Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#19 Princess Louisa To Anacortes, WA and the end of our 2011 Alaska Cruise

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 - PLI to Secret Cove

Today we left Princess Louisa Inlet on the way to Secret Cove on BC's Sunshine Coast.  Unfortunately, Alex made two mistakes today.  The first was a miscalculation of current at Malibu Rapids.  The second was not turning on the video to record our wild ride in the Rapids.

It started with what seemed logical.  The tide change today was only 3 feet between the early morning high, and the 11AM low tide.  Since we usually see 6 feet or more, this typically means the tidal currents won't be as fast.  But that assumes open water without water flow restrictions.  

So we were ready to exit via the rapids at 9AM or so, a full 2 hours before slack current.  We figured we had it right because there was a 70-foot boat just ahead of us about to exit.  At the last minute, they pulled aside to let us go first.  Alex gave his Securite call on the VHF and prepared to exit.  One look at the rushing water told the story, but by then it was pretty much too late to turn back, without major damage to our egos.  The depth and width of Malibu Rapids is just too small to provide unrestricted water flow, so faster flow makes up for the restricted volume.  It's like a 1/2 inch water hose with the valve turned on full blast:  the water just shoots out very fast.  Now the Wild Blue was going against this boiling and rushing stream.  Suddenly the boat slowed from 8.5 to 3.5 knots and rolled as we rounded the bend in front of the Malibu Club.  The crowd at the Club seemed more interested in our boat than usual.  The speed drop caused the active fin stabilizers to disengage which happens automatically at slow speeds, which caused the boat to roll a bit more.  Alex just drove the boat as best he could trying not to get sideways in the Rapids.  He was able to drive with only the rudder, without thruster help of which both were ready to assist if needed.  The boat was tossed around quite a bit for a 90,000 pound vessel, but eventually floated out into calm waters.  It would have made a Youtube hit, if only Alex remembered to turn on the video.  Oh well!
Looking outward through Malibu Rapids with the current running close to 5 knots.

Looking behind us to the turn we just completed.

Close up of rapids.

Once outside, the 70-footer called us to ask for a current report.  We reported a conservative 4.5 knots.   About 45 minutes later we heard their Securite call before exit.  Alex took a break to change his shorts, then we settled down to a more leisurely motor.

As we exited Jervis Inlet, we geared up for some salmon trolling.  Alex and Ira had a couple hits, but no fish.  After an hour or so we got going again to Secret Cove.

The Admiral looks a bit worried as she studies the depth sounder.

Ira shows his best fishing form.

Ferry passes Wild Blue.

By 5PM we were tied to the docks at Secret Cove.  After dinner Marsha rummaged through the refrigerator and was able to produce a delicious Raspberry Chocolate Truffle.  Awesome!

Entering Secret Cove

Back to Back Selenes: Aurenbach (x-Joya del Mar), a Selene 55, and Wild Blue.

Marsha's Raspberry Chocolate Truffle.

Sunday, September 4th,  2011 - Secret Cove to Montague Harbor

In the morning, we slipped the dock lines and headed for Montague Harbor a 6-hour run across the Georgia Strait (aka Salish Sea).  The ocean was flat and winds were calm.  The sun shown.  We followed a Selene 43 for several miles and chatted with the owners.  Then cruised through Gabriola Passage with a 3-knot current push.  At last we anchored with the masses at Montague Harbour, a BC park on the south end of Galiano Island, one of the Gulf Islands.  Pat prepared a wonderful spicy jambalaya with fresh store bought prawns and Williebird's secret ingredients.  Pat's Chocolate Chip and ice cream helped tone down those Louisiana spices.
Merry Island Light Station in a flat calm ocean.

Gabriola Passage

Montague Harbour

Pat's prawn jambalaya. 

Chocolate Chip cake and ice cream.

Sunset over Montague Harbour.

 Monday. September 5th, 2011 - Montague Harbor to Ganges Harbour

It's just a 40-minute hop to Ganges Harbour.  We have fresh homemade cinnamon roll french toast from the local "bakery boat".  Then we burn off those carbs on a wilderness walk at camp Montague.  

Alex heads to the "boat bakery" (in background) for "boat" made cinnamon buns.  The bakery is an old ferry that has a commercial kitchen.  It's pretty much drive through these days:  drive your dinghy up and they bring out the goods to you.  It's quite popular here in the Gulf Islands.

Marsha sliced the fresh cinnamon buns and produced a delicious French toast. 

Our wilderness walk took us to the real "Shell Beach",  Billions and billions of broken clam, crab, oyster, abalone and other sea shells.  That other beach in SLO County with the same name should change it to "One Shell Beach"

Some trees in British Columbia grow horizontally.

After our walk we moved over to Ganges Harbour, an art, culture and bust island community.  Ganges is supposed to have the highest concentration of millionaires in all of BC.  We strolled the town and the girls sort of "shopped till they dropped".  The boys hung out at Moats Hardware.  Tomorrow we leave Canada and re-enter the USA.

Saltspring Island fire station: all volunteer.

Alex is booking it with "Cutting for Stone".

Marsha prepared a tasty lemon caper chicken just for lunch.  Can't wait for dinner!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 - Ganges Harbor, BC to Roche Harbor, WA

After Ganges it was the USA and Roche Harbor US Customs.  Every US customs experience is different.  It seems like the rules change each time.  It's kind of like city planning and building codes, except the changes are even more frequent.  This time the plants were a problem.  Our house plant, Wilson, has been on Wild Blue since 2005.  Lately US and even Canada Customs says Wilson is persona (planta?) non grata.  But each time he gets in after a lecture about plant diseases etc.  

The new thing this time was Washington registration tags.  Apparently the US Customs and Homeland Security is now acting on behalf of the Washington State Department of Revenue.  So the US Customs Agent is lecturing us about Washington rules. Of course we know the rules, and we also know he's way outside his jurisdiction, but we cant really tell him to f--k off because we want to get back home.  So we take his lecture like good students and play dumb, and even thank him for this information.  Some officials like to exert their power.  Whatever happened to power to the people!  Oh well.....

At Roche we get back to civilization and enjoy the many beautiful boats that line docks here.

Wednesday September 7th, 2011  - Roche Harbor to Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor really IS civilization. They have cars, busses, airplanes, ferries, a supermarket, hardware store and even a West Marine.  Plus there are a few great restaurants. Our favorite is Vinny's.  We dined out for a change and really enjoyed Vinny's.  

Thursday, September 8th, 2011 - Friday Harbor to Anacortes

Today we arrived at or dock here in Skyline Marina, Anacortes, WA.  It's good to be back to a town where we seem to spend more and more time.  Tonight we'll dine at wonderful Cameron's Restaurant.  This place is special but would seem to have more in common with Santa Monica or Brentwood, CA.  

Tomorrow everyone leaves while Alex stays to prep the boat for fall and winter cruising.  So until then, happy boating.

1 comment:

  1. Alex,

    We were tied up at Chatterbox when you arrived. I lust a bit for dark hulled Selenes and I took some photos of your boat as it came in, and later. To cut a long story short, your boat currently graces the banner heading at Trawler Forum. See .

    If you would like the originals email me at richardmoore "at" .