Monday, May 9, 2016

2016-12 Prince Rupert to Ketchikan

Monday, May 9, 2016

The 4AM weather report for Dixon Entrance East was special.  No real wind until late in the day and seas less than 1 meter.  Let's cross... so we did.

It was as forecast, a pleasant crossing in light winds with flat seas and sunny skies.  It doesn't really get much better.  Just in case, we departed in 5am darkness.  After yesterday the crew was thanking Aeolus and the other wind Gods.
Green Island light station just off Dundas Island.
Note the lack of seas here at 7AM.
By 8AM Alaska time the Wild Blue passed the center of Dixon Entrance into US waters once again ready for another summer of Alaskan adventures.  By 2PM we arrived at Anderes fuel dock and load the 400 gallons we burned to get here while clearing US Customs.  It was a nice day for a Dixon Entrance crossing.

MV Tanglewood, a Nordhavn 60 moored near us in
Ketchikan at City Float, has a useful boaters Blog at

Sunday, May 8, 2016

2016-11 Lowe Inlet to Prince Rupert

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Rather than fight the current, we opt to "sleep in" until 9.  Then we're back on the Grenville northward using any current in our favor.  Gray turns to light clouds, then sun and wind as the morning becomes afternoon.

In Northern BC, Vessel Traffic Services on VHF Channel 11, is a great way to see if your AIS Class B signal is getting out.  Ships that are participating in VTS must check-in at specific points along there route as noted the the charts.  Class B and other non-participating boats are not required to check in with VTS, but their position is relayed to participating traffic over Channel 11. So transmissions like this: "Northern Adventure this is Prince Rupert Traffic, we have the tug Justin Foss southern bound with large tow.  There is the non-participating pleasure craft Wild Blue northbound at Lowe Inlet", we know our AIS is getting out.

The Northern Adventure northbound to Prince Rupert.
(Note:  Its AIS name is "Nothern" Adventure)
By 2:30pm near the northern end of Grenville next to the Lawyer Islands, the northwest wind puffed up to 25 knots.  The Skeena River outflow current against the big wind made for a messy ocean.  Big wind chop splashed overhead as the boat pounded into the wind and waves.  It was an uncomfortable ride from there into Prince Rupert.  But as always, the only affected ones were the crew.... not the boat. By 5:30 we were securely tied up at the brand new Cow Bay Marina.

Cow Bay's new City run marina is quiet so far.
There is no electricity yet!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

2016-10 Princess Royal Reach to Grenville Channel and Lowe Inlet.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The high wind warnings persist so the crew is OK with early morning departures in hopes of minimizing exposure to the winds.  By 6am we've departed Work Bay.  It is a fine anchorage but there is room for just one boat near the head.  Currents seem to run around the Bay so our nightly anchor track shows lots of circles.

By 7 we are struggling with the "anti-current" in Heikish Narrows but eventually prevail into Princess Royal Channel.  It a long, long motor is gray skies with drizzle changing to rain, back and forth.

Four hours later after breakfast, naps, showers we're rounding Kingcome Point into McKay Reach when the winds blow.  Gusts over 25 knots work against us and the seas to again produce a saltwater boat bath.  Withing 40 minutes at Wright Sound, the winds moderate back to 8 knots and clam seas.  Gray skies and light rains continue.

Falls along Princess
Royal Channel.
After Wright Sound, we pass close to the Hartley Bay village and then into Grenville Channel.  There's a helicopter logging operation on the west side.  The chopper drops a clean tree log at about 1000 feet into the sea.  It makes a big splash while a logger's rodeo tug moves it into a corral.  Near Union Passage we see a large group of Kayakers, so far from anything.  They look to be crossing the channel to enter calm Union Passage at slack water.

Large group of "yakkers" (aka kayakers) near
Union Passage in Grenville Channel.
At 2:30 we pull off Grenville and into pretty Lowe Inlet.  We anchor front and center of the falls and it's strong fresh water outflow.  The boat will stay put without swinging side to side and the water flow pins our position.

Water is flowing but falls are short with +17 foot tide!
Rain stops, sun pops, rain starts = rainbow!
Delicious crab fresh caught enchilada with flour tortillas,
 our celebration of Cinco de Mayo

Friday, May 6, 2016

2016-09 Lambard Inlet to Work Bay

Friday, May 6, 2016

This is our 8th year cruising the Inside Passage to Alaska.  Each year we try new anchorages.  In 2016, for the first time we've anchored in Fish Egg, Lambard and tonight's Work Bay.

It's a 5-hour motor from the Inlet up to Work Bay.  The wind is supposed to blow but our route is within the inside waters so the outside weather doesn't necessarily penetrate.  This should be a flat water, low wind ride. We are off anchor at 8:30, pulling out of Lambard we bear right across Mathieson Channel open ocean entrance without big seas and through Perceval Narrows headed north up the Channel with a big current push.  At 10:30 we turn into Jackson Narrows to Jackson Passage and then shift to neutral, idling the boat just adjacent to he fish farm complex on the south side.  It's easily to connect with "Jackson Pass" wifi and we accept and release many emails while catching up with our digital lives.  After 20 minutes or so, w're back cruising.

Jackson Pass fish farm wifi.  Connect to your digital life here!
After Jackson, it's north up Finlayson Channel almost to the end.  There are three excellent anchorages we've found up this way.  Bottleneck Inlet is by far the most popular, so we have been forced to look elsewhere. Wallace Bight is excellent if you can enter and leave on a high slack tide.  Tonight's Work Bay is exposed from the south but the guidebooks say it's OK in a southerly.  We'll check it out.

Bottleneck Inlet, Wallace Bight and Work Bay are
three excellent anchorages in the upper Finlayson area.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

2016-08 Codville Lagoon, Shearwater to Uncharted Lambard Inlet

Thursday, May 5, 2016

This morning we harvested more seafood.  With 12 crab it was time to cook and pick.  After 50 prawns had their heads twisted off, a prawns and pasta dinner was likely.  Maybe crab cakes for appetizers?

We motored up at 11AM and headed west across Fitz Hugh into Lama Passage for the short ride to Shearwater.  We temp-tied there at the floats to allow for light provisioning.  Two most important acquisitions included Grey Goose and Sleemans.  Of course we've been pining for corn tortillas since leaving the USA, but none were available north of Vancouver.  Port McNeill  and now Shearwater are sold out....blame it on Cinco de Mayo.  We're stuck with flour tortillas.

We fired up the crab cooker with the above results.
Where are the pickers?
Oh right here.... picking away.
After provisioning we turned west into Seaforth Channel looking to exit at Reid Passage.  Churning seas splashed salty ocean water all over the boat, while making for a bouncy ride until the right turn just before the Ivory Island light station.  The crew managed the rock and roll, but all were relieved at the still waters of the Passage.

The weather forecast called for building winds so we looked for a super secure anchorage.  It was directly in front of us at the very northern end of Reid Passage in Lambard Inlet!  Both the Douglass and Waggoners Cruising Guides ignore the Inlet.  Our backup Garmin Bluechart System shows no bottom depths and uncharted waters.  However the Coastal Explorer Canadian Raster and C-MAP Charts show Lambard in great detail.  We carefully worked our way up the Inlet, to the head and anchored in 30 feet with lots of room to spare.  It was a peaceful anchorage, but without any sign of crabs!

Secure anchorage at the northern end of Reid passage
in Lambard Inlet
The crew enjoyed Captain's all-time favorite:
 fresh BC prawns and pasta.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2016-07 Fish Egg to Codville Lagoon

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We scurried around this morning in the tender enjoying the sunshine while hoisting crabs and prawns aboard.  we processed all seafood and refrigerated all for future dining.

By late morning we were finally on the way to Codville.  The wind was puffy from the Northwest all the route until into the Lagoon.

Once inside, we set the prawn traps and crab pots in hopes to continue our bounties.

Maureen is our prawn trap
 line handler extraordinaire. The prawns
can'y wait to ride up her perfectly coiled lines.
Tomato, basil, and bathtub Italian cheese.
We're counting on a seafood dinner tomorrow.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

2016-06 Across Queen Charlotte Strait, Around Cape Caution to Fish Egg Inlet

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We always enjoy the hospitality of the North Island Marina.  The Jackman family are great hosts and offer their transient moorage tenants use of a vehicle for airport drop-offs and pick-ups.  Yesterday evening we picked up crew Roger and Maureen Larson, longtime friends from San Luis Obispo, at the port hardy airport.  We had 30 minutes before the supermarket closed for any last minute provisions as the weather required an early morning departure for the long trek around Cape Caution.  Actually the forecast was for 1-2 meter seas with 5-15 knot winds to early afternoon which is quite favorable.  Evening winds were forecast to build 15-25 with higher gusts overnight.  So once again we chose a "first light" departure.

At 4:30am as we tip-toed around with power cords, docklines, and hoses hoping to allow those not yet awake to stay that way.  We "whisper chatted" with the crew from Wandering Bear as they silently prepped for an early departure.  They too were headed around Cape Caution.

By 5AM we had exited Port McNeill and rounded the west end of Malcolm Island to be welcomed by flat seas and light winds in Queen Charlotte Strait. By 8AM we had slipped past the Walker Island Group in the middle of the Strait with just the start of lumpy seas.

The Wandering Bear lead us around Cape Caution.
The seas built to 5-feet peaks but well spaced as we approached Cape Caution.  we always have safety valve anchorages for when to seas become just too much for the crew.  On the rounding we could have stopped at Blunden Harbour, Allison Harbour or Miles Inlet but the Admiral passed the word to continue because she was happy with these conditions.

Our standard route north of the Cape takes us inside Egg, Table, and False Egg Islands.  It's a bit flatter path so sometimes we sit behind Table Island for a short break when the ocean is mean.  Today we are happy to continue and note three other boats just west of us in the slightly more sloppy seas.

At 2pm before Addenbroke Island, we pull off Fitz Hugh Sound through Convoy Passage and into Fish Egg Inlet.  We drop two prawn traps in 300 feet, two crab pots at 50 feet, and the anchor in 40 feet in the southeastern corner of the Inlet.

Securely anchored in the
southeast corner of Fish Egg Inlet
On the way to prawn harvest
Pat's potato leek soup until we boat soem seafood.
Super sunset over Fish Egg.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

2016-05 Up Johnstone Strait to Port McNeill

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Johnson Strait forecast for Saturday was 15-25 knots.  We had a nine-hour motor to Port McNeill ahead of us and because our crew needs to fly out Sunday, we needed to be in the Port.

So at 5AM's first light we were off the Blind Channel dock and quickly into the Strait.  We connected with the favorable ebb current and were off the races doing 8's, 9's and 10 knots.  We expected to be overcome by a nasty flood current, but the flood was weak and we scooted into Port McNeill shortly after noon, with no big puffy winds around.  A normally nine-hour run became eight with the favorable currents pushing us along in flat waters.

It was a fine and sunny cruise to end a pretty good weather week.  We always enjoy the Findley's company, especially Virginia's Middle-Eastern delicacies.

A barge of premium logs heading to market down the Strait
We had some great dining this week with the Findleys.
Here Sid, Virginia and Pat pick for crab meat.
Virginia and Pat's grape leaves, tabbouleh and humus.  Yumm!
Crab cakes with tomato and cucumber salad.