Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 65: Penn Harbour to Rock Inlet

Fog! I woke up to dense fog. I couldn’t see more than 50 feet in any direction. The entrance to Penn Harbour is fairly narrow—perhaps 75 feet wide—and would be tough to navigate for the first time in fog. Thankfully, I’d been through yesterday, and had a track laid down. Combined with radar, exiting was easy.

Given the foggy conditions I passed by Evinrude Inlet and Kent Inlet. And given the calm conditions, I opted to go around the south end of Price Island, in the ocean, rather than the longer, more protected route through Meyers Passage.

Disney Wonder, one of the cruise ships doing the Vancouver to SE Alaska trip, called VTS with a medical emergency. I listened in as they described the problem: a passenger had a blood clot in their leg. The doctor on board wasn’t equipped to operate, so the passenger needed to be evacuated ASAP. The doctor said the passenger needed surgery within 6 ½ hours to survive. Given the fog, helicopters couldn’t fly, so Disney Wonder set course for Seaforth Channel at 22 knots. Meanwhile, a CCG motor lifeboat raced towards Seaforth Channel. They met just off the southern end of Price Island and exchanged the ill passenger. Apparently a fixed wing medevac plane was standing by in Bella Bella to take the passenger to a hospital that could operate.

The fog finally broke up as I crossed Milbanke Sound. As I entered Seaforth Channel, I spotted a dozen or so orcas. Lots of boats, too…it was obvious I was back on the main Inside Passage route.
Orca spy hopping
I passed Shearwater and Bella Bella, bound for Rock Inlet, near Namu. The caretakers at Namu left at the end of last summer, and I wanted to see what had become of the place.

Rock Inlet, by the way, is a beautiful anchorage, but not terribly secure. The bottom is, you guessed it, rocky. The anchor skipped across rocks before catching on something, and I could hear the chain dragging across rocks. Probably not a good choice in a serious blow.
Platform built on a rock in Rock Inlet.
Namu continues falling apart. Vandals have broken most of the windows, ransacked the old store, and generally made a mess of an already messy place. The only way to visit now is by dinghy, and there are several places to land. Most of the place is built on piers, and it’s only a matter of time before they collapse. Visit at your own risk…

Broken windows at the Namu store.
The door is open...
And most of the inventory is gone.
100.09 nm today
2238.62 nm total

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