The day that we were supposed to start our kayak trip was forecast to be exceptionally cold (high of 9C) for the next two days and since we'd only arrived in Sakhalin the day before, we were all exhausted so we decided to postpone by a day and visit some mud volcanoes instead. The volcanoes were great but Snoop (Sasha & Glen's 12year old dog) was bit by a viper while we were there and was in pretty bad shape by the next day. Sasha decided to stay back with the dog (who by the time we left was making daily trips to the vet for IV drips) and the rest of us went on the kayak trip. Click on "Read More" to see pictures and the story of our paddle
Our kayak trip. All accurate except the line between "Camp" and Camp 2" where I messed up the GPS track. We went along the west coast to "Stop" then a bit wide while we looked for the river, then on to Camp 2.
We left late Saturday afternoon (Snoop and Sasha were at the vet until 2pm) and pushed off into the lake at about 5pm for a 2.5 hour paddle to Bird Island in the middle of the lake. On the way we stopped at a beach (pee break) where the kids said they saw two bears run away as we approached. Their sighting was confirmed by the fresh tracks on the beach which had us all a little jumpy for the rest of the trip. Nicely, I'm pretty sure the island didn't have bears (no sign of them at all) and we didn't run into any more for the rest of the trip. The first day was very windy and it was hard paddling against it -- we were all glad when we finally pulled in to the island and got to rest. We found a beautiful place to camp in a birch forest and had a really great night (all except Tim who was in alcohol withdrawl and pretty grumpy)
Camping Day 1:
The next day the sun came out and we spent the morning exploring the island. We had a good paddle ahead of us to get to a river on the other side of the lake (necessary since the lake was brackish and we didn't have enough water without finding a source). For the first part, the water was glassy and easy to get through and we had a great time checking out sea eagles, seagulls and hawks, but after rounding the first big point, the winds picked up and the ride got rough. Glen's cellphone map and the data connection were lost and we couldn't find the river for quite awhile. Glen ended up paddling out to sea (and didn't return for several hours) while the rest of us went across a bay and kept our eyes open for the river. It turned out it made a sharp turn and flowed nearly parallel to the beach at the end so it was well-hidden but we found it. Glen didn't show up until the sun was nearly gone but it all worked out.
The last day all males got up early to fish. The fish didn't get up for several hours but by the end of the morning they had caught 7 fish (4 thrown back) and every fisherperson had caught at least one. We had a great trout and salmon breakfast before exploring up the river (we didn't get far before the vegetation closed in and we had to turn back). The back to the kayaks and off to home. It was a beautiful sunny day but very windy and even though it was at our backs, it churned up some pretty big waves that made the kayaking a bit precarious. We decided to have Sasha pick us up where the lake let out into the ocean rather than the spot we put in. I was worried about being swept to sea but it turned out to be an unfounded fear and we had to paddle (hard!) down the last river because the wind was so strong. Sasha showed up about an hour after we landed and was very worried about Snoop (who had gotten back some very scary results from his bloodwork) but today he seems to be feeling better (but not normal ) and even walked into the yard on his own.