Monday, August 8, 2011

#12 Craig to Prince Rupert

Saturday, August 6, 2011: Craig to Nina Cove

We got off the dock and on our way by 8AM.  The wind and seas are calm and the skies are partly cloudy as we make a slow left hand turn around Prince of Wales Island.  By 10:30 we are through Tlevak Narrows heading southeast down the inside route between POW and Dall Islands.This is the same route we traveled in 2008 into a worsening southeasterly gale.  That time we overnighted in Elbow Bay on Long Island.  Tonight we go a bit farther to Nina Cove, a well-protected anchorage.  We're the only pleasure boat in a day of cruising among a handful of sportsfishers and another 5 or so commercial fishing boats.

Waterfall Lodge is one of the larger fishing lodges near Craig.  Many of it's boats were on the dock indicating that there have not been as many sports fishermen this season.

One of the few commerical boats around southeast POW Island.  Besides us, there were no pleasure craft.

Along the wat we try our luck trolling for salmon.  Pat drive while Alex trolls.  We land three: two small king salmon less than the 28-inch limit and a small rockfish.  We're 3 for 3 on frozen herring and have more questions than answers about trolling: Why does the downrigger sing?  How do you know there's a fish on if the line doesn't pull free from the down rigger?, etc....  We will  yak with Jay and Gerard for answers to these and more.

We drop anchor in Nina Cove about 5PM and settle in for shrimp tacos and a restful night.

Sunday, August 7, 2011: Nina Cove to Prince Rupert

It's a bright and sunny morning without wind.  We're in no hurry to get going as it's just a 3-hour motor to Nichols Bay, our spot for tomorrow's early morning departure to Prince Rupert.  After breakfast Alex turns on the VHF weather forecast to learn that a low is moving in and Monday doesn't look as good as it did for crossing Dixon Entrance.  We make a quick decision to head to Prince Rupert today, a 10-hour motor.  It's 9AM before we clear Nina Cove and turn for British Columbia, an uncharacteristic late start for such a long crossing. Normally we'd be up at 4AM to leave at first light and be halfway across by 9.

The seas is slightly rippled by light wind and you can see 40+ miles to the southeast.  It looks good out there and we set a near straight 90 mile course past Nichols Bay and Cape Chacon to Prince Rupert.  The sun continues and Alex moves to the foredeck to work on his tan.  Heck we didn't see much sun up here in Alaska this summer and he's probably low on Vitamin D.  The ocean turns into the predicted 4-foot combined swell and sea making a bouncy but comfortable ride.  It's a "fair winds and following seas" kind of day, the best for a long crossing in a powerboat. and one of the easiest crossings of the mighty Dixon Entrance for us.

Cape Chacon, the southern tip of Prince of Wales Island, is easily identified by its three humps.

A glass on the bow tie post stayed put for the entire Dixon Entrance crossing, a testament to a great day for big ocean travel in a small boat.

We arrive at 8:30PM at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club and after clearing customs settle in for a bouncy night on the outside breakwater float.  Tomorrow we'll move to a calmer anchorage then begin out slow cruise down British Columbia.  Hopefully one of the BC lighthouses will light up our wifi so we can blog.  Otherwise it's August 15th or so before out next communications with the outside world.  Have a nice couple of weeks.

The Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club.  Can't wait to get to the Club bar.

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