Wednesday, September 9, 2009

TILLIKUM: Watch for me by moonlight. #2. Up Trincomali to Southey Point.

Off Walker Hook. Watched by seal. Turning into the powerboat wakes.

I turn Tillikum slightly so I can look up to port at Nose Point where we lived in an underground house for a winter before beginning our Pacific voyage in our gaff rigged wooden schooner Shiriri. I do a double take because the house has been replaced by a standard type of luxury home. I am developing a new rowing technique to allow me to look forward without slowing Tillikum down. I pull hard several times on one oar to swerve so I can take a good hard look at what`s ahead and then take several more strokes on the other to get back on course. The next waypoint is just visible in the distance across the smooth sea - Walker Hook. I am slowing down now to a more economical pace that I can hope to maintain for the rest of the day but of course this is making my time line for the circumnavigation become stretched. My evening arrival back in Fulford Harbour will be well into the night. All I can do now though is keep moving north and dodging the wakes of the steady procession of large motor yachts headed south. I had hoped for a favourable wind and strong current to hurry me north and give me rest from the oars but the Fates smile, beat the drum and swing the lash for this galley slave. It hurts! My legs are stating to cramp up and my bottom is a pain.

The sun is now a definite presence, burning down from above and reflecting off the water. I wish I had been able to find my sunglasses but all I can do now is pull my floppy brimmed hat down low across my eyes. What feels like hours later, Fernwood wharf is close ahead. I come alongside amid a group of dock fishermen who grudgingly make room and crawl onto the float. I rise unsteadily to my feet and stagger up the ramp. My legs have gone on strike and it takes walking while I eat some sandwiches to get the kinks out. I down a bottle of water and refill from the large supply in another container. I am far from halfway yet and already my body is saying STOP!

Southey Point at top left. Ganges harbour and Nose Point at lower right.

Back in the saddle, backing away from the dock and then onward around a series of little points toward Southey Point. Off to starboard is Wallace Island where we spent many stormy nights sheltering in Shiriri. Ahead is Jackscrew Island where Heather and I in ‘Isolde’ had a hair raising encounter with ghostly presence on our honeymoon. There is a little east breeze developing that could be a sailing possibility but I decide that I need to keep up my speed even though the rest from rowing would be more than welcome. At last I slip between the beacon off Southey Point and the long sandstone shelf that reaches out from the shore and turn into the little bay behind it. I have planned an hours rest here to meet some friends but I`m late and there is no one to meet me. I turn around and head back out heading south along Saltspring`s western shore. South at last!

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