Monday, June 27, 2011

Campbell River - June 26 and 27, 2011

Talos IV departed mid day headed to Campbell River for provisioning. This is expected to be the last major stop for groceries and boat supplies prior to heading north. The passage was uneventful, winds being light and with the current. Campbell River is a sport fisherman paradise….and there was plenty of fishing at Mudge Point as we rounded. The Salmon are running.

We found a side tie at Discovery Marina and had a pleasant surprise discovering a Starbucks at the top of the marina ramp. Grocery shopping was put on hold until later.

It is hard to describe to family and friends the challenge of provisioning. It took us well into the night to purchase and stow the mass quantity of goods for the next leg of our adventure. Talos IV seems to swallow up the unending flow of stuff we seem to need or want. Everything is now packed safely. I am glad we have a good refrigerator. Tomorrow we are planning to check out another chandlery and maybe make a trip into town.

 We are now having to passage plan several days in advance. We have several sets of rapids to go thru as we progress north. Departure will need to favor the proper currents and conditions.

Cape Mudge Light House.

Janet was out of control when we discovered that
there was a Starbucks just above the marina.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gorge Harbour - June 23, 24 and 25, 2011

We arrived in Gorge Harbour late afternoon on Wednesday.  It was about a 4 hour motor from Toba Wildernest Marina through some beautiful passages and great scenery.  To our surprise, our friends Julius and Susan aboard Emerald Steel were already at anchor.  It's always good to see boats and people that you recognize.  Rain kicked up shortly after our arrival, so we decided to hang on the boat the balance of the day, saving any off  boat excursions for tomorrow.

In the morning, the rain had let up and we rowed over to the marina and walked up to Funky Trudes Cave for breakfast.  A nice break from being on the boat.  We were able to pick up wifi to check mail, weather, etc.  Late in the day Susan brought over some freshly made bread, baked in Emerald Steels home made bread oven.  They came on board for a beer.  While we were chatting, s/v Sabbatical came motoring into the harbour.  Bill and Claudia, Janet's brother and sister in law, had found us.

After they got settle, they came over on their brand new dinghy with a bottle of wine in hand.  After the wine and a few beers, we decided to do a pot luck dinner.  Bill and Claudia brought steaks and a crab, freshly caught from the back of their boat the day before.  Janet and I provided the vegies, potatoes, salad and beer. It turned out to be a fantastic evening enjoying some great food and getting caught up.

This morning we awoke with batteries that are in desperate need of a recharge.  A re-charge is an absolute must, but showers and laundry are on the agenda as well.  We are on shore now, so are taking advantage of the wifi and waiting for the laundry to finish up.  We haven't decided yet, but as soon as we get back to the boat we will need to address the battery issue.  Options include motoring over to the docks for the balance of the day where we could plug into shore power, running the engine for a few hours, or leaving and heading to our next port (the time in route would allow the batteries to charge).

Day 3 at Gorge Harbour:

After figuring out that our low battery status was a result of accidentally leaving the water heater on, we decided that simply running the engine to re-charge the batteries was the best option.  A partial charge was all that was needed, so we ran the motor for about an hour and 15 minutes.  Problem solved and all is well.

Day 3 at Gorge Harbour was spent mostly relaxing on the boat.  Paul did make a run out in the dinghy with Bill to drop a crab pot.  Bill dropped his near a rocky shoreline and Paul placed his in the center of the harbor behind two islets.  Each selecting what they thought would be the prime place to catch crab.  Feeling quite confident, the two fishermen returned to their respective boats with plans for a crab feast.

Later in the day, Bill and Claudia came over for another pot luck dinner aboard Talos IV.  Following dinner, we headed for shore where the marina was hosting their nightly bonfire.  It turned out that we, along with a group from other boat, and the local Department of Fisheries Agent were the only attendees.  It was a fun evening listening to the stories, especially from Mr. Agent Man.  He had a way about his story telling that just captivated you and held your attention.

The following morning before making preparations for our departure, Paul and Bill made a run out to retrieve their catch.  Bill’s trap came up first with only two small star fish, but no crab.  Still feeling confident, Paul pulled his trap only to find it completely empty.  The crab feast was put on hold due to lack of crab for the hungry mob.  The whole process was a learning experience and both expect better results next time.

Elizabeth Island.  We thought our friend Elizabeth in
Seattle would enjoy knowing that their was an
island bearing her name.

Laundry drying indoors.  Normally we hang it on the
rail, but with the rain you have to do what you can.

Motoring through the Gorge as we enter Gorge Harbour.

Louie hanging out on the deck enjoying a bit of sunshine.

s/v Sabbatical arrives in Gorge Harbour.

Paul heads off on a crab catching adventure.

The two crabbers prepare for the catch.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Toba Inlet

We decided to make a partial run up Toba Inlet on the advice of Kyle, the owner of the Toba Wildernest Lodge and Marina.  The total run up is 20 miles in and 20 out, but our destination was a waterfall that is about 10 miles or so up.

We left the marina at about 9 AM and made a slow motor up the inlet.  As with Jervis Inlet and Princess Louisa Inlet that we visited several weeks back, Toba Inlet is surrounded by high snow capped mountains with numerous waterfalls.  For those familiar with Yosemite Valley, imagine being on the valley floor, except that you are in a boat and the floor is water.  The water depth is about 1,200 feet and the mountain tops are about 6,000 feet.  Unlike Yosemite, we were the only boat.  There were no other people around for miles.  There is no Half Dome or El Capitan, but it is a majestic place none the less.

Our final destination was an awesome waterfall with a huge amount of volume.  Janet put me off in the dinghy and then motored around in front of the falls for some amazing photos with Talos IV.  She was cautious about getting too close and for good reason, but as you can see from the photos, she got fairly close anyway.

We are now back at Toba Wildernest Marina.  After our arrival we took a hike up the trail to an overlook bluff.  On the way back down we detoured and payed the waterfall in Kyle's backyard another visit.

Tomorrow we are off to Gorge Bay, which will work us south west to pickup Discovery Passage and the route north to the Broughtons.  There is a stop at Campbell River planned for re-provisioning in a few days as well.

One of many waterfalls along the way.

Janet posing with the waterfall.

We had charts, but sometimes there were subtle signs that
point us in the right direction.

Incredible views of the mountains and snow pack.

More incredible views.

Janet and waterfall.

Talos IV.  Paul was in the dinghy to get this shot.

Janet takes a little break on the way back out of the inlet.

Paul keeping an eye on the helm, more or less.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Toba Wildernest Marina

This is yet another amazing place.  We are sitting at a picnic table above the docks overlooking the Toba Wilderness.  We are the only boat on the docks.  The weather is warm and the sun is out.  What could be better than this?

After our arrival, we took a short walk up the waterfall behind the small lodge.  At the very top you have to use ropes to help you up some fairly steep areas.  Not too many people can claim that they have a waterfall in their backyard.

Janet has set out some steaks and we plan a BBQ to top off what has been a perfect day.  We will likely eat dinner on shore at the picnic tables.

These are a few of the photos we've taken thus far.  I'll post more later (I forgot to take the camera up to the waterfall, so we'll make another run up after dinner).

Looking up the Toba Inlet as we approached the
Toba Wilderness Marina.

Janet climbing the ropes that lead up to the
waterfall (taken with my iphone).

Janet on the 2nd set of ropes.

Toba Inlet.

Janet bloging and checking email at picnic table above docks.

Talos IV on docks.

View from back of boat at Toba Wilderness Marina.

Paul returning to the boat after using the computer up at the
picnic table.  Check out the view in the background.
As promised, here's a few more photos of our hike up to the bluff and waterfall in Kyle's backyard.

Paul at the bluff lookout above Toba Wildernest Marina.

Janet at the bluff.

Janet taking a break along the trail to the bluff.  It's steeper
than it looks.

Paul on bridge on the way up to Kyle's waterfall.

Janet found the source.

Paul had his turn on the ropes.

Here it is, Kyle's backyard waterfall and
source of our drinking water.

Walsh Cove Provincial Park

We had a great nights sleep and pulled anchor at Squirrel Cove about 10:00 AM. We are headed to Walsh Cove Marine Park. Walsh Cove is an unimproved park located up Waddington Channel off West Redonda Island. It is small and only has room for a few boats. It is deep, so stern ties are needed. Upon arrival we had two very large motor yachts plus 3 other smaller motor boats anchored. As soon as we were settled the two huge motor yachts took off leaving us with the shoreline to ourselves.

This was Janet’s first opportunity to demonstrate shore tie skills. She had been offering helpful suggestions on how the deed should be done in the past. It was her chance to see it was not the easiest process. The anchor was set and she quickly deployed the dinghy with the floating line secured to the tender. Rowing smartly to shore she scaled a rock encrusted with oysters (sharp edges, very very scary…low tide), slimy seaweed and loose shale rock. An appropriate tree was picked, the line secured and led back to the tender. She then pulled herself and the line back to Talos IV hand over hand. The lines were adjusted and secured to the boat. She felt quite smug as her pants and shoes were dry.

There is a small island which we are tucked behind. It was reported to have wild onions and thyme. Taking the dinghy we rowed over to explore, finding the onions but no herbs. The tide was coming in and a light rain and begun to fall so it was time to head back to Talos IV for the night and yet another episode of "Mad Men".

View up the Waddington Channel from our anchorage.

Walsh Cove.

Janet's perfect stern tie.

Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island

We made a quick run across the channel to Squirrel Cove and dropped anchor in about 12 feet of water. This was one of our most shallow anchorages yet. After getting settled, we jumped into the dinghy and motored out the cove to the town of Squirrel Cove to check it out. Not much there and as it was late, what was there was closed, so a return trip tomorrow is in the plan.

The following morning, we slept in and ate a great pancake and eggs breakfast and then headed back to town. We were able to drop off our garbage that we had been hauling around in one the lockers for the last week or so. A great relief! They also had a wonderful store that allowed us to stock up on necessities including a very good selection of expensive Canadian beer (a six pack runs about $13 candian. We are spending more on beer than anything else, including diesel.) and Hagen'daz ice cream bars. We were also able to do laundry and take showers and of course we found wifi.

Latter that day, we took a hike to Von Donop Inlet. Janet called it a death march. The trail was unimproved and went up, over and under the tremendous amount of logging debris left over from logging operations I think sometime around the turn of the century.

We also motored over to the reversing tidal rapid that separates the cove from another smaller lagoon.  An interesting phenomenon in that as the tides rise and fall the water either rushes into or out of the lagoon thru a small stream.  At full run, it is a virtual white water river.  We didn't do it, but apparently you can shoot the rapids in your dinghy.  The only problem is that once inside you can't come back the other way until the tide changes, which could be up to 6 hours.

In the morning we are heading for Walsh Cove Provincial Park and then to the Toba Wilderness Marina.

The docks at Squirrel Cove Community.  Notice the steep ramp
up from the docks at low tide.

Janet negotiating the trail to Von Donop Inlet.

There were some signs to help guide us.

The trail had some redeeming highlights.

Paul trying to figure out the reversing tidal rapids.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Salish Sea Cruise Update #3 and Future Cruise Plan

We are now at Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island (Sunday, June 19). The blue line reflects where we've been and the green is our plan over the next several days.

View Salish Sea Cruise Update in a larger map

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Refuge Bay - West Quadra Island

We are at Reguge Bay and yes we have wifi.  I decided to make a couple of quick posts while we are here, but won't post photos until I have more time.

We needed diesel and water and perhaps an overnight berth at the docks.  As it turned out, we refueled and took on water in the bow tank only.  They have a water boil advisory in effect as their water supply is from a lake up the hill.  Janet treated it with bleach, and the locals say it is no big deal.  We hope they are right and the bleach does the trick or the next blog my tell a different story.

Janet is making up some lunch and then we've decided to move on to Squirrel Cove.  It is just a short motor away and we think a better spot to drop anchor.

Melanie Cove, Prideaux Haven

Morning winds were brisk as we pulled anchor and headed toward our next destination. The batteries were in need of a charge so a short motor was needed rather than sailing…too bad.

The entrance to Prideaux Haven is very narrow and surrounded by rocky ledges, shallow reefs and twists around islands. Paul was a great navigator and determined the safest course for Talos IV. We chose Melanie Cove, one of many options inside this hidden waterway, for wind protection and isolation. The books describe this area as a boat mecca in the high season, with upwards of 100 boats within this very pristine place. We entered Melanie and found one power vessel at anchor. We placed ourselves a reasonable distance off and found excellent holding in mud. Tonight we expect a 13 foot tidal swing….a lot of water but not as much as the 16 feet we had in Tenedos Bay. So far the wildlife has kept itself hidden from us. Tomorrow we may hike and see what we can find.

Entrance to Prideaux Haven.

Desolation Sound Park sign.

Talos IV reflecting in the calm water of Melanie Cove.

Entrance to Melanie Cove.

Tenedos Bay

A strong ebb tide carried us out of Grace Harbour and down the Malaspina Inlet where we were met with a 17 knot wind right on our bow.  As it was expected to be a short run to Tenedos Bay, we had not set up our sails and were not able to take advantage of the wind which came around to our beam as we rounded the point and headed for our next destination.

Tenedos Bay is a wonderful place surrounded by rock cliffs and incredible scenery.  As it is a marine park, there are no homes or structures of any kind.  There was one boat tucked into a little cove at the opening to the bay, but the rest of the bay was empty.  We selected what appeared to be a great spot on the west side (strategically selected to capture the morning sun tomorrow).  As we approached the shore line and prepared to get the anchor down there was a black bear out getting its breakfast.  We apparently startled it because as soon as he saw us he made a mad scramble up cliff.  It was amazing how quickly he was able to move and how nimble he was to get up the steep cliff.  We will remember that should we encounter one on our many hikes.  Janet was able to get a couple of photos as he made his dash up.

It was a perfect day to just laze around.  The sun was out and we were mostly protected from the wind.  Paul made himself busy doing a few boat projects that he had been putting off.  Janet was busy down below.  Later in the afternoon, we motored over to shore in the dinghy to check out the trail head to Lake Unwin.  We decided to wait until tomorrow to take the hike.  It is said that the water is quite warm, so we may just get a chance to get a swim in.  On the way back we motored around the bay to get a closer look and were able to run through a narrow passage behind an island that dries at low tide.

Day 2 at Tenedos Bay broke with sunshine and warm weather, which held all day.  About mid morning s/v Thor could be seen motoring around the corner and dropped anchor in the cove off to our left.  Right behind them was a self built steel boat, s/v Emerald Steel.  We had met Julius and Susan on our hike to the lake at Grace Bay the day before.  They have been living on their boat and cruising the world since 1987.

Early afternoon we motored back to shore and took the short hike to Unwin Lake.  While Paul was feeling quite brave about taking a dip, when it came right down to it, he just couldn’t quite do it.  The water temp was adequate, but the air temp and breeze killed the idea.  His swim will have to wait for another time.  It was a beautiful lake with snow capped mountains popping up on the far side.  Fallen logs had blown up against the shoreline, making it difficult to approach the shore.  We saw several snakes flitting around in the grass and even a snake skin that had been shed.  On the way back to the dinghy we spotted a bear paw print in the mud right in the middle of the trail.  Clearly there are bears in these parts.  Janet, using her Indian tracking skills, said it had passed here earlier that day.

Safely back on Talos IV we invited Mark and Lori from s/v Thor over for happy hour.  It was great to compare notes on where each of us had been over the last several days.  Later, Janet fired up some fresh pasta with some sausage for dinner and again, we were dozing off a little later on for yet another restful sleep.

We are planning to depart for Prideaux Haven, a series of coves and inlets tomorrow morning.  

Black Bear making a mad scramble up the cliff.

Motoring to the shore.

Tenedos Bay, a beautiful anchorage.
Bear paw print in mud along trail to Lake Unwin.

Janet on logs along shoreline of Lake Unwin.
Lake Unwin with snow capped mountains in background.