­ing miles. I was mistaken.

The Straight is pow­er­ful­ly its own. Already, I’ve seen wind rage and fog lock this place down. Mov­ing into the cleft of this chan­nel, it feels so deep; the water is dra­mat­i­cal­ly cold­er. The shore­line is thin and hard, a fair­ly short rock cliff with lots of caves. But a mul­ti­tude of sandy and grav­el­ly places for a pad­dler to perch on make trav­el­ing through here good.

There are also a lot of peo­ple. In a way I’m glad most boats don’t see me, because so many of the ones that do want to come res­cue me. I’ve been hav­ing repet­i­tive con­ver­sa­tions with well-mean­ing peo­ple who gen­er­al­ly first won­der what I’m doing and why I have no pad­dle, are then sur­prised by what’s been done, and com­pli­men­ta­ry as they go on their way.

From here in Port Ren­frew I fig­ure I have three or four days of pad­dling to reach my final des­ti­na­tion, Vic­to­ria. I am grate­ful beyond words for these quick five weeks that have now entered the trea­sure chest of mem­o­ry. This pad­dle unfold­ed in a tone and char­ac­ter of its own, but was com­plete­ly con­sis­tent with the oth­ers in rich encoun­ters with big crea­tures and good peo­ple. I am so impressed with the bedrock decen­cy I have seen on this trip. It is a priv­i­lege to con­sid­er the bears, a wolf, grey and hump­back whales, and sea lions fam­i­ly. Pad­dling the coast has expand­ed for me a com­mu­ni­ty that I’m lucky to be a part of. I look for­ward to our future. It’s good to be home.

Thanks for let­ting me share.

Love,

Eli

Watch! Eli faces the last day of his epic journey.