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Our previous evening’s storm blows itself out by the middle of the next afternoon and we start moving again. The weather report is grim but our hope is to poke along like yesterday and steal another few kilometres when the wind takes a breath.

We make the first of two moderately large crossings in chunky water with light winds and are happy with the effort. But the sea has begun to build and we slip into a well protected bay for dinner and some sleep.

It’s 12:30am, we’ve eaten and we’re readying for bed. Night is much more pronounced now with the ten minutes of reduced light dropping off each successive day making itself felt. In just over a month darkness will match lightness on a regular day.

Paul is last into the cabin and observes that the wind has died. Windless conditions, no matter when they occur, mean movement for us. This is one of those moments where I find myself digging deep. It’s dark and raining out and I’m in my sleeping bag ready for sleep.
“Pop in a quick three hour sesh?” Frank asks with the enthusiasm that I feel. “Sounds good” I lie, and we start packing up.

We slip out of our bay, a bruise of broiling clouds pushing across the horizon. A misty drizzle blankets us as I slip my iPod on under my hood. Pink Floyd, I float through the twilight.

There is no pain you are receeding
A distance ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
You’re lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I have that feeling once again
I cannot explain
You would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become Comforably Numb

Denis spots him while sitting at the oars. A strong current had stopped us after a shift and a half and we’re currently anchored about 200 meters off shore in very shallow water. “I see a bear!” Denis states matter-of-factly, “No, really, I see a grizzly bear!!”
Grizzly3 smallLying in the kelp at the edge of shore is a large brown bear. He’s completely oblivious to us and he’s a giant. His massive shoulders support a huge dish faced head, his distinctive hump make him unmistakable: grizzly bear.

Frank quietly slips out of the boat to get a steady shot with the video camera – the boat is rocking and the water is only a couple feet deep even out this far – and we’re noticed. The bear immediately stands up on his hind legs and starts vigorously shaking his head back and forth to pick up our scent. He’s aware of us now and he’s not afraid. Far from it.
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Our mighty bruin starts to move towards us in the water. His body language speaks to us on a primordial level. His head is low and the hair on his back seems to be standing erect. He moves with slow deliberateness, eyes locked on us. The body language says it all. On some primitive level we all fear being hunted and this bear has peaked this vestigial urge. Denis grabs the shotgun and readies a shot in the air.

But our bear is just letting us know who’s boss. After a few minutes he turns and slowly heads back to the kelp bed he came from. He sets about making a bed and lays down to rest. When he finally lowers his head, he turns it away from us, disinterested and unafraid. It’s a humbling moment, one we’ve been waiting for all trip.