Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 2-Powell River to Charles Bay

I woke up around 6:30 and headed out of Powell River soon after even though Sam M. was still asleep.  The marina office was closed when we pulled in and closed when we left.  There was no pay station available, so Powell River lost out on the $20 they'd get from us.  Oh well, more money to spend on gas.

We cruised up towards Desolation Sound at five knots, first with about a 10-15 knot breeze and some quartering chop and then through smooth water and sunny skies.  Boat traffic has been light so far; a tug with several barges, five Grady Whites and Boston Whalers travelling fast and together, and three or four other cruising boats.

The trip through Desolation Sound was just about perfect.  Sunny, light wind, glassy seas, warm(ish) temperatures, beautiful scenery, hardly any boat traffic.

We ended up arriving at Yuculta Rapids about two and a half hours before slack.  The current was running roughly six knots (flood, so the current was against us) and the guidebooks all warn against going through any time other than slack.  Looking through the binoculars the rapids looked innocuous so we ventured in, ready to turn around if there were significant overfalls or standing waves.  The water was a bit turbulent and there were quite a few whirlpools, but nothing worse than Deception Pass when a similar current is running.  Nothing like Skookumchuck Rapids. 

Another boat, a roughly 40-foot powerboat named Seclusion, called us on the VHF to see how the rapids were.  I reported that they weren't bad and we had no trouble transiting, but we are traveling in a small, fast, maneuverable boat.  They were somewhat shocked we had gone through, but said they'd follow based on my report. 

Gillard Pass was similarly a non-event.  Then Dent Rapids.  The Waggoners guidebook said that Tugboat Passage has less current and turbulence than Dent Rapids, so we went through there and again had no trouble.  After getting through I called Seclusion and they were glad to hear we made it safely.  Seclusion's captain even called me his hero!  He had started into Yuculta Rapids and turned around to wait for slack because of the conditions.  There certainly are some advantages to traveling in a small, fast boat.

The rest of the trip to Charles Bay was uneventful at about 2000 RPM.  Our first attempt to set the anchor at Charles Bay in about 15 feet of water didn't work; we pulled the anchor back up and it was totally fouled with seaweed.  We moved out a bit more and successfully set the anchor in 20 feet of water.  We rowed around in the dinghy a bit, went to shore and walked around a small island, ate dinner, and read a bit before another early bedtime.  Not much to do after it gets dark besides read and watch movies, and it's nice to get lots of sleep for the long days we have.  Tomorrow we're off to the Broughtons.

58.4 nm today and 188.0 total.

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