Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sitka to Craig  



Arrived in Craig on July 4 thinking we could see the fireworks but they were last night.  Oh well.

Left Sitka on Jun 21 and had a quick trip with the current through Peril Strait.  We were passed by the high speed Alaskan ferry which was doing 33 knots!  We returned to Appleton Cove.  This time we anchored in the tiny nook on the east side, N57 28 41 W135 15 75.  It does get shallow all around you but we sat in 50’ at high tide.  There were 3 other boats in the other parts of the bay.

On Jun 22 we motored into Ell Cove (N57 11 91 W134 50 92).  This is a 5-Star anchorage and we had a beautiful day, sunny, warm & not too much wind.  We parked WINGS, put the 15HP on the dink & headed back up the coast about a mile, plus or minus to see where Hidden Falls Lake drains into the bay.  There is now a fence around the lake’s entry into the bay as they are building a fish hatchery.  Hanging out at the fence, where the water runs through, was a big grizzly.  On the beach there was a mom with 3 cubs, busy eating something and walking along the other shore was another grizzly.  They didn’t pay any attention to us as they were too engrossed in looking for salmon.  About dinner time a guided charter, Alaska Legends, came to share this wonderful anchorage.

We woke up Jun 23 to a warm & sunny day in Ell Cove.  Things were decidedly different outside where we found patchy fog and quite breezy conditions outside.  We were pretty chilled by the time we stuck our nose into Warm Springs, envisioning another soak in the hot springs.  It was not to be.  The boats were rafted 3 deep to the dock and there were another 6 fishing boats at anchor in front of the falls.  We gave it a miss and continued on to Red Bluff Bay.

We motored through patches of dense fog and areas of brilliant blue sky.  Outside the entry to Red Bluff the fog was quite dense and several boats were milling about waiting for it to lift.  We thought visibility was good enough to enter and figured it would clear once inside.  It did.  This is the quintessential Alaska anchorage – long inlet, deep water, shallow bit to anchor on, 9 waterfalls cascading from the high snow covered cliffs above, 1 large cascade tumbling into the bay, eagles soaring overhead and bears roaming ashore.  This was fairly crowded by what we’ve come to expect.  We had about 8-10 boats in here and one of them was 110’ long.  A small sailboat had stern tied to a tree ashore.  This was most interesting when the grizzly went walking by and ran into the line.  He started chewing on it to see if it was good to eat but was dissuaded from this by the folks on the boat who kept shaking the line until the grizzly ran off. 

We ran into 3 other Anacortes boats while there.  One was John & Martha Adams who made us a freshly caught shrimp dinner & then gave us a nice bit of Chinook salmon fillet.  The high cliffs caused our GPS signal cut out just after we anchored.  We think it was around N56 52 25 W134 47 13.

A fairly large low pressure system was moving in with rain and strong southerlies forecast.  On Jun 25 we went over to Bay of Pillars, Kuiu Island looking for a nice muddy bay to sit it out.  We picked some unnamed bay (N56 36 97 W134 11 28) that was perfect protection from the south, lots of swinging room and mud.  We were quite snug until the wind came out of the north at 30+ knots (what was that about?).  Out GPS track from that night is quite interesting.  We were all over the anchorage.  No other boats but lots of sea otters.

The next day we had a short jump to Shelter Cove in Tebenkof Bay, Kuiu Island (N56 29 01 W134 02 68).  What a wonderful spot.  We motored in with light scattered rain showers but the afternoon got very sunny and things dried out well.  We explored in the dingy and watched hundreds of sea otters paddle around on their backs and munch munch munch.  Some dove quickly as we approached but others seemed to be quite curious about us.  Again, we were the only boat.  We have never seen as much mud on an anchor as we did on the morning we pulled it up. 

By Jun 27 we were again on our way.  We needed to round Cape Decision on the end of Kuiu Island.  That shortcut you power boaters take through Rocky Pass and Devil’s Elbow is too shallow for us.  We thought to make some miles south while we had overcast since the afternoon winds don’t build as much.  We went to Table Bay (N56 08 88 W134 12 59) as this was the closest anchorage we could find to the cape so we could easily round it in the morning.  It was overcast but we had so many pods of whales swimming around us that we felt we were surrounded by geysers.  And then, a huge humpback jumped out of the water about 2 boat lengths off our starboard side and then began to tail slap the water about 6 times.  Amazing. 

Table Bay was a good anchorage.  We had a 3-4’ SW swell running most of the day and it was still running when we got up the next morning.  We anchored in the SE arm of the bay in an area the coast pilot says fisherman use.  But for the few times WINGS turned sideways while waiting for the off shore breeze to turn us around, we hardly noticed the swell and had very little rock.  No fishermen came in and we were the only boat there. 

Rounded Cape Decision on Jun 28 without any tide rips big seas or big winds.  Saw numerous whales and one was waiting for us in our anchorage at Warren Cove, Warren Island (N55 52 73 W 133 35 177).  We walked the beach, found bear tracks but didn’t see any bear.  Sometime in the evening 3 fishing boats dropped anchor but they all disappeared by the time we got up at 7 AM. 

Leaving Warren we went through Cosmos Pass to enter Sea Otter Sound.  We had at least 2 whales foraging across the pass.  We kept slowing to let them pass by but they didn’t get the message.  We finally decided to go through, slowly.  One came right up next to us, took a look as if to say “we’re working here”, dove down and swam past us.  We hustled our way through before they could make another pass.  We moored in Cyrus Cove, Orr Island (N55 55 07 W133 24 25) on Jun 29.  An Alaska sailboat came in.  We told them we were so surprised to see another boat.  They told us they’d been coming to this cove for years and had never seen anyone in it and they were so glad Don & Reanne had not included it in the SE Alaska Cruising Guide.  We had to let them in on the bad news that it wasn’t in their earlier edition but it is in there now.  They went ashore to harvest sea asparagus and brought us a bag.  Now that we know what it looks and tastes like we’ve been picking and munching it as well.

Anchored Jun 30 in Sarkar Cove (N55 57 41 W133 14 69).  There is a lovely fishing lodge here, El Capitan Lodge.  It has 10 cabins and will accommodate 20 guests.  They take their guests out fishing all day.  Terry tried to see if there was room for him to sign onto a charter but no.  Also, no room in the dining room to accommodate us as they were fully booked.

Jul 1 we were anchored by the Forest Service El Capitan Cave dock at N56 09 58 W133 1906 in 30’ at mid-tide.  We again put the 15HP on the dink and drove it through Dry Pass.  We were at high water with a 10’ tide and didn’t see less than 21’ in the very well marked channel.  We climbed the 370 stairs to the cave the next morning and had a very informative tour given by 2 geology students working the summer for the forest service. 

Stopped at Devil Fish Bay (N56 05 09 W133 22 51) on our way back down El Capitan Channel.  It was lovely and we had the place to ourselves along with a few eagles, 1 bear and several sea otters.  The entry is quite narrow with a very large rock in the center of the channel and a drying ledge on the south side plus a pretty good current running either with you or against you.  Terry bought a machine that will map the bottom.  It works in conjunction with a Navionics program.  We hooked it up and made several sweeps across the narrow channel to map the bottom.  While we do it we can read depths but haven’t figured out why the depth info does not come out on the completed product.  We end up producing a small colorized chart with different shades of blue to identify areas of less than 5’, between 5-10’, 10-15’ and then anything over 20’ is all in white.

A high pressure system has been building and moving in.  Days are warm and sunny but small craft warnings have been forecast for areas around us.  We gave Kahli Cove a miss since Don & Reanne wrote it wasn’t good holding and opted for Yahku Cove on Tuxetan Island (N55 47 88 W133 14 52) on Jul 3.  It was almost as nice as Ell Cove although a bit smaller.  Good thing we were the only boat as it would not have easily accommodated another of our size. 

Got up early July 4 to catch the current through Tonoweck Narrows and arrived in Craig before lunch.  Plan A was  to stop in Nagasay but given the small craft warnings we opted out.  We will do shopping and laundry tomorrow, then continue south. Bought 69 gallons of fuel at $3.10/gallon.  We think the tie up rate is $.50/foot.  The marina is pretty empty as all the commercial guys are fishing.  You hear the fish buyers throughout the day on VHF.

We usually post these via the internet at the local library.  The Craig library was closed on the 4th and not open on Sunday.  We saw a guy hanging outside of the library picking up their wifi signal.  We tried it today but could not connect.  We hope to connect at a restaurant tonight.  There is only 1 stray wifi signal in the harbor and it is from the 100’ or so monster next to us, named Silverado.  The harbor master tells us it is owned by Hilton (as in the Hilton Hotels).  The harbormaster comes down every day looking for Paris Hilton but no joy so far.  It’s pretty interesting that the boat is home ported to Seattle, and not somewhere like the Grand Caymans.  Only crew aboard who confirm Hilton is 1 of the owners.  They do keep the boat in Seattle but move it between Alaska and Mexico for the owners.

Devil Fish

Whales Spouting

Humpback Breaching

Humpback Tail

Fog Outside Red Bluff

Shelter Cove

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Petersburg to Sitka


 Alaska sure is a big state & we are only trying to explore SE Alaska!  To those who ask, we are not going any further north than Peril Strait.  We found ourselves getting up way too early too often to put in 50-60 miles a day before the afternoon winds came up.  We’d arrive at a lovely spot in time to anchor, eat dinner & make our way to bed.  We’d get up the next morning and do it all again.  We weren’t having enough fun so we slowed down to take 30 miles/day & spend a few nights in places.  We like this much better.
sanborn canal
On June 11 we spent 2 lovely days in the Sanborn Canal (N57 16 44 W133 14 99).  Don & Reanne wrote a lovely review of this spot in their SE Alaska Cruising Guide noting they’d seen more wildlife here than anywhere.  Sadly, we saw only insects & those little birds that blink under the water as soon as you get close.  But it is a lovely spot & a well protected anchorage.  We did see lots of whales on our way in and enjoyed taking the dinghy as far up the inlet as we could on a high tide. 

From Sanborn it was a short hop to Cannery Cove in Pybus Bay (N57 05 32 W134 09 47) on Admiralty Island.  We were 1 of 4 boats.  There is a small fishing lodge on the point.  This anchorage has such a majestic setting with soaring mountains filling up the bay behind you and large drying flats behind you.  We spied 1 grizzly ashore and tons of eagles.  We have 1 photo of the bear taken with the telephoto lens.  We are hopeful that with some cropping it might show up as more than a brown blob of fur.   
Cannery Cove
On Jun 14 we left to head west on Frederick Sound.  It was a beautiful sunny day with no wind.  The snow capped mountains were out all around us.  We saw  many whales and a few sea otters that day.  We decided to go into Rod’s Cove (N57 01 89 W134 29 27) next to Murder Cove on Admiralty Island.  It is a lovely spot but we decided that with the forecast -3’ tide in the morning it would be too shallow for us plus we had several hundred big brown deer flies descend on us as we slowed to enter & circle the anchorage.  We were afraid we’d swallow one if we opened our mouth.  We did a quick exit and went to Warm Springs Cove (N57 05 32 W134 09 47) on Baranof Island.
Warm Springs was a great stop.  It is scenically beautiful with the roaring waterfall plus you get the hot springs!!  We were lucky enough to get a space on the dock and we finally ran into other people to talk to.  We had 2 sunny warm days here.  We had a soak in the natural hot springs pools that are adjacent to the roaring river.  We hiked the mostly boardwalk trail to the lake.  Since there hadn’t been any rain for a few days there was very little mud.  We waited for high tide and took the dingy into the adjacent salt water lagoon.  Again, lots of eagles but no bear sightings.
Warm Springs
At the head of the Warm Springs dock there is a bathhouse with 3 private rooms.  Each room has a huge fiberglass tub in – will easily hold 2 adults and probably a dozen children.  Actually it looks more like a cow watering trough.  The tub sits in front of a window that looks across the bay at the falls.  You shut the door, take off your clothes & jump in the tub.  It is always full of piping hot water.  You can add cold so you can acclimate and then soak to your heart’s content.  When done, you drain the tub, scrub it out for the next person & let it refill.  I think this is the only bath we ever had while cruising. 

We reluctantly pulled ourselves away from Warm Springs so we could make our way toward Sitka.  We had 2 interim stops on the way.  The first was in Appleton Cove (N57 28 13 W135 16 43) on the north end of Baranof Island.  The anchor spot Don & Reanne suggested was filled with crab pots so we anchored just to the east of the little peninsula that juts out in the bay.  The anchor stuck well but we heard the chain grind over rocks throughout the night.  The next morning we were up early to make the 22 or so miles to Peril Strait.  We had to time our arrival for slack water at Sergius Narrows at the south end of the strait.  So, it was a long slog with tide against us most of the way.  We decided we’d had enough miles for the day so tucked behind Piper Island in Fish Bay (N57 23 62 W135 35 26) for a very quiet night in very good holding. 

Jun 18 we arrived in Sitka.  We are tied up in Eliason Harbor where we can watch eagles soar over McDonald’s (& pick up their wifi signal).  No cruise ships are in so it is not crowded.  We took the bus to the Rapture Center yesterday.  It is in such a lovely setting next to the river.  While there a new injured eagle was delivered.  It was fascinating to watch this woman hold this hooded un-sedated eagle in her lap while they took its vital signs.  That eagle didn’t even wiggle when they stuck the thermometer you know where.  We walked Totem Pole trail in the Sitka National Park, stopped at the Russian Church and visited several shops.  This is also the first place we’ve been where you can actually order salmon in a restaurant. 
The docks were full of fishing boats, all pretty busy getting ready for the season.  We were surprised when we got back yesterday that a lot of them were gone so there must have been an opening.  We’ve seen several long liners on our travels but not too many. 
Chris & Erin, if you are reading, there was as 55’ Selene tied up in here yesterday.  It looked pretty new & pretty nice. 

We leave Sitka Sunday morning.  We’ll head back up Peril Strait and go sound in Chatham Sound.  We have a few more stops on Baranof Island then will cross over to Kuiu Island and Prince of Wales Island before heading back to Canada towards home.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Prince Rupert to Petersburg



We got off to an early start on May 29 from Prince Rupert to avoid the afternoon winds, and to time the current through Venn Passage. Venn Passage is a narrow, shallow, intricate short cut that leads to Chatham Sound and saves about an hour or so of travel. The winds were light to none and we made good time. If the winds had come up, we would have ducked into Brundige Inlet on the north side of Dundas Island, but with light winds, we pressed on after calling US Customs to get permission to spend a night in Foggy Bay (N54 5691 W130 5634). We found a nice spot to anchor, very protected with good holding.  We were anchored by lunch time. Nearby were several small meadows, and it wasn’t long before two very large Black Bears arrived to entertain us, off and on, for the rest of the day. Cool!

Next morning, we left at a more leisurely 8 AM for the run into Ketchikan. Clearing customs was a breeze, few questions, no boarding, no sweat. They are now using NEXUS, and it would have been even easier if we had known that. So with customs cleared and full fuel tanks, we headed to our assigned slip at Bar Harbor Marina. Once tied up among the eclectic gaggle of boats in the harbor, we went shopping and looked around the town. There is a very nice, big Safeway nearby, several shops that deal in marine supplies and fishing gear, and several nice restaurants.

The next morning, I started walking north along the highway to NAPA auto parts for an oil filter, then on up the road to Walmart. It was a much longer walk then I expected, so I took a courtesy van back to town. They run these vans for the cruise ship passengers. Every 20 minutes, a van leaves the cruise ship area with a load of tourists that need a Walmart fix! Wow! Of course, the van makes no intermediate stops, so I had to walk from the Cruise Ship area back to the Harbor, another long walk!

Stocked up, fueled up, showered and laundered, we left Ketchikan. We went NW up Clarence Strait and around the corner into Meyers Chuck (N55 44 36 W132 55 00). After a tense entry, it opens into a nice bay and small community, complete with a public dock. We walked up and around the cabins, looked into the window of the only store in the place, a gift shop, closed, talked to some residents, admired the community saw mill and generally relaxed.

The next anchorage was Santa Anna Inlet, in Ernest Sound. High, steep mountains marked this Bay. We found anchorage in 70 ft of water at the head of the Bay. There was a lake nearby, that drained into the Bay. There was a very noisy stream coming down the mountain right behind the boat.  We could not discover the outlet until the very low tide the next morning as the forest was so thick. On shore were the remains of what I guessed was the boiler to an ancient steam donkey that was used to pull logs down the mountain.  Another sailboat anchored with us.  They were setting their crab pots in between the rain showers so we invited them for drinks.

Jun 5 we were on our way to Wrangell. Wrangell has two areas for transient boats.  When we called the Harbormaster, she assigned us a slip in the southern area, which is new with 30 and 50 Amp power at the slips. It is also a ¾ mile walk into town. Since we wanted fuel, we first went into Reliance Harbor (N56 27 84 W132 22 87), the northern harbor. We noticed there was plenty of space there for us. We called the Harbormaster back and requested space. She explained that while they had 30 Amp plugs at the docks, there was, in fact, only 18Amps available and most boats cannot get by on that. We can, and we did, and enjoyed being close to town. We spent three days there, exploring the town. One day, we took an excursion up the Stikine River, a trip we would not dare to do on our own.  They rounded numerous shifting shallow areas in water opaque from glacier runoff at the outlet of the river.  We went up several sloughs looking for moose but had no luck.  We ventured up the inlet to try to see Shakes Glacier but the ice bergs were well mired in the shallow approach & we couldn’t get close.   Back to Wrangell on this very rainy day.   It was a 4 hour trip, and well worth it.

We looked at a weather fax while in Ketchikan & noticed a big pile of lows coming together off the Gulf of Alaska.  They came together with a vengeance & it stated to rain the morning we left Meyers Chuck & did not stop until we left Wrangell on Jun 8.  By end of day the barometer come up 10MB.

We left Wrangell at noon to time the currents in Wrangell Narrows, on our route to Petersburg. Wrangell Narrows is a narrow, shallow passage that is a navigational challenge. The channel is well marked, which means there are 70 markers for the 21 mile passage. Most of the north-south Alaska traffic goes through here, including Alaska Ferries, log booms, and commercial fish boats. It’s an exciting passage! At the first narrow spot we came to, we spotted the Alaska Ferry entering the other side. I made a quick turnaround and moved to the side of the channel to let him pass. After that, it was much like transiting the Intercoastal Waterway, except this one had strong currents.  At 1 point a skiff with 3 people pulled up next to us.  We were northbound to Petersburg.  They were headed south & asked which way was Petersburg.  We thought they were trying to pull our leg since only locals would be out that in that small a boat.  We pointed north so they turned around but then headed east through Keen Island Bay.  About an hour later they again passed us so who knows where they really wanted to go.

We arrived at Petersburg (N56 48 81 W132 57 69) into what was turning out to be a beautiful evening.  The sky was clearing and the mountains snow capped mountains were out.  Petersburg certainly is one of the most beautiful own settings we’ve ever been in.  We pulled into a nice, nearly new slip, with plenty of room, in between numerous very large fish boats along with a few private yachts.

Forecast was sunny becoming party cloudy on Jun 9 with rain returning Jun 10.  We decided to find a tour operator for Jun 9 who could take us to the Le Conte Glacier while the sun was out.  While walking down the dock we met a Polish couple on a sailboat.  They live in Port Ludlow.  They had a tour set to go to Le Conte Glacier. He was picking them up in 5 minutes so we joined them & had a great day under very sunny skies with no wind.  We were rewarded with view of the many snow covered peaks in the area and saw 1 whale, lots of eagles, birthing seals on the ice bergs & many seal pups.  We hung out in front of the glacier for a while waiting for the bergs and sea ice to move so we’d have a clearer path to get closer.  We were rewarded for our patience and got up close and saw a number of calves off the glacier.  Terry cut off a bunch of glacier ice which we had in our happy hour trips in a dry & somewhat warm cockpit surrounded by towering fishing boats. 

Rain came as promised on Jun 10 as we write this.  Water temp is a chilly 46.9⁰.  We will head to the library and wifi (none in harbor) to post.  Hope to leave tomorrow for the Sanborn Canal as Don & Reanne gave it such a good write up.  It is a 50+ mile trip though so we may break it down into shorter bites.  Forecast tomorrow is for showers and improving weather. 






Saturday, May 30, 2015

Shearwater Cove to Prince Rupert

Saturday, May 30

May 24 - We finally left Shearwater after a morning shopping trip to Bella Bella, using the water taxi. We headed to Oliver Cove via Reid Passage, a narrow twisty run up to our anchorage. We were joined later by “Cookie Cutter” friends that we met in San Diego, in 2002. It was a nice, secure anchorage.  The sun came out, a nice treat up here!  It’s getting harder to stay up late enough to watch the sunset though!

Monday, May 25 - Motored up Perceval Narrows to a great dolphin show into Mathieson Channel.  We took Jackson Pass into Finlayson Channel. That was exciting, as the entrance is a narrow, shallow gap to slip through. Ran Heikish Narrows at the top of Finlayson to our intended anchorage at Horsefly Cove. We could not find any place there we wanted to anchor (too deep!).  Next looked into Swanson Bay, where all that is left of a cannery is a red chimney and a few rotting pilings. Where it was shallow enough for us to anchor, it was also too close to the shore, and a lee shore at that, so we pressed on to Kutze Bay, and there, in the closing hours of the day, found a marginal place to anchor for the night.

We were up early to leave that anchorage (there is, typically, no wind against us until about noon) bound for Lowe Inlet. By this time it dawned on me that there really are very few shallow anchorages up here. We should be ready to routinely anchor in 85 to 90 feet, and for that we are not sufficiently prepared. I hope Ketchikan has our type of chain (3/8 BBB) as that would make life much easier for us. Now underway, we went by Butedale, the site of a former cannery that, despite several attempts at restoring the buildings, has fallen into such disrepair that it is no longer salvageable. Most of the roofs on the buildings have fallen in and the docks are in dismal shape.  There is one cabin that looks lived in.  It is in decent shape, but that is all. We did a “low pass”, took some pictures, and continued on to Lowe Inlet.

 At the head of Lowe inlet a lake empties into what is called Nettle Basin, forming a very picturesque waterfall. There were already 4 boats anchored near it, so we found a spot a little south off a large meadow and anchored for the night. The next morning, after everyone left, we re-anchored at a choice spot right in front of the waterfall. On our way over, we saw a moose swimming across the pool in front of the falls to a small meadow just to the north of us. That afternoon and evening the winds picked up with gusts to 25 kts. Several boats drug anchor, but we stayed put. I wondered why, as we were anchored in the loose rock and sand that had been washed out by the waterfall, and is not known to be good holding. On pulling up our anchor the next morning, we found out why. We pulled up a 60 pound Bruce anchor, with chain, that was fouled on our anchor. It had been on the bottom for quite awhile, so we released it and let it go back to the bottom for someone else to salvage.

Leaving early again, to avoid those pesky head winds, we continued north to a convenient place to anchor, Kumealon Island Cove. This positioned us for an easy run into Prince Rupert.  And once again, it was up early and on into Prince Rupert.  We are now at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club. I had never given Prince Rupert much thought.  I assumed it was just another logging/fishing/tourist town. I was wrong! Prince Rupert is all those and a major shipping port, competing with Vancouver, Puget Sound and California. It is the closest port on the west coast to Asia, and the CN Rail owns tracks all the way to Memphis. This makes getting goods to market 2 days quicker than any other west coast port.

We found several good restaurants.  There is Safeway, Walmart, and anything else we may want. Today, we took a city bus to Port Edward to tour an old Salmon Cannery. It was very good, and we had a chance to see some of the town on the way out.

Tomorrow, we get up at O dark hundred again, depending on the weather,   to begin the 2 or 3 leg passage into Ketchikan.  We may or may not stop in Brundige Inlet.  If we give it a miss we will continue to Foggy Bay, Alaska.  From there the next stop is Ketchikan.

Cheers! Terry & Deb

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I received word there was some discussion after the “walk” by the “boys” as to just who writes this blog. Let us set you straight. What goes on WINGS stays on WINGS.  So there!

We departed Sullivan on a wet, foggy, calm wind day for the trip to the next anchorage in line for the rounding of Cape Caution. Once again, we were the only boat in Blunden Bay. We chose a spot near the dock (N50 54 45 W127 17 32) that serves the Indian summer camping grounds. The next morning, early … 5AM early, to avoid the PM winds, we got under way again. Our goal was Miles Inlet, but when abeam, we had no wind and calm seas, so we rounded Cape Caution and continued on to Fury Cove. We expected another empty anchorage (N51 29 24 W127 45 58), but as we rounded the island and entered the Bay, we first sighted one, then two, then three boats already at anchor. Three more boats joined us before the day was done! That afternoon the sun came out, it was warm on deck, and we were in a very pretty anchorage. Life is good!

Although only a short hop we next stopped at Pruth Bay, Calvert Island (N51 39 24 W128 07 53)as several friends raved about the walk over to the west side beach.  Another misty, foggy day.  We sat at anchor in Pruth until 3 pm hoping the fog would clear but no luck.  The walk was 4 star & we walked up the beach & back into the woods to the north cove.  When we returned to the anchorage we found a sailboat an anchor – “Cookie Cutter” who we had not seen since 2002 in San Diego.  Same people, also headed north … smarter than us as they enclosed their cockpit.  We sure are glad we at least added heat.

Next, was Codville Lagoon, a marine park. Codville has a narrow entrance with a rock on the north side of the channel that must be avoided. It demands your attention!  Once through the Chanel, it opens into a large bay complete with an island in the middle. We anchored on the east side (N52 03 63 W127 50 20), behind the island, in a shallow area that took some time to find. Even then, some rocks were close by that made me nervous.  Again, we were the lone boat. Sun came out and we spent time mapping the bottom from the dink with new sonar T-pod. Saw 1 marten ashore and 1 sea otter that morning in Hakai Pass.

Back out the narrow channel Saturday morning and across Fisher Passage to Lama Channel for the trip up to Shearwater Resort (N52 08 85 W128 05 26) for fuel, an oil change, laundry, and dinner. We will take the shuttle to Bella Bella (free Sun-Thurs) today for grocery shopping, then decide whether to press on or to chill out and stay another day.  Shearwater has their groceries delivered each Monday morning.  They advised Bella Bella has a more frequent delivery sked and a bigger selection plus no tax on alcohol.

Moorage here is $1.50/foot.  Fuel is $1.25/liter.  Shearwater fuel closed 12-100p for lunch.
WiFi is too slow to upload pictures. Cheers! Terry & Deb

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 14, 2015

Well, it’s been 3 years since our arrival home in Anacortes, Washington and our last post to this blog.

Besides getting settled and into a routine on land, we rebuilt WINGS’s engine and installed hydronic heat, among the myriad of maintenance items that needed tending. WINGS being a boat there is still more to be done, but that is expected.  But, it’s time to go cruising, albeit a short cruise, 3 months or so, to Alaska.  We did an even shorter cruise last year to Desolation Sound.

After a hectic week getting some last minute glitches solved, we finally untied the dock lines and left our slip in Anacortes.

Our first stop was Parks Bay, Shaw Island across from Friday Harbor. It was great to be back aboard and anchored out again!

The next morning we left for Nanaimo, BC, a 54 mile run that included Dodd Narrows. Dodd was the first of the narrow passes we have to negotiate on our way to AK. The current runs through these passes at up to 17 knots, so they must be traversed at, or near, slack tide. We arrived an hour early and did circles, waiting for slack. Finally, about 30 minutes early, we determined the adverse current was only about 2 knots, so we started through. Partway through, we spotted a large log boom, with 4 tugs pushing it, maneuvering into the pass. This was going to be tight! I called the lead tug on VHF and offered to turn around and get the hell out of there if there wasn’t room.  He said that if I hurry there should be room. That was a little unsettling, but we pushed on.  There was room, though not much!  I’m glad we did, as it would have been a long wait for the log boom to get through the pass. We pressed on to Nanaimo, another 5 miles where we planned to anchor for the night.

Back to the morning: Several hours before entering Canada, Deb called Canadian customs with our NEXUS info for an easy check-in to Canada. The officer in Ottawa said she was too early and to call back when thirty minutes from Canada. She did. This officer said to call when we got to Nanaimo. She called 20 minutes out. This time she was reprimanded for calling 20 minutes out, not 30 and so we could not use NEXUS. Deb said fine, we would do 10 minutes of circling. We were instructed to proceed to our marina. Deb said we were anchoring. More drama. Deb said we’d go to the customs dock and asked what was to happen then.  We were told if no one was there we were free to go. No one showed up, as we suspected, as they closed at 5, so we left for the anchorage.  So much for our check in!


A little planning at anchor that evening revealed that if we left early the next AM, we could make it to Campbell River, a 75 mile day.  A long day for WINGS.  We left at 5AM, arriving at a slip in Campbell River at 7 that evening. The trip up offered both rain & sun.  While at dinner that evening, Deb found a phone book and looked for friends we knew were from Campbell River, who we had cruised with through Tonga and Vanuatu. We found them and got together for a hike to a spectacular new swing bridge over a waterfall, then lunch at a resort next to their lovely home right on Discovery Passage.  They are Peter and Heather Warwick from “Solar Driftwood.”  It was really nice to remake that connection! That afternoon was spent grocery shopping and looking for an engine shut down solenoid that has gone south. I did not find one.

One of our last minute glitches that I mentioned above was insurance coverage for the trip to Alaska. We had called our insurance company 6 weeks before leaving for an endorsement to extent our navigation limits and a quote.  After several calls, we finally got our quote 3 days before leaving. It was for $500! We were astonished and considered revising the trip or cancelling the policy and getting another one. I called all the boat insurance surveyors in Anacortes; they were all busy for several weeks. New insurance was out, at least for this year. So after a weekend snit, we finally agreed to pay. Then it took all day to finally get an email insurance binder. We finally got off the dock Monday afternoon. Problem solved? Not so! Yesterday, we got another binder that said we had to be back in our original bounds by June 29! Deb fired off an email and said (among other things) I would call them this morning. I called our agent and told him he was a lucky man, that we had left WINGS long range missiles at home. He said that the date was a clerical mistake and a new binder was on the way. Problem solved? Maybe.

 And now you are up to date! Today’s plan is to leave the dock at 3PM today, to catch slack water at Seymour Narrows. Then, with the strong current behind us, we can make some mileage up Johnstone Strait.