08 June 2016 | Northern Hemisphere!!
06 June 2016 | Still south of the equator
05 June 2016 | Closer to the Equator
04 June 2016 | Water Water everywhere
03 June 2016 | South Pacific (barely)
02 June 2016 | Still the South Pacific
22 May 2016 | French Polynesia
15 May 2016 | Marina Taina
12 May 2016 | Tubuai Island
10 May 2016 | South of Tubuai
09 May 2016 | 337 miles to landfall
Winter Harbor/North Harbor
26 June 2017 | West Vancouver Island
Winter Harbor is a small fish camp/resort community with about 20 full time residents. In summer, a lot of sport fishermen come to town. We were a bit early, so it was still pretty quiet. There is a 3-plank boardwalk that runs the entire shoreline and makes for a nice scenic walk. It turns out the boardwalk is under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Highway Dept. and they maintain it. There is also a general store, fuel dock and burger shack and that’s about it. Still, the people were quite nice and directed us to a local hike through the pristine forest, where we saw a massive old-growth cedar.
There are many eagles here and a huge population of sea otters. I counted several rafts of at least 20 otters each, right next to the boat one morning. A local guy told me they relocated a few dozen from Alaska right after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill to save them and they have repopulated this coastline, with the last census at over 3000 otters. Great for the sea otters, but kinda hard on the crab fishermen…
Bull Harbor/Cape Scott
24 June 2017 | North Vancouver Island
Our next anchorage in Bull Harbor on Hope Island was the furthest point north of our Vancouver Island circumnavigation. This is a well-protected cove at the end of a narrow ziggityzag channel lined with rock faced cliffs. Inside is a good anchorage with a small (10-20 peeps) aboriginal village. That evening a couple came out in a rowboat to ask for $15 anchorage fee and another $5/head to go ashore. Bull Harbor is where most boats wait for a good weather window to cross Nawitti Bar and round Cape Scott. Both of these patches of water can be very challenging in the wrong conditions. Local knowledge gleaned from the cruiser’s guides and other boaters we spoke with, recommends going round Tamil Banks close to the shore to avoid Nawitti Bar altogether, riding an ebb tide out to the point, then standing off Cape Scott at least 3 miles to avoid the inshore tidal rips. All of which we followed, but as luck would have it, we had a very calm day and we motored around Cape Scott and down to Winter Harbor without drama. Probably coulda run the shorter course. We did see a lot of sea otters around Cape Scott, which was pretty cool.
23 June 2017 | North Vancouver Island
Port Alexander proved to be an excellent anchorage albeit a bit deep at 60 ft. It was totally deserted and we enjoyed an afternoon of beach combing on a beautiful slate stone beach with the black stone chips worn smooth by the sea. Awesome skipping stones - to Skid’s consternation... The ‘aboriginals’ were adept at making the blades for wood carving tools from these stones.
As we’ve moved north and further from the peopled places we have seen a lot more wildlife too. The eagles now are more common than gulls and we usually see 2-3 at a time in the air around our anchorages.
22 June 2017 | North Vancouver Island, BC
Eager to move on, we left Port McNeill bound for Port Hardy before the wind eased and had a rough 4 hr transit into 15-20 kt headwinds. At Port Hardy we were the only boat on the more convenient public dock in front of the downtown. I was wondering why all the other boats went into the inner harbor until the tide came in and covered the reef protecting our city dock. Once the afternoon wind chop got over that reef, we started taking a beating against the dock. With no room for a catamaran in the inner harbor, we warped Bangorang around to another dock with a more favorable angle to the waves, where we spent an uncomfortable 6 hrs until the tide went back out. We decided to leave Port Hardy the next morning for an unscheduled stop at Port Alexander.
21 June 2017 | East Thurlow Island
From Small Inlet we had planned to run down Johnstone Straight from east to west, but the forecast called for westerlies blowing to 30 kts for 3 days. Those wind conditions against an ebbing tide would be just too uncomfortable for us.
Instead we chose a round about course taking us up Nodales Channel, turning left at Phillips Arm over the top of Thurlow Island to Green Point Rapids, then out to Chancellor Channel, right at Wellbore Channel, through Whirlpool Rapids, up into Sunderland Channel, which would lead into the western reaches of Johnstone Straight about 3 days later. Hopefully conditions would improve by then.
Our first leg up Discovery Passage and into Nodales Channel was windy, but not uncomfortable so we took the opportunity to poke our nose into several coves along the way. At the top of Thurlow Island we stopped in Shoal Bay for the night where the little resort throws a pretty great happy hourwith a stunning view from the deck. Skid made a new friend with a young giant St. Bernard named Tulip who ran Skid ragged.
20 June 2017 | Quadra Island
Our next obstacle leaving Campbell River was transiting Seymour Narrows as we headed up Discovery Passage. The current here can rage at over 15 kts, with whirlpools and over-falls. So it is important to hit Seymour Narrows in the 30 minutes or so when it goes slack between tides. It's now a wide channel, but there used to be a big rock in the middle, but back in the 1920's they dynamited it with what is still considered the largest non-nuclear explosion in history. There is an impressive sequence of photos in the Campbell river museum showing the blast.
Due to the tides we got there early and tucked in behind Maude Island to wait a few hrs for slack. Here we had a great hike to view the narrows at full tide and later in our little backwater we watched eagles snagging fish right in front of the boat.
When the time came, we transited Seymour Narrows uneventfully and proceeded to Small Inlet on Quadra Island for the night. This was actually a pretty big inlet surrounded by parkland and almost entirely landlocked except for a narrow channel with about 10 ft of water in it. Once through the channel we had one of our prettiest anchorages to date.