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Kia Ora
Log Boom Up Close!
07/01/2011

We left the little anchorage of Mitalpi mid morning and headed north to transit Chatham Channel. Chatham Channel has a narrow spot that goes for about a mile. You have to stay in the middle of the channel to stay out of danger and there are range markers behind you and in front of you. If you stay on course the range markers are lined up, one top of the other. If you go off course the range markers are out of line. I held the binoculars on the range markers behind us while Ken watched the depth guage and the chart plotter. When I lost sight of the range markers behind us, I located the ones up a head. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy, until we met the tug pulling a huge log boom at the bend in the channel, that is. It didn't look like we had enough room to get by because of the kelp growing right next to our boat. The kelp is backed by a rock wall and then further backed by a mountainside of trees. I called him on the VHF to ask what he needed us to do in order that we get by each other safely (actually, we'd be the only ones not safe because I don't think you can hurt a tug and the logs certainly don't care!) He advised that we pass port to port and that we'd be safe. As we passed port to port we were snuggled up to the kelp bed on the starboard side and had the logs so close to us on the port side that a good jumper could probably have made the leap! All turned out fine but I NEVER want to be that close to a log boom again. Cruising is hours of boredom punctuated with moments of shear terror. I'll post pictures when I have an internet connection.

We anchored near Mamalilaculla this afternoon. Mamalilaculla is an abandoned native village that was fully functional less than 90 years ago. Nature is slowly reclaiming the land but a few homes and fallen totems are said to remain. If this nasty rain ever stops we'll go exploring. It's really a very beautiful spot.

We are currently being entertained by two seals chasing fish around the bay. The fish all come to the surface at once, making a big splash as they do so. Soon after each splash we see a seal enjoying a snack.

We've been going through more water than normal. I thought that maybe we were being careless since we now have a watermaker but something just seemed off. The bilge pump has been going on more than usual but it's been raining and we've been pulling up the anchor a lot. Both of those contribute to extra water in the bilge. We've also noticed that the house water pump goes on more than it used to. Hmmm..... When we checked the salt water strainer for debris this morning, Ken noticed water where it shouldn't be. Upon further inspection he found that the foot pump for the house water was leaking. DRAT! That explains all the water symptoms. We have an extra foot pump so we just swapped the two out and Voila!, no more leak. Cruising is doing boat repairs in exotic locations.

I think we're going to take a break and stay in this spot for a couple of nights.

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Surrounded
06/30/2011

We made a 28 mile move up into the Broughtons today. When we got out into Johnstone Strait we were surrounded by porpoise! They were leaping out of the water and playing in the waves. 3 swam next to our cockpit and made eye contact with Ken! I don't know what kind they are. They are not the shy type that we see in Puget Sound and the San Juans. These were a beautiful grey color.

After emerging from 'dolfinland' we found ourselves in log territory. There must have been 200 large logs all collected in one small area. I went up on the bow to watch for partially submerged logs while Ken steered through the mine field. We've never seen so many logs in one place.

We went up into Port Harvey to drop anchor for the night. When we got close to the anchoring site I turned and looked at Ken who had a funny look on his face. It looked like he had just smelled something foul. When I took a closer look up into the bay I noticed a large, messy logging facility. Yuk. We turned away and found someplace else to drop the hook. We're now calling Port Harvey Port Garbage. What a dump.

We found a lovely little spot between the mainland and two small islands. Nothing but trees ashore and 3 fairly large middens. Middens are areas where the native people had villages years ago. They ate lots of shellfish and tossed the shells onto the beach. It's clear where these villages once were because there are large areas with white shell beaches. I like to imagine what these villages once looked like. All that is left of most of them is the shell middens.

As we were anchoring I looked towards the shore and saw a bald eagle swimming! He was obviously struggling and it took him several minutes to reach the beach about 200 feet away. When he got to shore we saw him pull a large fish up with him. DINNER! We've never seen an eagle swim before. They are not very good at it.

We've got some strong wind forecasted for the night. Hopefully we are well enough protected where we are. There are 3 other boats anchored here as well.

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Garbage Hike
06/29/2011

After about 2 hours of walking around on the beach the bear disappeared into the woods so we loaded up a couple of bear cans (soda cans with pebbles in them to shake and make noise on the trail), grabbed an air horn (in case the bear didn't hear our bear can and we needed to scare it away) and our camera and headed out on the trail. The trail leads to another bay that is open to strong westerly winds and the beach collects loads of garbage with each storm. Over the years, people have marked the trail with garbage found along the shore. Ken and I each found a piece of garbage on the beach and added it to the trail markings. Sounds lovely, I know, but there really wasn't very much garbage on the beach (we had a hard time finding any) and most of the stuff on the trail was old pieces of rope. We found a gallon water container and a piece of painted metal.

We are waiting out some unfavorable wind and plan to head out into Johnstone Strait tomorrow and up in to the Broughtons.

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Bear Guard
06/29/2011

Right now Ken and I are sitting on the boat, watching a black bear hunt for tidbits of food on the beach. The problem is, we want to hit the trail and she's right at the trail head! Didn't she read the part in the cruising guide about bears being inactive between 10 am and 4 pm?

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Blind Channel
Julie cool for the moment
06/27/2011, Mayne Passage

We took a slip at Blind Channel Resort. Sounds delightful, right? It is, actually. The place is clean and well maintained. The docks are new, both of the washing machines worked and they have a nice little store. Eggs have jumped to $5.50/dozen. I'm glad that's all I needed!

Before heading to the laundry room, Ken and I walked a nice hiking trail up to an old growth cedar and then on to a logging forest. The trail was well marked (no chance of getting lost on this one!) and took us about an hour and 15 minutes to complete. It was good to stretch our legs.

I just took a look at our XPlot position map. I need to check in more often. It shows us only stopping in about half of the places that we've been.

I still can't post photos. The internet connection that I'm using uses a satelite connection so it's too slow to upload pictures.


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Bear Cans
06/26/2011

We left Campbell River on Thursday early in the morning so that we could get through yet another set of rapids. We arrived at the rapids about and hour early, hung around for 15 minutes then decided to go for it. We had less than 2 knots against us and it was a wide passage so there weren't any problems. An hour later we pulled into Waiatt Bay, anchored and then napped through the rain that was passing though.

Ken tried to hail our friends on S/V Eagle and their friend Kevin on Andante answered. He was anchored about a mile away and invited us to raft up with him. Eagle arrived a few minutes later and rafted with us as well.

Ken, Tom and Kevin spent a few days catching prawns. They caught enough for 2 dinners, one being a prawn feast! We also took an interesting, but short, hike. There was a spring along the trail that had minerals bubbling up through the bottom. The water was crystal clear with white sedement on the bottom. We played Farkle (a dice game) a couple of nights and stayed out way past our bedtimes. Luckily we didn't have far to go to get to bed!

This morning we broke from the pack and headed further north. We are now anchored near Thurston Marine State Park. When we were in the dinghy heading over to the trail head, we stopped to explore a hidden basin. You go though a curved cut in the rock to a shallow basin. When you are inside you can't see out to the rest of the world. Pretty cool little spot. There was a trawler anchored inside so we stopped to chat. The people on board had seen a black bear along the shore last night and when we told them that we were going for a hike, they offered us a can to fill with pebbles to scare the bears away. BEAR CAN!

We got to where the trail head should have been and searched for it for about an hour while shaking our bear can. We never found the trail. Drat.

On the way back we saw kelp swimming with an upside down crab! I think we both need glasses because we both know that kelp doesn't swim. When we took a closer look it was a small, reddish otter type animal with a large crab in its mouth. He crawled out of the water and scrambled up the rock where he could eat his dinner in peace.

There are two very small islands near where we dropped the anchor. We took the cats over to one of them this evening to let them stretch their legs.

That was our day.

Sorry that our blog posts are so few and far between. We rarely get internet access and the mountains that surround us prevent most of our SSB radio transmission to go out.

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