Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nootka Sound

August 6th, Friendly Cove, sunny and breezy
We motored 20 miles south from Tahsis, down another beautiful, steep sided, forested channel. stopping to investigate several small coves along the way to Friendly Cove.  We're starting to see more and more people, cruisers, kayak campers and many sport fisherman fishing for salmon and halibut.

Friendly Cove is located just inside Nootka Point at the mouth of Nootka Sound where there are a number of interesting features:  Rugged scenery, beautiful bay, public dock to tie up, Incredible beach, tide rental cabins and grassy campground, clear warm lake to swim in, stunning modern native carvings and Nootka Point Light Station.

Coasties rescued dogs abandoned on nearby island

Movin' Along - Esperanza Inlet to Tahsis

Aug 3rd, Queen Cove, Sunny with a light breeze
A calm and easy passage from Rugged Point to Queen Cove, not quite enough wind to bother with the mainsail.  There were several boats there.  One was a converted trawler/seiner used as a base for sport fishermen who fish from small boats at the mouth of Esperanza Inlet   Our friends, John & Diane from Anomandra's Blues joined us.

Aug 4th Nuchalitz,
sunny, calm with some fog

Just a few miles away, the pretty & rocky Nuchalitz Bay and park was a lovely and peaceful anchorage.  During the afternoon, we explored in the dinghy.  The evening's entertainment was cocoa and Upwords aboard Anomandra's Blues with John and Diane.

August 5th Tahsis
Under sunny skies, we motored inland to Tahsis and stayed in a
sportfishing marina.  It was very lively, with a festive floating patio and
Jimmy Buffett music playing.  In the afternoon, there was a bright display of the day's catch at the cleaning station next to the bar.  (By the time I thought to take a picture of the bounty, they were done and the fish was gone.  It was a sight to see)

Tahsis is another former mill town, reinventing itself, but it was still pretty quiet.

Monday, August 11, 2014

West Coast Vancouver Island - Wonderland

August 2nd - Dixie Cove
Under sunny skies, we motored further into Kyuquot Sound and anchored for the night in an interior cove of Dixie Cove.  Wonder of wonders - the water was warm enough for swimming!  What a treat.  The cove is mostly surrounded by high stone cliffs, and very pretty.  But it's hard to take any photos that do it justice.

We had the place to ourselves, until the sailboat Narnia from Seattle arrived in the evening.  We got acquainted and were to see them again later on as we traveled down the coast.

August 3rd - Rugged Point
Another sunny day and a short trip to Rugged Point Provincial Park at the southern lip of Kyuquot Sound.  The locals at Kyuquot Village especially recommended it.

There's a lovely anchorage on the inside and a short trail to beautiful beaches on the outside. Paradise.

Bill on the rocks

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Old Friends

Thurs, July 31st, Kyuquot Village, Walter Cove

On glassy calm waters and sunny skies we motored southward close to the steep shore.  There are huge logs tossed high up by winter storms, and sea caves.  One especially pretty sight is a waterfall cascading over a cave entrance.

After meandering around, we arrived in Walter Cove, which has a native settlement of 200+ people and several fishing lodges.  We stopped in Java the Hutt to request places for dinner that night, and was surprised to find the proprietor to be a Roosevelt High School classmate of Kathi's, the irrepressible Eric Gorbman. Eric's very outgoing and it was really fun to share news about various other classmates we've been in touch with.

Eric runs the Kyuquot Inn with rooms and cabins and the restaurant.  It's a gathering point for people from the village and passengers from the Uchuck III, the weekly ship.  He also has a shop, lots of tools and boats.  So we brought over our troublesome outboard so Bill could set it up on a rack and diagnosis its problems.  It was the afternoon's entertainment for Bill and Eric's helpful friends Derek and Robert.  It was easy to get apart and diagnosis (oil leak), but much more difficult to put back together.
Normally, Thursday afternoon's main entertainment is watching the unloading of the Uchuck, but we busy with the outboard.  The Uchuck was tied to the public wharf near us.  So later the Mate, Spencer, gave us a tour of the boat. It's a wonderful former minesweeper modified for it's current purpose.  It's just completed 50 years service along various roadless sounds along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Friday, August 1st
 Eric took us on a tour of some neaby islands.  First, we went to the recently abandoned native village at Barter Cove. (last person left in the 1960s, so the buildings are relatively intact.  Then we went over to Spring Island, visited Eric's friend at a fabulous kayak base camp.  There's a very good trail across the island to the site of a former loran station.  It is the most stunning setting of rocky coves and beaches.  The sun was hot and the breeze was cool.  It was a great afternoon running around on Eric's fast fizz-boat!.  He knows where all the rocks are.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Checleset Bay, Vancouver Island

Mon, July 28 Columbia Cove
This was a beautiful anchorage, although too shallow to stay in the main cove.  So we rafted with Anomandra's Blues in the entrance in calm conditions overnight. 

Tue, July 29th, Bunsby Islands

We found a beautiful anchorage in Bunsby Islands and stayed two nights.  Unfortunately,since our dinghy outboard was sketchy we only explored our immediate cove by rowing. 
BOB, Bear on Beach, finally

 However, the first evening just as we sat down for dinner in the cockpit, a bear started turning over rocks in search of his dinner on the beach a few hundred feet from the boat.  So, while our dinner was cooling in the waning daylight, Bill was able to shoot a lot of "film".

There was also a noisy otter about.  They float on their backs while loudly cracking shells for their meal.

The second day we were joined by our friends John and Diane aboard Anomandra's Blues.  A bear appeared on the opposite side of the cove too.

50 01.6254 N    127 22.4652 W

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quatsino Sound, Vancouver Island

Friday, July  25th, Port Alice
Instead of Winter Harbour, we motored up to the real town of Port Alice, really Rumble Beach, where there's a great little marina.  The town of Port Alice is a lovely, tidy, peaceful town with a good grocery store and restaurant surrounded by beautiful scenery.  We were able to get showers at a nearby campground, although, the ladies' wasnt' working too well and after I ran out of loonies, I had to call the owner, Ozzy, who rode over in his little cart to resolve the problem.  He was disappointed to see I was already dressed again when he arrived.  He was a kick.

Saturday, July 26th, Julian Cove
The next night we anchored in beautiful Julian Cove and were joined by our new friends John and Diane on the Anomandra.  And wouldn't you know it?  He's a poet.  Really, published and everything. 

Monday, July 27th, Winter Harbour (finally)
Sandy, the fuel dock attendant, was fun to talk to.  He was retired from PACCAR and had also traveled to Tasmania, so we had a lot in common.

We motored down to beautiful Klaskish Inlet for the night with Daphne Isle.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Goodbye Haida Gwaii, and thanks for the fish

Haida Gwai in the rearview mirror
 Wed, July 24th - Cape St James, southern most tip of Haida Gwaii

A short weather window of NW winds and clear skies came along on Wednesday morning.  It looked like it would be at least another week before NW winds would appear again so we decided to jump at this opportunity.  As we motored south out of Louscoone Inlet, Bill spotted some big whale spouts backlit by the sun along the shore.  Good.

Unfortunately, soon after that, there were 2 big bangs and a log slid out behind the boat. Bad.   But the prop continued to turn smoothly, so we figured no harm done.  Bill usually keeps a keen eye ahead, but we have the inflated dinghy on the bow and it really interferes with vision of the surface directly ahead of the boat.  It's like having a dinghy strapped to the hood of your car.  Doh!

We continued on.  Soon a pair of humpback whales surfaced perhaps a hundred yards ahead of the boat, passing right to left toward shore.

Half an hour later, a solitary orca appeared off a few hundred yards off to port.

In the meantime, a pair of brown albratross decided to pay us a visit, circling around the boat for an hour or so.  One of them grew tired and touched down on the water.  That was the last we saw of them.  They are known to range across the Pacific from Midway to Moresby Island.  We consider ourselves lucky to see them this close to land.

About two hours after we saw the orca, there was a big thud, not sharp sounding, but it nearly stopped that boat and there was a lot of turbulence in the water.  We think we hit a sleeping whale, but we saw nothing....  Yikes!

It took a while for the wind to fill in and we had protection from the swells and posi-current for a while past the south tip of Graham Island (Cape St James), so it gave us a chance to get our sea legs while making good progress.

Whooo Haaaa! - Passage to Vancouver Island  

The wind gradually built up into the high teens and we were sailing under nearly cloudless blue skies.  This is as close to trade wind sailing as we will ever get in this part of the world and it was fantastic.

This was our first overnight passage in almost two years.  We did 4-hour watches starting at 2000 (8pm), Kathi, 0000 Bill, 0400 Kathi, 0800 Bill.  It's a tiring routine.

Eventually, we had big seas off the quarter and the wind topped out at 26kts with Jarana under a single reefed main and partly furled jib.  We slid down the waves to the roar of our own surf.  It was a blast, what ocean sailors live for.  Except it's much colder than the trades, so we were bundled up.  Our top speed was 12.6 kts!  Yeee Haaa!

There was no moon and soon clouds covered the stars.  It was almost surreal sailing along in the dark with the whitecaps and boats bow wave phosphorescing brilliantly under the moonless sky.  Fortunately, there is little ship traffic and not so many logs floating around.  Like we saw crossing Hecate Strait, there were thousands of tiny sail jellyfish, blue on the water surface with tiny curved clear sails.  Some came aboard with the spray.  We slid past the SW side of Triangle Island; it's silhouette was just visible in the dark. We gybed back onto starboard to avoid Sartine Island which loomed ahead.  South of Scott Islands (west of Cape Scott), there were a few active commercial fishing boats  but they were well lit and visible on AIS.  As the glow of the morning twilight began the wind began to taper off and by sunrise we were motoring for the last leg of the trip.

Cheated Death, One More Time (just kidding Jean)
After 178 nm, we arrived 1130 on Thursday, at Kains Island light, motoring under light winds and calm seas, and anchored in this calm inlet  to rest and clean up before going to Winter Harbour for fuel and whatever else looks good.  Maybe chat up some thirsty fishermen for a fish..... Sometimes it works.

Thurs, July 24th - Browning Inlet, Quatsino Sound, North Vancouver Island,
50 29.9773 N   128 04.6693 W

Damage report:  hardly anything   The house batteries are getting pretty tired, they're 5 years old.  We use a lot of power at night underway for instruments, plotters and lights, so it was the first big test of the batteries for a while and they showed their age.  We're really glad the gooseneck broke in calm Victoria Harbour in midday, and not out on the bounding main at night.

Snafus:  In trying some fancy footwork furling the jib with the pole still attached, we ended up with the topping lift wrapped up in the furler and with Jibsheet Macrame around bow cleats, through chocks and under the dinghy.   It was a chore to undo, in the cramped deck space forward of the dinghy.