After traps and anchor are pulled, we slowly enter the shallow western exit channel from Dry Pass, concentrating to keep center channel with red markers on our right side. “Securite Securite Securite, this is the 60-foot motor vessel Wild Blue westbound exiting Dry Pass for El Capitan Entrance”. This message is hailed over the VHF radio to alert oncoming traffic. We listen for a response, and receive a call back from Yachette, but he is further east, behind us. As no other call is received, we continue. The chart notes “6 FEET APR 2005” which is scary until you realize the tide is now +5 feet and rising. The rising tide brings with it the tidal current, which works against our forward progress. We 're doing turns for 6 knots, but the GPS says says we're making just 3.5 across the bottom. It's slow going.
The relatively low tide exposes a small beach along the sides of the channel, making it skinnier looking. There is only room for one-way traffic, no passing, or U-turning. This is where a Securite call on the VHF Radio quite useful. We always send a Securite call in these situations, but some don't. Later we heard radio traffic between Coastal Messenger and Yachette as both met somewhere, mid-channel. One had to stop, reverse engine, and back out, which could have been avoided if either had made a Securite call prior to entering the channel.
We're almost free of El Capitan Passage, the western entrance/exit is just beyond the small island in the middle of the picture.
We reach Shakan Strait and heat it up to 9 knots. We need to make Hole-in-the-Wall #2 while the tide is still rising. When Wild Blue motors at 9 knots, it generates a huge wake, rolling anything as it passes. Birds, seals, logs and kelp all get rustled by our wake. As we approach and pass a sleeping sea otter, he continues snoring and dreaming and is undisturbed by our wake.
We eventually arrived at Hole-in-the-Wall #2 on Prince of Wales Island's northwest shore. The entrance is narrow, shallow, has three well-marked rocks, and is about ½ mile long. The tide was high so the depth was suffient and we easily made it through the narrows to a wonderful bay. We set a trap just outside the entrance and one near a freshwater creek, each baited with fresh chicken legs, in hopes of interesting a few crabs.
Later in the day, we take a dinghy tour and land onshore. The Wild Blue exploration team, including a biologist and a forestry expert, hike the shoreline and coastal forest. Bones from recent deer kills and bear tracks are discovered and the flora is examined. The team deems the area healthy wilderness, without need of intervention.