We drift around the corner of a large weathered shore rock covered in black mussels and seaweed and start to hear a roar. A 60 foot waterfall cascades down into the salt water.
Anna pushes her boat up to the falls and is dwarfed by the water. We take a moment to enjoy this surprise and turn to each other to comment for about the fifth time today “If this were in the US it would be its own state park.”
We find camp just around the corner and set our tent up on the beach. With the spring tides raging this is the first beach camping we’ve been able to find. We look for the last high tide markings on the beach, check the tide charts for the height of the next high tide and look to see if there is a spot to put our tent where we won’t wake up flooded at high tide. Anna enjoys some of the nice sunny weather by laying out on the sand and I tinker around going through our gear.
I hear a slapping noise in the distance think it is a seal playing. I look up and see around 200 dolphins playing and feeding in the waters a 1/2 mile out. I don’t even remember getting my spray skirt and life jacket on as I pull my boat in the water and do a sprint across the channel. Out of breath and arms burning, I finally made my way to the larger pod. I sat there for some time watching them jump out of the water racing around with ease. Many times skirting right under the boat. It’s like I was at sea world and I paid to feed the dolphins at the dolphin exhibit. What an evening.
The next day Anna and I looked forward to our first shower day. Anna planned this part of the trip and knowing my intense desire to enjoy a hot spring, took us a bit out of our way for some hot water soaking. On the way there we talk about food, our parents, and life but we mostly paddle in silence. Being quiet while traveling with someone can make a lot of people uncomfortable, but we enjoy it. It’s not that we didn’t have anything to say to each other, its that paddling in calm waters is rhythmic and takes you to a place where you can think.
My mind mostly focused on the past and I found many memories I have not seen in some time. I thought a lot about when I was a kid living in Alaska. I thought about my life goals and where I want to be. I’m 38 and just quit my job and am moving to Santa Fe- a lot of unknowns. It’s interesting looking back at what was important in previous versions of yourself. Between friends, family, relationships, jobs, hobbies and belongings. I look at all the things I wish I wouldn’t have bought. Looked at the good friends I have made and how it has been hard keeping them with the lifestyle of working seasonally in Antarctica for so long. I think of a lot of things I would have done differently, relationships I lost, jobs I stayed at too long, and hobbies that have been moved to the background. But one thing that always comes back to me is a piece of advice my dad gave me: You will always miss out on something, no matter which direction you choose and that’s not a bad thing.
We find the entrance to this small secluded bay that turned into an amazing amphitheater of rock. If you could kayak into Yosemite NP this is what it would be like. We see a bear along the grassy shores. Otters diving in and out of one of the rivers, the cliffs remind us of Half Dome and at the end was this small paradise of a hot spring. People have built up rocks to create a pool to capture the water and made it so that one can regulate the temperature of the water. It was divine when I dipped my toes into the warm water. For an hour we eat lunch and lounge in the water until a boat found its way into the bay. It’s funny how you feel like you own a place when you have it to yourself. I felt like someone had gone past the no trespassing sign. In reality they were great people who have cruised from Washington to Alaska several times. They gave us some advice on places to not miss. In the end they invited us aboard there beautiful boat for dinner.
We had great food and fun conversation and we made some new friends. I guess we’ll share our paradise after all.