Sunday, July 14, 2019

Moving Along

Hello from Pruth Bay! We've heard about this place from a number of cruisers, plus read about it in the Waggoner Guide, so we had high hopes coming in. Let's say those expectations were met, but let me backtrack just a little. The last time I posted anything, we were in Prince Rupert still and had gone to see the Northern Pacific Cannery. We've covered a bit of ground since then.

We left Prince Rupert in the fog and wound our way south, past Grenville Channel (no taking “The Ditch” this time) and through Ogden Passage. The first stop was Captain Cove, followed by Princess Diana Cove in Patterson Inlet. Both were lovely stops! The inlet is entered first through a narrow passage, maybe 100 feet wide or so. Then it opens up for a while before splitting into two coves. The south cove is pretty deep, apparently—we didn't go in—but Princess Diana Cove, as it is called, was beautiful!

The next day, we briefly parted company from Pacific Wonder. They anchored in Hawk Bay, but we continued on to the village of Hartley Bay. Despite having to anchor up during dinner because the harbor was blocked by a barge resupplying the fuel tanks, we were able to find a spot at the dock later and wander around. We stopped in the village when we brought Kyrie north three years ago, but we didn't arrive until 9:30 and only walked around for about five minutes. This time, we unleashed our beastly little crew to run around on the boardwalks. There are no roads in Hartley Bay—everything is on boardwalks—and no vehicles except for carts and ATVs.

We found our way out to the fish hatchery and came across a number of kids playing in the river. Our kids watched them jumping off the bridge into the water with obviously mixed feelings—it looked like fun, but they knew the water was cold! Levi ended up playing tag with some of the boys until late and came home exhausted but happy to finally have some other boys to play with!
The next morning, we reconnected with PW. The original plan was anchor in Khutze Inlet, but the report came back that it was deep, rocky, and really buggy! After bouncing back and forth over the radio, the consensus was made to press on to the village of Klemtu. There was a dock there, but there were also some nice harbors to anchor in if the dock wasn't what we wanted. When we finally arrived in Klemtu, the dock was not what we wanted, so the harbor it was! There were five boats in there total, but it was lovely and quiet, until, of course, the kids started clapping and hooting to hear the echoes... :D

The next stop was another place we had been before—the marina and resort at Shearwater, near the town of Bella Bella. The best part of that journey was, by far, the group of orcas we came across in Seaforth Channel. There were probably nine of them, including two or three babies. Joe put the engine in idle and we just drifted along, letting the orcas swim around us as they chose. At one point, they got rather close, and the younger ones jumped around and played just off our port side. I never get tired of seeing creatures like that so close to our boat!

Orcas!  50' off our beam
When we brought Kyrie north, we stopped for a brief time in Shearwater to do laundry and a little grocery shopping, as well as take showers. We were in and out in just a few hours and since we were the only boat there, the harbormaster let us tie up for free. Not a chance this time! The dock was packed and boats were being shifted around to make room for more arrivals. There were also quite a few boats anchored out in the harbor. We joined the anchorage club. Just as we got settled though, and were talking about taking the dinghy ashore, the skies opened up again—it had been raining on and off all day, but not like this—and we found ourselves in the middle of what looked like a tropical downpour. No way were we going out in that! However, Rachael collected enough water to wash her hair while the rain continued. She thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of that situation.

We ended up staying two nights in Shearwater. The boat wakes got old quickly, so after laundry, showers, and a ride on the Seabus over to Bella Bella for a trip to the grocery store, it was time for Kyrie to move on. We talked to the gals on Pacific Wonder and although they planned on staying one more night, they said they would meet us in Codville Lagoon on Saturday. That funny-named place had a huge draw—a lake just a short hike away with a sand beach!

The trip to Codville took us about four hours and we gleefully anchored near two other sailboats. Over the course of the afternoon and evening, there would end up being six sailboats in that anchorage! We decided against going to the lake that afternoon, and instead took the dinghy ashore to restock our little aquarium with crabs. With the help of the whole family looking under rocks, Rachael managed to find enough crabs to have all the main characters from the movie Moana. We had Moana, Maui, Tomatoa, Teka, and Tafiti—please forgive my butchering of the spelling of their names!

Saturday, it was time to go check out the lake. We packed swimsuits and towels, and then one of us had the genius idea of digging our wetsuits out and bringing those along. It was about a ¾-mile scramble up over the ridge to get to the lake. So pretty! The beach was golden sand and we stood staring at it for a little while. Then it was girls to one side and boys to the other while we changed into swimsuits and then wetsuits. Those wetsuits made such a difference! The water was cold, but the suits allowed us to stay in for a lot longer than if we hadn't brought them along. Even Megan, whose suit was too big and didn't trap the water right, totally enjoyed herself. It was actually difficult to get her and Rachael out of the water an hour and a half later when we decided it was time to go! Most certainly a worth-it stop.

The girls posing while their brother tries to splash them..

Sunday morning—today. After waking up and realizing I had set the alarm clock for 6:30 pm, instead of 6:30 am, Joe and I dashed around getting ready for our 7:00 anchors up goal. We had to say goodbye to our friends on Pacific Wonder today. They are staying in Fury Cove tonight and rounding Cape Caution tomorrow to enter Johnstone Strait, taking the inside route down Vancouver Island to Port Townsend. We, on the other hand, are planning to get some much needed offshore experience by taking the outside route down Vancouver Island. Therefore, we have stopped, along with a whole bunch of other boats—nearly all sailboats—here in Pruth Bay for a few days until the wind is right for us to continue.

I don't think I'll mind waiting here until Wednesday. We already went ashore to check out the much-vaunted beach. Oh my goodness! Everyone was right. We walked out to West Beach and found ourselves on a white sand beach. The waves were gentle, the sand was hot on our bare feet and there were shells everywhere! The most incredible ones were ones I had never seen before. We brought a few back to the boat and managed to find them in our shell book. Purple dwarf olives.
Tomorrow, we'll pack better and plan to spend a bunch of time at the beach. There was evidence of several beach campfires, so we'll bring hot dogs and marshmallows and everything else we need for a picnic at the beach. There are eight other beaches that can be reached via trails from West Beach. We'll see if we check any of them out in the next couple days, or we're content to play on the closest one.

The plan is to leave on Wednesday, exit the Hakai Passage, and take the outside of Calvert Island, avoiding Cape Caution altogether and heading straight past Cape Scott, which is the north-westernmost point of Vancouver Island. Hopefully the wind will cooperate and we can sail all the way there and down to Quatsino Sound. While Vancouver Island has about a bazillion nooks and crannies we could spend weeks exploring, it's the middle of July and it's time for us to think about getting to Port Townsend so we can get the rigging checked out. I want plenty of time for us to get that done and work our way down the Pacific Coast.

Friday, July 5, 2019

We finally left Alaska!

     Wow, after a month of travel, we finally made it out of Alaska, ironically on America's Independence Day. So, while all our friends back home were watching the fireworks and taking part in the Fourth of July festivities, we were getting ready to cross Dixon Entrance and clear through Canadian customs. Before that, though, we were awash in seafood!
This is just one of the fillets from the
halibut caught by SV Pacific
Wonder's crew.  Yummy!
      We stopped just outside the entrance to Boca de Quadra to try some fishing. No luck for the Kyrie crew, but our friends on SV Pacific Wonder hit the jackpot. We could hear them whooping it up and then the radio hollered out the good news: Kari had just hauled a nice big one aboard, estimated weight at around 80 pounds. Much to our delight, she announced they would give us half the meat. There was enough I was worried it wouldn't all fit in our freezer. However, it all fit and we'll be eating halibut for the next month!
What a quandary! How to
decide which ones to keep?
        The next seafood fest came the next morning. Joe used the head from the halibut carcass to bait our crab pot and checked it before we left Bullhead Bay. Oh my goodness, we lucked out. Joe came back with a pot with twelve crabs in it--our biggest haul   ever. One was a small rock crab and two were females, so those three went back in the water, plus a couple others--we can only eat so many. It took Joe and me three hours to shell all that crab!
                 We spent the night in a little nook off Tongass Island, only a few miles from the U.S.-Canada border. The weather report for Dixon Entrance was beautiful, so we eagerly left the next morning. We enjoyed a lovely spinnaker sail across Dixon Entrance, cruising along with Pacific Wonder, as well as another sailboat, SV Wings and Strings, and arriving in Prince Rupert around 2:30.
            Joe and I had read in the Waggoner Guide about the North Pacific Cannery Museum and were curious about taking a tour, so we decided to make that our plan for today. It involved getting on a bus at 9:00 and traveling about 40 minutes away to the old cannery, which lies slightly southeast of Prince Rupert, on Inverness Passage.
That was an incredible field trip! It has been extremely well-preserved and a lot of the machinery used in the cannery is still in working order. Our tour guide Greg is also the site handyman and gleefully fired up the motor that powered the various machines used in gutting, cleaning, and canning the thousands of salmon that passed through the lines. One aspect I thought fascinating was the way the different groups of people--the European management, the Chinese workers, the Japanese, and the First Nations people--were segregated, but not out of any form of racism. Rather, it was for expediency and safety on the job. They were kept in separate groups because otherwise, these diverse people couldn't have understood each other and safely worked as a team--an idea whose importance hadn't occurred to me. However, seeing the machines and hearing how quickly these lines worked, I realized how dangerous a language barrier could have been. I think I learned more today than the Kyrie kids did!
This building held the machine shop
on the bottom floor and the First
Nations' net loft on the top.

Inside the First Nations' net loft. NPC
use a fleet of gill netters.

Another view inside the First Nations'
net loft. Those are all gill nets hanging
from the ceiling.

          Tomorrow, we leave Prince Rupert, bound for the wilds of British Columbia's outer coast. When we brought Kyrie up to Juneau three years, we ran up the inside route because the weather was nasty and we were in a hurry. However, we aren't in any sort of hurry this time, so it's hie for the coast! I'm not sure how much internet access we'll have for the next week or so until we reach Bella Bella, but I'm sure we'll have plenty more to share once we can upload photos again.
           Keep checking in to see our position reports and see where we are! Kyrie's crew is ready to move on again!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Back to K-town... and then moving on!

     We're spending more time in Ketchikan than I ever thought we would! We were here a few days ago for Joe's friend's Change of Command--glad we went, but hated the place we stopped to anchor. Lots of boat traffic, really rocky, and some idiot actually tried to steal one of our fishing poles off the back deck at 4:00 in the morning! Caught him in the act and didn't let him get away with it... Oh well.
      Needless to say, we were happy to get out of town again. We were told about Ice House Bay by some members of the Ketchikan Yacht Club and decided to try it. Kyrie's first time on a mooring ball went very well. Joe lined us up perfectly and I was able to snag the ball first try! The beach was pretty steep-to, so it was hard to go exploring, but that was okay. When thunder starting rumbling, we didn't want to be out of the boat anyway!
       The next day, we followed some other friends' recommendations and wound our way up Carroll Inlet to the very top and the Swan Lake Powerhouse. That was a neat stop. They have a public dock and a gazebo with a fire pit that we took full advantage of. We also took advantage of the tour the employees offered after they shut the turbines down for the day!

     It was a great stop and we even caught some crabs right off the dock. However, it was rather windy and it was a little too much to convince us to stay another night. So, it was back to the mooring ball in Ice House Bay, and then back to Ketchikan the next morning. Lists were made and we divided and conquered to get errands done, and then we got to go back to the pool, which made the kids very happy.
     It's been good to stop at a dock with access to showers, laundry and the ability to completely fill the water tank (although the watermaker is up and running and works like a treat! At 6 gallons an hour, it doesn't fill as quickly as a hose at the dock, but we can use it anywhere and aren't governed by our water level). However, considering this is the third time we've been in Ketchikan in a week, we're itching to get moving. We'll probably go back to Ice House Bay for the night--we're waiting on our friends on SV Pacific Wonder to finish up their business and then they'll join up with us again.
     A few stops will be in order soon--we'll have to stop and wait for a weather window to cross Dixon Entrance safely, and then stop in Prince Rupert for Canadian Customs and to see the town. Then, it's probably going to be a three-week jaunt through British Columbia! We'll update this as we can in Canada, but for sure our location will be updated. Keep following us! I love knowing people are reading the blog and keeping track of us.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Taking it as it comes

     We'll be in Ketchikan today! Talk about some more lessons in flexibility and not having firmly laid plans.
Levi, Megan, and Joe on our way from
Kyrie to the dock in Coffman Cove.
Rachael and Mouse--the
Coffman Cove greenhouse cat.
After leaving Exchange Cove over a week ago, we traveled first to Coffman Cove, and then toThorne Bay. Thorne Bay was a cute community and at first we thought we would stay there two nights before moving on. However, a weather report informed us that Clarence Strait was going to kick up to a 20-knot south wind, seas four feet or so, on the day we planned to leave. No thank you! Instead, we made a grocery list, hit the store and fuel dock the next morning, and got out, beelining south for Behm Canal and safety in Naha Bay. It was pretty calm until the Tongass Narrows were in sight, so we did some laundry and Joe fixed the switch for the anchor windlass.
Laundry hanging from the sheets!
We are officially cruisers!
That promised 20-knots were starting to kick up as we crossed into Behm Canal, so both crews were rather glad we left when we did!
        Naha Bay has a public float near the top of it and that was our goal. Thankfully, there was only one other boat when we arrived--another cruising sailboat!--so both Kyrie and Pacific Wonder were able to tie to the dock. Nice spot to stay for a couple of days! The weather was soggy, so it was nice to have a spot for the kids to get out. We tried hiking around Roosevelt Lagoon, but discovered bees had built their nest right under the boardwalk! Rachael and Megan both got stung once, each on the hand, and I got stung on both the neck and the leg! No surprise we turned around at that point.
        However, since it was slack water when we got back, Joe and I took Bumblebee (the dinghy) up through the rapids and into the lagoon to explore what we couldn't get to before. It was beautiful back there and we even saw a seal! The next day, we took the dinghy over to the little community of Loring. There used to be a salmon cannery and now all that's left is a community of about eight houses connected by boardwalks.
         Two days in Naha was enough and it was time to move on. Next destination was Yes Bay, which would set us up nicely to reach the top of Behm Canal and officially enter Misty Fjords. After an extremely soggy night--the roar of raindrops on the roof was almost deafening at times!--we prepared to move on. Halfway to the top of the canal, we were passed by two powerboats. About an hour later, we saw them turn around and come back our direction. After hailing them on the radio, our travel partners on Pacific Wonder got the story--25-30 knots coming up from the south and three-foot seas, and they were still in protected waters. That we could have dealt with, but our planned anchorage was open to the south, which we would have been slammed all night. No sirree! We had no problem turning tail and running away from that.
       This time, we aimed for Marguerite Bay, in Traitor's Cove, which, ironically, was just a little south of Yes Bay, where we spent the night. *sigh* That's the way it goes sometimes, right? However, whatever we missed out on by not continuing, I think we had it more than made up to us. Marguerite Bay has a public dock and there was no one there, so we happily tied up to it, after, of course, brushing a rock that doesn't appear anywhere on the charts! Kari said we should call it Kyrie's Pedestal! Another boat showed up later with a girl Rachael's age, so our girls were happy. That dock was covered in ponies and chalk racecourses and corrals filled with grass!
        The next day was absolutely gorgeous! We had enough solar to refill our water tank, charge every gadget we had, and still have full batteries before noon! We also packed our backpacks and, along with our new friends on F/V Sunset, we took a hike. It was a lot of fun and we all came back tuckered out.
          Now here it is, Friday afternoon--Summer Solstice--and we're headed into Ketchikan We had to stop along the way through Clover Passage because there were probably nine orcas playing in the passage! Joe put Kyrie in neutral and we floated along to watch them play. One passed so close to our bow that Joe and Rachael both got sprayed! Rather a nice little stop.
          We plan to anchor at the northern end of Pennock Island, somewhat across from Thomas Basin, and then take Bumblebee to the dock so we can do our errands. There is still a mound of laundry to do, as well as grocery shopping! We'll be around Ketchikan for at least a few days--maybe go swimming and to the museum. On the 27th is a Coast Guard Change of Command for Joe's former supervisor, and we've been invited to attend. Shortly after that, we'll be leaving Alaska, most likely for a very long time!