VHS-C was also available, but it didn't have the same runtime IIRC
Bill O'Reilly: I'll tell you why it's not a scam. In my opinion, all right? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that. You can explain why the tide goes in…
David Silverman: Tide goes in, tide goes out…?
O'Reilly: Yeah, see, the water — the tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman. It always comes in…
Silverman: Maybe it's Thor up on Mount Olympus who's making the tides go in and out…
O’Reilly: No no, but you can’t explain that… you can’t explain it…
"Then I started paddling from Vancouver city to the west in 1991. I did not understand them tides. I did not know you can get pretabulated tables. I was paddling against tides most of the time. Somewhere between Kelsey Bay and Telegraph Cove there was 2 weeks period of fog and rain. I totally lost it. I was running out of food."
How on Earth do you think to go on a multi week ocean kayaking trip and not take tide tables.
It's the unknown unknown.
He had an expert knowledge of sea kayaking and survival skills in the wilderness and he was not exactly clueless. But because he was from Finland, he missed one critical piece of practical knowledge he didn't know to seek for. We don't have any noticeable tides in our small seas. So even if he knew what the tides are and how big effect they can make, he didn't think he was missing something that is common knowledge and helps with the tides.
ps. Timo Noko is a character. He is ex-Nokia engineer who turned into professional hobo and has kayaked around Alaska and is accustomed to wilderness and survival.
EDIT: I think the only way to discover these unknown unknowns is to explain your plan and show everything you carry to some experienced local and ask "What I am missing". Usually it's some trivial thing that helps a lot.
Once you build your own navigational mental model and realize you know how to navigate from first principles, as he did, I'm sure it becomes almost intoxicatingly tempting to get out into open water.
For example I have no clue how to sail a sailboat, so if somebody gave me a 30' Catalina tomorrow I would go out and get training on how to sail before trying to discover the techniques from first principles.
Watching the British Columbian news for the past 25 years - I could find probably at least twenty instances where random tourists go off into the back country and are never seen again, or are found deceased in a ravine years later by random hikers. You can die in the North Shore mountains within 10 km of North Vancouver pretty easily. Search and rescue missions are a fairly common thing in tourist season. Thankfully boating and kayaking has a bit more equipment/preparation barrier (compared to just heading off into the woods with no map, no GPS, a few Clif bars, wearing sandals, a tiny water bottle and no jacket) so maritime search and rescue is not as common.
>> I did not know you can get pretabulated tables.
You literally removed the part of the quote that answers that.
In 2018 ocean kayaking can be dangerous, even with modern aids like gps, satellite phones, satellite based weather, etc. In 1991 you certainly don't just take a fully loaded kayak to kitsilano beach in Vancouver and set off westbound into the straight of Georgia without tide tables and local knowledge unless you are a complete buffoon.
They conveniently gloss over the fact that modern society is also the thing that's keeping them, you know, alive.
McCandless would undoubtedly have survived if he'd spent even half a day making realistic preparations. Something as simple as just bringing a map.
I know people people who respect him -- his enthusiasm and commitment and open spirit among other things. That's different. Most of those people are also capable of criticizing him, and in general, recognizing that one can direct criticism and respect at the same target.
As well as recognizing that far more experienced, knowledgeably, and conscientious folks than him have made mistakes in the wilderness and paid similarly.