Wednesday, August 26, 2009

#71 – Port Neville, Owen Bay, Pender Harbor, Vancouver to Anacortes

Our 2009 Alaska Cruise ended today as we docked the boat in Anacortes, Washington. The last leg began five days ago, when with Dick Squire as crew, Wild Blue coasted down the north and east side of Vancouver Island through Broughton and Johnstone Straits and into the calm waters of Port Neville.

The last leg: Port McNeil to Anacortes

Dick guides Wild Blue down Johnstone Strait

Neville is a 7-mile long bay with a small settlement at it's entrance. We anchored the Wild Blue about 1 and ½ miles inside. The wind was up and the skies cloudy but the anchor held.

Looking deep into Port Neville after the wind died.

One of the primary goals on the last leg is to empty the freezer of frozen seafood. Tonight we had halibut with garlic, lemon, Pappys and capers lightly fried in olive oil. Quite tasty per Chef Alex!

On the 23rd we left Port Neville continuing down Johnstone Strait. Just five miles after turning south into Discovery Passage, we turned left into Okisollo Channel, over the top of Okis Islands, avoiding Lower Rapids, then into Owen Bay on Sonora Island for the night. Another calm anchorage has a few year round inhabitant and lots of summer cottages. Ashore after a 2 mil hike, we met a full-time resident who had just returned from fishing and had caught four salmon, each of a different specie! After leftover halibut sandwiches for lunch, that night we had homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

Owen Bay sunset.

On the 24th we exited Owen Bay at 6AM to get the favorable current for the 7+ hour run to Pender Harbor. We want to make Vancouver by the 25th to meet up with Ron and Bonnie on Z-Worthy. This day's long run to Pender puts us just one day away.

Within 10 minutes we are roaring south at 16 knots thanks to the racing current in Upper Rapids. The boat felt pretty stable which gave us the confidence for Surge Narrows coming up in 30 minutes. At the Narrows the water pushed us through with lots of swirls and torrents requiring us to hand steer the boat. Although only 200 feet across at the Narrows, our speed pushed up to just 14 knots.

We passed below Read, Marina, Cortes and Harwood Islands and over the top of Texada Island. Then down the east side of Texada into Pender Harbor. It seemed a longer day when we pulled into Garden Bay inside Pender, about 45 miles north of Vancouver at 2PM. The Garden Bay Pub staff greeted us with glee as times have been a bit slow this year. Hamburgers in the Pub meant no on-board seafood dish, and our freezer still needs emptying.

On the 25th we left Pender with south winds and light rain. Chop and waves splashed across over the boat until we reached Bowen Island and the weather calmed. We entered False Creek for Quayside Marina in Yale Town docking Wild Blue near Z-Worthy and relaxed with a couple Sleeman Honey Brown Lagers. We were soon joined by Barry Ruff a single-handed sailor and old friend of Dick's. Later Bonnie and Ron joined us and we dined at Fishtrap in Vancouver's Yale Town.

It was another early start from Vancouver as Wild Blue headed out for the last day of the 2009 Alaska Cruise. At 6AM the skies and seas were calm. We dodged about ten empty cargo and bulk carrier ships anchored just offshore and headed south along BC's west coast for the International Border.

Looking out under Vancouver's Burrard Bridge on our last day of the 2009 Alaska Cruise.

About 5 miles before the US-Canadian Border near the Tsawwassen Ferry port, we come across hundreds of crab pots and spend a good time dodging their floats. Just at the border off Point Roberts the mass of crab floats ended and we've entered the United States. Dick immediately lowered the Canadian courtesy flag and now only the Flag of USA
flutters aboard.

We called ahead and made arrangements for US Customs inspection at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes. After an easy Customs experience we are officially home. We the then motored the boat to it's winter home in Skyline Marina on the other side of Anacortes.

It been another great summer of cruising. Thanks for joining us.


  1. Thanks for sharing your 2009 Alaskan cruise with us unfortunate land bound guys....I look forward to your next cruise with great anticpation...I envy you the great fishing....How did your Gel-coat stand up to the Ice-Breaking early in your cruise? All the best from Noel in Kiwiland

  2. Hi Noel:

    Thanks for your comment.

    Our "ice-breaking" in January 2009 caused the bottom paint to erode away leaving the primer coat for the first 2 feet from the bow. We had previously scheduled a bottom job for after that cruise.

    In Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm this year we were careful to avoid berg contact while moving. The few times we needed to push ice, we slowed to a stop, and very slowly moved through the ice which slid down the sides of the hull. We had no Gel-coat dings above the waterline, but can't confirm there are none below.

    Earlier in the cruise we hit a log which disabled the starboard sensor of our forward looking sonar. The diver said there was no Gel-coat
    damage from that.


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