"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:

Friday, July 12, 2013

North of the Cape: Brown's Bay to Pruth Bay

Friday, July 5 - The 05:00 sea conditions report gave us 15 kn NW with a 2 ft chop at Chatham Point (where Discovery Channel becomes Johnstone Strait) on a ebb tide (against the wind).  The wind  will increase to 30-35 late in the day.  Given that we have several exit points west of Chatham we decided to go for it.  Our intention is to get to Forward Harbor from which we can make the final leg up Johnstone tomorrow.  If it gets awful before Chatham we can turn around and go back to Brown's Bay or continue south, back through Seymour, on the morning slack and go up the inside route through the rapids.

Brown's Bay to Sullivan Bay
We passed Okisollo Channel, the first exit point and when we turned the corner at Chatham it was, indeed, about a 2 ft chop which gave us no difficulty.  So, we passed up the second exit point, Nodales Channel, and pushed west.  At the Walkem Islands we had the option of sneaking through the channel behind islands but we had not done that before and the chart was unclear, to us at least, as to the best route.  So, we stuck to the main channel.  Soon, we were in patch of "square waves' - seven feet high and seven feet apart, and these were almost vertical.  Such waves come at you so fast that the boat does not have a chance to slide down the first wave and rise up the second so it just buries its bow in the ditch between the waves.  The ebb tide was pushing us so we had trouble slowing down enough for the boat to establish a rhythm.  As soon as we passed the Walkems, though, things calmed down.  Just then we saw a southbound boat come out of Mayne Passage and go behind the islands.  We made a note of that for next time.

We debated, for a while, whether or not to turn up Mayne or continue up Johnstone to Chancellor Channel.  Timing the rapids was the issue.  The slack water arrives first at Whirlpool, the northern most rapid, then about 40 minutes later it shows up at Shell Point, the southern most.  But it takes us 2.5 hours to get from Shell Point to Whirlpool so we can not make both rapids at slack.  We have to pull up after Shell Point and wait for a few hours then catch the afternoon slack at Whirlpool.  (There is a third rapid at Greenpoint but it has the same slack time as Shell Point.)  By continuing up Johnstone and hooking a right at the west end of Chancellor Channel we could bypass Shell point and Green Point rapids- we would only have to time Whirlpool.  But, it did not look like we could do so and get to Whirlpool for the slack so we made a right into Mayne Passage.  We hit the lower rapids near enough to slack and continued  through Chancellor Channel from its east end.  After turning up Wellbore Channel we intended to pull up just short of Whirlpool and wait.  But, we saw a tug and barge waiting in a little bay at the junction of Chancellor and Wellbore.  It was well after the slack - why was he waiting?  Just then he began heading up Wellbore for the rapids.  Then we saw a pusher tug coming up Chancellor.  The first tug had been waiting for the second.  Together, they went through Whirlpool, the second tug steering the barge from behind.  We decided to follow them and went through the rapids against a 3 kt current with no difficulty. Forward Harbor is just past the rapids and we were at anchor enjoying a G&T by noon. 

Saturday -
The Fanny Island weather station sits in the middle of Johnstone Strait at the mouth of Sunderland Channel.  Sunderland runs in more or less the same direction as Johnstone.  Forward Harbor is well protected and lies at the top of Sunderland, nearly an hour from Johnstone, but one can not usually pick up the weather station on the VHF in Forward.  So the saying is, "What you see in Sunderland, you will see in Johnstone."  We picked up at 06:15 and poked out into Sunderland which looked fine.  Now able to hear the weather station we learned that Fanny Island was reporting NW 10 kts.  This bodes well even though the tide was ebbing.  We studied the weather forecasts more as we cruised up Johnstone.  There appears to be a weather window opening for Queen Charolette Sound next Wednesday which means we would want to be in Allison Harbor the previous night.  Planning backwards leads us to believe we should continue on to Kwatsi Bay today instead of stopping in Lagoon Cove.  That cuts out a day and positions us well for a crossing of the Sound next week.

Seven hours, or so, after departing Forward found us with five other boats in Kwatsi Bay.  We caught up with the marina owners, our friends Anca and Max, and Jim who stays there all summer on his boat "Anchor".  There were only nine people for pot luck so it was good conversation with a good group.  Rolynn left some books on consignment at Anca's little store.

Environment Canada Weather Station: Echo Bay
Sunday - Pierre's Bay:  We hung around Kwatsi until mid-morning then pulled away for the 1.5 hour hike to Pierre's Bay.  We did some house keeping and will do some laundry tomorrow.  A quiet day.  Rolynn stocked their store with some books.

Cliffside at Echo Bay
Monday - Sullivan Bay:  Today it was 2.5 hours to Sullivan Bay, a community of floating homes, a post office, and a restaurant at the top of Wells Passage.  Along the way a pod of pacific whiteside dolphins rode our bow wave for 30 minutes or so.  It is always fun to watch them play. (Rolynn is sure that her antics and yells off the bow enticed the dolphins to jump when she requested...the dolphins had her trained, is what really happened). At the docks we joined in the happy hour. We shared snacks and met some nice folks as well as saw some old acquaintances. 

The Wednesday weather window still looks good so we plan to move along to Allison Harbor, about 4.5 hrs up the coast, which is our jumping off point to go around Cape Caution.

Dolphins on the Bow
Tuesday - Allison Harbor:  We were up early to listen to the weather.  It is an 11 hour trip from Sullivan Bay, around Cape Caution, to Fury Cove at the mouth of Fitz Hugh Sound.  The earliest weather forecast and sea conditions report is at 04:50 so, after listening and discussing, 05:30 is about the earliest we can get underway.  But since the wind almost always comes up in the afternoon we want to be tucked in by about noon.  That makes our trip around the cape a two-day affair.  Allison Harbor is very sheltered, we can wait out any weather there, and the cove is about half way to Fury Cove.  It is a bit of a rock garden getting in but it is well charted and all the rocks are easily identifiable.  It looks a lot worse on the chart than it actually is.  That is often true.  Anyway, we were swinging on the hook by 11:00 and spent a pleasant afternoon.  We barbequed steaks for dinner.

Wednesday - Rounding Cape Caution:   This part may make most of you glaze over.  But, the purpose of this blog is, in part, to help our non-boating friends understand the challenges and decisions required to meet them. 

Queen Charolotte Sound is open to the Pacific Ocean and Cape Caution is a major head-land which must be rounded in order to transverse it.  There are multiple factors to consider when transversing any such body of water.

WIND - The wind in QCS usually flows from anywhere in the SW to NW quadrant.  The wind us usually lightest in the morning and rises to a peak in the late afternoon.  We look for a wind forecast of less than 20 kt but will go in 25 if other conditions are favorable.

TIDE - Spring (big) tides occur at the new and full moons.  Neap (small) tides occur at the half moons.  Ebb tide currents are stronger than flood tides and take the shortest path to the open ocean.  It is big tides running against strong winds that make for rough seas.  A boat running with a 25 kt wind and also with a flood tide may be glass smooth.  But, running into a big ebb opposing a 20 kt wind can be terrible.  The waves pile up, bunch together and become "confused"  ie, they have no consistent, repeating pattern.  The ebb tides in QCS flow, more or less, to the west and the wind comes, more or less, from the west.  Ebb tides and wind usually oppose one another here.

SWELLS - Swells are generated by storms far at sea.  Sometimes as far away as the southern hemisphere where it is winter.  As they roll in from the deep ocean they hit the shallower waters of the Continental Shelf so they get higher and closer together.  There are automated buoys at sea that measure and report the winds and swell heights.  A key buoy for us is named West Sea Otter.  We look for a reading of 1.0 meter or less but will accept a touch more if other conditions are good.  Local winds generate waves which are "on top" of the swells.

SHORE LINE EFFECTS- "Sea conditions are combined wave and swell heights and may vary with depth and shore line effects."  So, says Environment Canada (Canada's NOAA) in every forecast broadcast.  These, too, play into our decision making.  The water off Cape Caution is relatively shallow so a 1.0 meter swell at West Sea Otter may reach 3.0 m at the Cape, with some wind.  And just north of Allison Harbor are Belize, Nugent and Seymour Inlets each containing vast quantities of water all of which must pass through narrow (600 ft) Nakwakto Rapids then out into the sound via Slingsby Channel.  Nakwakto currents are among the world's fastest and can reach 20 kts.  On a big ebb the water gushes out of Slingsby like a fire hose.  The water is shallow and if big swells and strong winds are from the west, opposing the current, it can sink a boat.  The "Slingsby Effect" can extend well out into the sound so we give it a wide berth if she is running at ebb.

Just north of the Cape is Rivers Inlet.  As the name implies, many rivers enter the inlet.  The river outflows amplify the ebb tides flowing out of the inlet.  Again, crossing Rivers on an ebb tide with opposing wind and swells can be very uncomfortable.

COURSE - Finally, what is our course to be?  Geography, being what it is, requires that much of our 5 hr crossing puts the seas on our beam.  That is, we are going more or less north and the waves, wind and swells are coming from the west.  So, we are going to roll unless it is flat calm.  How much depends on the combined effects of all of the above factors.

Rounding the Cape:  Sullivan Bay to Fury Cove
The day's first weather forecasts and sea condition reports are broadcast just before 05:00 so we're listening.  Pine Island lighthouse is west of Allison Harbor and we hope for less than 20 kt winds and no more than a "2 foot chop".  West Sea Otter is 40 miles off the coast.  We want 1.0 meter swells, or less.  Egg Island Lighthouse is just off the Cape.  We want a two foot chop with a low westerly swell.  In a perfect world we want to cross Slingsby at slack and Rivers on the flood all before noon but we rarely get both.  In fact, nature being what she is, we can not hope to get everything we want so we take the best combination we can get or wait for another day.

We listen to the weather at 05:00... the forecast was for 20 kt SW rising to 25-30 NW late in the morning.  West Sea Otter was 1.5 m and Egg Island was 20 kt SW with a 3 ft moderate sea.  3 ft refers to the combined wave and swell height.  "Moderate" refers to how rough the seas are.  We don't know what "moderate" means exactly but it is the fourth of the seven stages of sea conditions.  The seventh is "phenomenal".  We have learned that a 3 ft moderate is not moderate enough for us, especially on the beam.  So, we went back to bed.

At 08:00, West Sea Otter was 10 kt SW and 1.1 meters.  Egg was reporting 15 kt SW and a 2 ft chop with a low westerly swell.  We were under way by 08:30.  We passed Slingsby running at full ebb but her effects were minimal due to the low swells and light winds.  When we turned the corner at Egg Island to a northerly course across the mouth of Rivers Inlet we took low swells on the port beam for an hour or so and a few things hit the floor.  Soon, though, we were more in the lee of Cape Calvert, which guards the mouth of Fitz Hugh Sound, and were anchored in Fury Cove by 13:30.  It was not the best crossing we have ever had, but it was far from the worst.  All in all, we called it a good day.

Egg Island
Thursday - We are anchored in Pruth Bay after a 3 hr jaunt up Fitz Hugh from Fury Cove.  Fury is one of our favorite spots.  Pruth is at the west end of Kwakshua Inlet near the north end of Calvert Island.  The inlet nearly severs the northern tip of the island.  Much of Calvert and the surrounding islands comprise the Hakai Luxbalis Conservancy Area, a huge provincial park.  At the shore of the bay are facilities that once were a luxurious fly-in fishing resort and an outstanding restaurant.  But a couple of years ago the Tula Foundation bought it all and made it a research/conference center.  They host all manner of ecological researchers, archaeologists, cultural anthropologists and the like.  They also broadcast their wifi into the bay for us boaters.

Tula Foundation Facilities - Pruth Bay
We will stay here two days then sneak into the complex of islands and bays north of here loosely known as Queen's Sound.  The more popular name is the Spider or Hurricane Islands.  There was a Canadian naval seaplane base near here during WWII.  Most of the islands were named by the pilots for aircraft used during the Battle of Britain.  We will be in Shearwater Marina on 7/20 to meet Brian, Rolynn's brother, who is joining us for two weeks in Fjordland (and other parts) north of there.

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