A touch of the big Ocean
19 June 2012 | Shearwater Marina, Denny Island, BC
Day Nine, Telegraph Harbor, Vancouver Island, BC. to Anchorage at Smith Inlet, Indian Island. This was the big day - to make the crossing of Queen Charlotte Straits from Vancouver Island to Mainland B.C. We departed 0445 and headed across the first five hours were calm and peaceful. About 1000 am we were halfway across and started getting small ocean swells. Light winds on the nose, rain misty and dreary, no sailing just motoring. Just before noon we passed Alan Rock Light, the swells were creating a washing machine effect on the boat. Between Alan Rock and Cape Caution, the seas became extremely difficult, with ten to twelve foot rollers being pushed in from the Pacific, close together and at odd angles. This area is completely exposed to the ocean. At 1400 we rounded Cape Caution, we were hoping the seas would get better – they got worse. We could no longer maintain our heading and had to quarter into the swells for a while and then turn back to our designated heading. Inside the boat became and mess as nothing stayed put, even the fire extinguisher was sprung from its mount but didn’t discharge. We needed a way out of this mess and soon. The shoreline was two miles away and it all looked like white froth and mist as the rollers exploded against the rocky shore. As bad as it was, staying out seemed safer than to head toward that uninviting shoreline. But we had to do something, we were really taking a beating in these seas. Approaching Egg Island the map showed Smith inlet with a passage between an island and a reef. We would have to make the run for the coast with the seas pushing us directly on our tail. Thank God for good electronic navigation and charts! As we made our way into Smith inlet, we noticed a trawler inside also looking for refuge. We radioed the trawler to ask for local knowledge of a safe anchorage. Two other boats gave us information. We tried the closest anchorage around Table Island but the rocky bottom with swells and current made us uncomfortable. So after a brief visit to shore, the poodle’s first land since 0445, we headed to the second anchorage. The large swells continued well into Smith inlet but the further in we got the better it got. We finally made it to a safe anchorage behind Indian Island. It was beautiful calm water, like another world, we dropped anchor at 1845.
Day ten we spent at anchor, our nerves still recovering from the day before. We did head out once at about 10 am but found the rollers still coming into Smith inlet, we headed back to our Anchorage and will try a departure tomorrow very early, when things are usually the most calm. Picture is indian island anchorage; calm and peaceful.