Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#31 Klaskish Basin

On Wednesday, we awoke to bright sunshine, the first time in several weeks! At 7AM we pulled the hook and headed back out into the ocean for Klaskish Basin, a 4-hour cruise. The sea today wasn't too bumpy, all interior objects stayed in place. Before entering the anchorage, we set the prawn trap in what looked like a deep hole.

Klaskish Basin is basically landlocked, except for it's narrow entrance. This well-protected anchorage keeps out all brisk winds. It's location is convenient for an early morning departure for rounding Brooks Peninsula.

The entrance to Klaskish Basin is skinny!

We launched the tender and explored Klaskish River, at the head of the basin. Sorry, no bears.

The prawn trap yielded no prawns. However, this slimy creature shimmied into the bait bag. Not so sure this guy tastes as good as prawns. Alex finally convinced Dick that it would NOT be a tasty dinner!

Brooks Peninsula is considered by some to be the Cape Horn of the Pacific. Its winds and seas can be ferocious. We'll leave early for the 4-hour run around Cape Scott and Brooks Peninsula to the small community of Kyuquot, a community reported to have dining options. At last something besides Alex's wieners and beans!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#30 Port Alice and Julian Cove

Each evening at 5PM Alex uses his ham radio to check into the BC Boaters Net. The Net is a network of ham radio operators on boats up and down Vancouver island: from Victoria and Vancouver in the south, to the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, covering some 600 miles of coastline. These boaters use the net to share information and weather. During last night's Net check-in, Alex happened to mention the Wild Blue was headed to Coal Harbour, so it could taxi it to Port Hardy to retrieve the water pump ordered last week. Hearing that, the Net controller, a man named David from nearby Port Alice, volunteered to drive us to Port Hardy.

So Tuesday, instead of Coal Harbour, we detoured to Port Alice to meet David and Louise, two retired folks who live year round in this small town of 800 persons. After a short 90 minute cruise, we pulled into the Port Alice Yacht Club. The Club had no available space at the dock, so we tied to the breakwater, a floating breakwater made up of large logs chained to the ocean floor.

Wild Blue tied to log breakwater at the Port Alice Yacht Club.

Mooring was easy! Just hook up to the steel loops.

The Port Alice Yacht Club sits just in front of the town.

Once safely moored, it was our job to get ashore. We quickly launched the tender and motored over to a dinghy dock meeting David and Louise. These two Canadians were a kick! Dick and Alex climbed in a new Ford Taurus crossover for a 20-mile ride to Port Hardy. While there we shopped, picked up two packages, and provisioned with more groceries including a fresh supply of Lake Smelt.

David and Louise were gracious hosts treating us to a grand tour of Port Hardy, Coal Harbour and Port Alice. We learned about the Port Alice pulp mill where David worked for 20+ years. The four of us dined a the local favorite cafe and enjoyed great conversations. Dick surreptitiously picked up the table check and treated us.

Tug with empty log barge after dumping it's logs at the Port Alice pulp mill.

After a busy day of "land cruising" David delivered back to PAYC. Once back aboard, we motored up Neroutsos Inlet to Julian Cove for the night.

Julian Cove is another peaceful and beautiful anchorage.

Monday, June 28, 2010

#29 Winter Harbour and Pamphlet Cove

On Monday, once again it was the 6AM departure plan for the Wild Blue crew. The wind was blowing at 10 knots from the southeast as expected and once outside Sea Otter Cove the seas were 3 to 5 feet on the nose causing the boat to pitch fore and aft. Dick had secured the salon putting the coffee pot, knives and knife block, Pat's plants, kitchen utensils and the unwashed morning dishes into the sink to keep them in place. We easily endured Wild Blue's motions and once around Busby Rock, the seas began to subside. After another hour we approached the entrance to Quatsino Sound turning left at Cape Parkins and rounding Kains Island.

Kains Island with light station announces the entrance to Quatsino Sound.

It was just another 40 Minutes to the fishing community of Winter Harbour. Dick, who has been suffering with Alex's limited cooking skills, was eager to treat the crew to lunch at the local cafe. After securing Wild Blue to a float at Winter Harbour and with empty stomachs, we meandered ashore through the tiny town in search of a fresh cooked meal. After a short but futile search we came across the Canada Post mistress and inquired about the towns dining out options. The post woman, pondered this question and responded that 13 years ago there was a cafe. Oh boy!

Winter Harbour: a fishing town with a dining out problem.

It took Dick and Alex just a few moments to decide to move on further into Quatsino Sound. So after our 30-minute stop, we cast off and moved on.

Winter Harbour is a sport fisherman's paradise as long as the fisherman can cook! These two hungry looking fisherman are trolling for salmon.

We left Winter Harbour and turned east heading into Quatsino Sound. Except for a few sports fisher runabouts, we saw no other boats in these calm waters. Quatsino is the northern most sound of five that run east into the interior of Vancouver Island. Quatsino has the communities of Coal Harbour and Port Alice. We decided to anchor inside Pamphlet Cove on the north side of Drake Island. It's a splendid anchorage close to tomorrow's destination of Coal Harbour.

video
Pamphlet Cove should be included in Quatsino Sound's tourist pamphlet!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

#28 Cape Scott and Sea Otter Cove

Today, Sunday, we leave Bull Harbour, cross the Nawhitti Bar, enter unprotected Pacific Ocean waters, cruise over the northwest end of Vancouver Island, then down the west coast to Sea Otter Cove. It's a 4-hour journey in what we hope to be moderate conditions after last night's southeast winds.

It's 6AM as we leave Harbour turning northwest into Goletas Channel. In 15 minutes we're on top of the Nawhitti Bar with a 4-knot current, pushing us into low westerly swells. The boat is pitching fore and aft a bit for the 30 minutes it takes us to clear the Bar. The ocean is moderate for two hours until we reach Cape Scott. We are so close to shore, the Cape's lighthouse with 25-mile range light is barely visible through the trees on the Cape's top.

The Nawhitti Bar can be a nasty place, but not today!

The current of Scott Channel is our next challenge as we turn south along the west coast. We struggle against 1.5 knots and finally turned into the sea foam covered entrance of Sea Otter Cove.



Once inside we tied to one of the four anchored moorings. There were four boats already moored and two more came in during the day.

These moorings aren't always secure. It is a "use at your own risk" policy. Hopefully no boat was tied to this one that ended up on shore.

After securing the boat we launched the tender for a shore cruise. We discovered a wet shoreline, more suited to rubber hip boots than our tennis shoes.

Wild Blue moored inside Sea Otter Cove on Vancouver Island's West Coast.

The weather experts say the wind will blow tonite and early tomorrow morning. We'll leave at 6AM again for Winter Harbour and Quatsino Sound, futher down the coast.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

#27 Bull Harbour

On Saturday we cruised to Bull Harbour. Bull is another 14 miles from Clam Cove going over the top of Nigei Island. There was lots of bull kelp and logs along the route, which was probably lifted off beaches during last night's super high tide. We pulled into the Harbour and anchored with extra scope (letting out more anchor chain than ususal) due to the expected gale force winds tonight. We launched the tender and when for a hike.

At anchor in Bull Harbour with community in background. Total full-time residents: 2.

Looking southwest from our anchorage, we can see boats transiting Goletas Channel and the Nahwitti Bar.

We tied the tender to the public dock and started walking on a well-maintained gravel road. We passed pretty flowers and a near tame deer. At last a pick-up truck came down the road. The driver was one of the two caretakers on the island and collected a $5 landing fee (or a pack of cigarettes) for each of us. We took a forest path passing a pond and arrived on the ocean side of the island.

These tall pretty flower stalks seem to be growing wild. Pat, what are these? Please not the scientific name!

A pond carpeted with lillies was picturesque.

The ocean side is normally exposed to high northwest winds and waves traveling unmolested all the way from Japan. All was calm today.

The beach is miles and miles pebbles, that have been polished by wind and waves for years and years. These would be perfect for floating on a new concrete patio.

Dick located another path through the forest to the tiny community of five homes, complete with electricity, propane heating, concrete sidewalks, and fire hydrants. He staked out a claim on one of the unused residences.

Dick's wife Harriett has been thinking of moving "up the hill" from their ocean front Malibu home. Maybe this Bull Harbour home, with outdoor pool, is still close enough to the ocean?

We seemed to have Bull Harbour to ourselves. Then in a matter of minutes six other boats joined us. This raft gives new meaning to "a three-some".

About 30 years ago crew Dick enjoyed a great dinner of small ocean smelt in San Pedro, California. Since them he's been looking for small smelt to recreate this delicious dish. Friday, while provisioning in the Port Hardy market, he found Lake Smelt. These tiny fish, egg-dipped and breaded, then lightly fried in olive oil are way tasty!

At 1:30PM Environment Canada announced the gale warning for our area over the VHF. We'll add the anchor bridle for tonight's blow. It's supposed to blow out overnight and be calm tomorrow at 6AM when to begin our route around Cape Scott. We'll see!

Friday, June 25, 2010

#26 Clam Cove

On Friday we left for Clam Cove. The Cove is situated on the east side of Nigei Island about 12 miles from Port Hardy. Today's Plan A was to make Bull Harbour, for a Cape Scott rounding tomorrow but with 30-knot SE winds forecast, we think will wait a day and go with Plan B, Clam Cove. We worked are way up the Goletas Channel and were surprised when a Porsche drove by.

Crew Dick Squire is a great boater who also drives and loves Porsche's. I'm not so sure "La Porsche" is the Porsche he has in mind.

Clam Cove has a narrow and winding entrance which we negotiate and then set out anchor securely. Having planned on clam linguine we launched the tender with shovels ready for a dig. Unfortunately there was on of those "Do Not Consume Shellfish" signed posted. Even after surviving Pat's forest mushroom salad, we decided on linguini with spicy Italian sausage instead.

Wild Blue securely anchored in Clam Cove.

We waved when Rhapsody of the Seas passed by our cove.

#25 Clam Cove, Bull Harbour, Cape Scott

Our route over the top of Vancouver Island

We're leaving today, Friday, for Clam Cove on Nigel Island. Tomorrow we'll be at Bull Harbour on Hope Island. Based on the weather forecast, we now plan to go around Cape Scott and down the west coast early Sunday morning. Not sure if we'll have cell or internet for several days. Hope to get service in Winter Harbour on Tuesday. We will update the Blog when we can.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#24 Port Hardy

BC Ferries links small island town to big cities.

Today's 30+ minute cruise around the corner to Port hardy is easy. There is little traffic under cloudy skies with a warmish, humid feeling.

We arranged for three days in Quarterdeck Marina, tied to the dock. Pat is leaving early Wednesday to return to SLO Town. Dick Squire is arriving Thursday evening for the cruise around the top Of Vancouver Island, and down the northern ocean side of the island. A main engine water pump is supposed to arrived at the Port Hardy Post Office, and a new carbonation machine is supposed to be waiting for us at the Hobby Nook.

If there's time, I'll change the oil on main and generator. I'll follow up later this week. Have a good one.......

Monday, June 21, 2010

#23 Beaver Harbour

Beaver Harbour is just 90 minutes from Sointula and another 30 minutes from Port Hardy, where we need to be on Tuesday. So today we had an easy cruise around the top of Malcolm Island and directly to Beaver Harbour. It's not really a harbour, just a group if islands in a large bay with generally good anchorages.

The weather for the last two days has been nice. But before that, there was three weeks with very little sunshine. Weather is supposed to go overcast and rainy again mid-week which begs the question: "When does summer start this year?"

The Port Hardy (and Port McNeill) airport has an ocean view. Beaver Harbour is in the flight path, 3 miles to the west.

Pat has been gardening along the way. She collects things on our forest walks: moss, ground cover and, well maybe, mushrooms. She made a delicious mushroom salad with olive oil, lemon, sliced mushrooms, peppers, and bacon bits. Not really sure where she got the mushrooms, but I'm hoping they're okay!
Pat's mushroom salad. We're still alive so far!

We've been seeing many Selene Trawlers out cruising this season. In fact, that's the most common sight lately. Since we started in May, we've seen 15 different Selenes! Today we note a Selene comming straight at us from 3 miles away. It's Derek and Karen on Sea Pal a Selene 55 on their way to Alaska and spending the night anchored near us in Beaver Harbour. They arrived at 8PM after a 14-hour cruise from Campbell River. Wow!

Along with Sea Pal, Procyon (Paul and Ruth), Bonaventure (Rick and Liz), Spirit (Patrick and Miriam), and Seeker (Mike and Suzie) , and Z-Worthy (Ron and Bonnie) are in, or on their way to AK.

Sea Pal arrives in Beaver Harbour after 14 hours from Campbell River. Go get some sleep Derek!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

#22 Sointula

After a restful night at Crease Island, we pulled the anchor for Sointula. Sointula is a small fishing village on Malcolm Island just across form Port McNeill. Originally it was settled by Finns in the early 1900s. It has a quiet marina and pretty town with nicely maintained gardens. Pat and I walked the town, visited an art gallery and played tag with a deer.

Alex washed the boat and chatted with a old-timer fisherman who gave advice about crossing the Nawhatti Bar and rounding Cape Scott, which we plan to do next week, weather permitting.

Sointula is a waterfront community on Malcolm Island.

Our friend the deer says "You're it!"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

#21 Crease Island Cove

We've spent the last three days here in Port McNeill. We expected to leave two nights ago, but on Thursday our new friends on the motor vessel "Hooked Again" invited us for dinner aboard. Tracy and Lorne are very friendly Nanaimo Canadians. Lorne is a diving instructor trainer and director of the renown Edgewood Clinic. Tracy is a beautician. We swapped sea stories over fresh crab and prawns and Lorne's home made wine.

So we expected to leave for sure on Friday, but the Alaska bound crew on the Selene Bonaventure asked us to dinner. You know, when you really don't have anyplace to be, it's easy to be flexible. We enjoyed dinner at Gus's pub with Rick and Liz who plan to leave Saturday crossing the Queen Charlotte Sound and Cape Caution. They are also in real estate development so we had a lot of common ground.

So on Saturday we eventually got off the dock, only to go just 100 yards to the fuel dock. Americans really don't like to take fuel in Canada. The fuel is not dirty or anything, just mighty expensive. We paid $2.54/gallon in Anacortes, but it is near $4.00/gallon here in BC. We bought just 1200 liters worth which we hope to last us around Vancouver Island to Anacortes at the end of July.

Americans don't like to take fuel in Canada as it's so expensive.

Just as we departed the fuel dock, a Pacific Coastal Grumman Goose seaplane landed and taxied to the dock. The plane holds just 8 passengers. Only 345 were built in 1937 but several are still in service with Pacific Coastal Airlines. The Goose is amphibious: it lands on a runway or in the water. After a water landing it's wing float retracts, allowing the plane to taxi and tie at a floating dock. One thinks "equipment failure" when seeing the Goose taxiing.

1937 Grumman Goose taxis to dock with starboard float retracted. It's not broken!

With float down, crew can jump out and pull fuselage to dock for loading. Everything is good!

At last we exited Port McNeill bound for a anchorage tour. We visited the Pearse Islands, then the Plumper Islands, and finally found a nice anchorage next to Crease Island at the foot of Queen Charlotte Strait. The entire cruise lasted less than 2 hours.

Narrow Village Channel leads us to Crease Island Cove.

Our anchorage for today was picturesque.

Pat finds a cove that just fits the Wild Blue tender. She claimed this cove and named it "Pat's Cove." Oh gawd... This means she'll have another big garden here!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

#20 Back to Port McNeill

The high wind warnings for the BC Inside Passage continued so we stayed Monday and Tuesday in Lagoon Cove. On Tuesday, the Selene 55 Bonaventure, a Wild Blue color twin, arrived in Lagoon Cove. Rick Clark and company will meet with Procyon II, another Selene 55, on their way north to Alaska.

The owners of Bonaventure really have great taste in boat colors!

Early Wednesday at 5AM the winds subsided to less than 20 knots and we immediately left for Port McNeill. We timed it riht and the 4-hour motor was uneventful. At the Port we shopped. Besides bread and produce, we really wanted more of those imported Pink Lady apples.

We had previously ordered an engine part. The harbormaster was holding a replacement raw water pump for the one leaking on Wild Blue's generator. We paid the Canadian Customs duty and installed the pump. Received great help from Hilt Automotive mechanic just across from the Post Office whose exotic tool inventory allowed him to remove the spline gear off the old pump and install it on the new one. The new pump works great and no more seawater leak!

A new part on an all white engine is pretty easy to spot.

When we are cruising along for any distance, about once every couple hours Pat takes the wheel and Alex takes a crawl through the engine room. He dons noise reducing head gear and inspects the generator, stabilizers, main engine, and fuel supply. A few days ago while performing the checks, he noticed water slowly flowing out of main engine sea water pump. So today a new main engine pump was ordered from Oxnard, CA for delivery in Port Hardy hopefully by next week. We'll see.

Tonight is the final game of the NBA Finals. Should be a great game to watch however, we've been invited next door for dinner. Oh well. We'll be off tomorrow for a week of local cruising before Pat heads back to SLO Town.

Monday, June 14, 2010

#19 Back to Lagoon Cove

Once again Environment Canada is announcing high wind warnings for the BC Inside Passage. So today we'll head to a favorite location, Lagoon Cove. It's a 3-hour motor down Tribune Channel, an easy sail. We see a couple boats headed for Kwatsi Bay.

We arrive at 4PM and tie up with about 5 other boats. An excited Bill Barber, proprietor, is yaking about "potluck night". "We have fresh prawns, crab and BBQ salmon. Just prepare a sidedish and bring it up to the dock at 6." So Pat put on her "top chef" hat and within an hour homemade potatoe salad was chilling in the fridge. Some 15 crusisers enjoyed a spectacular northwest BBQ cusine with many homemade delicacies including Ann Barber's fresh tartar sauce. I think we'll stay here awhile.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

#18 Kwatsi Bay

It was just another 1-hour run from Echo Bay to Kwatsi Bay. The Bay is located on the north side of Tribune Channel along BC's Queen Charlotte Strait coastline. Of course there's no roads only float plane and boat service. About 300 feet of dockspace keep the Kwatsi Bay Marina (http://www.kwatsibay.com/) intimate. Max and Anca run this outstation in a pretty waterfall setting inside a protected bay.

The highlight of the day is the afternoon happy hour as visiting boat crews gather under the covered patio with their favorite beverage and appetizers. Today the dock was filled with Gibson Yacht Club boats and we joined the camaraderie at happy hour. As usual lively conversion ranged from the Vancouver Olympics, to life in Gibsons, to family life at Kwatsi Bay.

The Gibsons Yacht Club Fleet.

Max and Anca have raised two children in this remote spot. Initially the kids were home-schooled. Now teenagers, they attend school across the Strait in Port McNeill and live with Anca while Max tends to the business at Kwatsi Bay.

We've always wondered how it would be raising children in such a remote, isolated area. One result appears universal: after chatting with parents that raised kids in Wrangell Alaska, Greenway Sound, and Echo Bay, the adult children most always move away to the cities. As Echo Bay Pierre's children put it "Hey dad, it's your dream we've been living, not ours!".

Beautiful waterfall in Kwatsi Bay.

Wild Blue alone on the dock.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

#17 Back to Echo Bay

Greenway was fun and we pulled our trap revealing another prawn appetizer result. It's onward to Echo Bay again. See http://www.pierresbay.com/ for details. The pig roast doesn't happen until July but it is a nice spot.

Along the way the friendly Canadian Coast Guard sped past at 25 knots. They are keeping and eye out and ready to assist.

Alex watched several John Wayne movies from his collection. It was a relaxing day. We'll try Kwatsi Bay tomorrow. See http://www.kwatsibay.com/

Friday, June 11, 2010

#16 Greenway Sound is open!

Today we head for another local boaters resort: Greenway Sound. This resort has been operated bay the same couple for three decades, but this year they sold out to a new couple. The new owners are busy making improvements before the official season starts on July 1.

We departed late morning, dodging the commercial prawn boats and a school of dolphins. Within an hour we turned into Greenway Sound on Broughton Island and the GS Resort. Tom Taylor the original owner greeted us and took our lines. Tom and Ann are helping the new owners Trip and Kathy Rumberger and staff get situated.

The season is young and we were the only visitors. The resort contains 2700 feet of two-sided docks. Walk it twice to stretch your legs for a mile. The news owners are quite friendly and ready to continue the fine tradition the Taylors have fostered over 3 decades. The restaurant will continue it's unique and popular menu. It appears that Greenway Sound Resort is in very capable hands and will continue to be successful.

We launched the dinghy, set our prawn trap close by, and took a hike to Broughton Lake. It was supposed to be a 20-minutes walk but Pat and I can easily make 20 minutes into 40.

Pat's ready for the hike to Broughton Lake.
Logging has been and continues to be the main product of Broughton Island area. Besides drinking water, Broughton Lake was used for floating logs to the steam donkey for the long pull down to Greenway Sound.


Loggers memorial on the shore of Broughton Lake.


Pat's plant lesson on lower GI techniques: This is skunk cabbage. When a bear fist comes out of hibernation he eats skunk cabbage to clean himself out! Just for your information.

The clean waters around Greenway Sound Resort reflect the surroundings on the glassy water surface.