Friday, April 29, 2016

2016-04 Up the Salish Sea, into Discovery Passage and Johnstone Strait

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016: Comox to Small Inlet

Once again this morning we got started early, leaving Comox in our wake by 7AM.  Once across the Comox Bar, we turned towards Cape Mudge, Campbell River and Discovery Passage.  We had a date with the Seymour Narrows rapids at 11:30AM when the strong currents would be pushing Wild Blue at 8 knots for a total of 16 knots across the bottom!

As usual a ride with the rapids is full of twists and turns as the auto-pilot fights for control. As the boat moves north further from the Narrows, the rapids lose their influence over Wild Blue, and the auto-pilot regains full control of our course.

At little after noon, about 7 nm north of the Narrows, we turn right into Kanish Bay for the Small Inlet anchorage.  On the way, we set two crab traps just inside the Inlet's entrance, and finally the anchor near the inlet head.  A few hours after lunch we check the traps and harvest the day's limit, resetting for tomorrow's crab catch.

Sid displays a BIG spring Dungenous

Ready to enjoy

Thursday, April 28th, 2016: Small Inlet to Blind Channel Resort

We expected a long day of motoring up Discovery Passage and into Johnstone Strait so an 8AM start allowed us to see the fetch the crab traps and get motoring. We once again counted our daily limit of four large male Dungeness, tossing back another six large crabs.  We boiled water with crab boil seasoning and enjoyed the sweet aroma of seafood as we cruised.

Turn Island is at the intersection of Discovery Passage and Johnstone Strait. We met Murray, the island's owner in Vancouver earlier this year.  We steered Wild Blue between Turn and East Thurlow Islands looking to see if Murray was around.  He wasn't so we continued on a westerly course up Johnstone Strait.

Turn Island at the intersection of Discovery Passage and
Johnstone Strait

The 10:30 am weather forecast indicated building wind and waves, so we opted for a night at Blind Channel resort.  It was just a right turn and a short distance off the Strait.  We were the lonely early season visitor to the Resort.  Because it was so peaceful, and a 35 knot wind warning was up, we decided to stay a second night.
The only boat in Blind Channel
Sid and Ginny Findley hiked the trails of Blind Channel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016-03 Heading Northward

Sunday, April 24, 2016:  Anacortes to Vancouver

On Sunday at 6AM we exited Anacortes' Skyline Marina for Vancouver, BC.  It was nice going for most of the morning with flat seas but building light breeze. The run is around 8 hours or so. By 11AM as we entered Canada just north of Tawassen, the winds and seas built causing an uncomfortable pitching motion.  At the South Arm of the Fraser River, a vast wall of whitewater was the barrier keeping we Americans at bay.  After a rough and rocky ride through the River's outflow for 500 yards or so, we turned to starboard following the coastline towards Point Grey.  Now the sloppy seas pushed by 25 knot gusts, were blasting into Wild Blue's port side serving up a rolly ride.  We were happy to clear Point Grey by 2PM for the final leg into False Creek.  After clearing Customs, we tied up at Quayside Marina with a spectacular view up Davie Street into Yaletown.

Entering False Creek, Vancouver, BC
Moored at beautiful Quayside Marina
Wild Blue's boat deck view up Davies Street into Yaletown.
 On Monday, we enjoyed the sights, sounds and tastes of our favorite city.  We bought local fresh-baked French baguette's at Wholefoods in Cambie, provisioned at Urban Fare market and BC Liquors, then added food specialties from the Granville Island market.  Later we dined at the Tripadvisor #1 ranked Vancouver restaurant..... Blue Water Cafe.  The experience was special and lived up to everyone's expectations.

We dined with our crew Sid and Virginia Findley, longtime friends from San Luis Obispo, and Mike and Susie Miner, boating friends from nearby Shell Beach.  This was a fine dinner and a fun way to celebrate Pat and Alex's 35th wedding anniversary.

Seeker, Mike and Susie's Selene 50, prepares
to moor at Quayside Marina, Vancouver
Tuesday, April 26, 2016: Vancouver to Comox

A little past 5AM it was just light enough to see, so Sid and Alex disconnected from Quayside moorage and headed outbound from Vancouver.  By 10AM the ride was a bit bumpy with 27-knot winds from astern with lumpy seas. At 11 in Sabine Channel the winds softened to 10 and the seas flattened for the remaining three hours into Comox.  The Comox Bar was only slightly ruffled and we tied up at the Harbour Authority's east floating breakwater.

We entered the quaint town of Comox which is mostly a retirement community in search of the Filberg Park. At the heart of the Filberg site is the 1930’s heritage lodge, the former home of local pioneers Robert and Florence Filberg. The park features 130 varieties of trees, seasonal gardens, and hundreds of rhododendrons.  Pat, our garden guru, said the grounds reminded her of the various gardens she has visited in England.

The view of Comox Harbour from Filberg Gardens.
Note Wild Blue on the lower left.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2016-02 Prepping For Our 8th Alaska Cruise

We've been here in Anacortes all week preparing for another cruise northward. This will be our 8th three-month cruise to AK out of the last 9 years!

It's been fantastic weather week so far....70's and 80's all week with no rain.  Our boat neighbor and fishing celebrity Jay Field (see Jay's latest fish story here) says we always bring the California sun.

Jay always chefs a tasty BBQ.
Jay prepped tomato and Mozzerella with fresh basil,
BBQ prawns and veggies.  Yum!
Ms. Micky, the namesake of Jay
and Micky's new 33-foot North River.
We plan to rendezvous in Sitka this summer.
Alex, Mickey, Jay, Sid and Pat with Hootchy celebrating
8th Alaska Cruise send off dinner
Our prepping includes provisioning at TJ's for frozen goods, Costco for engine oil, auto parts store for ISO 32 hydraulic fluid, North Harbor Diesel for Cummins special coolant, and Starbucks for wifi.  Boat tasks include oil and filter changes, canvass top assembly, and power panel back-light replacement.

Pat is not aboard just yet.  She flies in with our guests, Judge Sid and Ginny Findley on Saturday. Wild Blue is missing the Selene Rendezvous this year, however Alex plans to take in the Saturday seminars by traveling to Roche Harbor.

We're looking forward to another great cruise. If all goes well we shove off early Sunday morning toward Vancouver.  Here's this year's itinerary.


Leg #1A SUN-APR 24 ANACORTES, WA TO SUN-MAY 1 PORT MCNEILL, BC. Northbound BC cruising starting from Anacortes to Vancouver, Comox, Broughton Islands and Port McNeil - 8 days:  To boat fly to Seattle. From boat fly from Port McNeill to Vancouver then home. Crew with Alex & Pat: Sid and Virginia Findley.

Leg #1B MON-MAY 2 PORT MCNEILL,BC TO TUE, MAY 12 KETCHIKAN, AK.  Port McNeill, Queen Charlotte Strait anchorages, Shearwater, Kynock Inlet/Culpepper Lagoon, Hartley Bay, Prince Rupert, Dundas Island, Misty Fiords, and Ketchikan – 11 days: To boat fly to Seattle. From boat fly from Ketchikan to home. Crew with Alex & Pat: Roger and Maureen Larsen.

Leg #2 THU-JUN 2 KETCHIKAN, AK TO SUN-JUN 12 SITKA, AK. Cruising from Ketchikan to Sitka with King Salmon fishing and crabbing, anchoring at night. Ketchikan, Nina Cove, Jackson Island, Craig, St Joseph Island, Port MacArthur, Port Walter, Patterson Bay, Hanus Bay to Sitka – 11 days: Fly to Ketchikan. Fly from Sitka to home. Crew with Alex only: Roger Larsen, Sid Findley and Sean McNamera.

Leg #3 TUE-JUN 14 SITKA, AK TO FRI-JUN 24 SITKA, AK. Local Sitka cruising with King Salmon fishing, anchoring at night. Cruising and fishing on Baranof Island's South coast including Whale Bay, Sandy Bay, Bryon Bay and Redfish Bay. Rendezvous with new the brand new Ms. Micky operated by Jay & Micky Field – 11 days: Fly to Sitka round trip. Crew with Alex & Pat: Dick Squire, Denny and Lori Haythorn

Leg #4 SUN-JUN 26 SITKA, AK TO WED-JUL 6 SITKA, AK. Local Sitka cruising with King Salmon fishing, anchoring at night. Cruising and fishing on Baranof Island's South coast including Whale Bay, Sandy Bay, Bryon Bay and Redfish Bay – 11 days: Fly to Sitka round trip. Crew with Alex only: Willie Benedetti, Joe Cebe, Mike Celentano, Brian Jorgensen.

Leg #5 FRI-JUL 8 SITKA, AK TO MON-JUL18 PETERSBURG, AK. Cruising from Sitka to Kake, AK with salmon and halibut fishing, crabbing and prawning, anchoring at night. Parts of this route will be in open ocean, cruising Baranof Island's South coast including Bryon Bay and Redfish Bay, around Cape Ommaney, up Chatham Strait, fishing east Baranof coast including Port Walter, Deep Cove-Patterson Bay, Gut Bay, Red Bluff Bay, arriving at Petersburg. – 11 days: Fly to Sitka. Fly from Petersburg, then to home. Crew with Alex only, Pat joins on 7/14 at Kake: Gerard and Peggy Ages, Drake Ages, and Hans Tanner.

Leg #6 TUE-JUL 19 PETERSBURG, AK TO WED-JUL 27 CRAIG, AK. Southbound cruising via Rocky Pass and El Capitan Passage with visits to Big John Bay, 3-Mile Arm, Port Beauclerc, Louise Cove, El Capitan cave tour, Sarkar Cove, Singa Island, Warm Chuck Bay and Craig. – 9 days: Fly to Ketchikan, then to Kake. Fly from Klawock to Ketchikan then to home. Crew with Alex & Pat: Vince & Marianne Fonte, Chuck and Carolyn French.

Leg #7 FRI-JUL 29 CRAIG, AK TO FRI-AUG 5 KETCHIKAN, AK. Southbound cruising from Craig, AK along the southwest side of Prince of Wales Island crossing Dixon Entrance to Prince Rupert, BC with visits to Hole in the Wall, Soda Bay, Coco Harbor, Rose Inlet, Kaigani Harbor, Hessa Inlet and Ketchikan – 8 days: Fly to Ketchikan then to Craig (Klawock). Fly from Ketchikan to home. Crew with Alex only: Vince Fonte, Marvin Dee and Lee Hollister.