"Intrepid" is a Kadey Krogen trawler style motor vessel built in 1987 at the Chung Hwa Boat Yards in Taiwan - hull 138 of 206. She is 42 feet in length with a beam of 14.5 feet and weighs 40,000 pounds fully loaded. Carrying 750 gallons of fuel and 240 gallons of water, she is capable of extended cruising. A previous owner cruised her from Annapolis to the Caribbean and Venezuela then through the Panama Canal, the Sea of Cortez and up the Pacific Coast to Alaska over a period of three years (She was then named "Carpe Diem"). We know of no Krogen that has traveled farther on her own bottom than "Intrepid". We purchased her in 1999 and live aboard her four months of the year as we cruise the intricate waters of the British Columbia and Southeast Alaska coasts. She is berthed in Anacortes, WA.

You can follow Intrepid's path at

Check out the story about our grounding in Passagemaker's online magazine at

Take a look at Rolynn's author website at

If you like technical stuff here is the article I wrote about building a watermaker that appeaared in Passagemaker's online magazine:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Port Harvey - Ganges Harbor: August 24 - Sept 4

Tuesday and Wednesday: After Sullivan Bay we spent a few more days in the Broughtons before heading to Port Harvey and points south. Port Harvey is located near the entrance to Havanah Channel, close to Johnstone Straits, so it is a good place to wait for good conditions in the straits. We had good luck and pulled into the straits at 6:30 AM on the 24th. We were thinking that we would head into Forward Harbor it the straits kicked up or, if not, head to Nodales Channel to avoid the rapids at Whirlpool since there are spring tides, again. There was a strong ebb against us but no wind so we just kept going past Nodales, up Chancelor Channel and on to Shoal Bay. This way we avoided the Greenpoint rapids, as well, as Whirlpool. It was a pleasant day and night anchored at Shoal. The next morning we pulled up at 11:00 am in order to arrive at Dent Rapids just before the noon slack. This time we tried out Tugboat Pass which curves behind Little Dent Island and avoids the stronger currents and potential whirlpool at "The Devil's Hole". There were no problems as we continued through the Yuculta Rapids just after the slack. It is here at Sonora Lodge that CBS had their broadcast studios for the Winter Olympics.

Sonora Lodge, Big Bay, BC
It is also featured in one of Rolynn's books "The Last Resort" which is now in the hands of a publisher for review. (Keep your fingers crossed for her.) WE anchored in Cortes Bay at the south end of Cortes Island. This positioned us for a good departure down The Straits of Georgia the next morning.

Union Steamship Marina at Snug Cove
Thursday - Saturday: We were up early to check the weather (which was good) so we headed down the east side to the straits for Hardy Island Marine Park about five hours away. We anchored in a tight cove that was once a rock quarry. The following morning we moved on to Secret Cove, a marina, where we had a nice diner with our friends from Seeker. Saturday it was a five hour run to The Union Steamship Marina in Snug Cove on Bowen Island in Howe Sound - not too far north of Vancouver BC. After two nights here it we will back track a little to Gibson's Landing (The most livable town in the world under 20,000 in 2009.) then back across the Straits of Georgia to Ganges Harbor. We will be back in Anacortes about the 5th.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Port McNeill to Sullivan Bay: August 13-19

We stayed four days in Port McNeill after dropping off Karen and Marni. The wind was blowing so we stayed a couple of days longer than we had originally planned.

Friday and Saturday: We made the three hour crossing of Queen Charolette Straits in calm water to arrive at Ladyboot inlet on Eden Island, one of our favorite spots. The next day we moved on to Moore Bay which once again proved to be a good spot for large prawns. Rolynn breaded them in a coconut batter. They were WONDERFUL. It was 90+ degrees so we closed up the boat and ran the air conditioner. We are so spoiled.

Bellisille Sound
Sunday and Monday: We headed up Kingcome Inlet to Belisille Sound, a new spot for us. It is long and deep with only one anchorage – off an abandoned indian reservation. Monday is was a little nook behind Cecil Island at the mouth of Greenway Sound – a beautiful spot with wide vistas.

Sullivan Bay
Tuesday – Thursday: We are at Sullivan Bay waiting for our California friends on “Seeker”. Sullivan Bay is located in the northern Broughtons and is a long established community of homes (one with a helicopter on the roof), marina, store and resturant all on floats. Get a hole-in-one on the water driving range and earn a night’s free moorage. We are counting on Rolynn.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Invasion of the Shellums: August 5-9

This is Rolynn writing to you from the Port McNeill, B.C. marina. The wind's blowing hard, but we're snugly tied to the dock, pleased we decided to head east (to the Broughtons) tomorrow a.m. instead of this morning. Steve and I listen to the weather reports carefully and avoid cruising when the wind is fierce. That we can eat in local restaurants instead of cook aboard, is an added bonus.

So we've had two days to recover from a dizzying whirlwind of a 3 and 1/2 day visit from my sister, Karen and her daughter, Marni. Now, neither one of them had been on a boat our size on the seas like the ones up here, so Steve and I were a little concerned about how they'd manage these isolated venues. NEVER MIND! I swear, these two were ready to learn as well as pitch in - and brought more luck to INTREPID than she/we could handle! You will not believe the stories I am about to tell you, but be assured, they are true.

The first piece of good luck came in my experiment to keep crabs alive over a two week period. The endeavor kept me awake at night, I'm serious (were the little fellows hungry; were they fighting; were they sitting deep enough in the ocean in their trap?). See, Steve and I spent three days catching crabs in a place called Viner Sound; the commercial crabbers had taken the majority of crab from our favorite haunts so we had to hoard a supply for Karen and Marni. In total, we caught 11 big males/keepers. I'm happy to say that by feeding my crabs a juicy big salmon head, I was able to save 8 of the 11 fellows.

Friday: We collect our guests and head from Port McNeill to Laura Bay (sighting two whales on the way), about three hours to the east of the marina. No sooner had we set down anchor (and put out our shrimp pot) in our favorite spot when a boater we know (Mickey) roars up in his dinghy and tells us the salmon are biting in the bay. I think he's nuts. The bay we've visited for years has never produced more than bottom fish or odd flounder. Salmon. N. O. I say I don't have the right lure/bait. He gives me a pink spoon he swears is a winner. I pile Karen and Marni in the dinghy with me driving and two fish poles, and off we go around the corner to the little bay. How do I explain what we saw? Salmon Seaworld? Flying Salmon? The water was churning with Coho Salmon (Silvers), gigantic ones. Now, neither Karen nor Marni has fished in the ocean so I'm quickly giving instructions on the use of a fishing rod (spoons and a 1 oz. weight) while my eyes are popping at the conflagration of jumping salmon. Five little dinghies like ours are trolling in a circle no more than 40 yards in diameter; two have fish on the line. It's a salmon utopia. I get a lure down as does Marni and we start trolling slowly in a circle with the other astounded boaters. In less than fifteen minutes I catch a fish, a big one. The fight is on and I work him a bit before I bring him to the boat. The trouble is, as I draw the fish to Marni holding the net, the fish gets away-something about their soft mouths, I guess. We are so upset. Then I see "my" fish about 1:00 on my starboard side and say to Marni "There he is; let's net him." Marni gets the net ready to bag my stunned fish and I motor the dinghy closer and closer to the big guy. Plop! Marni dips the net in and grabs the salmon, we get him into the boat and spend the next several minutes trying to subdue the creature. He's feisty enough that I have to whack him over the head a couple of times before I gaff him and ask Karen to keep her foot on him. Back to the fishing. (As an aside, we three women have to be the loudest, wildest fisherwomen this side of the Olympics. I'm trying to coach two novices to fishing fundamentals while I'm trying to learn how to troll for salmon without a downrigger. There may not be a dinghy large enough for the three of us-laughing, yelling, giving orders, holding on to each other so we don't fall out, etc. Mind you, we all wear life vests.)

Just as we've got our rigs set up again, I see Pacific Dolphins jumping near INTREPID. I say: "Pull in your lines! We can't miss the show!" We buzz over to the chaos of 200 dolphins gathered together, probably diving for food. What an amazing event. The water was churning with their activity, the dolphins swimming so close to our boat we could touch them! Once they've left, we go back to INTREPID, a 15 pound Coho in hand and I fillet the fish while we cook our 8 crabs for dinner. Satiated with the delicious crab feast, on sensory overload and tired from the excitement, we make it early to bed.

The reason for Seaworld? Billy Procter is local legend who, like his father, was born here and has hunted, logged and fished these waters for over 70 years. He says that the creeks are so low that there is not enough scent in the water for the salmon to find the way to their spawning grounds. Also, there has been an explosion in the number of dolphins hunting in the area so the salmon head for the shallow water to escape them. The end result - Salmon Seaworld.

Saturday: I'm up early thinking about those jumping salmon. After breakfast, we're off to catch more fish. . . Salmon Sea World is still on! This time we get Karen tricked out to catch a fish; she and Marni work the poles while I drive. Karen gets two nibbles, the second fish taking her lure. Marni gets a strike. . .never having played a fierce salmon before, I coach her through every phase and we end up with a 12 pounder in our boat. We are thrilled. I'm starting to fish with Marni driving while we watch a man pull in a 15 pounder with a fly rod (!). He wants us to take his catch, so we go pick up his 15-18 pounder. (Steve got me a weighing mechanism here in Port McNeill yesterday. . .I truly can't judge the size of these big fish). So now I have two fish to fillet and put in the freezer. . . and we've got to pick up the shrimp trap. We pull up anchor in Laura Bay and cruise to our shrimp pot to begin pulling up 500 feet of line. Marni and I trade the duty. We haul up about 40 BIG prawns and one BIG red octopus who doesn't want to get out of the shrimp basket and ends up anchoring himself to our swim step. What a struggle. . .but we send him back to the deep. . .and he answers with a big spray of red ink before he dives down.

Now we have shrimp to behead and cook. On we go to Kwatsi, an isolated marina where Anca and Max have raised their two children and made a life for themselves. By coincidence, the boat in front of us at the Kwatsi dock is called C SHARP. The skipper went to St. Olaf, graduating in '55. Karen and I graduated from St. Olaf in the late 60's. Think about it: a marina in the middle of nowhere with three graduates from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. What are the chances? When we gather for the happy hour, we HAVE to sing the St. Olaf Fight Song to all who gather. We ate our fresh caught shrimp for lunch; for dinner it's fresh salmon grilled skin-side down. Delicious!

Sunday: The prettiest day of the three. . .we leave Kwatsi for a lovely tour of the Broughtons (and see another whale) on our way to the Pearce Islands. We're the only boat in our anchorage, where harbor seals entertain us. We tour the island in the dinghy at high tide, enjoy a quiet happy hour, then put steaks on the grill for our guests' final dinner in the Broughtons. We bask in the sun, using our new swim step as a place to stand while we hang our elbows on the aft ship gunnel and talk about how lucky we are to experience nature this way.

Monday: After a leisurely morning and a pancake breakfast, we return to Port McNeill's dock and check out the shops in Port McNeill. Karen and Marni leave at 12:00 remarking that the sunny, temperate temperatures and fresh air have spoiled them. With regret, they drive away, heading to Nanaimo where they take a ferry to Vancouver B.C., and a plane back to Chicago. They've eaten crab, shrimp and salmon, caught fresh from the sea. They've seen the beautiful islands of the Broughtons in three action-packed days. Indeed, they'll sleep soundly, dreaming of landing Coho salmon and fighting with a red-headed octupus.

Next? We've spent three wonderful days in Port McNeill and tomorrow we're off to the Sullivan Bay/Mackenzie Sound area, meeting friends (Seeker) around the 17th/18th of August. After that, we start a slow trek to the south, taking adventures where they find us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waddington Bay and Crease Island: July 30-Aug 2

Goat Island Anchorage
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday: After two days at Pierre’s we left Friday morning for an uneventful day and night at Waddington Bay. Saturday, we went to nearby and very pretty Goat Island anchorage at Crease Island to meet up with Crossroads and their English friends on “Cloudy Bay”, a 55’ Nordhaven. Also there were other acquaintances aboard “Silver Star”, Waka” and “Seagar”. Rolynn organized a dinghy party. We all brought drinks and snacks and tied our dinghies astern to “Cloudy Bay” for an hour or so. Later, we went aboard

Dinghy Cocktails
“Crossroads” for dinner with Stan and Diane. The following morning Rolynn spied a black bear ambling along the beach a 100’ or so from our boat. He rolled rocks and ate salial berries until he got to the nearby point. Then he jumped in the water and swam to a small island where he spent the day sampling the flora. Near evening he swam to even smaller islet but there appeared to be fewer pickings. Tuesday morning we will head to Port McNeill where we will meet Rolynn’s sister and niece, Karen and Marni.

Moving Day in the Broughtons

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Echo Bay, Kwatsi Bay & Viner Sound

Pierre His Own Self
Wednesday & Thursday: Stayed at Pierre’s in Echo Bay. They do a prime rib dinner with all the fixins and dessert for $30. It is excellent. Pierre and Tove have lived and worked at odd jobs in the Braughtons for 30+ years. About 12 years ago they built a small marina in nearby Scott’s Cove literally out of nothing but old logs. Over time they became a popular stopping place. Three years ago they partnered up with another couple and bought the existing Echo Bay and adjoining Windsong Resorts and began improving it as they moved their buildings from Scott’s Cove. It is now the busiest marina in the area. They have a regular schedule of meals and events.

Echo Party Tent
Friday & Saturday:
We made the short (1:45) run to one of our favorite places on the coast – Kwatsi Bay. Anca, who is Dutch by birth, and Max began this little marina 12 years ago and we have been coming here since 2001. They dragged longs onto the shore, winched up a little cabin and scrounged up floats from abandoned fish farms to use as docks. They have raised their kids, Russell and Marika, here who are now 15 and 17 or so. For the first few years they had no ramp to shore so they rowed back and forth countless times per day. A couple of years ago Max shot a couger under the cabin that was stalking the kids. Notice in the adjoining picture of the Kwatsi docks the landslide that almost took out their cabin as they were sleeping one winter night.

Cliffside Docks at Echo Bay
It’s a small marina, only 12 boats or so. Consequently, there are ample opportunities to get to know folks and we see many year after year, including Jim, a retired pharmacist from Seattle who spends every summer here. We’ll stay two nights but we will be back later with Rolynn’s sister and her daughter.

Kwatsi Bay
Sunday, Mond
ay & Tuesday: We are in Viner Sound, not far from Echo Bay. It’s a nice spot with four mooring buoys. This is usually a good crabbing spot and we can sometimes see bears on the beach at low tide. This year the commercial crabbers have cleaned out most of the best spots so the crabbing has not been good for boaters. The fisheries people shut down commercial prawning early, though, so that has been pretty good for us. We (Rolynn) used Sunday morning to clean the boat while I offered
helpful suggestions. We heard from our friends Stan and Diane Heirshberg aboard “Crossroads”. They are back from Alaska and we will meet them at Echo Bay this Wednesday for prime rib dinner. ( I told you it was good.) The weather is stuck in a pattern. Overcast or misty in the mornings, clearing by about noon and late afternoon sun.

Kwatsi PotLuck
Monday – 4:00 AM: We were awaken by much huffing and snorting from the water next to the boat. Figured it was a harbor seal. Turned out the noise was a small pod of orcas hunting dolphins in the bay. The whales herded the dolphins into a tight group then munched them down for breakfast. The orcas we see in the San Juan Islands are resident pods that feed on salmon. The orcas up here are transient hunters that feed mostly on seals and dolphins. A few days ago we spoke with a fellow who conducts sampling studies on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). He told us that a couple of years ago he encountered an orca superpod, a grouping of all of the transient pods. The official count was over 600. Must have been quite a sight.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pott’s Lagoon to Laura Cove: June 17 – 21

Lagoon Cove Docks
Saturday: After two days at Lagoon we pulled away from the dock at 11:00 AM. We are taking turns at the helm so that either of us can handle the boat if the other is unable to for any reason. Today is Rolynn’s turn and she took us for the one hour run to Pott’s Lagoon. We turned the corner into the lagoon only to find our favorite spot occupied by a 50’ DeFever and the rest of the bay a mine field of commercial crab traps. We managed to find a spot to drop the hook and settled in for a couple of days. We got dinghy down from top deck. It hasn’t been run since last season. Started at first touch of key. Life is good! Put out the crab pot.

Anderson’s Third Nautical Law: If there is a problem there is more than one cause. Conversely, if there is only one cause there is more than one problem.

Rolynn fired up the coffeepot around 7:00 PM but it soon stopped burbling. Hmm. Check circuit breaker. OK. Check AC boat voltage. None. Damn! Hot water heater switch still on. (Steve’s fault) Draws too much current and made inverter shut down from over heating. (The inverter converts our battery DC voltage to AC voltage.) Go into engine room to reset inverter. All OK. Oh Oh The plastic tank that holds excess engine antifreeze has jumped out of its bracket and has rubbed against the engine pulley. A hole has worn in the tank and the excess antifreeze, about a quart, has drained out. Can’t repair tank. Running water heater from batteries drained batteries too much. Have to run generator to recharge. Watch movie – “The boat that Rocked”. Get to sleep at 1:00 AM.

Sunday: Improvise. Make temporary tank from gallon jug that antifreeze came in. Will work fine until a replacement can be found. The DeFever has left so we (Rolynn) decide to relocate to the prime location. Pull up anchor. Up comes commercial crab trap and a mile of line. Eventually get it all free. No harm done to trap or anchor. Move to new spot. Only 10 feet of water but its low tide. Fine tune location using bow thruster. Damn! No bow thruster! Hear the clutch engage but no thrust. Hmm. Bet pump belt broke. That’s what knocked antifreeze tank out of bracket. Get anchored. Back to engine room. The bow thruster is hydraulic system. Pump is powered by two belts driven off main engine. Belts not broken. Hmm. Belts are tight but slipping. I get it. Antifreeze from broken tank drained all over the belts causing them to slip. Go to aft engine room. Dig out spare belts. Notice bilge pump not pumping properly. Fix that. Notice broken hose clamp. Replace that. Grease shaft wipers. Replace belts on bow thruster pump. Fire up engine. All OK. Crab for dinner.

Monday: Pull anchor at noon for slack current in Beware Passage. Beware Passage is very pretty. Some of the place names on the chart are: Care Rock, Caution Rock, Caution Cove, Beware Rock, Beware Cove and Dead Point. What could possibly go wrong? Actually, there are several twists and turns but its an easy passage especially if you’ve been through before. Three hours later and we are anchored at one of our favorite spots, Laura Cove. As we were anchoring a dinghy came along side. It is our friends David and Edie Pope with their grandson aboard “Our Time”. We invited them over for drinks later and we had fish dinner at their boat the next night. No form of marine life is safe if David is in the area. Nice people. We caught 200 big prawns in two pulls so we are set for awhile. No Crab.

We will go to Pierre's at Echo Bay tomorrow for prime rib dinner.

Blind Channel to Lagoon Cove: June 13-16

Tuesday: We left Blind Channel at 11:15 AM to catch the slack at Shell Point and Green Point Rapids and had no problems at either one. An hour later we were anchored in little Sidney Bay in Longburough Inlet. It is just about the only waiting place between Green Point and Whirlpool Rapids. After a pleasant three hours or so we hauled anchor for the two hour run to Forward Harbor via Whirlpool Rapids. Forward Harbor is a large bay with room for many boats although the preferred anchorage in Douglas Bay holds only about two dozen. It is the best, almost only, anchorage to wait for favorable conditions in Johnstone Straits.

In Forward we paid out 250 feet of rhode to anchor in 70 feet of water. The “rhode” is the anchor plus all the chain and/or line attached to it. “Intrepid” has a 55 lb. anchor with 270 feet of chain followed by 150 feet of line. The line has never been wet. The normal rule is to use 3-4 feet of rhode for every foot of depth. This ratio is called the “scope”. With all chain we can get by with a scope of 3:1 which would be 210 feet for a depth of 70 feet. (In sketchy conditions like poor holding bottom or high winds we would increase our scope.) Why the extra 40 feet? To compensate for the height of the bow above the water and tidal changes over night.

Now, set the anchor alarm in case we drag anchor during the night. To do so we enter the boat’s current position in the GPS then determine the radius of the circle we want to stay in. One minute of latitude is one nautical mile or 6024 feet. So, 0.01 nm is 60 feet. We have 250 feet of rhode so we should swing in a circle of 250 feet radius. However, the weight of the chain causes the rhode to fall toward the bottom in an arch called a catenary. That’s good because it acts likes a spring so the boat doesn’t jerk at the anchor. It also means that our circle of swing will be less than 250 feet. So, set the anchor alarm for a radius of 0.04 nm or 240 feet. If we drag outside the circle the alarm will go off and wake us. Since the chain weighs 1.1 lbs/ft that means we have a total rhode weight of 330 lbs. We’re not going anywhere.

Wednesday: This morning it was unclear what the winds in Johnstone were doing or when they would increase so we decided to say in Forward for a second night. (Refer to the previous post about winds and tides in Johnstone Straits.) It is a pretty place, the weather is good and no matter where we are we are still on the boat. What’s the hurry?

We plan for an early rise on Thursday. Forward Harbor sits near the head of Sunderland Channel. Sunderland opens into Johnstone and is oriented east-west, like the straits. So, we will poke our nose into Sunderland near sun rise. “What you seen in Sunderland you will see in Johnstone” they say. If it doesn’t look promising we will go back to Forward but we think it will probably be OK. If all systems are go it will take about 3 hours to get from Forward to the first exit of the straits at Havannah Channel. There is a nice little spot a couple of miles up the channel called Mitilpi Cove, aka “The Indian Islands” where we will anchor for the afternoon and night.

Johnstone Straits
Thursday: At 5:30 AM it was still blowing 30+ at Fanny Island. Fanny sits at the junction of Sunderland Channel and Johnstone Strait. There is an automated weather station there. The weather data from Fanny and other locations is collected and broadcast every hour or so. Yesterday, it was about the same at this time but it calmed down some by 8:00 AM, or so. We went back to sleep. At 8:30 AM it was blowing NW 20 knots at Fanny. Not as good as yesterday but the Environmental Compliance Officer (Rolynn) decided to go. An hour later we turned the corner at Fanny and headed up the Straits. We had about a 2 kt current behind us and a 20 kt head wind but the seas were manageable – about 2-3 feet. Two hours later we arrived at the Broken Islands where we turned up Havannah Channel. We skiped the anchorage at Matilpi and made for Chatham Channel. – named for one of Captain Vancouver’s ships that explored this area in the 1700’s. Chatham is a long, narrow channel that must also be timed but it is much more forgiving than the rapids farther south. It is more of an issue for slow sailboat and, as usual, we had no difficulty. By 1:30 PM we were tied he dock at Lagoon Cove, one of the most popular marinas around these parts.

The Shop at Lagoon Cove
People have lived at Lagoon Cove for many centuries. It is a midden. First Nations people are what the Canadians call Native Americans. And what we call tribes the Canadians call bands. A midden is the remains of a village. They can often be spotted as white mounds of oyster and clam shells. Dig around and other things can be found. Basically, it was their garbage dump. Anyway, there were once 5000 or so people living in the area around Lagoon Cove. Loggers and fishermen, mostly. Around the corner is the Minstral Island store – now abandoned. As late as the 1960’s there was a hotel there, too. It’s claimed it once sold the second most beer of any location in BC. 5000 loggers and fishermen could do that. Minstral Island is named for the minstral shows that toured the area in the 1800’s. Navigational charts show landmarks such as Sambo Point, Bones Bay and Negro Rock. You can imagine what the later was called originally. Logoon Cove is now a small marina owned by Bill and Jean Barber. Bill is a retired advertising executive from Portland and has owned the place for 18 years. He is nearing 80 and the place is for sale. $2.4 million, we’ve heard. Each evening at 5:00 PM everyone gathers at the old boat builder’s shop, drinks and snacks in hand, for cocktail hour. Bill provides a couple buckets of shrimp. We swap lies and listen to Bill tell us about the bear he taught to water ski. We’ll stay a couple of days.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Anacortes to Forward Harbor


We had to return to Anacortes from Friday Harbor because we were still concerned that the GPS/Autopilot might still give us trouble up stream. There we had Brian, the owner of Anacortes Marine Electronics, aboard (on a Sunday and the Fourth of July too!!!) to assess things but he could find nothing amiss so we took off for parts north the morning of the 5th.


We cleared customs by phone for Montegue Harbor where we snagged a mooring buoy and spent a quiet night in beautiful weather. The next morning we made a five hour run for Dodd Narrows, south of Nanaimo. The tidal currents run through Dodd at up to 8 knots and we are a 7 knot boat. You see the problem. So, we have to time our arrival at places like Dodd to coincide with the change in tides which is called slack water. Part of the fun of boating is making these calculations.

The hour run between Dodd and Nanaimo is open to the Straits of Georgia where the wind often blows so this stretch can sometimes be a little rough and we did take a spray of water on the windows once in a awhile. Nonetheless, we found good anchorage behind crowded Newcastle Island where we watched the seaplanes come and go and, later, the city lights of Nanaimo. There was some wind but the weather was expected to improve the following day. Usually, one crosses the Straits early in the morning before the afternoon winds typically pick up. The wind was still blowing in the morning but the wind dropped about noon, as predicted, so we made an unusual afternoon run to Pender Harbor in flat water.

Haven Vista

Desolation Sound: After a night and a disappointing diner at the Garden Bay Marina in Pender Harbor we made the seven hour run in fine weather to Prideaux Haven in Desolation Sound. The cove itself was a little crowed, as usual, so we anchored for two nights behind little Rophy Island to enjoy the views. By 7:00 pm he thermometer had climbed to 93.

The Rapids:

Each day there are two high tides and two low tides. Each are about 6 hours apart and the times of the highs/lows advances about an hour each day. During each lunar cycle there are two periods of small "Neap" tides and two large "Spring" tides. Each lasts about a week. We are at Spring tides now. The water "floods" in from the ocean following low tides and "ebbs" out following the high tides. Ebb currents are almost always stronger than flood currents. Today's tidal difference is 16 feet. Image billions of gallons of water behind a narrow opening. Now image that water is 16 feet higher than the water outside the opening. All that water comes out like a fire hose creating tidal rapids. These currents can reach up to 20 knots in some places on the coast. Sometimes the water in the channel will look like a 4 or 5 foot waterfall moving through. Around points of land big whirlpools can open up out of no where. Because "white" water is full of air it is less buoyant. Boats ride lower and the propeller and rudder loose their "bite" in the water. Smaller boats can and do sink. Slow boats like "Intrepid" can not run against even relatively small tidal currents. Between Desolation Sound and Johnstone Straits await five tidal rapids that must be "climbed". From south to north they are Yaculta, Gilliard, Dent, Green Point and Whirlpool Rapids. We must time our arrival at these rapids with the turn of the tide - slack water. Sometimes the period of safe transit is only 15 minutes either side of slack water. The distances are such that we can not time all the rapids in one day. In most years we can make Forward Harbor, just North of Whirlpool in two days. This is not one of those years. We timed Yaculta and nearby Gilliard for 10:45 am slack with no problems. However, the skipper underestimated effect of the opposing current on the time required to get from Gilliard to Dent Rapids. We were trying to make for the far shore where the current is least when we were cut off by a southbound sailboat that was being flushed through. We found ourselves in the "Devils Hole" against at least a 4 knot current just as the whirlpool was beginning to form. You get the picture. We couldn't make much headway and we didn't have a lot of steerage. We got tossed around pretty good but made it through OK. It was only about 5 minutes but it got our attention. Here's a video of Aaron Rapids running full tilt. Aaron is a few hundred yards from Dent Rapids. What we experienced was nothing like this, though.

A couple of hours later we pulled up behind some islands to wait for the next slack so that we could get into Blind Channel Resort for the night. We celebrated Rolynn's birthday a few days early with an outstanding dinner. Blind Channel is one of three area resorts begun by immigrant German families in the early 60s. Originally focused on salmon fishing they have become more resort like as the fishing has diminished. Blind Channel is now operated by the third generation and the fourth is crawling around on the floor.

Getting back to currents. When the wind direction is against the direction of the tidal currents the water gets pushed up into close steep waves. This is the classic "wind against tide" scenario. Since ebb currents are stronger than floods one is especially careful about wind against ebb tides. Johnstone Straits is 68 miles long, a maximum of 3 miles wide and several hundred feet deep. It runs mostly East to West and is bounded on both sides by steep mountains which funnel the wind. It is the only path for thousands of square miles of water to enter and exit this area. When high pressure sets up off the west coast of Vancouver Island, as it has, "westerlies" (winds from the West) blow into the straits against the tide ebbing out. The result is REALLY nasty seas. (Note: The huge Frazier River empties trillions of gallons of water into the Straits of Georgia near Vancouver, BC. This fresh water floats on top of the denser salt water. Global hydraulic effects force this water NW through Johnstone Straits. So, there is always a surface ebb current flowing westward in the Straits. When this surface ebb coincides with the west bound tidal ebb it really snorts.) Oh, in order to get farther north boats must go into the straits for at least 14 miles. (Note: All distances are nautical miles - 1.14 statute miles.) To further complicate matters, the summer pattern is for winds to be lightest in the morning, then rise to their max by late afternoon, then diminish over night. The question is how light is "light" how max is "max" and how diminished is "diminish". On top of that, currently the winds are lightest when the ebb tide is strongest. What to do - go in lighter winds and strong current or strong winds and light currents? We will opt for the former.

So here is the current scenario. We are at Blind Channel - two hours and two rapids away from Forward Harbor where we will wait for good conditions in the straits. We had planned to go through Green Point Rapids this morning, wait in Longburough Sound for the afternoon slack, then go through Whirlpool Rapids to Forward Harbor for the night. There is a 45 knot westerly blowing in the straits now (51 mph) against a big ebb and conditions tomorrow (Tuesday) are uncertain. The winds are supposed to be NW 5-15 kn Wednesday morning rising to 20-30 in the afternoon. But, the strong ebb current will persist two hours later in the morning (when the wind begins to rise) than today. (Remember, the tide cycle advances an hour per day.) So, we will stay here tonight, go to Forward Harbor tomorrow then wait and see.

Anacortes and Delta Marine

We arrived in Anacortes on June 14 and have been BUSY ever since. We've cleaned out the heat exchanger on the generator and installed a new GPS (The device that tells us where we are in the planet.) After multiple visits to Costco we departed to on June 27 for Delta Marine in Tsehum, BC for scheduled work. We had commissioned a new swim step which was ready to install.

"Intrepid" Comes out of the Water
We also installed an additional zinc anode on the transom and replaced the others. (Zincs protect the boat's important underwater metal parts from electrically dissolving over time.) In addition, we had some work done on the electronic interface between the GPS and the autopilot. After a day and a night "on the hard" we were off for three days in Friday Harbor to visit with friends.

And there were other reasons for coming back to the US. We buy all our wine and gin in the US because we can get what we want. But, we have to pay duty on it in Canada and once in Canada we can only bring two bottles back to the US without paying duty again. And another "but". We had to come back to the US in order to get the Canadian taxes we paid on the boat work rebated back - about $700. So our friend, Judy Moore, took our booze to Friday Harbor where we loaded it all back on the boat after returning from Tsehum. When we crossed back to Canada we declared our alcohol and paid the duty ($500). So, in the end, it was a net loss to Canada of $200. Besides, about once every three years the Canadian customs decides not to assess the duty (too busy, computer down, etc) and we're off free!!

Off with the Old
While all of that was going on we also had a marine surveyor crawling all over the boat. These are guys who assess the safety and value of the boat. A new survey is required by the insurance companies every five years. We are changing insurance companies this year, anyway, so either way a new survey is required.

On with the New

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting Ready to Get Ready

This is our first attempt at boat blogging. We'll see how it goes.

We are still in Arroyo Grande "Getting Ready to Get Ready". We have postponed our Alaska trip until next year due to Harriet's (Rolynn's mother) unstable condition. She is in Wisconsin and we don't want to get too far north on the boat to easily get to Wisconsin should the need arise. Nor do we want to get all the way to Alaska only to park the boat. If we are going to do SE then we want to do it right.

We plan to arrive in Anacortes on June 14 then spend two weeks preparing the boat. We have to install a new GPS, remove and clean the heat exchanger on the generator, replace fuel filters,, etc, as well as provision her and see Anacortes friends. We are scheduled for haul out at Delta Marine
( in Tsehum, BC on the 28th where our new custom swim step and a new transom zinc will be installed - plus anything else fixed that we will invariably find to be broken. (I will post photos of the process - eventually.) We will also get an insurance survey performed at the same time. (New policy - saving $700/year!!!). This work was originally scheduled for the previous week but the marina is replacing the engine in the travel lift then. (The travel lift is the machine used to lift the boat out of the water and park her on shore.)

expect to begin our journey north and west the next day arriving in the Broughtons
( the following week.