Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pugsleys float

Eric called at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday from the end of Okalee Spit, where the guys were waiting to see if the wind calmed down and created a window for crossing Controller Bay. Here's Eric's report:

Hey, it's Dylan and Eric. We're at the end of the Okalee Spit on Controller Bay. It's been a wet and windy last three days. We left Cape Yakataga and were crossing the Kaliakh River and Dylan's bike slipped off his boat. So we found out Pugsleys actually float. Yeah. Pretty crazy. Let's see. Um, pretty slow going getting to Seal River. We had to push most of the day yesterday. Um, yeah, lots of wind and crazy surf. Today we made it to Cape Suckling and across some crazy boulders and stuff. Then we rode out the spit today and were kind of intimidated by the crossing to Kanak Island. So we're going to wait here and see what it looks like tomorrow morning. We have a bail-out by taking a fishing boat across the center nearby. This is kind of a long one, sorry. I hope you're well, and we'll talk to you from somewhere in Copper River Delta.

Eric told me before that he suspected Pugsleys could float when he and Dylan rode from Hope to Kenai. Dylan walked across a slough that was deeper than he had anticipated and discovered the bike bobbed beside him rather than sinking to his side. Those big balloon tires float great atop snow and sand ... now we know they also float in water. I'm guessing that's a pretty reassuring thing to know when the bicycle with all of your survival gear strapped to it has just slipped off your packraft into a deep river.

Okalee Spit to Kanak Island is a long open crossing based on the map - about five miles. There could be some mud flats in there, but any kind of wind and weather is going to kick up big surf, completely exposed as they are to the Gulf of Alaska. The weather forecast is not looking good for calm seas. Wednesday's area forecast calls for rain with highs in the upper 50s, and a southeast wind from 15 to 30 mph with local gusts to 45 mph in the morning.

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