Weather and Wildlife

Weather & Wildlife

Weather and Wildlife

Today’s blog is being written from the confines of Sean and I’s trustworthy tent, the reason for which will become apparent.

camp_1

We left Yukon Crossing and smashed out 100km setting camp on an island 20km past a town called Rampart. Lots of forest firefighters were seen working and camping on the river banks of this leg.

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The following morning was clear with blue skies and a great bit of paddling was had before the midday break. After that, all hell broke lose as far as wind and wave was concerned. The river is now big and battered us with swell and chop from all directions that was fuelled by a strong head wind. By 1930hrs we stopped to access the situation. It was at this point that, after climbing out of my kayak, I lost my footing and fully submerged myself. Wet and slightly annoyed, I sorted myself out. We also decided that we’d call it a day and rest up as we were both exhausted. Unfortunately, we only got 80km done. That evening we made the call that if high, head on winds prevailed then we would lay up then paddle through the night when they usually died down.

The following day was fine for wind although we did find ourselves in a very turbulent piece of water, probably our worst to date. That behind us we cracked on and got a good 101km in.

This brings us to now. Waking this morning on our sandbar to a very blustery scene. One we are sitting out till tonight so long as the wind and rain subside. So, with time on my side I thought I’d chat now about the wildlife.

camp_prints

Canada was awesome. Within 15 minutes of getting our kayaks we saw our first brown bear, at 50m!! It was busy eating berries while we packed our canoes and everyone was happy (ish). Then it decided to disappear into the dense undergrowth. To be honest, I preferred it when I could see the huge lump of brown fur.

Since then we’ve seen three more bears from distance, three moose and a lot of beaver who are hilarious and always busy. When alerted to danger they whack the surface of the water with their tails and vanish beneath the river. This always amuses.

The bald eagle, golden eagle and raven are plentiful in Canada and are not fussed by humans at all. You can get quite close to these majestic birds.

The wildlife in Alaska, USA is altogether different. You hardly see any!
We have, however, seen a lot of gulls. These vermin of the sky are the bane of our waterborne lifestyle. If we are seen by a wandering patrol of gulls, they will harass and also attempt to shit on us. The two of us have worked out that, sometimes, they are protecting their chicks from attack. I, however, feel they are barking or should I say squawking up the wrong tree. Firstly we aren’t interested and secondly we are normally a fair distance from their nest area. All this gobbing off and abuse from their corner tends to take them away from what they are trying to protect. In my mind, they’re taking ones eye off the ball.

I was proven right two days ago when an unruly gull was heard and then seen coming in on an attack run towards our boats, we were a long way from any bank or island, we prepared for the worst. The gull made one dive bomb run then was seen high tailing it back to the river bank flapping like mad and making serious noise. Looking closer and following the birds path you could see a golden eagle clutching something small in its talons. The gull gave chase for a considerable time and attacked the eagle before giving up after the bigger bird was able to gain altitude. This was one of the more interesting things to witness as far as gulls are concerned, it also proved my point to the gull community.

To add to the list of animals seen I’ll mention fox, owl and chipmunks. We have also woken up to find bear and wolf print in the vicinity of our camp which can be a little unnerving.

That brings my Yukon/Alaskan version of spring/summer watch to an end for now next we talk about midgies, mosquitoes and black fly! Hopefully we’ll be back on the water tonight.

Galena is the next town for us. Hopefully see you there......

camp_kayak