Thursday, September 9, 2010

All good things.... come to an end.

Motoring home past Nanaimo on a beautiful day.
Thursday September 9, 2010
Leave Pirates Cove 0900
Arrive Ladysmith 1215
Trip log 726.9
Well once again, we have completed another journey. We are home again, unpacking the boat, washing laundry, and catching up on one months worth of mail and phone calls! We are ready to stay put for awhile now, have been traveling all summer... since the beginning of June we have been on the go.
But we have already started talking about our next boating trip...... maybe to the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. Most likely this will happen in late October or early November. First we have to get the windlass fixed and a few other items for the boat.... it is always something. It really is true what they say ..... "a boat is a hole in the water where you pour your money"!

Colours of fall reflected on the water as the sun sets in Pirates Cove, De Courcy Island

Oil change: 1785

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ayy Matey! On to Pirates Cove

Leaving Hardy Island anchorage, fog still laying low, heading out into Georgia Strait.
Wednesday September 8, 2010
Leave Hardy Island 0920
Arrive Pirates Cove 1900
Trip log 713.3
Fuel $60.59 Nanaimo Engine Hrs 1779.7
Water tanks full
What an absolutely beautiful day! It started out with some very thick fog between Texada Island and the mainland, but by 9:00 we could see that it was starting to lift. So we hauled the anchor (no trouble today!) and headed out. The wind did pick up enough to get the head sail up for about 5 minutes, but then nothing. But the sun is out with big white puffy clouds here and there, and a very light breeze, you can't really ask for anything more. We are hoping to pick up our grandson at the Nanaimo fuel dock later today and take him to Pirates Cove, his favorite anchorage.
The damn painter is always getting tangled up! At the dingy dock in Pirates Cove

Pirates Cove is really a great place to take kids! Aiden loves coming on Nana and Papa's boat if "we can go to the treasure box"! At Pirates Cove, they have a real treasure box (someone stole it a few years ago, but the local boaters made a new one to replace it.... can you believe the nerve of someone to steal it?) in which the policy is "take something, leave something". It works great, and Aiden and Papa love combing through the treasure to find something of interest. You never know, sometimes there are even useful items in there!
You can just feel his excitement as he runs to the treasure box, toy in hand to leave behind for another lucky kid.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Catch up time........

The rain forest on Cortes Island.
Tuesday September 7, 2010
Leave Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island 0800
Arrive Hardy Island 1500
Trip Log 665.5
We had a little panic attack this morning when we went to pull the anchor. We thought it was stuck on something (yesterday we saw a powerboat pull up a large log with his anchor) because we couldn't budge it. We moved the boat forward to try to dislodge whatever it was, no luck.So we pulled up our trip line(the second time we have had to use it), and found that the problem was simply that it was WELL dug into the mud! Uggh, our backs are not used to this!
We are heading towards Hardy Island and the weather is nice enough for a swim!

Monday September 6, 2010
A day of R&R, we are sitting tight in Squirrel Cove because the forecast is for wind from the SE which would be right on our nose and we would be fighting it all the way. It is raining or misting. Took the kayaks out when the weather cleared a bit and went for a walk on Boulder Point then over to Squirrel Cove Marina to see the ``town``.

Salamander we found while hiking in Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island
Sunday September 5, 2010
Leave Billygoat Bay, Helmken Island 1000
Arrive Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island 1900
Trip log 624.7
Uneventful day today compared to yesterday. We took advantage of the currents and wind and had an easy morning running with the head sail up. The wind finally died down after lunch but we still had a nice 3-4 knot current carrying us through Dent, Gillard and Yucalta Rapids. Squirrel Cove is crowded, but still lots of room. TONS of moon jellies in this bay, guess we won`t be going swimming.
Another sailboat, about a 50 footer, heeled almost to his toe rails in Johnstone Strait. This is 25 knots of wind.

Saturday September 4, 2010
Leave Pearse Islands 0800
Arrive Billygoat Bay, Helmken Island 1800
Trip log 573.3
Wind and current are in our favour today so we decide to make a nice run down Johnstone Strait. We hoped our day would go well, but it was not to be. Only about an hour out, with the wind blowing 10-15 knots, motor on but head sail up, the water choppy and the sun shinning right in our eyes,  we ran into a gill netter. All panic broke out, threw her into neutral and  pulled in the head sail. The fisher boat zoomed over to us and threw a line, but his mistake was trying to pull us over the net, unfortunately it only made matters worse. Then he tried to pull us back, but with the wind, and weight of our boat plus the net, he was not successful. Finally, he decided his only option was to drum his net and by doing this he was able to free us, but not without some damage to his net. It was an unfortunate mistake, and we have learned a lesson the hard way.
We kept a keen watch the rest of the day, and if we had not been really (and I mean REALLY) watching, it would have happened again. Another gill netter had his net out and he had drifted away from it about 500 meters or so, and we could not see the other bouy marking the far end of his net  because of the chop. If we had chosen to take that route around him, we would have run into another net.
We arrived at Billygoat Bay, but the wind was still blowing 15-20, even in the anchorage. Without a winlass, anchoring makes the job a little bit of a challenge. Through it all, we ended up loosing our snubber. But I guess since we know exactly where it went down, maybe someday we can dive there and get it back! HA HA
So now we don`t have a snubber to help us with anchoring,.... we`ll see how that goes.
We were very glad once we had gotten our worn out bodies tucked into bed!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Things don't always go as planned.

Friday September 3, 2010
Leave Port Mcneill 1430
Arrive Pearse Islands Marine Park 1630
Trip log 530.2

We left the dock yesterday late afternoon and started to put the anchor down using the "fixed" windlass, but it was not to be. We got about 40 feet out and it quit. Jerry fiddled with it for almost two hours and was not able to get it going again, so we pulled the anchor back up by hand and headed back to the dock which is where we are now. We have someone coming at anytime to give us a hand to fix it and then we are hoping to get back on the road (water!).
The mechanic took a look at the windlass motor and said we need a new one but the closest one is in Florida. So, we are heading out of PM now to the Pearse Islands and we will just have to do it the old fashioned way.... by hand! Depending on how it goes tonight and then with retrieving the anchor, that will determine how fast we get home. I already told Jerry a few weeks ago that I wanted to start weight lifting, but I wasn't think of the anchor!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We are back from the nether lands!

Thursday September 2, 2010
Leave Waddington Bay 0940
Arrive Port Mcneill
Trip log but 
We are only a few miles from Port Mcneill. Our original plan for today was to anchor in the Pearse Islands Marine Park, about 11 miles southeast from PM, but things don`t always go as planned. We went to put the anchor down and it would not go down. Jerry determined, after a little inspection, that one wire on the solenoid was corroded and had come off. So, we will fix it in Port Mcneill and get fuel and a few other errands then go to Pearse Islands tomorrow. 
Below is my log from the last two weeks, we had a great trip into the Seymour Inlet area! I will post a few more pictures as I get the time I have kept most of them small, but click on any picture and it will be full size.

Wednesday September 1, 2010
Leave Rusty Cove Simoom Sound 1245
Arrive Waddington Bay 50 43.80, 126 36.93, 1545
Trip log 491.8
An easy motor day today, it was very calm and mostly sunny. We passed a school of dolphins near Cramer Passage (same place as the last time we were here), but they were too busy to play with us today. It was easy to see they were feeding by their behavior. There must be lots of fish around because there are lots of sea birds feeding as well. We are anchored in Waddington Bay with only one other boat, a cat from the US. This is prime kayaking territory, lots of little islets and inlets to explore around.

Tuesday August 31, 2010
The rain has not really let up today, and it is a bit foggy.... a good day to just relax, read, snooze and eat popcorn. We will head out tomorrow whatever the weather as the batteries will need a good recharging.

Monday August 30,2010
Leave Laura cove 0945
Arrive Rusty Cove, Simoom Sound 50 51.36, 126 32.85, 1140
Trip log 477.9
Fog this morning but hopefully it will life early this afternoon. Went out in the kayaks again looking for a trail to Sullivan Bay Marina. The guide book says that there is a trail to the west, but in all four little nooks we looked in, none had anything that looked remotely like a trail. But the book was written over 10 years ago and another boater said her book, which is a bit newer said the trail was overgrown. So we headed back to the boat, then it started to rain as forecast and didn't quit. We hunkered down to a nice salmon dinner and lively conversation about stereotyping and cultures!

Sunday August 29, 2010
Leave Berry Cove 1100
Arrive Laura Cove 50 49.47, 126 34.11, 1245
Trip log 469.6
We are getting a little better at stern tying and even managed to get the job done with two other boats already in the anchorage and without yelling at each other! Laura Cove is a little on the tight side, but has great opportunities for stern tying.
Took a pre-bath dip in the 13 degree water! I would recommend trying this.... it really makes your skin feel alive!
After dinner we toured around the end of Laura Bay (low tide) and saw lots of salmon (coho?) jumping in the shallows. As we quietly drifted across where they were jumping we could see huge schools of the fish swimming under our kayaks. Very cool!!

Saturday August 28, 2010
Leave Steamboat Bay 1445
Arrive Berry Cove in Cypress Harbour 50 50.13, 126 40.32, 1800
Trip log 462.9
This morning we went out at low tide to tour around Mckenzie Sound in out kayaks. We spent three hours, mostly slowly meandering along the shoreline. The intertidal life in this area is incredible. We saw some more species of starfish (including my first Slime Star) and lots of sea cucumbers and sea pens. In Steamboat Bay, yesterday in the late afternoon, we watched swimming Giant Nudibranchs float by our boat, and on the kelp, there were lots of Hooded Nudibranchs, looking like something from another world as they moved about on the kelp.
Back at the boat for lunch, then relaxing (and reading), to wait for the tide to change at Jessie Point.
In Cypress Harbour we took another kayak tour and found a Forest Service Recreational Site in past Burnt Point in the shallow part of the harbour. In our guide book, they say it is not advisable to anchor in this part of the bay, but we talked to some fishermen on a 40 foot power boat and they said they were anchored in 30 feet and there is room for 4 or 5 boats, you just have to know where the channel is for getting in and out. We beached the kayaks and walked about 25 minutes along an old forestry road, saw some bear skat, and as it was starting to get dark, we decided to turn around. But it was a nice hike and good to get some leg exercise. Altogether today, we kayaked for 5 hours, a record for us.

Friday August 27, 2010
Leave Claydon Bay 1000
Arrive Steamboat Bay,Watson Island 50 56.18, 126 48.25, 1150
Trip log 448.4

Thursday August 26, 2010
Leave Napier Bay, 1015
Arrive Claydon Bay 50 56.28, 126 53.44, 1215
Trip log 440.5
This is an area of the Broughtons that we have not been to before. Only a short distance from our anchorage last night, Claydon Bay is a popular anchorage especially with sport fishermen (there are 5 boats here now) because it is very protected and easy to get in to. There is also a small group of float homes in the southern corner of the bay. We didn't do much today except read as it rained most of the day.

Wednesday August 25, 2010
Leave Knight Island anchorage 1045
Arrive Napier Bay, Tracy Harbour, North Broughton Island 5050.98, 126 51.12, 1715
Trip log 433.2
We took the kayaks out early this morning while the tide was out. The area where we anchored last night is a group of islets with lots of little channels to explore. Got back to the boat just as it started to rain.
Foggy most of the morning and into the afternoon, but it finally lifted around 1:00 and we sailed down wind for the rest of the day almost right into the harbour where we are anchored. Saw another bear working his way along the shoreline this evening as we were eating dinner.

Tuesday August 24, 2010
Leave Charlotte Bay 1030
Arrive close to Nenahlmai Rapids 1215
Trip log 398.8

We are taking a tour of Nenahlmai Lagoon by dingy because the entrance to the lagoon is guarded by a shallow narrows with up to a 5 knot current. When we arrived at the rapids, Tail didn't quite have the power (6hp) to get us through so we waited almost 30 minutes, exploring around the shoreline close to the rapids. I have never seen such a high concentration of starfish in my life!! Truly, they were thick, covering every nook and rock, turning the bottom and sides of the narrows beautiful shades of orange and pink. We saw leather stars, mottled stars, sand stars, sunflower stars, giant sea cucumbers, red sea cucumbers and  green sea urchins as we slowly paddled around. It was well worth the effort to make this side trip.
Had lunch and then pulled anchor to head to Nakwakto Rapids for slack at 1645.
Arrive Knight Island 51 00.06, 127 31.17, 1815
Perfect timing for slack at Nakwakto and then through Schooner Channel on the flood. We are anchored close to the mainland with a nice view through the islets to Vancouver Island.

Monday August 23, 2010
Leave Head of Nugent Sound 1030
Arrive Charlotte Bay 1345
Trip log 375.5
Picked up the crab trap on our way out of Nugent Sound and as usual, it was empty except for a little kelp crab. I let him go. Jerry`s sharp eye spied another bear, this one much bigger and probably a male, feeding along the shore at low tide.
So, now we have the trap down again in Charlotte Bay, a place known for good crabbing. We will see! We got the kayaks out again to check out Ellis Bay, about a 4 mile round trip from our anchorage. A fun trip and we got back just as the rain started pelting down. This trip we have seen very few other boats in this area and all our anchorages up until tonight have been by ourselves. Tonight we are sharing with a small charter fishing boat and they put their crab traps out too, so that is a good omen!

Sunday August 22, 2010
Leave Nugent Sound Cove 0930
Arrive Head of Nugent Sound 1050
Trip log 357.7

At the head of Nugent Sound is a very small opening into Schwartzenberg Lagoon that is too narrow and shallow to get a boat through. The current can run at over 5 knots so even with a dingy, we had to wait for close to slack water. While we waited we had a swim (the water temp is a refreshing 18 degrees) and Jerry surprised me by being the first one in again! After touring Schwartzenberg Lagoon, we had dinner then took the kayaks out to explore the bay we were in. The thing about using our kayaks instead of Tail, is that we can be very quiet and hopefully sneak up on a bear.  It was our lucky night, Jerry spotted a mother black bear with her cub feeding along the rocky shore. He got to within about 20 feet before she realized something was not quite right, then high tailed it with her little one into the trees, then proceeded to humpff humpff us for a few minutes until we were around the corner.
Saw lots of moon jellys, green sea urchins, about 6 different species of star fish, and a few small crabs.

Saturday August 21, 2010
Leave Peet Cove 1015
Arrive Nugent Sound Cove 1540
Trip log 352.0
On our way through the entrance to Nugent Sound, we put the crab trap down in about 38 feet, keeping our fingers crossed that maybe we will catch something. Nugent Sound Cove is a snug little anchorage, about big enough for three boats. But we are the only ones here, except for a pair of Harbour Seals, who are a little perturb we have invaded their home. Just after we got the anchor set up, it started to rain. And I mean RAIN!! For a good 10 minutes it just pelted down, then all of a sudden it stopped and the sun came out. We climbed outside the boat and stood listening to the forest... it still sounded like it was raining for another 30 minutes or so from all the water dripping off the trees. Really amazing! We get Tail out for a look around and the pair of seals followed us from a safe distance everywhere we went. At one point, we shut off the engine and sat very quietly to see what they would do. After about 5 minutes, they both popped up almost simultaneously about 15 feet from the dingy, scarred themselves silly and disappeared again. We had a good laugh!

Friday August 20, 2010
Leave unnamed bay 1015
Arrive Head of Alison Sound, Belize Inlet 1300
Trip Log 315.6
It took us over 30 minutes to decide where to put the anchor down, and even then we decided we would put out a stern anchor. There are two creeks that empty into this bay making it shallow out quickly. So the depths go from 90+ feet to 10 feet fast, with not much swing room and no place to stern tie. After getting set up, Jerry took Tail out for a look around the creeks and checking depths. Then we both headed out in the kayaks for a very enjoyable tour up the creeks until we got to the rapids. We were hoping to see a bear or something, but it seems we are here at just the wrong time. There were not really even many birds to see.
Back at the boat, the wind started to pick up after dinner and push our boat towards shore, so we decided to pull anchor and find a more secure spot.
Arrive Peet Cove, Alison Sound 2015
This is a small cove we checked out on our way by earlier this morning. We wanted an option in case the head of the inlet proved not that great. We are having ``fun`` practicing our stern tying, good thing there is no one else around to hear us practicing!

Thursday August 19, 2010
Leave Strachan Bay 0800
Arrive unnamed bay, Alison Sound, Belize Inlet 51 09.17, 127 06.19, 1430
Trip Log 304.0
No crabs, not a single one, in the trap from the day before. Humff! Oh well, we can try again.
This area is really beautiful, reminds me somewhat of our trip to Alaska with the steep sided mountains with waterfalls and thick with giant cedars and firs. We got pictures of the pictographs along the way, these are over 150 years old and still look good. Rained a bit after we got anchored, but then cleared off so we went on a short tour with Tail.
This photo was taken at the bow (which you can just see in the bottom left corner), me hanging over the lifelines and the dolphin turning to have a look!

Wednesday August 18, 2010
Leave Walker Group Cove 0800
Arrive Strachan Bay, inner basin, Belize Inlet 1400
Trip log 284.3
We had internet right across the sound from Port McNeill until we reached the mainland side and then it faded out. It is not far to go through Queen Charlotte Sound to reach the mainland side and the wind was fairly calm so we didn't get the sails up. But there is no getting away from the swells once you enter the sound. Our challenge today was to get through Nakwakto Rapids, the only entry into Seymour and Belize Inlets, on or near the high water slack. We arrived about an hour early, and watched the rapids for 30 minutes then decided it wasn`t anything worse than we had already been through. Nakwakto Rapids can reach over 14 knots and slack lasts somewhere between 6 and 10 minutes. With careful planning, any boat can navigate through these narrows. We made it through easily with about a two knot current with us.
Turrett Rock, in the middle of Nakwakto rapids, at slack high tide. The water looks almost like glass, but that is very deceiving.

I can never get over the excitement and amazement of having a group of dolphins swim along side our boat. Just after going through Nakwakto, we were greeted by a group of Pacific White Sided Dolphins. They are very curious and ofter will "bow ride" for 10 or 15 minutes. I like standing at the bow, leaning out and watching them watching me! They will turn on their sides to get a better look and actually make eye contact. I watched as they scooted ahead of the boat about 50 feet or so and then slowed down to let us catch up to them. This went on for over 20 minutes, until they either lost interest or decided they were getting out of their territory. What fun it is!!
We found a nice anchorage in Strachan Bay, put the crab trap down with high hopes and then jumped in Tail to do some exploring. We met Buck and his friend Bob, full time residents (log salvagers) of Belize Inlet. Coho were jumping but we couldn't catch one!

Tuesday August 17, 2010
Leave Port McNeill 0800
Arrive Walker Group Cove 1645  50 53.93 127 31.91
Trip Log 256.8
This is an anchorage we haven`t tried yet, so we were cautious entering the "landlocked" cove through a shallow narrow opening. But once inside, it proved to be quite secure and relatively quiet. We toured around the Walker Group of islands in Tail (the name we have given our dingy), enjoying the ride on the swells on the outside of the islands.