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SV Kobuk; Alaska and BC inside passage
A touch of the big Ocean
Mike
06/19/2012, 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.

06/20/2012 | JD & Donna White
Wow - that was making me seasick just reading about it. So grateful you are faring through.
06/21/2012 | Diana
Sounds rough, Thank God for that nice little anchorage you found, looks really beautiful, almost as nice as Snug Cove. :) I guess it puts into perspective if you decide to sail to Hawaii one day...
Waiting on weather
Mike
06/16/2012, Telegraph harbor, Vancouver island, BC

Day Eight, Telegraph Harbor, Vancouver Island, B.C.; Spent the day holed up in Telegraph Cove due to weather as the wind continued to howl all day up the Johnstone straits, and Queen Charlotte Straits. Telegraph cove had quite a history starting as a Telegraph Station wiring that end of Vancouver Island, when telegraph wires were strung tree to tree the length of Vancouver Island. It was also a , lumber mill, and was even commandeered by the Canadian Military during WWII. It has recently been restored and they did a great job, as it looks like a blast from the past into history. Picture is a Telegraph Harbor resident that kept checking out the poodles.

Telegraph Harbor Marina, Vancouver Island BC
Donna
06/16/2012, It's all about the weather

Day Seven -Blind Channel Marina, East Thurlow Is. to Telegraph Harbor, Vancouver Island, BC. We departed 0500 according to our plan to catch the calm conditions and favorable current. Weather permitting, we were aiming for Port Hardy, but that didn't happen. We enjoyed four hours of pleasant conditions, after which the wind started to build. We were able to motor sail with the wind and current at our back and maintained a good Speed Over Ground (SOG) between 7 - 8.5 knots, hull speed through the water was 6.4 knots. Late in the morning, the current changed and the wind from the Southeast picked up considerably, we reefed (shortened) the main sail. Although uncomfortable, we felt we could continue since there weren't many choices to duck out of the weather. We pushed on a few more hours when things got a little more severe. Wind speed built to 30 knots with following seas four - five feet. We were rocking and rolling by then. Anything that wasn't stowed or lashed down was on the floor of the cabin. Scooter, one of our poodles got seasick and both were nervous as they picked up on our stress. The autopilot kept us on track during the thrashing about but our little canoe stern boat rode the waves very well. After checking the charts we thought we found a safe place to wait it out. It was totally out of the wind but there wasn't any place for an anchor hold; it was all rock and 150 feet deep just twenty feet from shore. We met one poor fellow there with the same problem only he was going the other direction in a small sailboat with an outboard motor. We prayed he fared well. He was going to try and make it to a logging operation 5 miles up and stay in there. We made a decision to continue since things were only going to get worse and to push on eight more miles. For a time, the rollers subsided slightly, along with the wind but picked up again as we neared the Telegraph Harbor point. We radioed ahead to ask for moorage availability and were put on "please standby" for several anxious minutes. It turned out telegraph harbor was designed to hold boats 25' or less. They did find us a place along the pier without power or water, which we were fine with. As they say "any port in a storm". We arrived at 1315 relieved that we could finally get out of the weather. It was a good choice because the wind worsened and continued to howl all night long and the following morning until well after 1100am. Strong wind and weather advisories are all forecasted for the next few days. We may stay here until things get better.
Picture is Telegraph Cove marina is a historic port restored. The historic boardwalk reminds us of Pioneer Park in Fairbanks.

06/18/2012 | MBinAK
Yikes...that sure sounds risky. So, just how many sailing days are you from Valdez? Happy late Father's Day....I wasn't sure if you'd get calls or texts, and with a full course of golfers, I didn't have a spare second to try. Stay smart and safe!

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SV Kobuk; Alaska and BC inside passage
Who: Mike, Donna, Scooter & Peanut
Port: Valdez, AK
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