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Voyages North
White-sided dolphins
08/30/2010, Broughtons

Photo: a white-sided dolphin follows our boat

On our way to Shawl Bay a pod of white-sided dolphins entertained us by diving and jumping around our boat. According to an article in today's Vancouver Sun, this species has been growing increasingly more common in southern BC waters. Just a few years ago you had to go north to find them.

Allison Harbor to Sullivan Bay. August 15, 2010.

Photo: Golfing for free moorage at Sullivan Bay Marina.

We leave Allison Harbor and motor south against adverse currents and light winds along the mainland coast. We enter the Broughton Islands through Webbe Passage where through a heavy haze I can just see magnificent mountains.

We tie up at Sullivan Bay Marina and are dismayed to find we are the only sailboat. Like Dawson's Landing, Sullivan Bay is a former floating fuel and supply station that once served the logging and fishing industries. Now it's an upscale marina with megayachts, fancy float homes, a restaurant and, like Shearwater, no potable water. We're on our second tank so this worries us but we don't want to boil all our drinking water or contaminate out tanks with nonpotable water. We'll just have to conserve.

When we check in at the office they hand us two golf balls. At happy hour we're expected to try to hit a hole-in-one to win a night's free moorage. The hole-in-one is a floating child's swimming pool off one of the docks. Since neither of us have ever golfed, we're not optimistic. At happy hour the talk is about golf pros and the benefits of hiring one. When everyone walks out to the "golf course," Steve makes a valiant effort. Although he doesn't hit the target, he doesn't do any worse than the golfers with their golf pros.

We dine on baked halibut with a sauce of wasabi peas at the restaurant. It's Ray's Boathouse prices and food but basic diner d├ęcor. The view would be magnificent if it weren't for the haze which we learn is from forest fires in BC's interior.

Millbrook Cove to Allison Harbour. August 14.

Photo: Sea otters outside of Allison Harbour.

Just when we need them, the strong northwesterlies disappear. We motor out Smith Sound in an absolute calm to find light southerlies in Queen Charlotte Sound. But it's a beautiful day and we have one of the easiest roundings of the Cape we've experienced. Only smooth swells and ripples disturb the water. We're amazed to hear two powerboats complaining on the radio ahead of us. One tells the other he had to put his "chicken sticks" (stabilizing poles) down. The other is thinking about turning back.

Motoring through the islands to enter Allison Harbor we're thrilled to see a raft of sea otters swimming near the kelp. This is the first time we've seen sea otters on the mainland side and it means they've made the trip around Cape Scott and across Queen Charlotte Sound. Originally they were transplanted from Kamchatka, Alaska to the Bunsby Islands on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. I wrote about the near extinction of this keystone species and their successful transplanting in Voyages to Windward. It seems there are more otters every year.

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Voyages North on SV Osprey
Who: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windward)
Port: Seattle
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