Saturday, May 12, 2012

#15 - Prince Rupert, Dundas Island, Foggy Bay or Ketchikan?

The weather is great inside Baker.  Who knows what's going on outside as radio communication is zilch inside here.  Today will be a repeat what has worked out so far: continue as far as the weather lets us, knowing there's a storm out there somewhere.

We waited for 8AM slack then exited Watts Narrows hoping for Prince Rupert with calm seas.  As we cleared Malacca Passage entering the southern edge of Chatham Sound we expected ocean swells or at least big chop from the Skeena River delta outflow, but there was only flattish water. Instead of Prince Rupert's main Kaien Island south entrance, we changed course for the western end of the Venn Passage entrance, near to the same course as to Dundas Island..  Our idea was to continue on to Dundas Island if weather held, but we could always bail out and take the protected Venn Passage into Prince Rupert.

Almost two hours later at the sea buoy marking the start of Venn Passage, Chatham Sound remained relatively calm making for a comfortable ride.  So it was onward to Dundas.  Every year as we plan our crossing of Dixon Entrance to Alaska, Brundige Inlet on Dundas is the fail safe bailout spot just prior to beginning the transit. We've always wanted to spend an evening here but the weather has cooperated so we always continued.  Maybe we'll get our wish today?

Aren't these BC lighthouses pretty! This is the Green Island light which sits near Dundas Island just below Dixon Entrance East and provides important weather info for those crossing the Entrance.

At 3PM off Dundas we radioed the Billie H, a tug with large tow about 5 miles ahead of us in the middle of Dixon Entrance.  He reported a 4-foot swell and variable 5-15 knot breeze.  He expected the swell to build somewhat.  With this info we committed to make Foggy Bay and bail out there if needed.  It's always better to cross these open water bodies when the going is good.  So we did.

Three hours later off Foggy Bay the swell was 8 feet and the wind was steady 15 with gusts to 25 knots.  This is normally not good, but both were coming from the stern.  The boat was rocking and rolling a bit much with stabilizers on maximum, and surfing up to 11 knots at times.

The Schooner Windjammer in Dixon Entrance later bailed out at Foggy Bay.

We saw the Schooner Windjammer  just behind us bail out at Foggy Bay, but we decided to just get it over-with, continuing on to Ketchikan for a 9PM arrival. We toughed it out and were happy to be in calm waters at Tongarss Narrows.  Somehow we were able to clear US Customs over the phone, a first for us.  As we approached the Ketchikan waterfront, out of the blue the Harbormaster called us on VHF saying they had a spot on City Float in the center of town.  They took our lines, welcomed us, and passed on that we were one of just two pleasure boats that crossed Dixon Entrance to Ketchikan this day. It's nice to be in any port in a storm.

At rest on City Float.

We're heading back to California for a few days.  Be back on the Wild Blue and the Blog at the end of the month.  Cheers.  Alex.

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