Leaving the North Broughtons and Turning Toward Home - Sigh
29 June 2013 | The Lagoon Cove Boat House
Sunday the 23rd, we aim for Viner Sound, just north of Echo Bay and east of the Burwood Group, and we get to see the back of the Burwoods for the first time. The dolphins are here again! Ral said Billy Proctor told him they are waiting for the pinks to come in at the end of June. As we enter Viner, the wind is funneled in an amazing way; from 12-15 outside, to 35+ here since it is a NW wind, it is trending NE. As we get to the very head, and it finally narrows, so that no wind can really get a purchase, and we find an old tire buoy in the center of the head, in about 60-70 feet of water. The north thumb of a bay has two orange buoys in it – due to our recent encounter with the crabber, we avoid it, only to discover that they are actually new mooring buoys, taken by later boats! Oh well. We had a good blow and slept very well. Viner Sound it really beautiful – it reminds us of Theodosia Inlet in Desolation Sound. The flat goes into the river, and then the mountains just soar straight up! This is a place we will come back to- it is so beautiful!
Monday, the 24th, the weather continues to be unsettled; winds 15-20; 20-30, etc. So we decide it is better to head for the inside now, work our way toward home, and the time to explore the Indian Islands is another trip. You cannot say boating has no Plan B – some years, I am told, it is all about Plan C and Plan D. We travel down Cramer Passage, past Bonwick Island and Waddington Bay, past Health Bay, and through Spring Passage into Knight Inlet. We had the ebb and were making over 7 knots, and did so well that we still had the ebb when we got to Knight – our speed dropped to 4.3 and even 3.7 knots! This with 25-30 knots of true wind ON OUR NOSE. We felt like we were pulling Port Elizabeth along with us for about 2 hours! Finally we were able to turn into Clio Channel between Turnour and Minstrel Island and make for Lagoon Cove and the Marina, just as the winds picked up again. For those who missed the news, Bill Barber, the owner of Lagoon Cove, passed away in late April. His long time managers, Pat and Bob, are running the place, and his wife, Jean, was in residence, cleaning and cooking the prawns and joining us for happy hour and welcoming us all in the cooking shed. We had our first Happy Hour there at the house for the first time, per Jean’s invitation; the second night, we had it in the big boat shed.
For those that don’t know, happy hour is a construct of the Broughton marinas: 5:00 pm you show up with your own beverage, a plate of appetizers, and a small plate and napkin. Everyone tucks in. At Lagoon Cove, the marina provides fresh prawns daily, and every b oat brings their own appy dish. The problem is that happy hour can last until 7, and there is no room left for dinner! Solution: eat the main meal at noon if you are on a dock in the Broughtons!
At Lagoon Cove, we are surprised to see a boat named Summer Wine – a Catalina 34. We go over to meet the folks – Canadian – and it IS Summer Wine! Jim and Myra from Qualicum Beach bought her from the Hornes, and have put radar and a full enclosure on her and are enjoying her greatly. While we are standing on the dock talking about this coincidence, Lynne and Doug from Emerald Star II, a green American Tug on the dock, overhear us and exclaim that they know the Horne’s too, and they know the red American Tug that they bought in Anacortes and met the Hornes at the Seattle Boat Show. This is all occurring on a Canadian dock in the middle of the wilderness of Knight Inlet and the Broughtons. So you can’t make this stuff up, right?
Wednesday we leave Lagoon Cove timing slack at Chatham Channel. This is a very narrow shallow passage that has range markers to line up fore and aft as you go through. As we went through, we saw a work boat tied to the shore; it was staff working on the westernmost range marks – looked like they were working on the solar panels that light up the ranges at night. We turned into Port Harvey, and put the anchor down after a short 2.5 hour passage today. As we left the Port Harvey marina in mid-May, George was putting power on the docks; it is done. But the restaurant is not open yet – some issues with the permits. Unlike nearly every stop we have made since we left, there are eggs, bacon, and dairy – the produce has gone off, but I buy eggs, and cheese. There is a boat from the Netherlands in the bay, and there is a report of a mama grizzly and a year old cub in the area. We did not see it.
Thursday we head for Forward Harbour through Johnstone Strait. It is blowing 20-25, and ebbing all day. We turn up through Sunderland Channel, and into Forward Harbour with a forcast of over 30 tonite. All of the space is full, and we will either risk boats coming down on us, or us coming down on them if we snarl the anchor. Due to the orientation of the bay, there is a long fetch, and the wind has got up over the length of the bay. So we go around the corner to Bessborough Bay – Wow! Says the logbook. The wind dies, and the anchorage is pristine – and there are eagles hunting in the bay. Later in the evening, a small dolphin zig zags through the anchorage, blowing and zigging, blowing and zagging, and just enjoying the evening by circumnavigating our boat several times. We will likely change all of our future planned stops from Forward Harbor to Bessborough Bay – it is so worth it and you don’t read about it anywhere!
Friday the 28th: It should be interesting to figure out how to get through both Whirlpool and Green Point Rapids today - the fog was so thick this morning early that we have decided to wait until the midday slack– going the opposite from when we arrived in May. We have turned it into a story problem, and think we can get through both with our slow-poke sailboat, but it will be interesting to see if we are right! We head out into the mid-day tide hoping the wind in Johnstone Strait will hold off til we get past the second rapids – Green Point. We take Whirlpool about 75 minutes early, and it is swirley but not impossible – our speed reduces to about 3.5 knots (I offer to get off and pull the boat at this point). At the bottom of Wellbore Channel, we see a really large black bear on the mainland side! The fog starts to roll over the hills and down to the water just about 3 miles from Green Point Rapids – the one with all the rocks and Islets in the way – great! We feel our way past the rapids, and poke past the rocks, and the big reef down Mayne Passage to Blind Channel Resort, and we pull in with the biggest sigh you can imagine. (Full Disclosure: medicinal alcohol was consumed.)
The last meal I did not cook was Saturday, May 25th, when we had a pub lunch in Port McNeill. Blind Channel is known for a lovely restaurant in the German style, and we made reservations. It will be open for lunch and dinner starting July 1 – Canada Day, but only has dinner now. Ral had a wonderful tenderloin and I had the schnitzel (breaded pork chop, german style), and we had strawberry rhubarb crumb with homemade cinnamon ice cream on top. It was worth every penny and we stayed nearly two hours to enjoy the adventure in dining. We have two other meal stops potentially on the itinerary – the Laughing Oyster at the head of Malaspina Inlet – about 4 miles from Grace Harbor in Desolation Sound, and the restaurant at Genoa Bay across from Cowichan Bay, if we get over to Saanich Inlet.
We will try to stop in Cameleon Harbor in Nodales Channel, and then head back through the Dents for a few days in Desolation Sound before heading home.