By Mariah McCooey-Rob Clayton just completed a trip that even experienced mariners would consider suicidal.
He left his home on Bowen Island (near Horseshoe Bay) in a 12-foot skiff, with a nine horsepower engine, and arrived unscathed on the islands last month.
Along the way, he encountered many dolphins, braved four-metre waves, and was reported missing for two days.
“There is hardly any room for error,” he said, “when you’re dealing with four metre swells.”
His boat was loaded down with camping supplies and extra gasoline, but he didn’t have any navigational equipment. His VHF radio was only one-way (for listening) so he was unable to tell the coast guard that he was actually all right.
“I kept hearing myself being reported missing,” he said, “but I couldn’t do anything about it.”
Mr. Clayton said that he was exhausted upon arrival because he was standing up the whole way “for balance.”
Luckily, he didn’t have any engine trouble, although shortly before arriving in Port Hardy, he had some problems with the propeller, which had to be replaced.
His longest day was about 180 km, he said, and by the end he was “running on pure adrenaline.”
Mr. Clayton made it across the Hecate Strait in less time than the Queen of Prince Rupert – 5 hours and 40 minutes.
“It was beautiful,” he said, “I was surrounded by dolphins swimming in the phosphorescence.”
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