Friday, August 21, 2015

2015-18 Ketchikan through Northern British Columbia: Pond Bay, Prince Rupert, Spicer Island, Patterson Inlet, Estevan Group, McMicking Inlet and Klemtu

August 16, 2015: Professional Unpaid Crew; Ketchikan to Pond Bay

Yesterday Alex's new crew arrived from Los Angeles.  These are professional boat mates yet remain unpaid!  Dick Squire, Denny and Lori Haythorn are very experienced sail and power boaters who Alex met decades ago at the California Yacht Club.  Dick, Alex and Denny served as consecutive Club Commodores from 1998-2000.  Over the years, we have cruised up, down or through the coastal waterways of Alaska, BC, Washington, Oregon, California and Mexico.  We've shared many of the "do I really like boating" experiences including running aground, high-water bilge alarms, sailboat knockdowns, giant seas, 200 mile upwind legs, gyrating spinnakers, grounded dinghys and sinking tenders.  We also shared the highs: spectacular sunsets, bright moon risings, super-scenic anchorages, 15+ knots under sail, whale breeches, and memorable seafood dinners at sea.  It will be fun to relive these stories, and hear how they have been embellished over the next 10 days or so.

Dick has owned over 40 large sail and power boats.
He single-handed a 40-footer from Los Angeles to Hawaii
Lori's specialty is night cruising down Baja California's west coast.
She speaks fluent Spanish.
Besides years of racing and cruising, Denny has spent decades in
on-the-water regatta operations.
Last evening we enjoyed another delicious dinner at Bar Harbor Restaurant.  During our walk to dinner we passed the pretty white church and Lori's parents home when they lived in Ketchikan.

Who knows maybe Lori's parents attended this church just down from their home.
Lori's mom and dad's house in back also decades ago.
We woke weary from telling and re-telling sea stories. Next we lightly provisioned the boat so as to not supply fresh vegetables to all the Canadian Customs staff in Prince Rupert.  By 10:30 we were on our way south towards Canada followed shortly there after by two other Selenes: Saltheart, a 62, and Escapade, a 66.  It was an easy run and at 2PM although Dixon Entrance looked flattish, we choose to anchor at Pond Bay just above Duke Island.  We noted Saltheart in Foggy Bay while Escapade was up Boca de Quadra in Vixen Bay.  Seems like a gaggle of Selenes would be targeting Dixon Entrance and Rupert tomorrow.

Sunset "On Golden Pond" Bay

August 17, 2015: Pond Bay to Prince Rupert

The Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club is the marina nearest town that caters to cruising yachts.  It's busy this time of year with southbound traffic exiting Alaska.  It's also a stop where Canadian Custom will allow clearance.  We called PRRYC last week to reserve a spot, however they couldn't guarantee one so we started early as insurance.  At 5AM we pulled out into Revilla (Revillagigedo) Channel and by 8AM were in the middle of the Entrance at slack current as planned.  If you have to cross Dixon Entrance, without current is a good thing.  Today it didn't matter as the wind and seas were calm.

Dixon Entrance was docile for our crossing today.
Just a bit after noon we pulled up to PRRYC but needed to wait for two other boats ahead of us.  Eventually we tied up, cleared customs and set off for heavy provisioning.  Later the Selenes Saltheart and Escapade landed and cleared at PRRYC as well.  We had a great dining experience at the Crest Hotel a PR landmark and discovered a local secret: The chef prepares excellent seafood dishes.

August 18, 2015: Prince Rupert to Spicer Island

Today at 7AM we left PR fully provisioned for 10 days with visions of salmon and crab dinners dancing in our heads. We're destined for the Spicer Islands and with a couple salmon fishing stops along the way.  The water just south of PR is nice and we drag raced a couple crabbers up to Marcus Pass.  The upper end of the Grenville Channel was flat so we dropped the down-riggers with fishing gear at the Oona River delta trolling southwest.  We had a big hit but no fish stayed hooked,  After 40 minutes we moved SW on down to Bully Island and trolled for an hour.  No joy.  At 1PM we anchored in the protected are along the north side of South Spicer Island.

Light fog patches cluttered our view upon leaving Prince Rupert
The town of Kitkatla located at the top of Dolphin Island
near own anchorage in the Spicer Islands.  This community
is really isolated.
BBQ burgers (and portabella mushroom for Alex) with grilled onions.
Misty afternoon at Spicer.

August 19, 2015: Spicer Island to Patterson Inlet and Double Hookup

August is the big Coho salmon month in BC as the fish gather to go up river and spawn.  They feed first on their way up to the river mouths then mill around until it pleases them to go upstream.  So we plan another morning of periodic fishing on our way to anchor at inside at Patterson Inlet on the SW coast of Pitt Island.  Note: Vancouver named the island after a former Prime Minister of Britain, William Pitt.  Hopefully he wasn't related the Lieutenant Pitt of Vancouver's expedition who required flogging and jailing to keep controlled, and whose brother later beat Vancouver to death.

At 8AM we moved across Beaver Passage in the open ocean for about 40 minutes until we turned Wild Blue down Principe Channel. By 1PM we were at the entrance to Patterson Inlet and the fish were jumping so we trolled into a circle.  Lori drove while Denny and Alex fished and withing 15 minutes we had a double hookup.  In all the excitement Alex lost his but Denny fought his fish landing a good sized Coho.  As our dinner dreams were realized, we dropped two crab traps inside the Inlet.
The entrance to Patterson Inlet yielded a nice Coho.
Lori displays her fish filleting talent.

August 20, 2015: Patterson Inlet to Estevan Group then McMicking Inlet

Last night we enjoyed BBQ fresh Coho with an ice cream dessert.  And today at 8AM we tooled around the head of Patterson Inlet hauling crab traps, filled with a half dozen legal crabs!  Looks like crab surprise tonight.

We're on our way down Nepean Sound towards the Estevan Group.  Mike and Susie on the Selene 50 Seeker recommend anchoring in these Islands, so we will see.  No more salmon fishing stops until we consume what's aboard.  Alex cleans the crab and fires up the convection hot plate with seasoned, boiling water.  Soon the aroma of cooking Dungeness filled the air.  Lori spent a long afternoon harvesting crab meat.

Yes the crab were around and a few crawled into our pot.
At 1PM we entered the Estevan Group along the SE end of Trutch Island.  We followed along Gillespie Channel a couple miles up to Tennant Island, looking for a protected anchorage, and set our anchor due S or Tennant.  The breeze was up, making wind wavelets across our spot and causing the boat to sail a bit, so after lunch we decided to move East to Campania Island and McMicking Inlet, one of our favorites. We set our crab cages again hoping for some overnight action on the sea floor.

Estevan Group was too windy for the Wild Blue crew,
so we moved across the Sound to McMicking Inlet.

August 21, 2015: McMicking Inlet to Klemtu, then Rescue Bay

At 8:30AM we harvested yet even more crabs, then turned south towards the bottom of Laredo Channel.  We will eventually cross Laredo Sound and enter Meyers Passage stopping in the village of Klemtu.  We hope to "borrow" some wifi Internet from a generous Villager that leaves his router unprotected.  Our crew needs an Internet fix.  By 3:30PM we made Klemtu, connected and drifted around in front of the town Googling, emailing and wifi calling.

The seiner Christian S lead us into Klemtu.
After our fix, we crossed Finlayson Channel, through Jackson Pass and into Rescue Bay for the evening.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog posts are just fabulous. I have cruised these waters a few times, but we haven't really been "cruising," more like transiting. Looks just fantastic. Thanks for sharing.