Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Eli Andersen's Great Adventure, Continued

Posted by Ross

The latest chapter of Eli Andersen's epic kayak trip from Alaska to Washington appeared in my e-mail inbox recently. Here's what he had to say.

Dear family and friends,

This message comes from the middle of this journey, I am in Prince Rupert, BC. i have woven my way along nearly 550 miles of Pacific Northwest coastline in 42 days and 550 miles remain. The middle is a challenging place to be.

The time and miles since Wrangell have brought me through low moments and very special experiences. I left that town on the 6th of July under dark clouds and hard wind. The first water leg was through the Zimovia Narrows which is 35 miles long and quick like a river, it was there that I was introduced to the trial by wind that i would face for over a hundred miles. In large bodies and tight channels of water there was a wind that conquered the tides. The water level would change as it was expected to do but the current just kept grinding along in wind driven madness as if it had forgotten the moon. To continue my progress I began resorting to very early morning starts generally with an afternoon siesta followed by paddling late into the evening. All to avoid the wind, it was hard to keep up. I spent 15 hours in Open Eyes in a single day to reach Ketchikan. As I read that last sentence now it seems a little crazy. And as i remember pulling into the dock then, I felt slightly crazy. I was very fortunate to have been given the number of a family there from a good man I had just met back in Wrangell. I spent three nights and two marvelously restorative days with them fishing, making music, baking, eating, talking and sharing time. When I left Ketchikan and continued working my way towards the midpoint i first began to feel the sensation of my heart being pulled from both ends.

In my movement South the landscape has softend from the jagged snowy peaks to shapes more round. The animals around seem to be changing also. I now see more ravens than eagles. Potentially it is more seasonal then latitudinal but there are now more fish jumping out of the sea then i have seen before. There are Sockeye that throw themselves sideways and skip across the surface and other salmon that jump in a more straightforward manner. Just when I was beginning to think i was out of humpback territory i had my closest encounter with one yet. It was in the morning as i came around Tree Point into the Dixon Entrance, this stretch was exposed and there were waves breaking against the rocks and immense ocean power surging around me. Directly off my tail i heard an exhale blast and first thought it was a wave that had broken and would overtake me, immediately I turned to see the top of its head and down the length of its back and the barnacles that had found a home on all that deep dark blue skin. Its breathe mist blended with the rain falling on me. We almost touched.

These rare email opportunities make it hard for me to convey all i want to. But the message I want to send is that i am alright, i feel healthy and strong. I am thinking of each of you and those thoughts bring me smiles and happiness.



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