Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Whale of a Day

Our departure this morning was delayed by several hours as fog moved in and settled just as we were preparing to get underway. It was close to noon before we could pull anchor and motor out. The route from the Bunsby Islands to Kyuquot Sound would take us through the Barrier Islands, a wide spread group of islets that lay off shore for a good 15 miles or more along the coast. All of the guide books and the Canadian Sailing Directions stress that you must exercise caution transiting the area to avoid all of the obstacles. There was an inside shorter route, but it was not recommended in reduced visibility or rough conditions. And a more conservative route that takes you to the outside, but is much longer and exposed to potentially higher winds and ocean swell. It was a calm day with winds only at about 4-5 knots and the swell was predicted to be around 1 meter. Given that, we opted for the conservative route and in the end our choice paid off with many whale sightings throughout the day.

The first was a group of humpbacks making their way through the Barrier Islands on their way north. They were off about half a mile or so, but still very thrilling to see. And then, as we approached the entrance to Kyuquot Sound, there were two humpbacks right in the middle almost blocking our way into the sound. We diverted our course to make our way around them. They must have been feeding because they were continuously breaching and diving showing us their tail flukes as they went under. At one point, one of the whales breached just to the forward beam of the boat. Once past these bad boys, we entered the sound and a mile or so up another humpback surfaced just to our beam and was lazily swimming along on the surface going the same direction as us. We did our best to keep our distance and even went to neutral for a while. Eventually the whale went under and that was the last we saw of it. Janet snapped a few photos, so when we have wifi, we'll post them along with a few others.

We worked our way further into the sound to Dixie Cove where we dropped anchor for the night. The cove is accessed through a narrow channel and then there is an outer and an inner cove. We had our choice as there were no other boats and opted for the inner cove. Paul put a crab pot down and we settled in for the night.

A humpback whale breached just off our port bow.
Way cool!

This guy popped up on or starboard side and just followed
alongside for a few minutes before diving down.

When they blow, there's quite a load hiss noise,
especially when their so close.

We had to divert our course and manuver around
these guys who were blocking the entrance to
the sound.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bunsby Islands

We are now in the Bunsby Islands, a Provincial Marine Park. It's an amazing cluster of islands just off shore from Vancouver Island. Our run over here from Columbia Cove took us through a minefield of islets, rocks and underwater reefs. We had yet another sighting of Humpback Whales cruising by on their way north.

Yesterday, we took the hike from Columbia Cove across the Jackobson Peninsula through an old growth forest to the beach on the far side. Along the way we munched on huckleberries hanging from the branches and ready for our enjoyment. The beach was incredible, warm and a totally unexpected delight. It was at least a mile long with soft white sand. The shore above the beach was riddled with driftwood and flotsam washed up from the many storms that must battered the shoreline during the winter months. We kept our eye out for Japanese tsunami debris, but saw nothing but fishing floats, presumably from local fishing boats, plastic bottles and the like. We were the only ones there, making it feel very remote and isolated. Later in the day, we took the kayaks out for a jaunt around the cove. The water is fairly clear with visibility down a good 10-15 feet. We saw what was left of a coast guard cutter that had gone aground several years ago. It was amazing how the sea had literally bent and crumpled the all metal vessel into nothing but a pile of twisted metal and shards.

Once reaching the Bunsby Islands earlier today and getting the anchor set, we took the dinghy out for a bit of exploration around the islands. Among other sights, we saw numerous sea otters. Apparently they are one of the few success stories of a re-population of a nearly extinct species along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Their numbers are now in the 2,700 range along this coastline. Once back on Talos IV, we spent the late afternoon watching the local bald eagles hunt for fish in the cove. Janet cooked up a crab fettuccini dinner with some fresh crab that the crew from s/v Ocean Psalm gave us as we were departing Columbia Cove. It was a delicious way to wrap up another great day.

Tomorrow, we plan to head out to Kyuquot Sound, about 10 miles further south. We will likely hang there for a couple of days and check out a couple of different anchorages.

Talos IV at anchor in Scow Bay, Bunsby Islands.

Eagles nest just outside Scow Bay.

Paul looking a bit pre-historic on the hike to the
beach at Columbia Cove.

Janet reflected in the memorial to an CF-18 Hornet
pilot who lost his life attempting to assist
a fishing boat caught out in a storm.

Janet on the driftwood strewn beach.

We found lots and lots of floatsam on the beach, but
nothing from the Japanese tsunami.

Paul on the beach, a short hike through old growth
forest from Columbia Cove.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Puffin around Brooks Peninsula

We woke this morning and took a walk down the boardwalk around Winter Harbour. The board walk is the main "avenue" thru town. There are really no paved roads, the road from Port Hardy to Winter Harbour is a dirt logging road. According to a local that we had conversation with, the Dept of Transportation maintains the boardwalk, since they built it way back when….and therefore are required to keep it functioning. The community of Winter Harbour is moving away from commercial fishing and becoming more of a "sportsman's paradise" with superb fishing (we saw beautiful fish coming off the boats), fishing lodges and cottages for the summer season. I hope they succeed in maintaining their community. The man at the fuel dock told us they had humpbacks this winter coming into the harbor and feeding just off the docks. When we get wifi we will post some photos of the boardwalk, etc. Having returned from our walk we reviewed the weather and made the decision to head out to get around Brooks Peninsula. The decision to leave Winter Harbour was based on flat seas, little to no wind and a strong blow coming over the next few days. We ended up departing the dock around 11:30 am. We made a successful rounding of Brooks Peninsula arriving in Columbia Cove at 7PM this evening. It was a long run (42nm) and we had a few highlights (well, interesting situations…) First of all, the Canadian Pilot describes the waters off Brooks as some of the most hostile on the west coast. The peninsula is stuck out from the coastline, jutting almost 5 nm into the pacific. There is a shelf that rises steeply off shore from this land mass. The two combine to create dangerous conditions for mariners. We were nervous at having to make this transition as we had heard it could be challenging. The weather we had this afternoon was the most perfect we could have hoped for. Seas were flat with 1-1.5 meter swell. Wind 5-7 kts. Fog had lifted and visibility was 5-7 nm. As we headed around the point of Solander Island we saw our first Puffins! They were bobbing in the swell. The fog began to settle in on the back side of Solander Island, but the visibility was still 1-2 nm. We have been navigating using charts, GPS and Radar. The chart plotting with lats and longs every 15 minutes has been fun and keeps us sharp on skills. While we were commenting on the fog settling in our GPS failed. Why do these things happen at the most challenging moments? I am very thankful for the navigation class and the skills practiced in our offshore class taught by Craig Walker at "Tradewinds Sailing". I am also glad we have been doing the navigation on the paper chart. We did have a hand held GPS which we powered up and used for a while. Paul rebooted the main GPS awhile later and it seemed accurate. Tonight we are at anchor in Columbia Cove. It is tucked behind Brooks Peninsula and seems well protected. Tomorrow we hope to do some beach combing and exploring.

Janet enjoying a stroll along the boardwalk at
Winter Harbor.

Paul on the Winter Harbor boardwalk.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crossing the Bar and Rounding the Cape

We awoke this morning at 4:00am to get the weather report via SSB. It sounded good and after a hot breakfast we pulled anchor and headed toward Nawhitti Bar. There were two other sailboats heading out ahead of us as we departed. The fog had settled in and we were in the soup before leaving Bull Harbour. We decided to catch the bar on the last hour of the flood, hoping for flatter seas and little wind. The strategy worked well for us and the bar was basically a flat run, a non event. This was the first challenge of the day and we felt a huge sense of relief leaving it behind. The next challenge was the rounding of the cape. Cape Scott can be nasty with different currents and heavy seas meeting at the western most tip of the Vancouver Island. The books that discuss rounding Cape Scott state "if you find yourself in trouble off Cape Scott, you are in trouble…" The cape has sunk and capsized substantial vessels per Waggoner Cruising Guide. The Canadian Pilot describes the cape as producing heavy seas and overfalls, dangerous to small craft. It alerts mariners that heavy seas may seemingly emerge from nowhere with the collision of currents. We set our course for the cape with fog and furry crew our only company. It took 3 hours from crossing the bar to rounding Cape Scott. We never saw the cape nor did we experience any heavy seas except for some confused wave and swell for about 6NM directly off the tip. After clearing the cape the swell settled into a NW pattern, 1 meter and very little wind. We had a large pod of Orcas pass to starboard headed north. The dorsal fins were like sabers slicing above the water. They were magnificent! The fog stayed with us until we entered Winter Harbour. The other two sailboats came out of the fog like ghost ships as we approached Quatsino Bay. This was a long, long day with 63NM. We are spending tonight at a government dock which so far has been an interesting experience. We have met several sailors at the dock attempting circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. It is an eclectic grouping of characters. We are all committed to heading south at this point, as we can't go back now. We will probably anchor out tomorrow…..

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cape Scott.....Not Today!

We woke at 3:30 AM this morning to pounding rain on the deck of the boat.  Undaunted, we got up, dressed and made a pot of coffee.  We needed to be fully coherent to listen to the 4:00 AM weather update on weather radio.  The cats thought it was wonderful that we were up in the middle of the night and wanted to play, but we had to put them off so that we could take care of business.  To our dismay things had changed for the worse with near gale force winds forcasted to build from the northwest by early afternoon.  It was a difficult decision, but we made the no go decision after discussing our options.  We both went back to bed and didn't wake until about 8:00 AM when water dripping from the condensation forming on the hatch cover was hitting me in the face.

We are now back in Port Hardy.  Looking at the extended forecast, it looks as if Thursday will be the first break in the weather.  If that holds true, we'll make another run to Bull Harbor on Wednesday for a run around the north end of Vancouver Island on Thursday early AM.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bull Harbor

We arrived in Bull Harbor late this morning after a great run up Goletas Channel from Port Hardy. We left early to take advantage of the ebb current running northwest at about 1.5 knots, enabling us to get about 7.3 knots over ground all the way up. Winds were mostly on our beam and while there were times when it pipe up to about 15 knots, it was all over the place, so we decided to not sail. Bull Harbor is our northern most point before heading south and east along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Along the way, we spotted two bears along the shoreline. It was low tide, so they were working their way along the waterline feeding on whatever bears feed on. These were our first bear sightings this year. By this time last year, we had already seen a half dozen bear or more, so a way different experience this year.

As we approached Bull Harbor we began to feel the first real ocean swell of the journey so far. We could see Cape Sutil and Nahwitti Bar just beyond the entrance to the harbor. Nawhitti marks the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the waters of the inside passage. The ocean swells from the northwest pile up behind the bar and can form some nasty, steep waves when the current is ebbing and especially when there is wind opposing the current. The Canadian Sailing Directions recommends that you cross the bar at slack only when the waters are generally fairly calm.

Our plan, weather permitting, is to leave our anchorage here in Bull Harbor an hour or two after the high water slack tomorrow morning, which occurs at about 3:15 AM. Rather than going straight across the bar, we will take an alternate route that follows closely along the Vancouver Island shoreline. The route is protected by the Tatnall Reefs and allows you to sneak around the bar, avoiding any nastiness, we hope. Once past that, we will run almost due west along the northern coastline to Cape Scott and then around and then southeast to Quatsino Sound. Once past the cape, we should have the ocean swell and the northwest wind on our rear quarter making for a smooth run to our anchorage. In total, it is about a 50 mile run. Right now, the weather looks good. There is no fog in the forecast and winds are predicted to be light overnight, increasing to northwest 10 - 15 knots in the morning and then northwest 15 - 25 in the afternoon. We also expect the sea conditions (combined swell and wind wave) to be about 1 meter (roughly 3 feet). A sea state of 2 meters or so would be a no go, as it could create some rather rough conditions rounding the cape. We will continue to monitor the weather and sea state for any changes.

We'll hang out on the boat here in Bull Harbor today. We are boat bound as we've already deflated and rolled up the dinghy and kayaks in anticipation of tomorrows run around the north end of the island. Most of the day will be consumed with pouring over the charts and guide books and making sure that we've covered all our bases for our venture out into the Pacific Ocean. This is a first for us, so there is much anxiety mixed with excitement.

Sun rise looking back toward Port Hardy as
we ran up Goletas Channel.

Janet caught in the act of preparing our mid-morning
cinnamon rolls.

Sea stacks marking the entrance to Bull Harbor.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blunden Harbor to Port Hardy

We spent 2 nights in Blunden waiting for the weather to settle. On Wednesday the winds were projected to drop off to NW 10-15 and early morning fog was expected. We headed out and had beautiful sailing on a close reach with minimal course adjustment all the way to Port Hardy. No fog. It took a little over 2 hours for the crossing of Queen Charlotte Strait. Winds were 15-20kts. Seas 2 ft swell. Just off Port Hardy a Humpback Whale breached, only 100 yards to our starboard bow. What a greeting! We are at the “Fisherman’s Wharf” in port for the next few days. We need to provision for the west coast, refuel, do laundry and take care of any maintenance items before the next leg of our adventure. We are awaiting word from Bill and Claudia regarding the status of their repairs. We now have wifi available at the local coffee shop and cell service for a few days.  

Furry Crew Update

For those wondering about our furry crew, Tia and Louie, I thought I’d post a quick update with a few photos.  As you may have gathered from some of our previous posts, both cats are adapting quite well to life on the boat.  Both seem to be very comfortable with the fact that their home is afloat and surrounded by water.  They love to sit in the gunnels and watch the water and various things float by.  Louie has taken to lying in the kayaks when they are strapped to the safety lines.  When the sun hits them, it makes for a nice cozy and soft place to catch a cat nap that’s out of the wind.  Smart boy!  Tia, on the other hand is much more conservative, spending most of her time in the safety of the cockpit.  She does venture out to the foredeck and rolls around on the warm sunny deck from time to time.

There are a few things, however, that have proven to be problematic.  First, Tia will climb into the hatch sun screens.  It seems a wonderful place for a nice comfy nap.  What she doesn’t realize is that there are only four small snaps holding the screen in place.  They certainly were not intended to support the weight of a 20 pound cat.  In fact, just tonight when I went to get her out of there, she fell through to the cabin floor below.  Fortunately she narrowly missed hitting the table edge below and as cats do, landed on her feet uninjured.  Louie loves to jump up on top of the solar panels.  The least concern is that he blocks the sun and reduces our solar output (just kidding), but of most concern is that they are slanted to the side of the boat and are somewhat slippery.  He doesn’t realize that he is taking a big risk of going overboard.  And just tonight, I went up to look for the boy and he was on the end of the boom which had been extended way out over the water to allow the solar panel to get a full view of the sun.  We have reached the conclusion that he can not be on deck without supervision.  We expect that the next stunt will be climbing the mast.

Tia finds comfort among the pile of stuff in the
quarter berth while underway and heeled.

Louie and Tia hanging out on deck while at anchor.
Louie dreaming of his next kayak adventure.

Tia dreaming of her next meal.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Napier Bay and Blunden Harbour

We tried a new anchorage last night at the head of Tracey Harbour off Wells Passage. This protected bay was great except for the logging operation that had moved in last year. The process of unloading logs from trucks, stacking them and then pushing them into the water was in fact educational. The operation was actually pretty quiet and did not disrupt our enjoyment of the protected cove. The work crew is living on a fairly large vessel (think commercial off shore fishing size ship) and seemed to bed down early. I was able to take the kayak out later in the evening and do some exploring while Paul hung out on Talos IV. I discovered a wrecked vessel in the little bay behind us and saw remnants of floating homes from years ago. I continue to seek out bear sightings during morning and evening hours while in the kayak. So far I have had no sightings. Paul set a crab trap but came up empty this morning. Around 9:30am we departed in fog heading out Wells Passage toward Blunden Harbour. The fog started to clear as we left Wells Passage and headed into Queen Charlotte Strait. We sailed most of the way with NW winds building from 10kt to over 30kts later in the afternoon. We worked against an opposing tide to wind later in the day which produced building seas and slow progress. We thought we would make Blunden prior to the tidal change, but with the winds on our nose we needed to fall off and make several tacks to our destination. Talos IV handled it all in stride. We were doubled reefed by the time we arrived in Blunden, tired and in need of some food. The new sails were great and the boat seems well balanced with the new canvas. We are planning to stay here a few nights and then head to Port Hardy. I would like to make the passage across the strait with calmer conditions which are due to settle in a few days. Meanwhile, Bill and Claudia on s/v Sabbatical have diverted to Port McNeill for some minor repairs of their windlass. We will hopefully link up with them soon while in Port Hardy. We advised them by SSB sail mail that we can join them in Port McNeill if they need additional help. Having the ability to communicate this way has been great as there has been no wifi or cell service since Kwatsi Bay.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Drury Inlet Sunderland Bay

We decided to stop by Sullivan Bay Marina this morning to get some provisions and have lunch at their café. The lunch was good and we were able to restock on some things. They did not have water or wifi, so the stop over was quick. We made way to Drury Inlet in time to catch the slack. Going up the inlet requires a transition thru Stuart Narrows, a narrow, rock strewn passage which has a fast running current. 7 - 8 kts on the flood or ebb is the norm. The passage thru was no problem. Paul had an idea to try a new anchorage tonight but when we checked it out we were surprised to find a trawler in this one boat hole. Oh well…we moved on up to the head of the inlet known as Sunderland Bay. I went forward to deploy the anchor in what seemed to be a routine situation. The depths were 15 - 20ft, muddy bottom and reported good holding. I set up to deploy enough chain for a 10 foot tidal swing and 4:1 scope due to windy conditions. The anchor set readily and Paul proceeded testing the set under load. The anchor was holding steady and all of a sudden I felt a pop and the rig stated plowing. DANG! Increasing the scope did not help. When I pulled up the set I saw we had snagged a log. It wasn't terribly big, about the size of a large boat fender. It was impaled on our anchor with other debris. After a bit of chain dunking it finally fell off. I am really glad we test our anchor set for as long as we do and at a good RPM. The next anchor drop went as planned and we are happily settled for the night.

Janet out on bear patrol in her kayak.

The crab man returns empty handed.

Morning light in Sunderland Bay.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Claydon Bay

We had a wonderful time in MacKenzie Sound. It was one of the more peaceful anchorages yet. We were the only boat there with fabulous views out into the sound and the sheer rock walls on the far side. We took our kayaks out for a paddle around the bay. Janet spied a small fury animal onshore that would occasionally drop into the water and then back on to shore as it made its way along. A river otter perhaps, we're not sure. We also went on a dinghy excursion to check out the area, always a fun activity for a warm sunny afternoon.

After sleeping in this morning, Paul rowed the dinghy out to check the crab pot. It was our lucky day, with two very nice sized dungeness crab just waiting for our afternoon happy hour. After the slaughter and boiling of our catch, we pulled anchor and motored out of the sound through Kenneth Passage.

It was only a short 8 mile run over to Claydon Bay; aka Slowskie Harbor, named by us. We call it Slowskie because last year there was a couple on a rather large motor vessel who would motor out each morning to the small island at the entrance to the harbor to let their dog do its thing. It was painful to watch because the dog would always be prancing around like it really had to go and just couldn't wait for the dinghy to reach shore so that he could relieve himself. The couple, who we named the Slowskies would motor by at the absolute slowest speed that the dinghy would go. We really felt sorry for the little dog, but they eventually would reach the island and the dog would jump off and take care of business. The return trip to their boat was just as painfully slow, but the dog would be riding up on the bow quite proud of himself.

We found a great spot to drop the hook. At about the same time, the sun was busting through the cloud cover for what is turning out to be yet another mid 60's plus day. Tonight we will feast on the crab for happy hour and then BBQ some steaks for dinner. What could be better than that?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MacKenzie Sound

We are now in MacKenzie Sound. It is almost noon. We motored a short distance from Turnbull Cove at the head of Grappler Sound, passing through Kenneth Passage to arrive at our anchorage in Burly Bay just outside Hopetown Passage. We are preparing to do a little kayak paddle around the area to check it out.

The last two nights we were in Turnbull Cove. The highlight, besides the absolutely wonderful sunny weather in the mid 70's was our hike up and over the hill to a fairly large lake for a swim. Yes, I said swim. The water temp was in the mid 60's, so a bit refreshing, but it was wonderful. Paul wore his suit, but Janet went aunatural (mostly because she didn't come prepared). We had a great time. The fury crew mostly hung out on deck soaking up the warm sunshine.

We plan to be here for just the night before heading to Claydon Bay. We'll stop along the way at Sullivan Bay Marina for a few essentials first. After that, we'll duck into Drury Inlet. We had a great time up there last year. Eventually, we'll head out into Queen Charlotte Strait and up to Blunden Harbor. From there, we'll head across the strait to Port Hardy, hoping to arrive there on the afternoon of July 20. The plan is to spend a couple of nights preparing for our run up and around Cape Scott. Our window of opportunity based on currents opens of July 23 and closes on July 26. Weather permitting; we'll make the run around the north end of Vancouver Island, where we'll begin our sail south. We plan to arrive in Port Angeles, WA on or around August 23, where we will pickup our friend JP on August 25. That will give us a few days to get ready for our passage down the Washington and Oregon coast to San Francisco.

The swimming hole at Turnbull Bay.

Paul all cleaned up after his dip in the lake.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Waddington to Moore Bay

Since arriving in "The Broughtons" we have been telling boaters and marina operators that we are looking for Bill and Claudia on "Sabbatical". We advised Anka at Kwatsi Bay what our anchoring plans might be over the next several days. We discussed our plans to go to Waddington with a fisherman entering Lady Boot as we were leaving. He said he would keep an eye out for Sabbatical as well.

As dusk approached over Waddington we looked up and there was Bill and Claudia coming into the cove! They had been given our suspected location by Anka at Kwatsi Bay. When they arrived at Lady Boot the fisherman gave them exact directions on how to proceed to Waddington. He apparently offered to sound them thru a narrow channel en route to Waddington but they had declined the offer. Nice people up here in the NW.

We finished out our evening with Bill and Claudia planning the next several weeks. Bill and Claudia helped us eat the last of our crab before we called it a night.

This morning Claudia gave me a lesson on the finer points of paddling in exchange for some Starbuck's ground coffee. Paul went over to Sabbatical to help Bill secure some wiring to the alternator. We departed around noon and had a great sail with 15-18 kts of wind thru Cramer Passage, rounding Baker Island, up Penphrase Passage to Kingcome Inlet where we dropped the sails. We are anchored now at Moore Bay behind Thief Island. The weather was still warm enough when we arrived to shower on deck and enjoy a relaxed evening. We are the only ones here, and we haven't seen another boat since we entered Kingcome Inlet. Tomorrow morning we will dinghy across the bay and transit the very shallow channel that feeds into Shawl Bay. Shawl Bay has a small marina, bakery and a little art gallery. Where we go from there will need to be decided later…..

s/v Sabbatical arrives in Waddington Bay.

Louie enjoying an all over cat massage in Moore Bay.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

East of Eden to Waddington Bay

Staying in the "toe" of Lady Boot was so comfortable that we hunkered down for two nights. Paul set the crab trap at a different location and after a pancake breakfast he went to see how he did. I heard "SCORE!!!" and saw 4 Dungeness and a red crab. We measured and had to throw one back due to size. All the rest were keepers. One was very aggressive as he skittled across deck while Paul wasn't looking. Paul in his bare feet was vulnerable to attack. I arrived just in time with cleaver and chop block. We make a pretty good team! We pulled anchor after a bit and sailed out Fife Channel with 12 kts of wind. It was great fun. So far we have only seen 2 or 3 boats in the past several days. We are now at Waddington Bay and there are 3 sail boats and a few power boats. We have put ourselves in our favorite spot from last year. Hopefully we can pick up some more crab tonight. We are still trying to connect with Bill and Claudia.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

East of Eden

We are in Lady Boot Cove on Eden Island in the Broughton's. It is called Lady Boot because it's shaped like a boot with a heel and a toe. We are in the toe. The locals call it East of Eden and it is easy to understand why. The cove lies on the east end of the island and is about as close to paradise as one can imagine for these parts. We are the only boat here and we haven't seen any other boats since late yesterday. The sun is out and temps are approaching the 70 degree mark, almost unheard of in this area. The best part is that the forecast is more of the same for the next four or five days.

Paul put a crab pot out yesterday afternoon, but we came up empty this morning with the exception of a star fish trying to catch a free ride. It is now almost 11 AM and we haven't even made up our mind about where we are off to today. We are considering Waddington Cove, a sweet little anchorage nestled into a cluster of islands called the Fox Group along Retreat Passage. We were there last year and it was a great spot for exploring with the dinghy. We have kayaks this year, so all the better.

We are still looking to connect with Janet's brother Bill. He should be in the area, so we'll try to hail him on the VHF.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Port Harvey Doesn’t Disappoint

We arrived in Port Harvey after a long day of rain, cool temps and poor visibility. I believe we logged 53nm. We had several discussions about ducking into Port Neville or pushing on and finally decided that it was reasonable to push forward as the weather was holding and we had plenty of daylight left. The Strait was about as calm as could be.

We have been into Port Harvey twice and had an idea of the perfect spot for anchor. We were very lucky as we rounded the corner to find “our spot” open and waiting for us. The anchor set well and Paul had a crab trap out within a few minutes of arrival. We made a quick meal and evaluated our tides for transit thru Chatham Channel. Paul figured our departure time and we went to bed by 8:30….Hey, it was a long, long day.

The next morning we had over slept and were a bit rushed to get the crab trap in, cook up a big Dungeness and get the boat to Chatham Channel for slack. Chatham is a fun channel to work thru as it is very narrow and requires alignment of bow and stern against range markers on opposing shorelines approximately ¾ mile apart. With proper alignment you will not run aground. This time thru Paul took the helm and watched the bow alignment. I took the stern and watched the range marker behind. We were happy that our timing to the slack was perfect…but regretted that we did not get to stop by the dock at Port Hardy and say hello to George. George makes the best cinnamon rolls we have found and we had really looked forward to stocking up for the next several days.

Once thru Chatham Channel we ducked thru The Blow Hole, a shallow narrow cut that places you in Lagoon Cove off East Cracroft. We were not satisfied with the holding for anchoring so went around the island to the next inlet. We found it deserted, roomy and with very good holding. The chart does not give this spot a name, but Paul said he thought it might be known as Bones Bay. We had a 16 foot tidal swing which was fun to watch and had an opportunity to do some shore exploring. The sun came out for happy hour as we had our daily beer and feasted on fresh crab. This is the “Broughton Experience” I remembered and had been looking forward to the past 2 weeks.

We are now in Kwatsi Bay, a short 4 hour motor (there was no wind) from our cozy little anchorage.  This is the first marina we've been in since Lund, yes, that means showers, water and wifi.  The owners are hosting a 4th of July BBQ and potluck.  It should be fun.

We stopped here last year, but it was so rainy and cold that we could hardly see the beautiful and majestic mountains surrounding the bay.  It is an amazing place.  There is a waterfall out back behind the marina (it would be very cool to own your own waterfall).

Tomorrow we are off to the heart of the Broughtons.  We plan a stop at Pierres Marina in Echo Bay for fuel and a few groceries and then we'll seek out an anchorage in one of the many small coves nearby.

Paul about ready to feast on crab caught
this morning in Port Harvey.
Thompson Sound (Janet's name sake) as we motored
by in Tribune Channel.
Paul at the waterfall behind the marina
at Kwatsi Bay.
Janet enjoying the first bit of sunshine that we've
seen for several days.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Johnstone Strait

It is 11:30 AM on Monday morning, July 2. We are motoring up Johnstone Strait as I write this blog entry. Janet is at the helm and there is a steady rain outside with a light breeze on our stern. Earlier this morning, we awoke early to transit the Upper and Lower Rapids leading in to Hoskyn Channel (again, all of the rapids must be transited at slack and require careful analysis of the tide and current tables). Once thru the rapids, we rode a 2 knot ebb current out to Discovery Passage and worked our way around Chatam Point and into Johnstone Strait. The current is shifting around, sometimes on our stern giving us a good push and other times on our bow, slowing us considerably.

Our plan is to make it to Port Harvey by sometime later today (ETA is 5:30 PM). We will anchor out, but there is a small marina and store there. Last year we dropped a crab pot down off the back of the boat and had about four dungeness crab the following morning. We are hoping to do the same this time around.

Since the last post, we hauled anchor at Heriot Bay and made our way up Hoskyn Channel to transit Surge Narrows on the afternoon turn. Once through the narrows, we passed through Tentacle Channel into the Octopus Island Group and spent the night at anchor in preparation for today's passage.

Chatham Point Light House marks the south east end of
Johnstone Strait and the northern end of
Discovery Passage.

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