Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Vancouver Island

A sunny day in Winter Harbor means
laundry day!

                       When did we round Cape Scott? The days have been filled and the wi-fi access has been severely limited, so the days since I’ve done a blog post have all run together. It’s been an educational and mostly fun trip down the outside of Vancouver Island. Let’s see. We left Pruth Bay on July 18, I think, which put us into Millbrooke Cove. So then we left Millbrooke Cove and made our giant leap out and around Cape Scott on the 19th. That means we stayed the 20th in Winter Harbor, which is where we made new friends and rekindled some old ones. Our friends aboard SV Arctic Loon—the Down family—ended up travelling with us for the next week, which made Megan very happy, as they have a daughter a little younger than she and they made fast friends. Our temporary partnership wasn’t planned—we just ended up at the same places a few times at first.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Long Awaited Update

Well, we have been trying to find wifi or cell service anywhere for the last week to post some pictures and a blog update to no avail. It shows just how remote the areas we have been hanging around in, I guess.

To catch us up to date, we ended our last blog when we arrived in Pruth Bay, at the Hakai Beach Institute. It was a lovely stop that ended up being drawn out to a total of 4 days due to a gale. The first two days were amazing. We spent the time hiking to the various beaches around the institute -- I think we made it to all but three of the 8 beaches that were available. All were super fine white sand you couldn't bear not to take your shoes off and walk in barefoot.
West Beach at Pruth Bay

 After walking off our calluses and picking up all the abalone shells we could carry, we hunkered down and put out extra anchor scope as a gale was forecast to show up in the evening. Winds were predicted to be 35 knots, so we made sure the anchor was set well and went to bed.
Hiking between the beaches
Sleep was not very forthcoming. At about 11pm the storm arrived, bringing heavy rain and the promised wind. Unfortunately due to the topography of the area we were staying in, it increased the wind locally to around 50 knots. In the storm two boats behind us drug anchor and were motoring around in the roaring wind and rain in front of us trying to get their anchor reset. Thankfully ours held perfectly as did the one for the yacht just upwind of us. Joe spent about 3 hours in the captains chair through the worst of it watching the radar to be sure no one was dragging down on top of us. We have rode out worse storms at anchor before, but not in a crowded anchorage where it isn't just about your anchor holding, but your neighbor's too. It was a very interesting experience.

On the fourth day, Kyrie pulled up anchor, and tried to head around Calvert Island, bound to cross around Cape Scott at the top of Vancouver Island. That was a pipe dream as the seas just hadn't had time to settle enough to comfortably make the crossing with breaking 10' waves right on top of one another. To keep us moving, we headed down Fitzhugh Sound to Millbrooke Cove in Smith Sound for the night, just north of Cape Caution.

The morning brought better weather, and we left Millbrooke Cove at 6:30 in the morning, dead set to make it around Cape Scott this time. The weather cooperated, and we had a lovely sail for about 5 hours across the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound on our way to the cape. Unfortunately, the wind died on us, and we had to motor our way around the cape. We then pushed on to Winter Harbor - about 30 miles south of Cape Scott. We pulled in around 9:30 and dropped anchor about 2 miles outside of Winter Harbor as we were too tired to mess around with docking for the night.

The morning came up foggy, so we ran into Winter Harbor on the radar, and docked at about 7:30, intent on picking up a couple groceries, and getting the kids off of the boat. Winter Harbor was a cute little town. Not too much going on, but we were able to meet two other cruising sailboats there, and vastly enjoyed their company for the afternoon. That evening, a fishing boat arrived, and as we gawked at their catch, one of the women aboard recognized Kristen--from a book club in Anchorage nine years ago! They had two boys for Levi to play with, a daughter for Rachael, and Megan had already latched on to the little girl on one of the sailboats. Needless to say, it was a fun evening.
Laundry day, Winter Harbor
Typical Boardwalk view, Winter Harbor

The next day, we said goodbye to our new friends--one sailboat was bound north for Cape Scott, while the other was heading south like us--and pulled away from the dock. We had another long day planned, although nothing like the trip around Cape Scott. However, there was another cape involved--Cape Cook--which was also notorious for nasty weather, and we wanted to get while the getting was good. Brooks Peninsula behaved and we were able to run straight to the Bunsby Islands. On the way, we were passed by a group of Risso's Dolphins--the first time we had ever seen them. Later, Joe slowed the boat down because he saw something odd in the water. It took a few minutes to figure out we were looking at an Ocean Sunfish! First time Kristen and the kids had ever seen one in the wild, and it swam right underneath our bow as we watched. At one point, it sank beneath the surface and looked right back at us, apparently as curious about us as we were about it.

Ocean Sunfish!

The Bunsby Islands were a lovely spot to stop and we wished we could have stayed and explored, but, once again, the weather forced us to move on. Another blast of strong southerly wind was on its way and we decided being tied to a dock somewhere safe would be a good idea. Walters Cove, here we come! After negotiating our way through the slalom run of an entrance, we grabbed a spot at their free dock! Soon, other boats began to arrive, including our friends from Winter Harbor, on SV Arctic Loon. Megan was thrilled to see her little friend again. After walking around, exploring that little community and restocking a few supplies, we had a lovely evening, hanging out in Kyrie's cockpit, getting to know their crew better.

Finally, up to today now. We left Walters Cove around 9:30 this morning, hoping to sail. At first, it didn't seem promising, but after about two hours, the wind filled in enough to fly the spinnaker. Big Blue kept us going for about four hours until we had to turn for our anchorage. The wind was enough at that point, however, that we switched to our working sails, and used the genoa for another 45 minutes to get us to the approach to Nuchatlitz Provincial Park. Once again, it was a maze to get in, but a beautiful protected anchorage. We were told there are amazing beaches to go beachcombing on, and it certainly looks like it. Unfortunately, the wind did not cooperate and calm down enough for us to want to put the dinghy in the water and get soaked on our way to shore. We hope tomorrow morning to be able to visit the beaches.

We're being followed! A couple of hours after we were settled here in Nuchatlitz, Kristen glanced at the AIS and noticed Arctic Loon on its way in. They are now anchored not far from us, and I think we'll be traveling together for the next day or two. The plan is to play a bit in the morning, hopefully, and then head deeper into Esperanza Inlet because another southerly gale is about to rear its ugly head tomorrow afternoon. Our current plan is to pull into Tahsis, at the top of Tahsis Inlet, to wait out the storm, before continuing the inside route to Nootka Sound and later, Hot Springs Cove.

You're up-to-date for now. We'll post pictures as soon as we can! Keep following us to see where the wind blows Kyrie and her crew next.

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.