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.
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.