San Juan Sea Kayaking Trip: June 2006

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A Completely Honest (and mostly truthful) Recap of the San Juan Islands Kayaking Trip.

By Tomas

The virus then undergoes rapid amplification, attacking all living cells in the host’s body. As the organs begin to dissolve, the organism begins to vomit Black Blood, or blood mixed with the pureed organs. As the amplification continues the Host’s face goes slack, the central nervous system has been dissolved, and his eyes turn into two bright glittering rubies. Now the Ebola Zaire virus begins its jump from host to host until… “NO no… you’ve got it all wrong. My level 64 Shaman would totally pwn (p-own) your nooblet paladin’s ass with it’s sword of Azeroth found in the temples of the Druidian!” Ah yes. Two of the finest things in life. Literature, and World of Warcraft. But what else was there to do? A 6 hour bus-ride to the San Juans is no laughing matter. I, stole Murphy’s book and read all about the gut-wrenching Ebola virus, others contented themselves with sleeping, and others did nothing but talk about World of Warcraft. Really. The bus ride up was punctuated by a stop at a gas station for a chance to relieve ourselves and purchase food. Ian (Davies) and I split a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and discovered that eating ice cream with a fork was difficult. I must clarify. We drove up in two parties, one in a small yellow bus, the other in a bluish van. I was in the bus. I have only heard tales of the van ride up, but I hear it was a raucous affair with much singing of Cascada’s hit “Everytime we Touch”. When we arrived at the parking lot for the ferry we settled down and did two things. First, Kent flew a kite into Ilene’s head, next we played a game of Ultimate Frisbee in the parking lot. I myself do not understand ultimate Frisbee. Give me soccer any day. We piled onto the ferry, and we each did our own thing. I fished for a quarter beneath the bending machine so that Ian and I could buy a cup of coffee from the way way way too sweet sugary coffee machine. Meanwhile Robert had decided to fly his kite off of the ferry. While I sat inside relaxing, the conversation suddenly turned to the kite, now in the water, floating past the ferry. It was a sad day indeed for Rob’s kite. We arrived at Lopez, met our guides Bo and Matthew, and then embarked upon a one hour and a half lesson on how to pack a kayak. Although the students were fairly comfortable in the hot sun, wearing some light gear, the guides decked out in full dry suits appeared to be melting. As Matthew demonstrated packing a kayak, I wondered to myself if he was going to faint right there as the sweat was running off of his face in rivulets. Once everything was stowed away we launched off, and began paddling. It was an easy kyak to our first night’s camp, Canoe island, 1 ½ miles. On the island we were divided into work crews 1-4, and my crew was assigned to dinner. Somehow the idea came about that cooking pasta with saltwater was a good idea. To tell the truth, it WAS a good idea, until we attempted it in practice. The pasta came out with the salinity of soy sauce. After dinner, while the rest of us took a leisurely stroll up to the campsite to setup, the cleanup crew slaved away into the late hours in an attempt to fix up the mess the dinner crew had created. After a decent night of sleep we woke up early the next morning to break camp and head out with the current. Breakfast was a simple affair, Cereal, Granola bars, and fried spam. You’ll have to ask someone else how the spam was, I was content with the granola. We kayaked about 7 miles to Jones Island. The kayaking was accompanied by shouts from the guide “HEY YOU SLOW PEOPLE IN THE BACK! PADDLE FASTER!” along with “DON’T GET IN FRONT OF THE PACE-SETTER!” Ah, the joy of being shepherded from point A to point B. Arriving on the island, we unpacked and set up our tents for the night. A casual game of Ultimate Frisbee, the Catlinites vs the Drunken Old Men ensued. Even Bo got into it. I’m still not sure who won. But a spectacle it was indeed. Meanwhile on the food front, some scoundrel had hidden our rice. IT was nowhere to be seen. How were we supposed to survive without rice? Murphy took it upon herself to search the kayaks whilst the rest of the peoples were playing Frisbee or lounging, and she found the rice! And it was good. A fire was built, which we used to sit around at, discuss the recent slaughter of the USA by the Czech Republic in the Fifa World Cup, and, of course, hear more about World of Warcraft. We broke out the marshmallows and roasted a few. Fortunately, there was no singing of Kumbaya. We decided on a game plan for the next day which was to wake up at 6, pack up, and get out of the island and back to Canoe before the currents shifted against us. We planned to get out by 9 I believe. The next morning came and we awoke. Camp was packed, the kayaks were packed, we were set to roll at 9. Then came the group meeting. Go back the way we had come yesterday in relative safety, (7 miles) or go back a new way which could potentially prove to be a day out of hell with both wind and current against us (9 miles). All is well and well, the group vote found the group split down the middle with just one person more voting for the go back the way we came. However, this was not enough. We had to sit down, and debate for an hour and a half on the pros and cons of both ways. While time slipped away, we finally decided to go the new way. At 10:30. Fortunately we got lucky, and the predicted 15 m/h headwind did not occur. IT was a brilliantly easy paddle, marked by Peter stopping to use his cell phone to arrange some dealio and the guide yelling “YOU PEOPLE IN THE BACK! PADDLE FASTER!” After arriving at the camp and being assailed by mosquitoes, we had a large amount of free time to do what we pleased. Several basketball games were played, naps were taken, World of Warcraft was discussed, Skyler and Sam even took a paddle in the water on top of a floating log. At dinner, an eating contest between Hyde and Chris broke out, with Hyde winning by downing his enormous plate of mac and cheese extremely quickly. Almost disgustingly quickly. I wouldn’t do it. At night a soccer game broke out, in which players were rotated on and off and even an adult, Ilene, got into the field for a bit. We slept, we woke up, we took off, and we got onto the bus. We changed, we yelled, we were happy. We even ate. We stopped at McDonald’s and Taco Bell. Ian took the prize for most food consumed, with two cheeseburgers, 5 chicken selects, a large fries, a large drink, and a quarter pounder (or something like that). Needless to say, we all ate like never before. Then we got back into the bus and drove home. At last. It was a short trip, with it’s ups and downs, but as my first outdoor trip I think it was a pretty damn fine one. Believe me. It’s in your interest. I have the Axe of the Argentineans that deals +4958 frost damage and grants its bearer +100000 hp. Fear.