Summer 2008: Cape Caution

Kumshuwa Channel to Port Hardy

Part 3 - Furry Island to Smith Sound

Day 5 - Furry Island to Cranstown Point

After two nights on Furry island we are dry, rested, and in control. We island hop through Penrose Marine Park - nothing too exciting - then take a break on the southern most island. The guide book says there is a possible camp on the south end of this island. We take it to be at the head of a long bay. Arriving there we find a beach that will be covered by most high tides. Perhaps we read this wrong - could be on the south east shore line - but I'm becoming suspicious of this guide book's recommendations.

We launch across River's Inlet. Rather than island hopping across we are making a more direct crossing. This is a change from how we operated in previous years. Out in the middle the sun is shining, the water is sparkling, and this feels like an extraordinary place to be. As we approach land my legs and arms are aching and I'm eager to get out of my boat. The south shore of River's inlet has a large beach just east of Cranstown Point. I stop at the eastern end, paddling in through small surf, just because I can. We both then paddle along the shore - a white sand beach sloping gently out below our boats.

Ready to launch from Furry island

Our camp on Cranstown Point.

Filling water from a stream on the eastern end of the beach.

Just south of Cranston head is a section of beach that has been used to camp. We can tell because of the garbage, abandoned fire rings, and toilet paper. Our fellow kayakers need to learn about no-trace camping. After years of (nearly) pristine mountain camps and leaving them in (nearly) the same shape I found them, arriving on beaches to find other people's garbage and fire rings is a disappointment.

There is a (overgrown) trail across the thin neck to the west side. I check it out thinking the more exposed beach may be cleaner and preferable. It is not. It is full of drift wood and dead sea weed.

Day 6 - Smith Sound

Looking at the maps we realize we still have a ways to go. With good weather for the next several days we want to keep pushing until we are around our major obstacle: Cape Caution. Today we'll be padding the exposed coast between Rivers Inlet and Smith Sound then crossing Smith Sound so we elect to get an early start. Up at 5am, cold breakfast, and launch by 6am.

We paddle the exposed section between River's Inlet and Smith Sound. The outer coast is always most interesting to me. Today, winds and sea are calm. There are several coves that may contain beaches but we don't poke into them. We do stop at the tip of Extended Point where our guide book suggests a spot suitable for a lunch break. We find a tall beach with a forest camp suitable for 3 tents or so. I don't know where these forest camps come from. Most of the forest is impenetrable but here and there a nice forest camp has been hacked out of the underbrush. Old first nation sites? From logging days? Other recreationists?

CapeCaution08_images/CapeCaution08_108.jpg Beach at Extended Point

From here we hop across Smith Sound to a red sand beach. These beaches always look more beautiful from a distance. 100 ft off shore the beach looks pristine. Standing on it we are confronted by the realities of drying seaweed, dead crabs, sand fleas, black flies, and garbage. Lots of black flies here. Look, someone left a kitchen sink! There is flagging tape leading into the forest. We follow it for a ways but it's not clear why it is there. The forest has clearly been logged.

Red sand beach: beautiful from a distance.

Marie's NDK Explorer kayak.

Our camp - typical. There was a forest site for our tent, but tides are low enough that it is not essential.

The second growth forest. It had a spooky quality feeling.

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