A bilge day
06/06/2012, Pruth Harbour
I went down for morning engine room inspection and found diesel fuel in our bilge. Goodness! We have periodically seen small amounts of diesel on the absorb pads near the starboard fuel tank. We have never been able to identify the source. We figured that the sloshing of the swells around Cape Scott, combined with just having filled our tanks in Winter Harbour must mean that the filler pipe tube did not have a tight connection. Brian came over to help and Dave did heroic duty getting back deep into the gap on the side of the engine and then reaching up to tighten the clamp. It was tight, difficult work and Dave tightened things up on both the upper and lower clamp. Hopefully, that will solve the problem.
We used absorb pads and bilge cleaner and cleaned everything up. We bagged the absorb pads and everything looked like new. We will watch the issue further as we progress, especially after rough seas, but I think that should solve the problem.
We departed beautiful Fury Cove about 10 since we only had a short trip to Pruth Bay. We brok off from the group to scout out the south side of Calvert Island. I wanted to locate this wonderful, secluded cove that Dave and stopped with my dad about 25 years ago for lunch. It had a waterfall and was an exceptional fishing spot for searun cutthroat trout and salmon. I lost Dave's first salmon there. Neither of us will forget that one! We checked out Safety Cove but that was not it. It must have been further up Fitzhugh Sound. On the route to Pruth Bay, we saw a humpback blow in mid channel. Then we saw a solitary, male, transient ORCA heading south. He was moving fairly quickly.
We turned to port into Kwakshua Inlet and headed to Pruth Bay. There is a new scientific observatory there now for biological research. It looked like it had a few too many roofs for our taste so we looked for another anchorage. We found one just north of Keith Anchorage. It was narrow and shallow but we calculated, with our anchor ring setting that we could drop anchor in 25 feet, let out 125 feet for a 5 to 1 scope and still not brush the rocks on the sides. (Our anchor ring is set for 300 feet.)
We dropped anchor in a quiet, still water cove - a perfect place. I grilled some brats, Deb fixed macaroni and tuna salad along with baked beans and we were set for dinner. Yum!!!! Afterwards we watched the next to the last Hornblower episode. He proposed! We headed to bed after hearing a storm was brewing out to the northwest with gale warnings and winds up to 30-35 knots. It was calm in our snug little anchorage, though, so we fell asleep after setting the anchor alarm and turning on the depth and battery indicator in our stateroom to keep an eye on things.
Shell Middens at Fury Cove
06/05/2012, Fury Cove
Don/Sunny and Cool
06/05/2012, Fury Cove
Pat and Teri Shannon's boat, Irish Mist.
Around Cape Scott, Where Cows Fly Off Cliffs into the Ocean
Don/Sunny and Cool
06/05/2012, Fury Cove
Today was THE DAY! We would round Cape Scott, one of the nastiest capes on the entire West Coast but one not as well know because so few people round it. Only about 20 or so pleasure boats round this cape each year, most during the mid to late summer months when the weather is always nicer. The Danish folks who settled the Cape and the Scott Islands, about 10 miles offshore, in the 1800's reported that their cows were blown off the islands into the ocean by the winds. That was enough to make them depart for a place with nicer weather.
We were up at 4:15 for an early start and departed at 4:45 just as it was getting light. We had about 4 hours to the Cape. The swells were about 2 meters as we exited the head of the harbor, and jumbled from the rebound waves. Gradully they straightened out and became a bit more regular. While rolly, the ride was predictable. I took the first watch and then turned it over to Dave. Dave turned the helm over to Debbie to round the Cape. The seas got really rough just as we rounded the Cape. As I did the last time we rounded, I tossed some Toblerone chocolate to the sea gods and shouted the name of our boat so they would remember us the next time and give us safe passage.
As we turned to starboard to round the Cape the seas gradually smoothed out a bit and gave us more following seas. We were through the worst of it. The ride across Queen Charlotte Sound was so much easier. About half way across, we spotted a huge flock of Sooty Shearwater flying about and then saw the blows of a pod of whales feeding on herring. It was a good sized pod with at least 4-5 humpbacks.
There also seemed to be a lot more flotsam (fishing floats, Styrofoam, and other junk) in this area than previously, perhaps from the tsunami in Japan. The Japanese current is bringing much of the refuse swept out to sea over to our west coast.
As we were completing the crossing into more sheltered waters, we heard our old friend Pat Shannon's voice on VHF. We first met Pat and Terri Shannon about 4 years ago on our earlier trip up the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Then, two years ago, we spent a week with them at their cabin in Tennakee Springs, Alaska, where Pat gave me a seminar in shrimping, crabbing, and salmon fishing. They spent the summer in Tennakee and the winter in Mexico where Teri used to have a B&B and restaurant. Now, she has a bakery. Pat has a large farm in the San Joaquin valley that his son runs while pat enjoys fishing and hunting. They are such nice folks and recently bought Irish Mist a 60 foot Monk to cruise up to Alaska and back each year.
As we headed into Fury Cove, Pat fired off his cannon, a real one, to welcome our boats. We honked our awesomely loud horn and it echoed in the cove. We tried anchoring in one location but it felt too close to the rocks so we hauled our anchor and it promptly got jammed in the windlass. Dave and I eventually unjammed it and we set our anchor in a nice location in the center of the cove. Fury Cove is bomb proof and was an ancient site of a First Nation's village. You can tell it was a long time settlement because it has a huge clam-shell midden that appears to be a large white beach. It is all clam shells, disposed by villagers over thousands of years. It is a beautiful place.
We went over to Irish Mist for cocktails with Pat and Teri and the crew of Deception who had rafted with Pat's boat. Teri is such a chef. Her appetizers were to die for and her margarita's.....oh my!!!! We had a great time and I got to thank Princessa, their small dog from Mexico, for saving my life in Alaska. After fishing one day, Pat sent me ahead with the salmon in a wheelbarrow with Princessa while he cleaned up the boat. On the path back to the cabin, we encountered a large grizzly bear and there I was facing him with a wheelbarrow of salmon. Princessa, about the size of a large Chihuahua took off after the grizzly and chased him up the hill, allowing me to pass. What a brave puppy dog! I greeted her and reminded her of her heroic deeds. I think she remembered. She enjoyed the attention.
After two stiff margarita's and a wonderful time of catching up with Pat and Teri we headed back to our boat. We watched the Celtics beat the Heat and then collapsed after a long day.
06/04/2012, Winter Harbour
Debbie woke up to her special day and received a gift from her sister, Barb, from Dave. Dave gave her a photo of Barb, Debbie and their mom when the two of them were kids. Such a nice gift. My gift to Deb....our boat. It will be our gift to one another as long as we have it. I am including the shrimp pots in this calculation! ;-)
Today was a scheduled Lay Day in Winter Harbour. This time, I did not sleep nearly as much. Brian lent us his dinghy so Dave and I went out fishing early in the morning. We trolled a bit for salmon but it was early in the year and they were not around or not interested. Dave did catch a nice black sea bass and I caught a kelp bass. We fished around the lighthouse and towards Libby Pt. There was not a lot of action so we came in after a few hours.
Debbie did the laundry and picked up the grocery order we had placed a few days ago via Brian's Sat Phone. Then we all took Δ Latitude over for fueling and water. We filled the tanks up to the first sound change; it took about 1100 liters for both tanks, about 325 gallons. Oh, for the wind powered sailboat that my brother Dave has!!!! I think of him every time we have to fill our tanks.
The water line had little pressure at the fuel dock so we finished watering the boat when we got back to our tie up on the main dock.
There was a pot luck appetizer get together on Deception about 5:30 and we all went over. It was Debbie's birthday celebration! Debbie fixed a wonderful tortilla salmon roll with cream cheese, shredded cucumber, and smoked salmon. After rolling, she sliced it and put the sliced rolls on a tray. It looked awesome. At the party we all sang Happy Birthday and Debbie blew out her candle and then said something nice about how her upcoming 43rd anniversary meant much more to her than her 65th birthday.
After the reception, we bar-b-qued pork on the back grill and had another glass of wine with our meal. It was a wonderful day!
Male and female Orca
06/03/2012, Outside Winter Harbour
Males have large dorsal fins and females have shorter ones. Here is a male and a female Orca we encountered outside Winter Harbour. These are probably transients.
Orcas and sea otters, oh my!
06/03/2012, Winter Harbour
We left Klashkish about 8 and headed out through the narrow entrance. I tried to shoot a video of our exit. As we rounded the point and headed out into the Pacific, we felt the swells at the mouth of the entrance. They build up there. We exited and found little swells and winds of 10-15 from the Southwest. It looked like it was going to be an easy trip up to Winter Harbour, a short trip. As we approached the entrance we came across two pods of ORCAs, each with about 10 of these beautiful creatures. A male, one with a taller dorsal, stayed between the pod and our boats, perhaps as a guard or protector. We had seen that behavior before. There was a younger ORCA in the pod, perhaps a recent birth because it still had a tinge of pink on its skin. We took a number of photos.
We entered the outside entrance to Winter Harbour and I was watching our fish finder for salmon. They hang out here but do not arrive until a bit later in the summer. I was hoping to see fish in the area where I caught a nice King Salmon before but no such luck this time. Nothing showed.
Winter Harbour is a small fishing camp, the last community before you round the northern end of Vancouver Island. The marina has a dock that is not very good and difficult to enter. We waited outside for the others to get settled. As we headed down harbor, we saw two large rafts of sea otters. There must have been 25-50 in each group. The sea otters were exterminated in these waters for their fur pelts. Only a few small colonies existed in the Big Sur area of California. Sea otters eat sea urchins and sea urchins eat kelp. With the disappearance of the sea otters, sea urchins flourished and ate much of the kelp. Gradually, the sea otter have been moving north, repopulating their traditional homeland. Now, with the sea otters gradual return, the kelp is returning, too.
Eventually, we entered the marina and I did my fisherman's move, backing our boat nicely into its place at the dock. Of course, everyone gave hurrahs and carried me ashore! Don't I wish!
Dave went out fishing with Pete that evening and caught a few rockfish. We enjoyed a quiet meal and then watched another Hornblower adventure. It was a cliffhanger. We all went to bed wishing there had been a clean ending.
Clam Chowder Day
06/02/2012, Klashkish Basin
ON every trip, I fix a clam chowder. It is delicious and different each time.
Lay Day: Klashkish Basin
Today was the best! I had three, count 'em, three naps. OMG was that good! This was a lay day. We celebrated rounding Brooks Peninsula with a day to catch up and be lazy. Whoever named these kinds of days sure got it right! I sure did a lot of laying about.
Dave went out fishing with Pete in the morning and they did really well. Dave caught 5-6 nice rockfish, including a Ling Cod. After helping him fillet the catch and placing it in our freezer, I took my first nap at 10 am. About noon, I took our engine piece off to inspect it. Sure enough, the insulation on the back had melted in three different places. After that challenging task, I took a second nap. Then I was up to check the engines on Δ Latitude and make certain all was right in the engine room. I also did a little writing and reading. Then....you guessed it...another nice nap. By this time it was getting close to dinner so I fixed my annual pot of clam chowder and we stuffed ourselves. We ended the day by watching the NBA finals on TV.
This is the small island off the Brooks Peninsula. We went between the peninsula and the island.