Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 13-Carp Island Cove to Punchbowl Cove

Another lazy morning.  We only had about 20 nm to cover today, so there was no rush to pull the anchor and head out.  Our route brought us from Carp Island Cove through Shoalwater Pass and on to Punchbowl Cove in Rudeyerd Bay.

After an uneventful few hours of motoring along, we turned the corner into the absolutely breathtaking Rudeyerd Bay.  Huge cliffs, many thousands of feet high, plunge directly into the water.  Thanks to the unusually nice weather (cloudy, but 60ish degrees and not rainy) we could actually see the tops of the cliffs, and the snowcapped peaks above them.  It’s impossible to capture the beauty in photos.

First glimpse of Rudeyerd Bay

We made our way to the head of Punchbowl Cove and anchored in about 50 feet of water.  Anchoring requires laying out at least three times the depth of the water in anchor rode (anchor line and chain).  Thus, to anchor in 100 feet of water I’d need to use 300 feet of rode.  I carry 350 feet of rode, so can theoretically anchor in about 116 feet of water.  Tides must be accounted for as well, so if I were to anchor on a low tide in 100 feet of water, I could be in 120 feet of water at high tide.

Practically speaking, 3:1 scope is the minimum that can be used to satisfactorily hold the boat.  Typical recommendations call for 7:1 scope, but that’s just not practical in most places in Alaska since the water goes from very deep to very shallow so quickly.  With 7:1 scope, I’d be on the beach, even if the anchor were in 50 feet of water.

When the wind blows strongly, however, it’s good to have more than 3:1 scope.  Really, you want as much as you can get away with.  Unfortunately, you don’t always know when the wind will blow.  Sudden, strong winds called williwaws can develop in the fjords of Alaska and BC, causing all sorts of problems for anchored boats.  If nobody is onboard and the anchor drags, the boat could be blown onto the beach or out to deeper waters.

As such, it is important to ensure that the anchor is well set before leaving the boat for any length of time.  A trail at the head of Punchbowl Cove leads about a mile up to a lake.  It’s apparently a great hike.  We wanted to do the hike, but were unsure about leaving the boat alone for a few hours, even with a very well set anchor (I backed down at 2000 RPM, and the anchor didn’t budge).

View from our anchorage
There is also a mooring buoy in Punchbowl Cove, but a US Forest Service boat was tied up to it when we arrived.  But in the late afternoon a USFS work crew emerged from the woods and headed out.  I talked with them briefly, and they were out for the summer doing trail maintenance throughout the Misty Fjords area.

So when they left we took the mooring buoy, paddled ashore, and hiked up the trail.  The lake is about 700 feet above sea level and the trail was muddy and steep.  I was glad to have a good pair of rubber boots, the most common footwear in Alaska it seems.  The lake was indeed spectacular, but it was starting to rain when we got to the top and we quickly headed back down to avoid getting too wet.

The USFS has built boardwalks and stairs in places
The lake at the top is worth the hike
 When we got back down a large yacht had arrived.  I paddled past them on the way back to the boat and told them about the trail.  I warned them that it was steep and muddy but worthwhile, and the two women on the back deck said, “Oh, we don’t do that kind of stuff.”  They quickly retreated into their boat and switched the satellite TV back on.  To each his (or her) own.
Our neighbor when we returned from the hike
The rain that had started on our way down the trail continued until dark, and we passed the time reading, cooking, eating, and admiring the scenery around us.  No bears, unfortunately, but I’m sure I’ll see some in the coming weeks.

19.8 nm today and 752.4 total

No comments :

Post a Comment