Quadra Island / by Caroline Van Hemert

March 25 We are nearing Quadra Island after 9 days of paddling.  Despite being held up early on with gale-force winds and a customs "misunderstanding," we are making decent progress.  We left Bellingham Bay in a hailstorm, and have had quite a mix of weather,  including persistent wind. Due to rough seas and strong N winds, we opted not to cross Georgia Strait again and stayed on the Vancouver Island side.   The past couple of days have been a welcome change from nasty weather, with spectacular sunshine, relatively calm seas, and an incredible abundance of marine life. Huge rafts of scoters, goldeneye, long-tailed and harlequin ducks, tons of cormorants and mergansers, plus sea lions and seals everywhere.  The herring spawn (apparent from eggs blanketing the beaches) might be partially responsible for such a concentration of birds and other critters. Our tailbones and backs are still getting used to rowing, but the boats are doing well and seem to handle rough water well.  Besides some ugly blisters and long hours on the water, we are doing well.  Our next update will likely be Port Hardy, hopefully in a week or so, though another storm is headed our way so we'll see if the weather cooperates.  Thanks to everyone for their positive thoughts and words!