Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 85-Namu to Pruth Bay

I woke up this morning and used the break from the rain to walk around a bit more.  Many of the areas are blocked off because of wood that has rotted dangerously thin, but it’s still fun to look inside the buildings and see the stuff that BC Packers left 50 years ago.

I had a quick breakfast on the dock and then headed out for Pruth Bay.  Conditions were flat calm in Fitz Hugh Sound and I spotted quite a few humpbacks, though non were particularly close.  Given the settled conditions, I opted to head out Hakai Pass to get to Pruth Bay.  Hakai Pass is exposed to the open ocean swells that roll in from thousands of miles away, but without any waves on top and with plenty of space between each wave, the 3-4 footers were no problem. 

Pruth Bay itself is a good anchorage with a flat bottom, 40-50 foot depths, and seemingly good holding.  On shore, the Hakai Institute owns several hundred acres that are perfectly maintained.  They have a nice float for visiting dinghies, free wifi, and walking trails leading to the sandy beaches on the ocean side.  It’s definitely a pleasant stop.
Beautiful West Beach 
Sunny in the afternoon and evening!
Thanks for the internet!
It’s looking like Sunday or Monday will be a good time to round Cape Caution, then I’ll spend a couple of weeks messing around the Broughtons and Desolation Sound before returning home.

16.6 nm today and 2,790.4 total

Day 84-Codville Lagoon to Namu

Having seen most of Codville Lagoon yesterday I was underway for Namu reasonably early in the morning.  Namu, like Butedale, is an old cannery that is rapidly falling apart.

The trip to Namu was straightforward, but the 15 knots of southerly wind did make it a bit bouncier than I would have liked.

Unlike Butdeale, Namu was rebuilt in the 1960’s because of a fire (Butedale dates back to the late 1800’s).  As such, it’s in much better condition than Butedale is.  Pete, Rene, and Theresa take care of the place and have made quite a few improvements for boaters.  Perhaps the most welcome is a big shelter on the dock with a fire pit for heating and cooking.  Most of the boaters hang out in this, eating, drinking, and chatting throughout the evening.

The docks were rather busy when I was there.  Another C-Dory and several Bayliners represented the smaller boats, and there were several boats in the 35-50 foot range.

14.0 nm today and 2,773.8 total

Day 83-Shearwater to Codville Lagoon

After breakfast and a bit of grocery shopping I made my way over to the fuel dock.  My timing was poor, and as soon as I got there the rain poured down.  15 minutes later as I left, the rain stopped.

I headed out Gunboat Pass, a narrow, winding passage that brought me to Fitz Hugh Sound.  The wind was blowing from the south at about 15 knots making for bumpy seas for a bit, but they calmed down nicely.  The current, however, was right on the bow, costing me a knot of speed.
Shoreline along Fitz Hugh Sound
Codville Lagoon is a neat spot.  The narrow entry is easy to miss, but it’s plenty deep and the lagoon offers lots of space for anchoring.  Amazingly, I even got 1 bar of Telus 3G service inside.

The highlight of Codville Lagoon, however, is the walk up to a beautiful lake.  The walk isn’t too long and it’s quite easy overall, though there are some steep, muddy sections.  Rubber boots are the right footwear.  The lake has a gorgeous sandy beach that stretches a long way around.  It was fun to walk along it looking at all the animal tracks.  Lots of dear and what must have been wolf tracks.  The lake would be awesome for swimming if the sun were shining.
The trail to the lake is sometimes a boardwalk
And sometimes a scramble up roots
Sandy beach at the lake
After the walk to the lake I paddled around the lagoon a bit, then returned to the boat to read and nap.  A nice, relaxing afternoon and evening.

19.0 nm today and 2,759.8 total

Day 82-Oliver Cove to Shearwater

I woke up fairly early today and got underway for Shearwater.  I had seen just about everything there was to see in Oliver Cove, and figured it would be nice to have more time in Shearwater.  That, and the fact that some of the worst weather I’ve had this whole trip was an afternoon in Seaforth Channel on the way up to Alaska, provided good motivation to get moving before the afternoon winds filled in.

Sure enough, the trip down Reid Passage and through Seaforth Channel was as easy as could be.  The ocean swells topped with several feet of chop that made Seaforth Channel so miserable last time were thankfully absent.

Traffic increased markedly as I got closer to Shearwater and New Bella Bella.  Lots of fishing boats, several yachts, and a massive Holland America cruise ship returning from Alaska.  Notably, I heard on the satellite radio that the Baranof Wind tour boat I had been on in Glacier Bay ran aground and the passengers were all evacuated onto a Holland America ship.  I wonder if the same crew was running the boat as when I was on it?

The guidebook said Shearwater doesn’t have potable water, and though I probably had enough to make it down to Sullivan Bay in the Broughton’s, I swung into New Bella Bella to top off the tank before making my way over to Shearwater.

Just about everything is more expensive in BC than it was in Alaska.  Moorage in Shearwater was no exception.  The going rate in Alaska was $0.35 per foot plus $5 for power.  BC seems to average $1.25 per foot, plus $5-40 for power.  Internet was an additional $11 in Shearwater and the connection was painfully slow.  40 minutes to download email headers is outrageous!

Soon after I arrived I got the oil changed in the engine and caught up with several people I had seen earlier in the trip.  Chris, a 30-something computer programmer bought a decades old Bayliner sailboar in Haines for $500 and is moving down to Seattle for the winter.  I first saw him in Petersburg, then Wrangell and then Prince Rupert.  Boats of all types cruise the Inside Passage without too much difficulty.  It’s just a matter of carefully choosing when to tackle the rougher sections of the trip.

Later in the evening a big group from the dock went up to the pub.  Among the group was a  guy from Vancouver who built his own electric car (he’s rabidly anti-oil, but when I asked him how often he sails he said less than 10% of the time.  Go figure…) and a 75 year old guy named Tony who bought a boat a few years back after his wife died.  He’s from Manchester, England originally but has lived in Vancouver for decades.  He hadn’t sailed before, but his wife’s passing was evidently a wakeup call and he decided to have fun while he can.

19.3 nm today and 2,740 total

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 81-Rescue Bay to Oliver Cove

After a relaxed morning and breakfast, I left Rescue Bay bound for Oliver Cove, just 15 nm away.  I enjoyed a boost from the current for the first half, then got slowed down the second half.  Oh well.

The water conditions were perfectly glassy much of the way, disturbed only by the masses of floating kelp and logs.  Cloud cover was significant, but the sun attempted to poke through a few times.
Perfect water conditions
Gray but gorgeous
I dropped the hook by 12:45 and set about trying to figure out where the water around the drain plug was coming from.  I don’t like uncertainty about mechanical issues, and despite the Ketchikan mechanics insistence that this condition is normal, I want to be sure.  I’ll be in Shearwater tomorrow, and they can always pull the lower unit and fix a problem if there is one.

I ended up removing the lower cowling and found two holes about 4 inches above the oil drain outlet where the water poured out.  Perhaps this info will be useful to EQ.  I’ll check with them tomorrow and hope that there is indeed no problem.

A sailboat pulled in just as I was finishing up.  I took a paddle around the cove and then returned to the boat.  Ginger from the other boat then paddled over and said she’d heard about me from the guys in the 23-footer from Utah.  Ginger and her husband Steve had also been cruising in Alaska and invited me over for dinner.  They’re already planning on spending next summer in Alaska and are leaving the boat in Sointula for the winter while they return home to San Francisco.  Lucky them…I’d love to spend another summer up north!

I’ll head to Shearwater tomorrow to get fuel, shower, buy some produce, get caught up online, and probably change the engine oil.  I’ve already run 60 hours since Ketchikan and will run just about 100 more.  Since Shearwater has a place to dispose of used oil it’s a good place for an oil change and should be the last one needed for the trip.

15.5 nm today and 2,721.5 total