Well we're almost there. Ron and I dropped Wally off and had a few short cruising days stopping again in Pender Harbour. I have to put a shout out to David and Richard who own Oak Tree Market in Maderia Park in Pender Harbour. They have the best meats! They are very friendly and the market is clean and has a beautiful selection. You'll probably find Richard behind the meat counter with his butcher apron on. The steaks are amazing and if you're real sweet he may make you up some of his delicious Tuscan Burgers! The warfinger is pretty friendly and will let you tie up for a bit while you make the short walk into town for shopping before dropping the hook in one of the many surrounding bays - we prefer Garden Bay.
We had a exhilarating day sailing across the Strait of Georgia! We left Buccaneer Bay and raised sails in Welcome Passage headed for Plumper Cove Marine Park in Howe Sound. As we neared the Trail Islands, just off Sechelt, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and Northwest winds to keep sailing right across the Strait! How glorious! Needless to say, our egos were rightly polished by doing so. As we neared the West side of the Strait, near Gabriola Island, the winds picked up and we had to change tacks to more of a run (We made this decision after a couple waves broke over the beam rail covering my back and Ron's front! Cold.) Which meant our headsail had to come down. I was a little nervous about heading forward to do so. Ron offered to do it, but I was more scared about taking the helm and something happening to him. I felt secure that he could rescue me should something happen - the 'something' being ending up in the water. I gathered the lazy sheet to use as a tie-down once the sail was on deck and headed forward. As I was organizing my plan, a pod of porpi joined us! Talk about taking the edge off. I now had no fear. I told Ron to just ease the tensioned sheet and I'd get the sail down without heading back into the wind - the swells and wind had both picked up and the running and surfing were actually pretty calm. I went about my job, enjoying the porpi leaping, breathing and cruising right at the bow. It seemed that if I slipped they would just give me a lift right back onto the deck, I wouldn't even get wet! The sail came down without a hitch and after it was secure I went back for my camera. I got some wonderful video! They stayed with us till we rounded the Flat Top Islands, at the Southeastern end of Gabriola Island, which was well over an hour! By then we were able to head into the wind without the swells and get the main down. We motored into Silva Bay excited and spent. 4 hours of sailing will do that I guess. We tied up and spent way too much for a nights moorage and didn't even get to the Bitter End Pub! We're guessing they got bought out with this whole Silva Bay Resort thing going on :( And I was hoping to finally get a cool t-shirt! Oh well.
We were sad to see Wally go but also glad to have our space back, real glad! wink;) wink;) We may have our space back on the boat but we've seen more boats these past few days than we have the last month! We finally figured out that not only are we back in a more populated area but it's Thanksgiving weekend for the Canadians! We have a decent little weather window right now and there are a lot of people out and about on their boats for the long weekend. Well, I guess it's a good way to ease back into life in the 'real world'. People are very friendly and excited to hear about our adventures. We met a couple of boats out from Nanimo - Misty Morning (who joined us fighting Gabriola passage a little early) and Island Beet (cute story...co-owners brother and sister. brother, Doug and wife Louise, keep the boat up and close to them on Vancouver Island and sister who's married to a beet farmer in the midwest. There is also a good bit of music beat that runs in the family! Louise is an avid cribbage player and got a kick out of our boat name story).
We wove our way through the Gulf Islands and made the decision to get across to Roche Harbour on San Juan Island. We were running low on propane and have had trouble getting it filled in Canada. Different regulations. So here we are so close to home and yet reluctant to end this wonderful adventure. But we're in cell phone range now and talking with friends and family is hard to put off, much less knowing we could see them within the day and start all these wonderful parties we've been promised! We ran into Scot on SV Jaga out of our homeport of Port Hadlock in Roche Harbour and had a wonderful visit. We spent a very lazy Tuesday walking and exploring the beautiful McMillin Mausoleum, lunch at the Lime Kiln Cafe and another visit from Scot. All of a sudden it's 4pm! Ron and I were done being tied up at the dock and decided to make the short run over to Shaw Island in the San Juans and spend the night on the hook. It was a beautiful evening motor and just after anchoring we enjoyed a soft sunset and a full moonrise over Parks Bay. The next morning we listened to the weather while sipping our coffee and made the decision to make the run across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We took our time with breakfast waiting for the tides to turn in our favor. We literally got spit out of the San Juans at about 8 knots (nice job baby on timing the currents!). The sun peeked out on a nice gentle day. It's good to be in familiar waters and on our way home.
Ron touched base with Wally and he started the phone tree. We pulled into Point Hudson in Port Townsend and were greeted on the dock by friends with growlers (that's a jug o beer) being passed before the dock lines were made and the engine shut off! What fun! Days flew by with little sleep and a full social calendar. Such good friends we have. On Saturday 18 October we completed our trip with a lovely sail down to Hadlock. Katy joined us on Juichi and John and Sarah followed close on board Mystery. Sarah and I spend the lovely afternoon taking pictures of each others beautiful sailing boats. What a perfect day, way to end our trip. We had a lovely weekend in Hadlock and came back to Point Hudson where Ron and I will be spending the winter. I'll be working at the sail loft and am looking forward to the 5 minute walk commute.
Well, this adventure has come to an end but the crew of Juichi and Mystery have made a pack to be diligent on getting out on a regular basis so hopefully it won't be too long before there is a continuation on the Adventures of Juichi!
Wally here again. From my last entry: "Despite the weather, our spirits are high as we joke about being lucky to get out of port by 2pm."
So, uh... we didn't leave that day (10/03). We had French toast, drank coffee, hashed and re-hashed the day's course, groused about the weather, and generally lay about until finally it was, in fact, too late to leave. Part of the problem was that Juichi is terribly comfortable down below (watch out, crew of Mystery -- you're, I'm sure, learning of this issue). The other part of the problem was that the rain never stopped even for a minute. At times it was heavy, at times it was just a light patter on the cabin top, but at no point did it actually stop. Well, sorta.
Ya see, as soon as we'd made the decision to stay (and to get roaring drunk, but more about that later), the rain let up. Alison thought it would be a good idea for us to take a walk, so we headed out for the trails about which we'd gotten a brochure the day before. Snoopy, the enormous and standoffishly gregarious mutt from the resort, joined us and lead us through two trails, one up through an old-growth grove and another out to a rocky promontory overlooking Blind Channel and Mayne Passage. We retired to the boat, resolute in our goal of getting terrifyingly inebriated.
So, uh, that didn't happen either. Yes, folks, that's right -- the crew of Juichi were too lazy to get drunk. Now, mind you, I was all for accomplishing that goal. In fact, I was just about to make a set of weaponized gin and tonics when Ron and I had to jump up and help a trawler come into their slip (they'd lost a prop to a collision with a log). Ice cubes in the glasses, we headed out and were treated to warm Kokanee as a reward for our helpfulness. Some disparage Kokanee as a lesser beer -- "raccoon piss" and "Sasquatch beer" -- but I enjoy it, even warm. It is a tasty beer. Turns out, Ron enjoys it at least twice as much as I do, given numerical evidence of that afternoon. One beer turned into two, and then... well, the ice cubes were melted by the time we got back to Juichi. Alison, in fact, had to come get us, wondering where we'd gone. We made our excuses, said our thanks for the pints and offered our wishes for luck with their prop and prop shaft (ouch), and headed back to Juichi. Now for the drinking!! No. We had a cocktail, Alison made shepherd's pie that turned out to be more stew-like than pie-like because I'd pulled creamed corn instead of regular canned corn out of the stores in the hold (but was extremely tasty nevertheless), and then went to bed.
The morning of the 4th found no reduction in the amazing amount of water pouring out of the sky. Pouring. Really. Like a monsoon, but cold. Oh, did I mention that it suddenly was no longer summery? Yeah. Summer stopped dead on the 2nd, had a jolly wake on the 3rd, and was buried in the cold ground on the 4th. Fall made it clear that we were now on his turf. My personal log reads, "Wet today. Very Wet."
We headed out into Mayne Passage, and turned down toward Johnstone Strait. The rain let up for a few moments as a pod of Dall's porpoises played in our bow wake. Alison and I rushed forward like giggling kids, and she got some really great video and photos. We got to Chatham Point, turned down Discovery Passage, and before we got to Okisollo Channel (our next course change) another big pod of Dall's decided to come play with us (vid here). We turned into Okisollo, went thru Upper Rapids (excellent driving again by Capt. Hicken in the very strong and confused current), and entered the Octopus Islands.
What a treat for the eyes! Part of the Octopus Islands are designated as a marine park. We slowly motored thru the islets, passing up a calmer, slightly more idyllic spot with a difficult stern tie for a more open spot with room to swing. Good plan. As Alison set the hook, the rain picked up in earnest and the wind started to howl. Williwaws pounded down over the islets into our little bay, battering Juichi to and fro. We scampered below, stripped off our soaking foulies, got into our dry woolens and settled in. Because we'd had a longish day with lousy weather and few opportunities for good eating, we were all quite peckish but none of us had any good ideas. So we snacked. Now, when you have a crowd such as this one, the snacking is really dangerous. Mixed nuts, carrots and blue cheese, "guacamole" chips (seriously, wtf?) and salsa, grilled cheese sandwiches, multiple trays of nachos -- mayhem. All this mishmash was washed down with glass after glass of cranberry-like cocktails. We polished off a gallon of faux cranberry juice in our drinks in far too short order. The sugar, the salt, and the odd variety all combined to ill effect, sending Ron to bed with a sour stomach, Alison up the next morning with a sour stomach, and your faithful narrator infamously gassy throughout the whole time period.
In our next installment, running rapids at Hole in the Wall, waterfalls at Teakerne Arm, and Thai food in Powell River. Gotta go fold laundry now.
Hi all! Well, we are wrapping up this adventure. Almost homeport. Bittersweet. We've had to get up early the past few days to have the anchor up and be underway by 8am. Not so premium. I'm worried how hard it's going to be to get on a regular W-O-R-K schedule. Oh well, we've got to put in the time before the next adventure can happen.
We have been lucky to have Wally here to share the Broughtons and Desolation Sound cruising with us. What fun was had! I hope y'all enjoyed the blogging. We stopped in the Octopus Islands but I wasn't able to explore due to the bad weather. Leaving through Hole in the Wall the next day we saw a light dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains! Then again this morning leaving Grace Harbour in Desolation Sound Marine Park, more snow built up on the mountains. The fall colors have been beautiful and becoming more abundant as the fall weather really sets in. I'm ready to be secure for the winter, glad we're so close to homeport. But, I'll miss this lifestyle. I'm thankful for the closeness Ron and I have been able to share with this beautiful land and with each other. It has been a priceless experience - well, not really priceless.
Heads up to the Hadlock Crew - - - Wally's going to be in charge of the get together in the San Juans. Ron and I are shooting to be in the area around October 15 - 20. Probably not all that time, those are just the dates to work with. So...start looking at your calendars and talking to your significant others and bosses! Whatever works best for the masses. Touch base with Wally and we look forward to seeing y'all soon!
Wally's going to fill y'all in up to us leaving him in Westview while I'm composing the last of the writing for this trip.
If you're reading, remember to comment. Alison LOOOVES to see comments, as it lets her know that folks who love and miss her and her fellow and her boat are actually reading and following her adventures. Remember: comments = love.
-WBG, guest blogger and consumer of Juichi's stores
It's 0830 in Blind Channel, and no one is out of bed yet. The pounding rain makes it hard to motivate. But I must do my duty to Alison and finish my description of my section of the trip so far. Hello again, folks. Wally Grundle, at your service, guest blogging ("guest-blogging?") for the crew of Juichi.
Now, where was I? Oh, right: Bond Sound. Up earlier than usual, we were caffeinated and fed in time for a 10:15am departure. We pulled the crab pot and were surprised by several rough-looking crabs -- keepers, tho' -- and a flounder (hake? halibut? whatever: flat and ugly). Ron cleaned the crabs on the stern anchor, and Alison took them below to steam and pick. I helped Ron pull the stern tie, and then, using knowledge gained through several sessions with Alison, I hauled and stowed the anchor without any help. I am now quite clear on where she gets her arms and shoulders; that's hard work! Ron motored us out of our anchorage and down Bond Sound, while Alison treated us to sausage and cheese muffins. As we neared the end of the sound, we spied Margie and Chuck on Dream Catcher just ahead of us in Tribune Channel, but they were too far ahead to say hi. We continued down the channel with the intended destination of Tsakonu Cove. However, the closer we got to the end of Tribune, the more the weather kicked up out of the southeast. The guides all indicate that Tsakonu should be avoided when the weather comes from the southeast, so we revised our plans, turned through Clapp Passage and down Chatham Channel for Cutter Cove.
We'd talked about stopping at Minstrel Island, supposedly a ghost town of sorts, but from the water it didn't look either too ghosty or too interesting. Supposedly, Minstrel Island had a larger population than Vancouver at the turn of the last century, then, when the local businesses dried up (or some other bad economic turn), so did the town. In any case, the weather had changed from blustery and overcast to calm and sunny, so we made tracks for our anchorage at Cutter Cove. Alison let me set the hook myself (yay!), we got our travelling duds put away, and proceded to spend the rest of the day relaxing in the delicious sunshine. Alison took a row into a creek at the head of the cove where she heard but didn't see (and got thoroughly spooked by) bears, and came rowing back as fast as she could. Ron and I sat and read on the deck. After Alison's return, there were cocktails and a wonderful sunset. Thanks to our luck that morning with the crab pot, Alison whipped up a marvelous crab alfredo with zucchini, accompanied by some really tasty garlic and cheese biscuits.
Alrighty. We're up to Wednesday, the first of October. A loooong day. Underway at 10:35am from Cutter Cove with coffee and banana bread in the belly (Alison has perfected her banana bread; it really is a perfect power food), we set out down Chatham Channel to Havannah Channel and into the wild and wooly Johnstone Strait. Johnstone is known for taking bad weather and turning it worse, for taking an ugly sea state and turning it dangerous, so we wanted to take every advantage of the lovely weather we were enjoying, and transit as much of it as we could in one shot. We got to Port Neville earlier than we'd expected, and decided to pass it by, and, in doing so, headed out of Johnstone into Sunderland Channel, past Topaze Harbour and Bessborough Bay, finally turning into Forward Harbour and setting the hook in Douglas Bay. A thirty-four mile day, but, given the weather that was gonna hit us the next day, a very prudent decision by the masters of the vessel, Ron and Alison.
Alison had read about a trail that lead from the beach where we'd anchored in Douglas Bay that lead up and over the Thynne Peninsula, which protects the mouth of Forward Harbour and separates Douglas Bay from Bessborough Bay. The descriptions tell of the trail being marked by "flotsam and jetsam" and "beach finds" -- turns out this means trash. Still, the trail was very pleasant, if somewhat eccentrically marked, and we were treated to an extremely beautiful sunset over Bessborough Bay. One of the highlights of the hike was a flight of Arctic terns that swooped into the bay with such speed that their final hard turn, all in formation, made a noise like a jet engine. I didn't know birds could make a noise like that. We all gawked and, after the dull roar of their turn-and-brake maneuver had died down and the terns had landed, we gawdanged and whoaed and giggled a bit. Truly impressive.
We hiked back to the dinghy, stopping to collect several pounds of good dirt for the composting head aboard Juichi (truly a delightful bit of ingenuity), and rowed slowly back in the calm and very clear water, pausing occasionally to marvel at some enormous sea stars. Alison treated her gentlemen to a dinner of stuffed pork chops and roasted potatoes. Since dinner was served later than usual because of the long day and the adventures ashore, we only played one game of cribbage, which Alison took in a close finish.
The wind kicked up overnight (later, we'd discover from others' local knowledge that we were anchored in the single windiest spot in the whole harbor, the very focal point of the swirling williwaws produced by Forward Harbor's steep walls). I got up to relieve myself over the side in the middle of the night; the sliding of the companionway hatch woke Ron up directly, scaring him to think that the sound he'd heard was the keel scraping on the bottom, telling him that we'd dragged the anchor in the wind and were now only moments away from foundering on the shore. He pulled on his pants with great speed and dashed up the companionway, looking frantically out toward the shore, sure of the worst, when, spying the shore just where it should be and Juichi lying just where she should be, he turned to see me, confused, heading back toward the companionway. He nearly jumped out of his skin. He'd taken such care below to dress quickly but quietly so as not to wake me, and was so preoccupied by the potential peril, that he hadn't stopped to wonder why I was sleeping so quietly as he dressed. (Note to those who do not know me: I am not a quiet sleeper. "Chainsaw cutting open a tin roof" is one of the milder descriptions from the recent past.) His sudden alarming fear -- both for our safety and for the huge, lumbering dark shape in the cockpit heading straight for him -- turned to amused relief, and we all had a good laugh. Ron then spent the next three hours staring at the ceiling in the v-berth, thanks to his good pal adrenaline. Ha!
The morning of 10/02 was grey and blustery, but the hook still held solid, a good testament to both Lewmar's reproduction of the classic Bruce anchor form (Juichi's is a 44# for those interested), as well as to the reports of good holding in Forward Harbour's sand and shell bottom. So versatile and solid is that Lewmar "Bruce" that Ron and Alison haven't once set the CQR that for so long adorned Juichi's bow (and still does, unused) on this voyage.
Because of tides and currents, our departure from Douglas Bay in Forward Harbour would be a late one. I made crusts for quiche while Alison and Ron plotted the next days' course. When I was done, Alison took over in the galley, and I helped Ron sort and stow charts. The smoked salmon quiche came out of the oven first. It was stunningly delicious. Alison is, as I've mentioned before, a frickin' genius in the galley. A perfect blend of cheese and egg and filling, with little pockets of molten cream cheese goodness surprising here and there. While we waited for Alison's next culinary masterstroke, Ron and I hauled the dinghy up and squared away the foredeck for departure. Given the water we had ahead of us that day, we could afford nothing loose or moving on the deck.
The crab quiche came out next and was equally delicious. Alison had augmented her recipe by drizzling hollandaise sauce into the mix, adding to the flavor dimensions and increasing the creaminess ratio (that's math; look it up). She's terribly demure about her quiche recipe, saying it's nothing more than six eggs and a cup of milk, but I know differently. The secret ingredient is... nutmeg. You thought I was gonna say "love," didn't you? Whatever, man.
Finishing the quiche and getting into our foul-weather gear ("foulies" for those uninitiated), we chuckled nervously as the wind really picked up, going from 10-15kts to a steady 15 with gusts over 20. The williwaws pounded down on the water in an almost petulant fashion, as if defying us to weigh anchor and just try, just try to get underway, punks. Alison hauled the anchor, and almost the moment we pulled out of Douglas Bay toward the mouth of Forward Harbour, the wind dropped off to nothing. Like a teasing relent from a bully, the wind falsly raised our hopes of better conditions in Wellbore Channel, and then, as we entered the channel, dashed those hopes to pieces. 20kts steady with gusts over 30. Ouch. We drove into the wind-vs-current chop, bouncing merrily if tensely along, our spirits bouyed by a pod of porpoises that bobbed and dashed merrily through our wake, clearly playing with all the abandon for which small cetaceans are known. With a sudden burst of bow wake and a confusion of already rough waters, we plowed into Whirlpool Rapids. The current tried vainly to wrest control of Juichi from Ron's capable hands, but he held fast and guided us through. The rain redoubled its efforts to discourage us, but Alison fought back with hot tea (Tazo Wild Sweet Orange with a healthy dollop of honey: recommended!). The weather and water finally let up south of Green Point Rapids, and we pulled into Blind Channel Resort in a light rain. After tieing up and paying our moorage, we enjoyed wonderful hot showers, relaxing reading with the rain pounding down on the cabin top, music and another delicious dinner, finally being put to sleep by Ron's ever-so-favorite sleepymusic, Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygène (insert snide comment here; I would, but I was fast asleep halfway through the third movement).
That brings us current. It's now 10:30am, Alison is whipping up French toast with blueberry compote as I blog and Ron charts. The rain continues, increasing and decreasing like a child playing with a faucet. Despite the weather, our spirits are high as we joke about being lucky to get out of port by 2pm. We have dry foulies, clean laundry (thanks to the machines at the resort), and our bellies will soon be full, thus we have nothing about which to grouse.
Not sure where we're headed from here, but I may get a third poke at this guest blogging gig when we get to Powell River and I hop off (depends on what Alison says; she hasn't read either of these entries yet, but I can hope for yet a moment more of ephemeral fame in the annals of the Adventures of Juichi). Gotta sign off now; the rain is so thick it's messing with the wifi reception and I don't want to lose all of this brilliant exposition.
Until next I blog, I remain most faithfully and humbly yours, Wallet B. Grundle, Esq.
Hi, all. Wallet B. Grundle, Esq., here. You can call me Wally. Alison has asked me to guest-blog for her so I'm jumping in to tell part of the Juichi tale. Unfortunately, since they had adventures between Prince Rupert and Port McNeill which Alison hasn't yet blogged, my stories will be out of order. However, for those of you who know me, random extremely long-winded and timeline-challenged blurbs of infonoise are not at all surprising. For those who don't know me, um, hi, and uh... I like cheese.
So, context: when Katy and I went up to cruise with Ron and Alison back in June as they headed north, I'd discussed a similar adventure for later in the year as they headed south. A couple weeks ago, Ron called me from Shearwater saying that they'd be in the vicinity of the north end of Vancouver Island in roughly a week, and did I want to come up and meet them. My answer included a long string of emphatic expletives indicating an affirmative response, and I agreed to meet them in a week in Port McNeill.
I arrived in scenic, metropolitan Port McNeill on the afternoon of Wednesday the 24th of September. I met up with Ron at the marina, and we got to work, readying for our departure on the morrow. Aside from the necessary provisioning (propane, diesel, water, groceries, liquor, laundry), the first task of the evening was getting drunk. I kid. Well, not really. Oh, and Gus' Grille in Port McNeill employs a young lady I will someday marry. I am in love, and this time it's for real.
Where was I? Oh yeah. The next morning, we got up, untied and headed out. We were hoping to see orcas by Stubbs Island, but instead got treated to the largest pod of porpoises any of us have ever seen. HUNDREDS of porpoises. I know that sounds crazy, but wait for Alison's video. Seriously. HUNDREDS. Ron navigated expertly into West Passage, then up Village Channel to Goat Islet where we set the anchor. Ron and I rowed around Center Island to set the crab pot, we saw a black bear, we had a tasty dinner, y'know, the usual.
The next day, we tried to leave, but were thwarted. In the face of violent weather, we were forced to stay at our anchorage. The wind howled viciously as terrifying swell fetched against the hull. Alison was barely able to work in the galley, so heavily did the boat rock. Nevertheless, after great effort, she served up a meager meal of breakfast wraps containing hash browns, grilled red peppers, hot sausage, egg, and pepper-jack cheese. It was difficult, but Ron and I managed to choke down at least two wraps each, Ron taking one for the team by shoveling down the leftover third course. Seeing no other alternative, we were forced to take naps, argue, tell stories and have cocktails before Ron made his famous wings for dinner. This whole paragraph is a lie. It was a really, really nice day. Three guesses what killed our motivation that morning. Daaaang Alison can cook. [whew] We got up late, ate too large a breakfast and didn't want to leave cuz we were being lazy. So. That's day two.
Day three (09/28) was a trip to Viner Sound. We thought about stopping in Echo Bay since the reports in the guides were positive, but since we're travelling so late in the year, a lot of stuff is already closed up. We tied up at the Echo public dock, took a walk/look around, and decided to move on to Viner. Viner Sound is a long, straight slice of water off Tribune Channel. The anchorage is near the end and has two moorings; anchoring in the sound itself would be problematic due to the number of crab pots and the fact that the whole end of the sound dries at low tide. We dropped the shrimp pot at the entrance, and dropped the crab pot further in. After tieing up next to a Cal 2-46 from Seattle (via Eureka, CA) named Dream Catcher (shout out to Margie and Chuck!), Alison surprised us with a snack of roasted peanuts and cold beers. She and I took a row around the bay, and then out into the sound to watch the sea lions and the jumping (crazy jumping!) salmon while Ron didn't do anything useful. Scratch that last part. I don't actually know what he was doing while we were out rowing, but, knowing him as long as I have, I'm pretty safe in assuming he was up to no good. Oh, wait -- he was prepping for dinner. That's right. Grilled steaks, potatoes and corn on the cob. So maybe he isn't that useless. Sometimes.
The next morning, we got moving at a reasonable hour since we had a longish day ahead of us. Before pulling back out into Tribune Channel, we pulled the pots and, disappointingly, got skunked. Not even a sea star or jelly. Dang. The wind was up in Tribune, and Ron had to drive carefully to avoid a solid tide line of junk lumber (thank you, BC Timber Sales). Despite the high overcast, the view was tremendous. The steep rock and forest walls, Gilford Island on one side and mainland British Columbia on the other, give the channel a very fjord-like feel. Glaciated peaks of the Coast Range are visible at each turn in the channel. After several hours at the helm, Ron steered us into Kwatsi Bay just as the high overcast broke. Max, the harbormaster, met us a the dock, and, before we could tie up, instructed us to go drop our pots. We did as he said, dropping the crab pot in just over 100ft and the shrimp pot in just under 300ft. Returning to the dock a bit forward of where we'd first arrived since we'd been told where better wifi could be had, Max welcomed us and invited us to dinner. We instantly accepted (he offered fresh crab and prawns, so, c'mon, duh). We took the marina skiff over to a beautiful waterfall -- you're checking Alison's flickr, right? -- and then took the marina kayaks out for a fun paddle, making it back in time for showers and a delicious dinner on the dock. Max made garlic bread from a fresh loaf he'd baked himself, as well as a big bowl of crab and prawns. We brought (read: Alison made) pasta in pesto and steamed veggies. Great dinner. If you're cruising in the Broughtons, go see Max. Lovely fellow, and a great host.
Morning on Kwatsi Bay brought a slow start -- a longish evening with a couple of eventful moments (if you live in Hadlock, ask me about it, but only after several drinks, cuz then it goes from embarrassing to really, really funny) kept us up late -- but we were untied and underway by 11am-ish. We pulled the pots on the way out, getting skunked on crab again, but pulling up a jackpot of lovely prawns. We'd been told that Bond Sound, literally just around the corner, was a can't-miss, so we headed that way. On the way out of Kwatsi, we were treated to a set of native pictographs that Max had told us about. Ron again demonstrated his skill at the wheel maneuvering in the current, letting us take photos. Turning into Bond Sound, we set the hook, hopped in the dinghy and Ron took us for a row up two different estuaries. We were taking our time and inadvertantly burned quite a lot of daylight before getting back to Juichi. Because of the distance to our next anchorage, we wisely decided against continuing on, reset the hook and stern tied off the shore, and set about cocktailing and snacking. Alison prepped some of our prawns by wrapping them in bacon, letting Ron grill these. She then boiled the rest and served them up with cocktail sauce, pouring us gin and tonics to go with. We set the crab pot off the side of the boat (too lazy to row out), baiting it with prawn heads and hoping for something other than sea stars and kelp greenlings. That accomplished, we set about a dinner of huuuge burgers after which we were too tired for either cribbage or BBC nature videos.
Now, it may seem like all I've described so far has been a list of days and their meals. To those uninitiated to the cruising life, I would offer this thought: yeah, baby. That's pretty much what this is all about. Going from one beautiful place to another at a very slow pace (Kwatsi to Bond, for instance, was just over six miles for the day), eating, drinking, socializing, meeting other folks with very similar agendas. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Okay, it's late, I've got my swerve on (Benedictine and brandy? Recommended!), Ron's playing loud buttrock on the iPod and Alison has attempted to retire for the evening, so I'm gonna sign off. I thought I'd be up on Juichi for just a couple of days; after five days of cruising (thru 09/29), I was less than a third of the way to where I was supposed to be getting off. Tomorrow, I'll relate the tale of 09/30 thru 10/02. I'm hoping to make it Powell River, BC, at some point, and return home. Not sure how long that will take, but, as you can clearly tell, I'm not too concerned about it.
Back in BC. It's been absolutely BEAUTIFUL! We've hit the foggy fall weather and have had some interesting mornings. We're up early (now that the sunlight hours are back to an even keel, we're getting on a more regular sleeping schedule) and watch as the fog rolls in, settles and lifts again to reveal the crisp blue sky. Quiet mornings spent listening to birds, breaths of whales just outside our cove, and enjoying the solitude of cruising this time of year. The fog settles in again and we wait. Waiting for our clear cool afternoon of cruising. As you can see from pics we're getting a bit more sailing in on the trip south. But the afternoons when the wind isn't blowing, it's downright warm! And guess what I got !?! Tan lines! Although I'm working on not having the lines ;)
You can see just how beautiful the afternoon was in Khutze and I can tell the tail of leaving the next morning.....First I have to introduce you to Gary and Karen. A couple we met in Bishop Bay Hot Springs and cruised with for a few days. They are delivering a 49' Beneteau. We had dinner with them and then Karen celebrated her birthday in Khutze and we had them over for a lovely dinner celebration. A beautiful morning with a little light fog in our inlet. The sun just peeking over the surrounding cliffs, about a half hour after sunrise. We wove our way out of Khutze, just behind Gary and Karen, only to run into a fog bank filling Graham Reach. No surprise that the Beneteau is equipped with RADAR, we are not. Gary did inform us that our echo was very strong, which is very nice to know. They invited us to keep following them and they'd keep an eye on us. As we were trying to decide, not being very comfortable with the idea of flying blind, the fog swallowed us up. We had no choice and worked hard to keep an eye on Anna. We kept in touch via radio when we didn't have visual. Almost three hours later we had a break in the fog. It's absolutely beautiful under a blue sky, green green hills changing into blue mountains as they disappear in the distance. Strong early afternoon winds kept the fog off the water and we parted ways with our guardians where the Heikish Narrows meets Finlayson Channel (us) and Sheep Passage (them). We made our way to lovely Bottleneck Inlet where I finished building and installing our lifelines (finally). We had a lovely afternoon with the warm sunshine to laze naked in the cockpit. A very pleasant anchorage with high green bluffs with just enough of a view into Finlayson Channel to check conditions in the morning. That evening we watched the moonrise as the fog set in and warmed by the fire as the stars came out. Beautiful day.
The next morning brought fog again and Ron and I waited till around 1030 to get moving thru a light fog and light breeze. Roderick Island has nice steep-to shores so we can follow it closely down to Milbank Sound. Trying to decide what to do about lunch, Ron had to bring up Dick's cheeseburgers! Now we're both salivating and I have nothing to compare on board. By noon30 we've set the hook in Mary Cove. The fog is not burning off and we're coming to some island groups and the end of Finlayson. I decided to make pizza, letting the dough rise in the warm engine compartment. We enjoyed a lovely lunch under a blue sky as the fog pulsed and swirled around us. At 1400 we were back underway, the fog finally dissipating under the hot sun and light breeze. No sooner had we pulled out that another fog bank rolled in to cover Dodd Islets. We opted to cut through Jackson Passage/Narrows to Mathieson Channel. As soon as we left the cool breeze behind it was wonderfully warm! We had a beautiful afternoon and evening as we cruised familiar waters again and pushed on to Oliver Cove in Reid Passage.
Another late start the next morning, but a beautiful mid morning run to Bella Bella/Shearwater. I'll take this weather! We're finally feeling like we're getting a summer. Better late than never. We wove our way through Reid Passage which was filled with islets dotted with windblown bonsai-like trees. Beautiful green against the blue sky and water. The lovely ocean swells are mesmerizing as they build whitecaps whenever they find the rocks hidden just below the surface. We slowly made our way to Seaforth Channel. Not a breath of wind for our sails but without the breeze the full warmth of the sun feels wonderful on my bear skin. Well the fog has lifted and we're off again. We're heading to Queens Sound for a little exploration before rounding Cape Caution. We hope to be back on the east side of Vancouver in a week if this weather holds. Hello to my family! I'll try and call from Port McNeill.
Ahh, a good nights sleep does wonders. Well worth the push. As you can see on flickr the waters couldn't have been calmer for the crossing of Dixon Entrance and Chatham Sound. We had a little trouble getting our Navigation Lights running, but Ron finally got things squared away before we ran through Venn Passage.
...okeydokey. Back to the blogging...
We left Meyers Chuck and headed for the Behm (pronounced beam) Canal. Along the way we got to see a small pod of humpbacks bubble-net feeding! A beautiful day followed us to Naha Bay in the Behm. There we met Jim, Carol and Joani on their sailboat and had a lovely happy hour with them! We got their numbers to touch base with them in Ketchikan (more on that later). We had a nice hike along the Naha River Trail and saw a bear forging for salmon. Salmon carcasses lined the trail with only their bellies and brains eaten by the bear and the rest left to rot. We had a nice short hop up to Traitor's Cove and met Jack & Bev and Bernie & Lynn who joined us on the lovely walk (Ron and I's legs were still sore from the hike of stairs back in El Cap!) to the bear observatory platform and salmon spawning grounds. We enjoyed another improptu happy hour and combined dinners for a fun evening with new friends.
We continued around The Backside (aka Misty Fjords National Monument) of the Behm and the weather held beautifully. The towering granite walls made you feel big and small at the same time. We enjoyed a day entirely to ourselves down to Walker Cove, not seeing another sign of people presence. Punchbowl Cove made up for that by being THE destination for flightseeing tours and fast sightseeing boats. Bleeck! But it was beautiful nonetheless and the evening and morning was quite between the tours. We passed rowing ashore to New Eddystone Rock because of the seals sunning on the beach and the killer whales waiting in the waters.
We mosied back to Ketchikan on a beautiful summer day and rang Jim and Carol. They invited us over to their place, overlooking Clover Passage on the Western side of the Behm Canal, for a BBQ and then put us up for the night in their spare room after a soak in their hottub under an amazing blanket of stars! The next morning we had a nice hike to take in the views along Clarence Strait. Jim loaned us his truck for the day, which really helped with provisioning - we really stocked up on beer! (we are heading back to Canada after all!)
So that about catches y'all up. We're pulling out of Prince Rupert in the next few minutes and will hopefully be down around Vancouver in the next few weeks. We'll keep in touch and hopefully plan the rendezvous in the San Juans sooner rather than later.
Hello from Canada! Yes, that's right folks (esp. those we talked to last night and this morning - god, was that THIS morning!?!) Ketchikan to Prince Rupert in one day! 80-90 miles! 15 hours! yikes! But the weather was great! Smooth sailing. Well not actual sailing we averaged a little over 6 knots with the iron genny at 22rpms. Our knot log is STILL not functioning so we're not for sure on the exact miles. But man...BEAUTIFUL! Calm waters, not much rain (per our usual, poured down right as we approached the docks!). We just kept moving. We had to navigate Venn Passage (Wally and Katy - remember that passage with all the marks when we left Prince Rupert?) in the dark after 14 hours underway. Very exciting. Ron and I bit a couple times but made up quick - by the next mark :) Something that took us three days heading north, done in one heading south. Not bad. We're getting pretty good at this cruising thing, I must say. Anyway, it's late, I'm spent and Ron's got brie, olive bread, beer and a fire going! Yeah baby! Goodnight. I'll continue the lower blog tomorrow....
It's been quite the adventure and I'm sad to be saying goodbye to Alaska. But it's all for the best, winter is approaching. Ron and I are hoping someone out there will be sending us to Mexico for Christmas (this is the Internet after all).
We left Craig after a nice little (steady 40 knot winds!) storm passed through and made our way North thru El Capitan Passage. Day 100 was a beautiful day as we wove our way through the islands that fill the north area of Sea Otter Sound. We saw numerous sea otters but they're nervous little buggers and won't let you get very close. However, Ron did get fairly close - almost running it over - to a deer swimming across one of the channels. We set our shrimp pot outside of Devilfish Bay and as we were making our way into the bay, the rain started. It wasn't a very hard rain and the clouds were beautiful. There were a few evening sun breaks and we had a beautiful rainbow. A very pleasant evening all to ourselves in this quiet bay. The next morning started with a hazy 1 mile of visibility. The white noise of the countless light raindrops on the calm waters in the bay was enough to brush over the drone of the engine. We had a nice pull of prawns, 35. Mid morning we pulled onto the USFS dock on the southern flank of 2,500 foot El Capitan Peak. We climbed a steep trail of over 360 stairs to one of the deepest caves in the US. Unfortunately, there were no tours being held and the small entrance was pitch black! No light, no go. But the hike was good for our out of shape bodies and our calfs were sore for at least a week! We made our way up Sumner Strait on a beautiful afternoon with Mt. Calder out along with a few humpbacks. As we turned into Port Protection the rain started in earnest, trying to make up for the rest of the day. By the time we were tying up to the public float in Wooden Wheel Cove the sun was back out. I don't know what the people made of us suited up and soaked under clear and sunny skies. We ran into Johnny, who we met in Wrangell on the 4th of July and he took us in his motorized skiff :) over to explore the miles of boardwalks winding through Port Protection. Unlike Elfin Cove and Pelican this boardwalk town wound through the woods rather than being confined to waters edge. It was beautiful, with lots of blueberries ready for pickin'. Johnny joined us for dinner and it was fun to have company on the boat.
A couple long days on the water brought us back to Meyers Chuck. The only bit of repeat waters after 2 months in Southeast Alaska. What a treat to see 'Patsy' Steve (remember him?). After our morning coffee, complete with sticky buns!, we answered an invite over to Steve and Cass' place. The day turned out to be beautiful and the visit took up more than a few hours laughing at Steve's stories and ticking off the countless jobs Cass does around The Chuck - from postmistress to weather reporter to NOAA, to her beautiful artwork (woodworking, fish prints and stained glass just to name a few) and helping to run and stock the local art gallery. She stays very busy. We followed her down to the Post Office, just down the path from their house at the top of their boat ramp, while she sold fishing license and deer tags. We met Gregg, another resident of The Chuck, and he offered us some Geo Duc. Neither Ron nor I had ever tried 'em so we took Steve up on his offer to ride us over to the Back Chuck to get our Geo Duc cleaning and cooking lessons. The day kept getting more beautiful and warm by the minute and Ron and I decided it was well worth a day to hang out with the locals of Meyers Chuck. We spent the afternoon chatting with Steve on the dock, with other locals stopping by throughout the afternoon. .....whooo. past midnight. i'll have to catch you up on the behm tomorrow.....
Hi Kids! Sorry to have cut it so short in Sitka, but my free minutes were running out quick at the coffee shop and I had to post before losing my work. Well as you can tell from the title, we're still in Alaska. So much to see, we just keep on exploring. If we had the money I think we'd find a place to hole up for the winter and continue our voyage in the spring. As it stands we're hoping just to make it back to Hadlock. It's 688.6 miles bearing 135' True as the raven flies from Craig - where I'm posting from - to Hadlock - home of the truly missed Valley Burger. We're not a bird and there's still a few winding waterways calling us before we leave Alaska. The Behm Canal is one. The weather will determine how much time we have to explore the Broughtons and Desolation. That may have to be another time. Southeast Alaska was our goal and we are working hard to satisfy our desire to visit every nook and cranny (actually impossible).
We pulled out of Sitka 7 August, planning to take our time among the islets filling the sound up to Peril Strait. The day was nice and Ron and I decided to press on to an anchorage near Sergius Narrows, the entrance to Peril Strait, rather than anchor among the islets. Once we got there, we realized it was high water slack, the perfect time to transit the narrows. So again we pressed on. We anchored in Baby Bear Bay by 5pm and still had enough of the lovely afternoon to enjoy a couple beers on deck. We continued to wind our way through Peril Strait, getting some sailing in Hoonah Sound as humpbacks surfaced all around us. We finally caught a couple crab in Appleton Cove and saw porpoises playing with a humpback as we left Peril Strait. We pulled into Warm Springs Bay and made our way to the soaking tubs. Bliss. We returned to the boat for a dinner of steak, crab, and salad. Bliss. Don and Karen, who we met in Appleton Cove, were at the springs and we enjoyed a lovely breakfast with them on their boat. We had a lovely afternoon at the springs. The next day we were fogged in so we didn't move on. The day after was a bit windy, just enough to blow the fog away. We listened to the chatter on the radio and it didn't sound so bad out in Chatham Strait and it was expected to calm down even more as the tide turned. We buttoned up and headed out into 3-4 foot seas with a 25+ knot wind on our nose. We were getting nowhere. Seas built to 6-8 feet and we buried our bow while standing still. We were getting a beating. I had to belay the anchor chain it case it jumped out of the gypsy and I had to hold my breath and close my eyes through the drops. Luckily I was just on the v-berth working through the chain locker. I don't know that I would have been able to work on deck. We made the decision to turn back. Ron gave it full throttle and turned the wheel hard over. We prayed that the bow would come around before the wave we started up crashed over our beam. The following seas were dangerous but the ride was much smoother and a hell of a lot faster. The rains had swollen the river, clogged the pipes to the soaking tubs and cooled the springs, however there was just enough warmth in the hottest pool to calm our nerves.
Finally on the 13 of August the seas calmed enough for us to move onto breathtakingly, beautiful Red Bluff Bay. It was blowing enough that the cold rain was hurting our faces, but the grand entrance into Red Bluff erased any discomforts. I counted no fewer than 18 waterfalls being blown off the channels of granite on the massif lining our entrance. The number of waterfalls totaled no fewer than a couple dozen by the time we wove our way into the depths of the bay and secured the hook. After a lunch of grilled sandwiches, naps came easy. The next day we took a short hop down to Gut Bay. Another spectacular anchorage surround by stark pinnacles and crisp snowfields. Bears strolled along the shore, in and out of the thick forest at waters edge, to the large grassy meadow. The quick flowing creek sparkled in the sun breaks as the bear joined the eagles and herons feeding on the salmon pressing through to their spawning grounds. Ron and I enjoyed showers in the cockpit and the quiet solitude, having this little cove all to ourselves.
We had a gorgeous day crossing Chatham Strait to Tebenkof Bay! A beautiful summer day, barely a breath of wind (alas, no sailing). The peaks of Baranof Island were out in all their glory. Humpbacks were waiting for us in Tebenkof Bay. We bobbed around (literally - the ocean swells were relentless!) for a couple hours watching and listening to the thousands of birds that surrounded our boat, the big fish chasing the little fish to the surface of the water, and the active whales. We finally mossied on and the sea otters greeted us as we found our path through the islands to our anchorage in Cedar Bight. One more treat awaited us this evening.....the MOONRISE and STARS! Neither Ron nor I can remember the last time we saw the night sky. It certainly has not been on this trip when we've been asleep before the sun even sets. It's getting on fall though now and we're actually enjoying having our evenings as well as our days. The next day was totally socked in, not a glimmer of sun on the water that blended into the sky. But it was calm and we continued out transit down Chatham Strait. 17 August took us down to Coronation Island. We had to fight to get there. A nice stiff breeze picked up by late morning, perfect for sailing had the combination of the ocean swells, tide and wind not meshed into very lumpy, inhospitable seas. We added a lot more miles to our day by steering to what was comfortable rather than where we wanted to go. We got the anchor set in Egg Harbour, Coronation Island and decided to go exploring on the beach's across the way. Rowing over the beaches that shone through the shallow crystal clear waters were mesmerizing. We beached the boat on the grey-white sandy-rocky shores and walked through caves and explored the tide pools. We can't remember the last time we had a beach to walk on and explore. Coronation Island was a beautiful treat.
The weather has been changing as quickly as a little brother playing with a light switch while big sister is in the bathroom getting ready for a date. So as we left Coronation it was a beautiful calm morning and we even put the sails up for a bit while crossing Iphigenia Bay. I laid on the deck half naked soaking up as much sun as I could get! We pulled into Bob's Place on Prince of Wales Island around 4pm and by 10pm we were underway to reset the anchor. The winds had picked up in the opposite direction that we set the hook and we were getting blown into the shallows. As we turned the boat around in the dark we bumped the bottom a little harder than we would have liked. Ron was not to happy with the situation. But the anchor set well out a little deeper and we slept well. We had to work the next 15 miles into Craig into a headwind with chop that would hit the hull just right and sent salt spray over the whole boat to the helm! What happened to our quiet sunshine?!! Well we got into friendly Craig and got on with our chores. Showers and laundry. Ron went back to the boat to reorganize the v-berth locker while I did laundry. Did y'all know the Olympics were on? Wednesday and Thursday were decent days, weather wise, to get some things re-bedded on deck that were leaking. Cut a notch for the boom in our boom gallows (thanks Allen! It's been amazing!), Ron repacked the stuffing box, changed the oil and transmission fluid. I got a little cleaning done on the boat and finally had to say goodbye to my plants that have been trying to hang on through the cold and bumpy rides. They have not been happy. I orphaned them at the laundry mat.
We were planning on leaving Craig today (Friday) and of course as beautiful as it was yesterday it's as nasty today. Rainy, which means low visibility, and windy with up to 40 knot gusts! Yuck. It's hard to get moving in weather like this when your secured and warm dock side. We'll see if it lets up this afternoon. We're thinking a few more weeks in Alaska then shooting down through Canada to the Broughtons. It's a long way but we're told that September is still lovely down in that area. Everybody keep your fingers crossed!
We're hoping to have the Hadlock Crew meet us at Friday Harbour for a long weekend in the San Juans in October. Not sure exactly when and I know a lot of you work weekends. We'll be in touch and try and set a time we can shoot for when we get closer. I think it would be a fun way to wrap up this amazing trip. It's been just Ron and I for a long time on this boat and getting together with a flotilla of friends would be amazing!
Until then, everyone take care. Have fun at the Boat Show, smile when it's sunny and be good or be good at it! Love you all, Alison, Ron and Juichi
Hi all! Greetings from Sitka. What a beautiful town. There's sun breaks and I'm wearing a skirt and tank top! The town is surrounded by gorgeous layers of mountains. Even the islets in the harbour are mountainous.
We left Juneau on a very stormy Fri 18 July. We took our time that morning. Taking one last shower, saying goodbye to friends, topping off water tanks and Ron wrapped up the setting on the new bilge switch. We had to cross Gastineau Channel to get to the fuel dock and debated ducking back into the harbour. We were already soaked and decided to press on to what we thought was a protected anchorage. We passed a crazy windsurfer and by the time we ducked into Stephens Passage the seas had calmed down and we were riding a 2 knot current. By the time we pulled into rounded Point Young into Admiralty Cove the winds had picked up again. I was wiped out after having to set and re-set the anchor. The winds were not calming and there was not the protection we thought in this cove. Our leisurely morning in Juneau seemed days ago. We rode out the night, literally. The boat was tossing and turning on the anchor all night. Neither Ron or I slept. Between the two of us we were checking our location every 15min. But our anchor held well. The winds finally started to calm Sat morning and I crawled out of bed and made coffee and blueberry muffins. We secured the anchor in it's cradle on deck with a kiss and got our way. Blue skies began to peek out and by the time we were in Saginaw Channel we were under blue skies and were contemplating raising the sails! That's when Ron noticed the whales.....bubble-net feeding! I threw some fried chicken in the oven to warm up for lunch and grabbed the camera! Such a ballet! Sometimes you could tell where they were going to surface by the frothy whiteness their bubbles made on the surface. Then these colossal bodies would emerge. Huge jaws scooping so much water. They would twist and turn and it was hard to tell what part of the body you were looking at. They would all take another deep breath for their next dive and we'd watch as tail after tail announced their decent. We counted 13 at one point! Once the whale watching boats moved in - much too close! - we moved on. But what a show! We watched for well over an hour and it looked like they would keep it up all day. We rounded Point Retreat and met a cold south wind. We fought current and swells and the rain moved back in. The peaks lining Lynn Canal were beautiful when the clouds would part. We made our way into Funter Bay and scouted for an anchorage before we decided to just tie up at the public float for a guaranteed good nights sleep. The float was back dropped by the majestic Mt. Robert Barron and we had a good view out into the area where Lynn Canal, Chatham Strait and Icy Strait met.
We were granted a 6 day pass into Glacier Bay. Our trip of Muir Inlet would mark our northernmost point of the trip and Tarr Inlet would mark our westernmost. There was no rest from the cold and wet. There were a couple days that I had to use our water bladders full of hot water to rest on my feet to get feeling back. It was cold and miserable (i used that word a lot in my log entries that week) in the land of glaciers. No sign, that I could see, of global warming here. Glacier Bay was amazing and beautiful. Margerie Glacier at the head of Tarr Inlet won our hearts. She gave us a beautiful show of calving ice. Sounds of sharp gunshots and rolling thunder filled our ears. The wind off the glacier was desperately cold, but we couldn't bring ourselves to leave. The life force of these amazing glaciers is slowly depleting ours. It was time to move on.
As we moved across Icy Strait, thru very rough tide rips in Glacier Bay, the visibility increased to more than the 1/4 mile we'd been experiencing in Glacier Bay. As we neared the south shore of Cross Sound we approached a dramatic coastal paradise. Islands of rolling hills, lush with fur and spruce. In just a few hours we left the harsh land of the glaciers and entered the tropical (but still cold and wet). Elfin Cove and Pelican were our next stops. Beautiful (have i been using that word too much?) little boardwalk towns. Very kind people. Too much drinking in Pelican. As we cruised down Lisianski Inlet to Pelican, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. We had fun in Pelican with the crew at Rose's and the Seattle boys of Pierre car dealerships.
Our weather window looked good so we headed out Lisianski (pronounced Lizzie-an-ski) Strait to hop down the west coast of Chichagof Island down to Sitka. We enjoyed everything from the intricate passages and coves with complex entrances that challenged our navigation skills to the freedom of the open water, the Gulf of Alaska, with it's gentle ocean swells and mirror calm that reflects the most delicate clouds. We enjoyed a stop at White Sulphur Hot Springs and enjoyed a rainbow during our dinner in the cockpit in Kalinin Bay. While a few miles offshore before setting our course for Imperial Passage into Portlock Harbour, I was at the helm waiting for an opportunity to turn with the swells and head East. I was also keeping an eye on this damn sport fishing boat getting too close with this much open water. I was finally able to make my turn and take his stern at the same time. Then he cuts his engines right in front of me! I was fuming and slowed down. Ron then stirs from his nap, looks over and notices right away it's our boys from Pelican! Our boys were out fishing, noticed our rig and wanted to know if we wanted some salmon. SWEET! Fresh Alaskan Sockeye delivered right to our boat in the Gulf of Alaska! We wove our way into Portlock Harbour and along the calm passageways to Kimshan Cove and enjoyed salmon 6 different ways for dinner :)
I think I left y'all in Khutze Inlet. It seems like that was a year ago! Because I want to catch you up on the here and now, I'm going to paraphrase a little more till I get caught up. Khutze was beautiful and I'm hoping we'll stop on the way back south. The beautiful bright green grass, wildflowers, deep green of the trees, all coming together to meet the river and mountainous shores that rise to snow capped peaks. We explored in our dinghy in downpours and sunshine. We had an evening rainbow over the savanna that smelled like the south in the winter. We left Khutze Inlet and continued winding our way through the narrow waterways that make up the inside passage. When we rounded out of McKay Reach and viewed Whale Channel wide open to the SE it was a sight made more beautiful for its irregularity than for it's grandeur. We still had one more major stretch of narrow waterway before the more open waters that would take us to Alaska. Grenville Channel. We're on a push to meet Wally and Katy in Prince Rupert. It's still raining and we're a little nervous about the space working out with 2 more people on board. I need not have worried. What troupers. We met Wally and Katy and immediately started drinking the delicious Hoppdiggity Wally brought! We decided they would leave their car in Prince Rupert and ride with us to Ketchikan and take the ferry back. We provisioned well and earned our drinks and meals with the weather we put up with during the crossing of Chatham Sound and Dixon Entrance and the navigation into the wrong inlet! What adventures in just the few days we had. I have to mention that Wally forgot his foulies. I happened to have a spare pair. Wally and Katy really got involved in our daily routine and activities. From working the anchor to navigating, taking the helm and providing a few more words in our conversations :) OK. At least now your in Alaska with us. Wally and Katy must have taken the rain with them because the day after they left was beautiful! It continued to stay beautiful all the way to Wrangell! We had a lovely stay in Meyers Chuck (...we ended up meeting 'Patsy' Steve in Wrangell who has been living in 'the chuck' for most of his 70 yrs. - more on him later). Peggy brings fresh sticky buns down to the dock every morning at 0730. What a treat! We had a lovely sail the day we left Meyers Chuck. We stopped in Santa Anna and had the anchorage all to ourselves. We took advantage of the sunshine and oiled the teak. Ron skinny dipped in the cool waters and we showered in our cockpit with the solar shower that had been warming all day! The next stop was at Anan Bay Bear Observatory. Very cool. It was wonderful to get out for a walk on a nice trail. Eagles were swooping through the trees, taking out branches with their wingspan as they tried to maneuver along the trail. One lone black bear came out to the river. I got enough shots to make it seem like a family of bears came out :) I don't know why I'm highlighting all the good. When leaving Santa Anna, Ron was hoisting the anchor and the chain slipped in the gypsy, luckily he didn't catch any parts! The entire 100 feet of chain paid back out and he had to re-hoist. In Berg Bay we backed over our 'floating' dinghy painter while setting the anchor and Ron had to swim in some damn cold water to free the prop! Ron and I don't always agree on techniques, routes or meals and it can get pretty quiet around here. Here being our 200 - at the most - square feet of living space. But things work out quickly, as they have to. We spent the 4th of July in Wrangell. We had just pulled in to top off on water and grab showers, but everyone was so friendly and adamant that we hang in their town for the best 4th in the Southeast! For 30cents a foot, we couldn't argue. It was great fun. We watched men compete in logging drills and the women kick ass in log rolling! They did it in the very cold harbour, double elimination. Even the winners got wet! There were some cold girls by the end of that event. As the afternoon quieted down, Ron and I grabbed showers and did some laundry. As we were waiting for the laundry, some guys walked by pulling a red flyer wagon full of ice and beer. They offered us a cold one and Ron and I shared while folding clothes. Then we joined 'Patsy' (the name of his boat) Steve on his troller for red rose tea, fun conversation and fireworks. His wife is the postmistress in Meyers Chuck and he built the current post office. He was full of stories and had both Ron and I laughing with his tails, we almost missed the show. We're now almost to Juneau and it turns out that 'Patsy' Steve is well known around these parts. We hope to catch up with he and Cass when we head back south. We left Wrangell and headed to Petersburg through Wrangell Narrows. Wally and Katy will remember Venn Passage, multiply that by 10 and you have Wrangell Narrows. Riding a current that switches halfway through the the channel with over 70 marks to keep you in line. We timed it well and had a perfect run with the tides. In between rain showers we caught peeks of a majestic backdrop of mountains, only to disappear behind the next curtain of rain. At this point we have gotten to know 'Black Bear' Steve (now you see the reason for the boat name getting involved). He's a fellow sailing cruiser that left Anacortes over a year ago! We caught up with him in Wrangell and he followed us to Petersburg. The next morning, lying in bed, looking forward to our lazy day with a short 10 mile jump over to Thomas Bay, snuggling with Ron, just about to.....and there's 'Black Bear' Steve yelling our names. We jumped out of bed and he's in his boat turning around in the fairway. As the tide is pulling him out of the marina, he says we have to get moving with the end of this ebb! We ask the guy, a longliner by the looks of his gear, on the boat next to us. We tell him the time of the tides and he casually says that, yes, we should get moving. Without starting coffee or getting properly dressed, we untie our dock lines and follow 'B.B.' Steve out into Frederick Sound. It's cold and rainy but I finally have passed coffee and foulies up to Ron at the helm. We're with the flood as we pull into Thomas Bay and enjoy watching the glacier water fight to hold back the incoming tide. Just around the corner...Baird Glacier. It's pretty set back in its mudflats - but to see a glacier from our boat is pretty damn exciting. And cold! It's almost funny how tropical the waters look. But we've crossed into the 57th parallel today and the water is dropping down to the low 30's. Remember now, this is the same morning we were shaken out of bed. We finally find our anchorage and eat breakfast and settle in for a long nap. We wake and have popcorn for dinner. The next day is rainy and we didn't go anywhere or leave the boat. It's a little too far to row anywhere in these glacier waters. But 'B.B.' Steve rowed over for a visit. We were parting ways the next day so said our goodbyes and wished him luck in finding a harbour here in the Southeast for the Winter. The next day as soon as we round out of our cove we see humpbacks in Thomas Bay! We turn off the engine and sip our coffee as we listen and watch. We finally head out and just outside the bay are bergie bits! Some washed up on the beach and one floating nearby. We round it and watch the birds flitting about. I take enough pictures, I hope, to capture the mesmerizing blue essence. We put our drifter up and sail out of Frederick Sound making an average 7 knots over ground. We pulled our sail down as we rounded Cape Fanshaw and just as the rain really started. The second time was a charm in setting the hook in pretty Fanshaw Bay. It was 1700 by the time we had the hook set, sail stowed and were down below, dripping in the galley. Hot coco drinks were a must while Ron fired up the heater. The next day we have a lazy morning in bed listening to the williwaws finally die down. We're waiting for the tide to turn in our favor to head up Stephens Passage. By 1111 the anchor is up and we're heading towards nicer weather. We have sun breaks but a cold Alaskan headwind. At noon Ron spotted a humpback show about 12 miles off our stern along the north coast of Kupreanof Island. We turned off the motor and watched thru binoculars. What a show! Breath after breath, tail after tail and I'm sure I saw some bodies emerge! After motoring a bit more, we spot more whales. The day continued....starting and stopping. Watching and waiting. We were mesmerized! We had a couple come really close to the boat. it was more than amazing. We continued north along Stephens Passage rounding Pt. Lookout into Holkham Bay. There we saw Sumdum Glacier. As we're gazing at the glacier and looking for our entrance into Tracy Arm, a humpback sneaks up on us and sounds not 30 feet off our beam! He/She is huge and its breath out and in is so deep, you can feel it. Neither one of us can speak. We find our entrance surrounded by berg bits. We have to weave through the ice to get into our cove. We are in big country now. We are in Alaska. I'm on sensory overload. Ron cooked steaks on the grill (yet another great cut. we've been lucky on our choices of meat thus far) and got the heater going. Warm and toasty with full bellies. I'm using the berg bit Ron picked off during our short dinghy row earlier to make cocktails and melting to make coffee in the morning :) Thurs. 10 July is a long day. We had a lazy morning (surprise, surprise) waiting on the tides - which turned out not to make a difference. We had our coffee, made with iceberg water, and Ron made biscuits and gravy. Yum! We are NOT loosing weight on this trip. The plan had been to head up Tracy Arm and see Sawyer Glaciers but after watching all the boat traffic heading that way all morning, we decided to explore Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier. Just outside of Tracy Arm we saw a huge, beautiful berg aground near our mark. (see the picture on flickr.com/photos/alisonewood/) Then just outside the entrance mark to Endicott, we encountered humpbacks. One was just lazing on the surface! It was stop and go while the whales surfaced and dove. Ron saw one jumping! I caught the splash. AMAZING! We started encountering more bergie bits just around Sumdum Islands. We continued our journey down Endicott, the waters beautiful. The surrounding mountains, so long ago cut by the glacier we were to see, provided waterfalls and beautifully textured granite. As we neared the last bend the ice really started to choke up. We poked around for a bit, nosing our way closer to the mouth of Dawes. I tried to help by pushing the larger bits with the boat hook, but Ron did a nice job of finding paths and openings in the ice. At one point the ice started shifting, closing in closer to the glacier. The ice, for the moment at least, was opening up behind us. We watched pretty seals on the bergie bits and then decided it was time to head back. Fords Terror anchorage was on the way out but it was 2 more hours until the tides allowed us in. We decided to head back to Tracy Arm Cove. On the way out Ron spotted a couple mountain goats and we putted by watching them drink the water and pick their way along the steep to shore. We made much better time out, having a little current in our favor, until we reached Sumdum Islands. Instead of slowing down for whales, we had to slow down for fog. Without any land to dead reckon with, Ron pulled out the parallel rules to plot a compass course. We had our GPS track from heading in earlier and used it to double check our compass heading. We finally made it past the entrance to Endicott and promptly got into some shallows according to our depth sounder. Just then a whale surfaced to port! and we knew we couldn't be in 20 feet of water. We followed it anyway till we got to deeper water. It's sounds being almost eerie in the fog. As it rolled over we turned back to our northwest course and watched it disappear behind us with it's fins flapping as if saying 'there ya go. just keep heading that-a-way.' Very strange experience. We slowly picked our way to the entrance markers for Tracy Arm. As soon as we found them, we lost them in the heavier fog bank that rolled in. We stopped the boat, got our bearings and ever so slowly picked our way along the darker part of the fog that we calculated to be the land mass to lead us to our cove. Just when we were second guessing our entrance between the rocks and shoals, I spotted a light. Then three, then six. Anchor lights. Never did a cove look so cozy and welcoming! The fog started to lift slightly as we entered the cove and we were able to find our way to the anchor site we left almost 12 hours and almost 60 miles ago! I stayed at the helm while Ron dropped the hook and I then backed us into some shallows. Ron took over at the helm while I hoisted the anchor and he stayed at the helm to nail the setting. Needless to say it was a tense evening after a long day and we sipped our stiff cocktails, warming by the fire, in silence. We slept soundly after our longest day yet right back where we started. We slept in till almost 1100! Coffee was made and poured by the time Ron rolled sleepily out of bed. He looked like he could use more sleep. We decided to get moving after coffee because of all the rolling we were doing from the wakes of boats pouring into Tracy Arm and stacking up on the 4 fathom shelf at the entrance to the cove. It's an overcast morning but high ceiling. We're alone in the anchorage. Last nights navigating thru the thick, gray soup seems like a dream. We headed out and right away the humpbacks graced us with their presence. Hearing their deep breaths out and in is very otherworldly. Which I guess they are. We headed into Taku Harbour. It was a short day up to Taku and we tied up at the public floats there. It turns out that Taku is the getaway spot for the locals in Juneau. We met one family - really two, the Johnstons and the Browns, but they're like one big happy family - that welcomed us into their clan for the weekend. They shared their stories, laughter, crab, kids, moose, card games and crab. Did I mention we ate crab. Bushel after bushel of delicious dunginess crab. Didn't even need butter. And they packed us off with enough meat for Ron and I to enjoy more than a few more meals. We really had a good time with them and followed them out this morning. That's right this morning....I'm officially caught up! Whew. Followed them out to Juneau. So here we are. Freshly showered and laundry done. We're looking forward to pizza this evening at Douglas Island Pub, a short walk from the marina, which all the locals in Taku raved about. Oh, there I go leaving out the bad and the ugly again. The bugs in Taku were awful. While we were feasting on crab they were feasting on us. Not enough deet to go around. That's it. Everything is fine and good. We've been playing phone tag with Brian and Marti. Sailors from PT who have been just behind us for weeks. We keep hoping we'll meet up. We just heard from them and they're in Petersburg earning some traveling money. Oh well, maybe well catch them on the way back. We hope everyone is well. Seth and Ariel, good luck and have fun Tuesday night! Hopefully I'll still be in cell phone range and will be able to chat on Wednesday! Love you. Happy summer. Enjoy the pictures. Love Alison, Ron and Juichi
Hello all! Sorry it's taken me so long to update my blog. Internet has not been so premium. So i'm typing this in wordpad and will cut and paste to internet when it becomes available. Then I don't have Ron tapping his fingers at me while waiting for me to figure out what to say. He's currently fixing the water pump on this rainy day in Wrangell, Alaska. Oh yes, I said ALASKA! We made it. We crossed the border in the middle of Dixon Entrance on 25 June. We had Wally and Katy along for the ride from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan. What a fun time! I haven't seen my blog for awhile so I don't even know where I left off. We'll try here....
I think I left y'all in Port McNeill...GOODNESS! Has it been THAT long? I'm so very sorry. I'll try and catch you up on what seems like a year without having my fingers fall off. I have been able to do some picture uploads since then so at least y'all can sort of follow where we've been. I'll try and fill in some gaps using my log. So we left Port McNeill around 0530 on 8 June (wow! almost a month ago!) for a calm crossing of Queen Charlotte Strait. As we started encountering the Pacific Ocean swells, a gale wind warning came across the radio. We decided not to push Cape Caution and pulled into Miles Inlet. Four, 4, days later we had a weather window to leave. It wasn't that bad. During our layover we doned our foulies and went exploring in the lagoons that seemed endless. We met the other crusiers (Del and Inez) that were waiting out the weather and shared information and stories. We read and drank tea. Ok, by day three we were crossing our fingers that we would be able to leave. We were getting stir crazy. The other sailboat and crew were gone before we got out of bed and Del called us on the radio while we were still making coffee. Time to get a move on. We still had to get the dink aboard and tidy up before getting underway. I almost took a swim while maneuvering the dink aboard and got some brusies from the lifelines (nothing new there). We should have taken the time to eat because once we rounded Cape Caution and approached Egg Island Lighthouse, the seas got a little choppy and confused. This combined with the sea swell did not make for the smoothest ride. Not very condusive for cooking or for eating. We decided to detour into Duncanby for advertised showers and laundry before dropping the hook for the night. Needless to say, our 'guidebook' is a little out of date. Duncanby is now an all inclusive resort. Great spot if anyone is looking to get away and do some fishing! However, our luck held out and they weren't open for the season yet and the winter caretaker, satellite Rick, allowed us into his personal cabin for showers and laundry! Very sweet. So fresh and so clean clean, sheets included! We headed across Rivers Inlet to Fury Cove for a beautiful evening. Cocktails in the cockpit and watching whale breaths across the way in Fitz Hugh Sound.
The next morning brought rain. I mean RAINING. Misty, continuous, low visibility. We couldn't stand to be stuck another day after Miles Inlet and the wind wasn't blowing. It was calm, but wet. I took the helm most of the day while Ron kept our inner fires going with tea and ramen (Ali noodles to Logan). I rotated through three pairs of gloves, Ron two. I think there's a picture of me on Flickr at the helm in Fitz Hugh Sound. That's how that day went. We pulled into Codville Lagoon and dropped our shrimp trap! I know you can see the results on Flickr :) We had a lovely, muddy hike to Sagar Lake. It was nice to stretch our legs.
Week 5 brought us some welcomed nice weather and sailing! We topped off on fuel, water and propane in Bella Bella and Shearwater. The eagles around there were Amazing! If there can be flocks of eagles, they were there. We met up with the sailboat that was in Miles Inlet with us in Shearwater. They invited us over for Hazelnut crusted Halibut for dinner. We couldn't resist. Very nice evening of conversation and food with Annette, her daughter Rachael, father David and sister Ann. I had no luck with internet here or phone service here. It worked fine for Ron. He touched base with Wally and we gave ourselves a week to get up to Prince Rupert to meet him. Ron then tried to start a phone call to my family for me and after many failed attempts he finally called and talked to my Mom and Dad for me. True love. The next day brought the lovely weather and we sailed Seaforth channel. By 1050 on 15 June Ron and I are enjoying Juichi's beautiful helm and are both tweaking and making notes. We sailed through Perceval Narrows, which brought us into Mathieson Channel, under main. A beautiful tranquil peace. the sound of rigging sighing and the gentle rush of ocean swells breaking on the rocky shores behind us. the slight lapping of water as it tickles Juichi's belly. It's overcast but nice. A few sunbreaks to feed our solar panel. By 1316 we add our drifter to the main and officially have had up our entire sail inventory today! We sailed the next day as well out of Mathieson Channel and into Sheep Passage. We stayed in Windy Bay for a couple days. It rained the whole night we got there and the insomnia angel came to visit Ron. As I was getting up he was finally ready to sleep. It made for a short day in Windy Bay. We left the next morning, in the rain. A short trek took us out of Sheep Passage, which we left with fondness for the short sunshine we experienced. Very heavy, low clouds meandering through the green forests. The mist so thick it coats you rather than falling. There's brief periods of visibility that give you glimpses of the mountainous landscape. The heights still cloaked in this almost blinding white. Ron and I are both antsy. He got the speakers hooked up last night. We both grew weary of the soothing pitter patter of rain on the deck. I'm going to leave y'all with this installment with us anchored in sublime Khutze Inlet. You can check out the pics on Flickr. We're currently in Wrangell for the 4th of July. An absolutely fun, friendly town. Hopefully I'll get on the ball and finish more writing before we leave tomorrow. If not I'll catch up with y'all in Petersberg, our jumping off point to see the glaciers!
Hi all! I'm sitting in the Laundromat (they have free Internet) in port McNeill, BC. Getting our foul weather gear livened up after so much use. Ron ran to the liquor store to get some beer (you could make money running beer up to Canada - sooo expensive up here!). We made the short trek from Alert Bay early this afternoon so that we could have access to more choices for provisioning before our last big push up to southeast Alaska. We must have picked the right time because we saw minke whales along the way! We saw them a couple times and then i got the camera. Waiting for the right shot, I wasn't expecting him/her to surface less than 40 feet away! I could have gotten the blowhole and everything! I'm lucky I didn't drop the camera in the water. Well, there's a further away shot on flickr (by the way Wally, thanks for the upgrade. I'll let you know how it works out.) The weather was fair coming up Johnstone and Broughton Straits after waiting out a couple fronts in Cordero Cove. Which was where we sighted our first bear. When we pulled in the cove, oh story there. It was a confusing coastline, with islands and lovely little peninsulas and we were looking for a specific three before we got to green point rapids. Juichi had been moving at a good clip, almost 9 knots, over land and we didn't want to pass our entrance. We were checking our numbers on the GPS and decided to was time. I was at the helm and Ron was the lookout. We spotted some heavy kelp (check out our anchor pull up in Alert Bay on filckr. it shows how much kelp is around these parts) and Ron was smart enough to have me pull back out and approach again. Once we weaved our way through the rocks and kelp, we realized we entered an island too soon. We were lucky. Anyway, we pulled in and while setting the anchor and scoping out a stern tie set up I spotted the black bear. What a treat! He didn't come around on Thurday. That was the day we had non-stop rain. Things are going well. Not as much nice weather as we would like but hot springs are just around the corner! We're a little nervous about our rounding of Cape Caution, which should be in the next few days. However, we have full confidance in Juichi and each other. We'll wait for the right weather window and it will be as an invigorating day as it was coming up the straits. Till the next stop. Hope everyone is well.
Ok, Ok, I'm blogging, I'm blogging! Sorry, this is only the second time we've had access to internet since starting out on our summer cruise to Alaska. However, we are only in week two, so once a week isn't bad. Considering I suck at this kind of thing. My last internet workout was trying to post some pictures. It took eons longer than expected. I wasn't at all organized enough to post at a regular pace. Anyway, things are amazing. We are finally getting into the groove of crusing. We are getting projects done along the way at different anchorages. Needless to say, we didn't wait to finish everything before we left. Sarah needed a ride to Friday Harbour. As you'll see from the pictures we've prioritized projects by what needs to be done (ie. pressurized deck hose washdown). The boat is really getting diled in. Get ready Hadlock Crew, Juichi is always going to be up for a sail when we return! It's been a hodge-podge of weather but Ron and I are both getting tan. Hey, we are just leaving the sunshine coast. Actually, I'm tanning, Ron is turning into a bronze god. Well, bronze at least :) We haven't got as much sailing in as we would like, but that was to be expected. Juichi is doing wonderful, especially since she just got all her teak oiled while up in Princess Lousia Inlet. AMAZING waterfall paradise! Which is where we just left yesterday. We're in Lund, BC making a special pit stop to Blog and top off our water before continuing on to Prideaux Haven in Desolation sound this evening. We'll I know y'all want more details but I don't know what else to say and I want to get some pictures posted before I run out of steam. Please send us emails at email@example.com with questions or just to say hello. I'll take more time next internet stop to give some more log details and stories. We love you, miss you all (a little bit), Alison, Ron and Juichi
hello out there. just wanted to give an update on where we are. we're hauled out in port townsend and working on the bottom - among an endless list of other things including but not limited to insulating, refrigeration, battery bank, solar panel, shelving hanging closet, organizing lockers, ect. i'm also trying to wrap up 'billable hours' projects that i started during my months of unemployment. we're splashing on the 22nd and will return to port hadlock for a major spring cleaning and provisioning. check out the following flickr sites for photos of the haulout. flickr.com/photos/alisonewood/ flickr.com/photos/rideyourbike/ -- this is wally, who has a cute music video of our haulout :) flickr.com/photos/hanakoonthewater/ these sites will continue to post photos of our preping to leave and our trip....stay tuned :)