06/28/2012, Another BC Light house
Passing another BC inside passage lighthouse. There were many of these along the way, all inhabited and nicely maintained
06/26/2012, Prince Rupert
19 June - Smith Inlet to Shearwater Marina. The morning was a bit overcast. We left at 0545 and headed out into the Sound. As the morning wore on it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. There were rollers as we finished the 14-mile stretch skirting the Queen Charlotte Sound and into Fitzhugh sound but they were manageable and not uncomfortable. We didn't do any motor sailing this day; the winds were light and on our nose. We had a pretty uneventful ride up the channel except for being alert for the numerous floating logs along the way. They seemed to be were everywhere. We arrived at Shearwater at 1700 after what seemed like a very long day. It was nice traveling inside the protected waters. After we settled in and docked we took the poodle up to run and play ball in dog walk area. We were immediately told that we need to move the poodles out of the area due to a pair of eagles. The man said they come everyday. Well duh - of course they do, he feeds them everyday. What a shame to habituate such a skillful fisher bird. Sure enough when they spotted him they came down for their raw chicken dinner. They were fast and it was an amazing site. We ended up walking down the road and in some wooded area with no ball playing. They were relegated to the harness and leash. Shearwater was a nice Marina, with full services, restaurant, general store, chandlery, etc. The only negative was non-potable water at the docks.
20 June, Shearwater Marina to Klemtu Boat Dock. Left Shearwater at 1050, a late departure because we had to wait for Laundry and propane store to open at 8:00. Beautiful sunny weather, all inside passage except one 3 mile stretch into Queen Charlotte Sound around Ivory Island. There it was large ocean swells but smooth and steady. Rounding Ivory Island we sailed with favorable winds about two or three hours through Milbank Sound into Finlayson Channel, then motored into the Klemtu passage. Arrived Klemtu at 1800, only a public dock, no fee, no services. Abandon marine/cruisers support services/visitor center, a Native (First Nations) community.
21 June, Klemtu to Butedale cannery ruins, on Princess Royale Island. Motored the entire way. Only wind was on the nose. It was another pretty day but getting cool as we make our way north. There is now a lot of snow on the peaks above the channels and passages. Butedale is ruins of an old cannery with at least three building that are still intact. The caretaker (Lou) rents out two of them to travelers; there were some guys on a fishing vacation staying in one of them. Lou also keeps the remaining dock in minimal serviceable condition and charges a small fee, about half of a marina. to stay overnight at the dock. It can only accommodate about 5 boats. There is water available but I believe it is surface water from a creek so we used it for everything except drinking. Lou also maintains a large hall or lodge type building and has old pictures of the place in it's heydays. Built in 1911 and operated well into the 50's. It housed over 500 workers and had fishing boats and steamers stopping regularly. Very unique was the power plant. Butedale lake sends a cascading stream down through the property. A pipe was run and the water turned two large generators for power and provided belt driven torque used to operate all the machinery on site. It is for sale, and for some investors with more money than sense it would be a great restoration/museum/marina project. We took lots of video of Butedale.
We left Butedale 0515, on 22 June, but an hour or so out we turned around due to a not-so-good weather forecast. Our current schedule would of put us at Dixon entrance, a potentially dangerous open crossing, at the same time a gale was predicted. So, we opted to stay in Butedale until the forecast changed.
23 Jun still in Butedale waiting for a better forecast of the Dixon Entrance crossing. Latest forecast has Tuesday with 10 knots of wind early on in the day, increasing to 20 Knots. The day before and after is forecast 20 to 30 knots of wind. The plan now is to leave Butedale on the 24th, then anchor-out at Lowe inlet, half way to Dixon Entrance, then continue to the edge of Dixon entrance on the 25th, then make our crossing on Tuesday the 26th. At Butedale today we were fortunate to see a rare sighting of a Kermode bear. It is a white coloration of a black bear. It was quite a site. We were not expecting to see a bear so we had no camera. I did run to the boat to get the camera but only got a fleeting glimpse on the camera.
24 Jun, Butedale to Klewnuggit Inlet, anchorage. We awoke for an early 0500 departure. But conditions were foggy and drizzle so we waited (as in went back to bed) and left at 0615. Fog was manageable with 1to 3mile visibility of and on all day. We had to cross wright sound, a six mile open stretch. This area was clear of fog and we had favorable winds, so we got to motor sail on a 15 knot beam reach for about 10 miles. Then the channel closed in and we lost the wind. Later in the day we were up to 9 knots of speed over ground (SOG), with only 5.5 knots of speed through the water due to strong tidal currents in our favor, so we made it to our destination, lowe inlet, at 1330. We decided to go another 12 miles to Klewnuggit Inlet to anchor for the night. The forecast has slipped and now the weather to cross Dixon Entrace looks best on Wednesday, 27 Jun. It looks like we will hole up at Prince Rupert for a day.
25 Jun, Klewnuggit Inlet Anchorage to Lewis Island, Lawson Harbour Anchorage; We made a 0515 early departure due to another forecast of strong wind warnings building later in the day, plus the am tides are favorable to give us a push. With the abundance of low pressures and unsettled weather the safest time to travel has been early morning when everything is calm. Today is patchy fog and rain. Our destination was Prince Rupert. We ended up taking a 1030am early Anchorage, as there were gale warnings out for N. Hectate Strait and Dixon entrance. The crossing of Chatham Strait to Prince Rupert is right on the edge of both of these. Even at 1030 the wind had built to swells and whitecaps and we still had 20 miles to go to Chatham Strait. This Anchorage is a little breezy but the holding is very good.
26 Jun arrived Price Rupert BC, Looks like it may be Saturday before we cross the Dixon Entrance into the US. Will fill more in later, and post pictures.
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.