Vashon Island on the right

Posted by Ken Campbell March 19, 2012 3 Comments 1230 views

I wanted to believe. I really did. I wanted to believe that our tents were above the level that the high tide would reach sometime in the middle of the night. Looking at the wrack lines from the previous high water marks, it seemed possible that the coming high tide wouldn’t get all the way up to where we’d pitched the tents, but deep down, I had a niggling feeling about it.

Which turned out to be right. At about 2am, we had to relocate due to imminent flooding. Wake from a passing barge produced waves that broke uncomfortably close and the tide was still on the rise. I couldn’t help but laugh; a midnight move was a pain but comedy is often painful.

That was the second night of our weekend trip around Vashon. We camped at Lisabeula the first night and Point Robinson the next. The trip went more-or-less according to plan, with just about every kind of weather imaginable. Every season but summer. Rain, sometimes heavy rain, seemed to hit at night and in the mornings, while the afternoons were generally clear and sunny. We had a little wind on the second day and getting from the top of the island down to Point Robinson was work, but Steve and I both had a good time.
We had the chance to try out a variety of filming ideas and I am looking forward to seeing what Steve comes up with as far as the edited version of the weekend’s movie. For as many different camera angles and techniques as we did use, it seemed like we thought of many more that we’d like to try when we get out to the coast. There’s a lot to this movie-making thing… I’m enjoying the opportunity to learn. (I’m sure Steve’s photos will be better than mine as well, so I can’t wait to see them as well.)
Eagles were everywhere along the way. We saw a few otter too, including one that came up onto our beach at Point Robinson and proceeded to indulge himself in the longest sand-bath I’ve ever witnessed. He must have been at it for 20 minutes, squirming in the sand, rubbing and writhing, then shaking himself off and starting all over again before heading up into the brush toward his hidden den. Saw one porpoise on the last day, on the crossing from Vashon back to Point Defiance and, of course, many seals all along the route.
I also had the chance to try towing the trawl we got from Dr. Eriksen at the 5 Gyres Institute. The mesh on the net is so fine that it seemed I was pulling a drogue and the device was, quite literally, an anchor. More study needs to be done with this and we need to find out how long he’s thinking we should pull it at a stretch before we sign off on using it. I can’t see how we’ll be able to cover much distance while it’s in the water but there may be an opportunity to use it in a more focused capacity. More on this as it develops.
Camping in March is something of a solitary venture. We didn’t see any other paddlers on the water and there wasn’t any competition for tent sites either. I know I should probably see this as a commentary on the relative wisdom of doing something like this, but I can’t. It was a good time, even with all the sogginess and chill. It wasn’t wilderness and I was never really that far from home but it still got the juices flowing.
I have a list of things now that I need to get done before the trip starts this summer. I really need to go through my gear with a critical eye, get everything working the way it should. That includes the boat as well which, although it is a gear-hauling wonder, needs a little overhaul here and there to make it run better. Then there’s some media work that I need to pay attention to, a few articles that need to be written, etc. etc. We are planning to get together sometime in the next week to discuss what we learned on the Vashon trip and put together some kind of tentative itinerary for the actual expedition.
I must say, I am enjoying the whole thing so far.

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