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