Shearwater to Las Vegas: August 3 - 12
Brian left on the Saturday morning water taxi. He won't get home to Alexandria until early Sunday AM. He is an excellent guest. He pitches right in, is observant, learns fast and is excited about everything.
We spent the day at chores and prepared for a couple of days in nearby Discovery Anchorage. There, we just relaxed for a couple of days but Rolynn did spend time getting ready for her trip to Las Vegas for the RONE Awards. (Her book Fadeout is a finalist in the romance-suspense category.
Wednesday: Rolynn was off on the 09:00 water taxi for her 10:30 flight from Bella Bella to Vancouver, BC. The flight was delayed 1.5 hrs for fog but she had a 6 hr layover in Vancouver so that was no problem. She called at 22:30 after checking into her hotel in Lost Wages.
|Gill Net Fleet Waiting for Opening at Shearwater|
While here, I have spent quite a bit of time catching up on internet required tasks. I made flight reservations for our trip to Kauai and the Big Island in March/April. I found a lawyer in Port McNeill who will act as a Public Notary for some documents we need to sign. And I researched various boat related items. Our solar installation on our California house has been a success (latest monthly bill was $2.66 - for meter rental) so I am thinking about solar for the boat. Preliminary figures suggest that we can cut our generator run time (which costs about $1.75/hr) by as much as half which means that we could stay at anchor for two days without running it. I think I can do it for less than $1500 and the boat qualifies as a residence for a 30% solar tax credit. More study is required.
Supplemental Log of First Mate Brian Shellum:
Crew Member – It is important that anybody joining Rolynn and Steve on the boat for any period of time make themselves useful crew members. There are plenty of duties to go around and I am amazed that Rolynn and Steve alone manage to crew a 42 foot, 20 ton Krogen by themselves. My station for anchoring each afternoon and pulling up anchor each morning was to man the dinghy, which meant I had to pull it to the side and make it secure so it didn’t get in the way of the boat or the line fouled in the propeller. When we docked I secured the dinghy, put out the fenders, and assisted tying the starboard lines to the dock. I also occasionally conned Intrepid when Steve and Rolynn were busy with other duties. And then there are the less glamorous duties like washing and drying dishes and cleaning fish, crabs, and shrimp. The critical thing is that you are a participant and not an observer, allowing you to contribute and get an appreciation for how difficult it is to crew a boat in very challenging waters.
Nautical Terms – A basic knowledge of nautical terms and skills is essential when spending time on a boat. At a minimum, you should know bow (front), aft (rear), starboard (right), and port (left). It’s also kind of nice to know that the bathroom is referred to as a head, a bed a birth, and the kitchen a galley. If you plan on helping secure lines to boat or dock cleats, you had should learn to do a basic cleat hitch with locking turns. Never thought my Boy Scout training would come in so handy!
Speaking German in Ocean City – You never know when you will be able to practice your foreign language skills. I was cleaning my salmon catch at the marina in Ocean Falls when approached by the crew of a large sailing boat that I had noticed were flying German flags. I asked them where they hailed from, in German of course, and one of them responded Bonn, a place I had lived for four years. We had a long discussion about sailing, salmon, and living in Bonn in one of the longest and liveliest conversation in German I have had since leaving that country in 1992. Once the two men from the sailboat left, I found that another man who had been eavesdropping was formerly from Germany and had lived in British Columbia since the 1960s. So we continued the discussion in German. It is a small world indeed.
Civilization – The passage back to civilization after two weeks aboard "Intrepid" was every bit as daunting as the original outbound journey. I discussed my earlier trip from Washington to Vancouver and from Vancouver to Bella Bella in my initial log entry. On the return water taxi trip to Bella Bella I was the only passenger and the captain, a First Nation fellow named Vince, invited me up to the bridge to chat. We talked about fishing, life as a member of the Heiltsuk Nation, and oddly enough about American Football (he was a Denver Bronco fan). When we reached the public dock at Bella Bella, the taxi was waiting to take me to the airport, which didn’t seem as shabby or unfamiliar to me as it had two weeks prior. I was reluctant to leave. As the flights to Vancouver, San Francisco, and Washington brought me back to civilization, I found myself missing the quiet solitude of life on "Intrepid" and the wonderful routine we had established. Rolynn and Steve are very lucky to have such a life!
Rolynn returned from Las Vegas at 15:00 on the 12th, her RONE Award Runner-up Certificate clutched firmly in hand. She was happy she went, I guess, but the conference itself was poorly organized. Nonetheless, she learned some valuable things. She always manages to make even a poor experience work to her benefit. It’s a mystery.
Shearwater to Snug Cove (Bowen Island): August 13 - 29
After paying the moorage and topping off the water we departed Shearwater at 09:15 for Fury Cove - 7 hours away. It was flat calm in Fitz Hugh. In the distance we saw a whale leap completely clear of the water - just like the insurance commercial. Its amazing how a 40 ton animal can generate such power. No one really knows why they do it. One theory is that they want to get a view of their surroundings.
As we neared Fury Cove at the southern end of Fitz Hugh Sound we listened to the weather again. Tomorrow the wind will come up so we will be stuck in Fury for two days, at least. But, the rest of today looks good. The wind at Egg Island is light with low westerly swell. West Sea Otter reports 0.2 meters and we have a half moon - neap tides. So, we decided to cross Cape Caution, even though it is the afternoon, and go on to Allison Harbor. It will make a long day but it seems worth it. The Cape turned out to be as flat as we have ever seen. It was so calm that we grilled steaks on the BBQ underway. We dropped anchor in Allison at sunset, a little after 21:00. A twelve hour day. We were tired but happy that we had read the weather window correctly and saved at least two days.
|Shearwater to Allison Harbor|
Thursday: By 11:00 we were at the dock in McNeill. Marika, Anca and Max's daughter (Kwatsi Bay), works the docks as her summer job and was there to help us into a tight spot. We went ashore to get a latte. I trudged up the hill to the lawyer's office to get the docs notarized and then mailed them from the post office. (It turns out that there are no title companies in Canada. All real estate transactions are handled between lawyers so they are all notaries, hence, there are few other notaries.) Mean while, Rolynn had run into Linda Lewis, a boating friend. She is a professor emeritus at the UW school of nursing. After retiring she got her 100 ton captain's license and now teaches navigation and boating skills. She is very knowledgeable, to say the least. (She and her husband were anchored with us in Glacier Bay, AK during the episode of the wrestling grizzlies.) This year, David decided to stay home so Linda is single-handing their boat while various woman friends join her from time to time. We joined up for dinner and had a nice conversation.
Friday: Rolynn is doing all kinds of book stuff and it is a day for laundry, shopping and the like. In all likelihood, we will recross the straits Sunday, anchor here and there for a couple days then go to Pierre's for prime rib. We will continue the grand tour of the Broughtons, revisiting friends and old haunts, with the object of being at Refuge Cove in Desolation Sound on the 29th to pick up our friends Bill and Judy who will be with us until we arrive in Anacortes on about Sept 5 or 6.
Sunday/Monday: After a benign three hour crossing of Queen Charolotte Straits we anchored for two nights in Waddington Bay, a pretty and popular spot which we shared with eight other boats, or so. We read, did a few boat chores and otherwise relaxed. Well, I relaxed - Rolynn doesn't do "relax" very well.
Tuesday/Wednesday - Pierre's Resort at Echo Bay: It is jammed because of the Echo Bay Yacht Club annual rendezvous. There is no "yacht club" per se since their only purpose is to gather here once a year. The mean age of their members is 104 - conservatively. Anyway, we joined them at their "Texas BBQ" - I manned the defibrillator station. Wednesday is Prime Rib night.
Thursday/Friday - Kwatsi Bay: As we entered the bay we saw a pod of approximately 300 dolphins thrashing the water. They were after the pink and coho salmon which are heading for the streams now. They cooperate in their feeding by repeatedly herding the salmon into a group and then munching them down. One boater said he got a picture of a bear swimming among the dolphins. He was after the fish, too. Haven't seen the picture. The bear is lucky he didn't get the shit kicked out him by the dolphins. They are bigger than the bear.
There are only six boats here so the evening conversation around the pot-luck happy hour was intimate and interesting.
Saturday - Lagoon Cove: We left our friends at Kwatsi and made for Lagoon Cove. I have written about Lagoon Cove and it's owners, Bill and Jean Barber, before. They have owned and operated the facility since 1992 after Bill retired from a career in business. Lagoon has been a boat and furniture making shop, a boat yard, a marina and other operations for at least 75 years. Sadly, Bill died of cancer over the winter. He had no symptoms. The cancer was discovered via routine blood tests during his annual physical. He was 80 years old. So Jean and her loyal crew, Pat and Bob, are operating the marina, at least for the time being. It is for sale and has been for a few years. One way or another, Lagoon Cove, as we know it, will disappear like so many other places along this coast. We left, thinking that it might be for the last time.
In Remembrance of Bill: Bill always told a story or two at happy hour. Usually the same ones, like how he taught a bear how to water ski. Even so, the old timers still paid attention. Here is one of my favorites.
A young guy accepted a job as a winter watchman at a remote logging camp at the far end of Knight Inlet. After a few months of isolation he heard a knock at his cabin door. There stood a burly logger - greasy hair to his shoulders, a long knotted beard, and clothes that had not been washed for months. The man introduced himself as a "neighbor", only twelve miles away. Since the watchman was still there the visitor figured he might stick around so it was not a waste of his time to pay a visit.
"I'm gonna have a party" he said, "Wanna come?"
Edging up wind, the young man replied, "You bet, I haven’t seen a soul for months!"
"Well", said the visitor, "I've gotta warn you, there's gonna be some drinken."
"That's fine, a little snort never hurt me."
"And cussen, there'll be a lot of cussen, too."
"Oh, that doesn't bother me much"
"And fighten, always some fighten. Bad ones."
"Well, I hope not but I guess I can handle myself."
"And, sex, too. Lots of sex.", warned the logger.
"Now we're talking", thought the watchman. "I'm in. What should I wear?"
"Nothing special", replied the logger. "Just gonna be you and me."
Smooth sailing, Bill.
Tomorrow we move just around the corner a ways to Port Harvey. Harvey is at the cusp of Johnstone Straits so it is a good place for an early morning departure. The weather looks good, SE 10-15, but there will be a strong ebb current against us starting about noon so we will leave early and be into Sunderland Channel by then. That's the plan, anyway.
Sunday: At about 07:00 I was awakened by the Environmental Compliance Officer (Rolynn) and informed that we would be leaving immediately. She had been listening to the early morning weather and the Monday forecast for Johnstone had changed from 10-15 kts to 20-30 kts. So, the revised plan is to skip Harvey and go down Johnstone to Forward Harbor today. Okay-Dokay. We were away from the dock by 08:00 and heading through the Blow-Hole, the entrance to Lagoon Cove, so named because in the winter the winds can howl out of adjacent Knight Inlet causing water spouts in the cove. Anyway, as we rounded the Broken Islands at the junction of Johnstone Straits and Havannah Cannel we found light winds and a rippled sea. About three hours later we were in Sunderland Channel, approaching Forward Harbor, our anchorage near the northern of the five tidal rapids we must transit. But, a little math revealed that we can make Whirlpool and Greenpoint Rapids without stopping at Forward Harbor so we kept going, planning to stop at Greenpoint Island Anchorage for the night.
A Rapid Review: The strength of the rapids, and thus the narrowness of the safe time window available for transit, is dependent on the tides. Spring tides are higher than neap tides. Ebb tide currents are stronger than flood tide. And the lower of the two daily ebb tides is stronger than the higher ebb. Today, we are facing a lower-low water, spring, ebb so the window is small. But, here's the good news. The time of slack water (minimal current) arrives first in the north then moves south. However, it moves south faster than we do. So, we have to transit Whirlpool, the northern most rapid before slack. Sometime during our journey south the slack overtakes us and then arrives at Greenpoint before we do. Therefore, we must transit Greenpoint after the slack. We try to time things, if we can, so that the current is less than two knots when we transit. But, a boat's steering response is a function of the speed of the water passing over the rudder. So, we have better steering moving against the current than with it. The ebb currents in these parts flow north, against us, so we can usually tolerate a little more than 2 knots. But, they call it "Whirlpool" for a reason so we don't push our luck too much.
|Descending the Rapids|
|Downtown Shoal Bay|
I had intended to post this blog from Harvey but we passed that by. In the past there has been wifi here at Shoal but not today. Don't know why. So, I probably won't get this posted until Refuge Cove on Thursday or maybe Lund on Friday.
|Refuge Cove Store|
|Downtown Refuge Cove|
Friday - Lund: After a latte and cinnamon roll at the outdoor coffee shop we headed about two hours south to Lund. Lund is the end of the road, literally. The other end is Terra del Fuego. The only way up the coast from here is by boat or plane. The natives were here first, of course, but in the late 1800's the Thulin brothers started logging operations here and named the town after their village home in Norway. Thulin Passage winds its way through the Copeland Islands immediately north of here. We like Lund. There's a good pub/restaurant, grocery store, gift shops and Nancy's Bakery, aka "The Cardiac Hut" . It's the kind of place we can no longer patronize.
The SE winds we have experienced for several days are predicted to lighten and veer to a fair weather NW wind by tomorrow morning so we will continue our way down the mainland coast to Pender Harbor, about five hours journey. After a stop at Nancy's.
|Union Steamship Marina - Snug Cove|
Cruise Summary: By the time we return to Anacortes in two days we will have covered 1275 nm in 201 hrs of running and will burned approximately 600 gallons of fuel. I began this blog by promising to give readers an idea of the costs associated with a cruise like this. So ----
Winter Maintenance - $4170
Spare Parts - $1000
Spring Maintenance - $2660
Fuel - $1860
In Cruise Maintenance - $1564
Moorage - $1960
Total = $13,214
Well, that is a lot of money. But we had a lot of fun, too. And besides, what would a two month vacation to just about anywhere cost?
Next year - Alaska!