Voyages of Sarah Jean II

Port McNeil to Pruth Bay

19 May 2017 | Vancouver
Norm
Port McNeil - North Island Marina 50' 35.51" N, 127' 05.43" W

Port Mcneil was a convenient and practical place to stop. The Port Hardy airport is only about 1/2 hour away and made it easy for Beth to fly home to visit her mom. While this harbour not particular cute, in the Ganges sort of way, Port McNeil has fuel, laundry, groceries, marine shops, several banks and a good coffee shop all within a few minutes walk from the marina. Steve and Jessica, the young owner/operators of North Island Marina are super friendly and helpful, even letting us borrow their van to run some errands.

God's Pocket Dive Resort on Hurst Island 50' 50.41" N, 127' 35.59" W

We left Port McNeil in wet and blustery conditions with 15-20 knots SE blowing us up Queen Charlotte Strait. With only the genoa for power we still made quick progress up the Strait. Just short of our destination the wind changed from SE to NW over the course of about 30 seconds! Oh well - time to put away the sail anyway, we're almost there! We dropped the hook just in front of the resort in about 50 feet of water in calm conditions. We found the bay pretty tight and were concerned about staying there overnight with only 3:1 scope.

God's Pocket is a little indent on the north side of Hurst Island. It was named by fisherman at the turn of the century who used it for refuge when storms churned up the seas out in the Strait. It then became a steamship stop and then a fishing resort. The present owners, Annie and Bill, bought the place about 20 years ago and changed it into an eco oriented dive and kayaking resort. They greeted us upon arrival and we quickly learned that we both had family on Mayne Island. Small world!

There were no guests when we visited. Annie and Bill were having a short break before the summer season started. They invited us to wander around. We loved the funky character and brilliant colours of the various cottages and out buildings. We are tropical water divers, but for those with dry suits and other cold water gear, this looked like a fabulous place to hang out for a while. The diving is reported to be some of the best on the BC coast.

See photo gallery.

Harlequin Bay - Seeking Refuge 50" 50.43" N, 127' 33.90 W

With a frontal system forecast to produce NW winds of 25 knots around midnight we both agreed that God's Pocket was too sketchy for an overnight anchorage. We liked the look of Harlequin Bay on the SE side of Hurst Island so pulled up the anchor and motored around the island to check it out. Weaving through a minefield of rocks we found a nice spot in the lee of the island where we could lay out lots of scope. We saw no harlequin ducks but did spot some furry sea otters! The forecast was accurate - it started howling at about midnight. While the anchorage provided good wind protection, swell from Queen Charlotte Strait wrapped around the headlands making for a lumpy night and not much sleep.

Passage Across Queen Charlotte Sound to Fury Cove 51' 29.67" N, 127' 45.58" W

Once of the challenging legs of this trip is getting across the open ocean area of Queen Charlotte Sound, located between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and Calvert Island where protection can be found again. The prevailing winds are NW so we decided to work our way up Goletas Channel and then exit into the open salt chuck through Shadwell Passage. This would give us the best wind angle across the Sound to Fury Cove and it turned out to be a good strategy.

The morning of departure was clear and crisp with a fresh NW breeze of about 25 knots kicking up galloping horses in Queen Charlotte Strait. So we motored our way up the more protected Goletas Channel in lighetr 15 knot winds and flat seas, waiting for the wind to settle down as forecast. Once through Shadwell Passage and out into open ocean the wind backed to a moderate westerly, setting us up for an amazing close reach all the way across the Sound. The sky stayed crystal clear all day giving us great views of the endless chain of snow capped peaks along the coast. But all good things must come to an end. After an epic sail the wind died just before landfall. We motored into the well protected inner lagoon at Fury Cover and anchored in about 40 ft. Once again, we had the anchorage to ourselves!

With a small sandy beach and many tree covered islets we found it a beautiful and restful spot after a long day of sailing. The warmth of the sun gave an encouraging hint of the summer weather to come. Happy hour was on the foredeck, followed by dinner in the cockpit! Great to finally be outdoors in the evening!

See photo gallery.

Pruth Bay and West & North Beaches 51' 39.28" N, 128' 07.44" W

Pruth Bay is located on Calvert Island about 20 miles NW of Fury Cove. This makes for an easy morning trip passage, leaving the afternoon to explore the fabulous west coast beaches. We were lucky to have the rare combination of SE wind and sunshine, making for a great downwind sail up Fitz Hugh Sound. When we rounded Wedgborough Point into Kwakshua Channel the wind died and temperature went up. Enjoying the sunny and calm conditions Norm untied the dinghy on the foredeck to get ready for going ashore. That was a mistake! As we approached the end of the channel strong wind gusts off the ocean nearly blew the dinghy off the deck! He won't do that again. We anchored in about 50 feet just east of the substantial dock of the Hakai Marine Institute.

A few years ago this bay was the site of a private fishing lodge. But it is now a privately funded marine research and teaching centre. The good news is they do not mind cruisers walking through the grounds to the beaches on the west side of the island, and even have a designated dinghy dock for visitors!

A well marked trail took us to a massive white sand beach. Dotted with tiny islands, crystal clear water, surf rolling in, West Beach was an idyllic west coast paradise. And it was all ours! We strolled north along the beach and found the trail to the North Beach. This 15 minute hike was a little more gnarly with muddy sections and a few climbs, but there were boardwalks and stairs here and there. The trail opened onto a huge, calm crescent shaped beach. It was well protected from the SE wind making it hot and sunny! Time for T-shirts and a few yoga stretches on the beach!

See photo gallery.
Comments
Vessel Name: Sarah Jean II
Vessel Make/Model: Saga 43
Hailing Port: Vancouver, BC
Crew: Norm and Beth Cooper
About: Our home is in White Rock BC. We set sail Sept. 8, 2010 for San Francisco, Mexico, the South Pacific and New Zealand. In April 2013 we will begin our voyage home through Hawaii, completing a 3 year Pacific circumnavigation.
Extra: We'd love to hear from you - send us an email at bethandnorm@gmail.com
Sarah Jean II's Photos - Main
Pruth Bay, located on Calvert Island, is an essential stop along the way. The harbour on the east side is well protected and provides access to west coast beaches by a short trail. The former fishing lodge is now a marine research centre. Visiting boaters are welcome to use their dinghy dock.
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
We enjoyed a great close reach across Queen Charlotte Sound under sunny skies. At the end of the day we anchored in Fury Cove, beautiful and secure with room for lots of boats . . . but we were alone!
3 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
This funky eco resort is located on the north side of Hurst Island. The area has some of the best diving on the BC coast.
7 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
Sointula is a remote but charming community located on Malcolm Island directly east of Port McNeil. It was established in 1901 by a group of Finnish settlers who wanted to create a utopian socialist society.
19 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We spent a couple of days exploring this historic First Nations community located on Cormorant Island near Port McNeil.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
Working our way north through Seymour Narrows and up Johnstone Strait.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
A few photos as we head up the Strait of Georgia, kicking off our 5 month trip to Alaska.
4 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We stopped in Hawaii for a rest and provisions but spent most of our time in the boat yard doing repairs. The photos are of a of a few days exploring wild and wacky Waikiki!
37 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
This was a vigorous upwind sail of 2,300 miles across the equator and the ITCZ.
22 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent our time in the tiny village of Te Tetua. Wonderful, hospitable people. An island paradise! Penrhyn is famous for the fine weaving of hats and fans that the women do, and for the golden colored pipi pearls that are found only on this atoll.
49 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent a couple of weeks here exploring by foot, scooter and snorkel.
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Created 8 July 2013
On this passage we were joined by David as guest crew. We also ran into some heavy weather - the BIG LOW!
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Created 8 July 2013
The Hauraki Gulf is the vast playground to the east of Auckland where there are many islands and anchorages to explore.
25 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Located about 100 miles offshore northeast of Auckland, Great Barrier is wild and remote. Breathtaking beaches, abundant wildlife and excellent hiking. We spent a couple of weeks on The Barrier.
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Created 17 March 2013
Kawau Island is just north of Auckland. We went to visit our friends Daniel and Michelle on s/v Evangeline. They introduced us to the famous offshore sailors Lin and Larry Pardey who live on Kawau.
21 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
A place with a funny name but it has a beautiful sandy beach and stunning grassy headlands for walking. A super anchorage in south or southeast winds.
11 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
This very protected bay just south of Cape Brett is the home of an old whaling station. It provides access to the Cape Brett trail where we tramped about one day.
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Created 17 March 2013
Beutiful oddshore islands just south of Whangaroa Harbour. Clear water and good kayaking. Home of the wreck of the Rainbow Warrier.
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Created 17 March 2013
An amazingly protected harbour north of the Bay of Islands. Great hikes with spectacular views.
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Created 17 March 2013
A few shots around the lovely town and marina at Opua, our home away from home
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Created 23 December 2012
We stayed here a few days en route to New Zealand from Noumea. It is a beautiful tropical setting at the very south end of New Caledonia.
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Created 23 December 2012
Photos of our arrival into New Caledonia and the very modern City of Noumea, a startling contrast to Vanuatu.
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Created 23 December 2012
This is a great anchorage. We stopped here when winds were in our face as we attempted to go south. Very pretty onshore!
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Created 23 December 2012
A few shots of the Blue Hole, a spectacular freshwater spring near the town of Luganville.
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Created 23 December 2012
Land of black volcanic beaches, black magic, wood carving and colorful kastom mask dancing!
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Created 22 December 2012
A wonderful anchorage providing access to several villages. We saw the most amazing kastom dancing - performed by both men AND women! Balloons were a big hit with the kids!
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Created 22 December 2012
Wearing only bits of grass and penis sheathes, thrusting spears into the air, they emerged out of the jungle stomping and chanting . . .
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Created 22 December 2012
This where we helped bring a giant marlin to the villagers and where we saw some amazing traditional dancing. The next album is dedicated just to the dancing.
40 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
Home of dugongs and lots of sea turtles, this is an awesome anchorage!
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Created 22 December 2012
The biggest city in Vanuatu where we stopped to stock up on food at the great public market.
12 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the seldom visited anchorage where we stopped with friends to deliver much needed school supplies.
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Created 5 October 2012
Views of the Port Resolution area including a visit to the fiery volcano!
45 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the most southerly island in Vanuatu and our point of arrival. Beautiful gardens, dugout canoes and the spectacular Mystery island are shown in this album.
36 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the great little island where we spent about a week in September, including our 29th anniversary.
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Created 15 September 2012
Our son, Brian, and his girlfriend, Lindsay, visited us for a couple of weeks. We cruised the Yasawa Island Group and had an excellent time - village visits, hikes, diving, good music & great company!
87 Photos
Created 25 August 2012
This small island was simply stunning. A beautiful village, white sandy beaches, great hiking trails and crystal clear water. This island is not to be missed!
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Created 4 August 2012
Ono Island is located in SW Fiji at the north end of Kadavu Island. It is surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef. The area has some great diving!
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Created 4 August 2012
This series of photos guides you through the step by step process of spawning giant clams. We watched this in Makogai.
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Created 4 August 2012
A fascinating place with sea turtles, giant clam breeding and the ruins of a huge leper colony.
33 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Viani Bay is thye anchorage near to Rainbow Reef, one of Fiji's top dive spots. We did 4 dives here with Jack Fischer and got a few good photos.
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Created 4 August 2012
This village was one of our favorites. The friendly people are originally from Tuvalu and have brought much of their culture with them - including dugout canoes and great weaving skills.
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Created 4 August 2012
This unique island is NE of Taveuni. We visited Albert Cove and Katherine Bay.
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Created 4 August 2012
A day spent with Suzy from s/v Sidewinder climbing up to the Tavoro Waterfalls and then hiking the Lavena Coastal Trail.
29 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
We really enjoyed Qamea Island. We anchored in Namata Bay and got to know the wonderful MItchell family. Meet some some of them in this album!
19 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
A few shots from our excursion to the north side including a high mountain plantation and very cool cathedral cave.
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Created 13 July 2012
We anchored here for a few days and enjoyed exploring the many islands and hidden caves by kayak.
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Created 13 July 2012
Our visit to the charming village of Daliconi near the Bay of Islands in the Northern Lau Group
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Created 17 June 2012
One day we took the bus from Savusavu to Labasa on the opposite side of he island. It is a big town with a large Indo Fijiin population. The market is great and the bus ride is an adventure!
23 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
This album shows our arrival port of Savusavu and an excursions to the Cousteau Dive Resort.
37 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
Our excellent passage from New Zealand to Fiji including a stop at Minerva Reef - a circular atoll in the middle of the ocean!
31 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
A few shots of our excellent passage from Tonga to NZ with Kyle Russell aboard as crew.
29 Photos
Created 31 October 2011
We visited the villages of Matamaka and Nuapapu where we went to church, had lunch with the locals and then the next day visited a school. Lots of fun and some great images!
38 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
Even more shots of this great cruising area!
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Created 29 September 2011
More of the same great sights and experiences!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
We have so many great photos of Vava'u they are divided into a few albums. This is the first. People, boats, spectacular anchorages and unexpected sights - such as grave quilts!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
Photos of the awesome underwater world of Vava'u including caves, coral, fish and some other creatures.
20 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
A beutiful atoll with a population of only 3 permanent residents awaits those who brave the narrow pass into the lagoon.
25 Photos
Created 5 August 2011
Bora Bora has lived up to its mythical reputation - a towering green volcanic peak surounded by motu islands and a beautiful blue lagoon!
21 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We had a short visit to these islans but it was long enough to enjoy a visit to the luxurious Le Tahaa Resort. Wow!
24 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We came to this small gem after an overnight passage from Moorea. Baie D'Avea was one our favorite anchorages so far, made better by very calm conditions!
43 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This is where freinds Bob & janey joined us. Spectacular bays with towering volcanic spires were the highlight of this paradise.
39 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
The exotic island of Tahiti where we celebrated Norm's birthday. Pics include the Papeete market, super yachts and sunsets over Moorea!
27 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This tiny anchorage is located on the outside of the atoll so there is no need to deal with passes or current predictions.
9 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
Crystal clear water, sharks around our boat, spectacular lagoons and a funky bar overlooking the pass made this one of our favorite stops!
30 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This album includes shots of the main village, scuba diving, arrival of the traditional Vaka boats and, of course, our daughter, Amanda, who joined us for some fun times!
29 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This was our first atoll in the Tuomotus Group. Crystal clear water, beautiful motus and quiet isolation made this stop very special.
35 Photos
Created 10 June 2011
Towering cliffs, a rugged hike, huge wterfall and the site of a Survivor TV series - Daniel's Bay has lots to see and experience!
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Created 3 June 2011
Wow - what a great island! Excellent harbour, waterfalls, pine forests and high ranch country. Come inside the album and see!
33 Photos
Created 3 June 2011
We visited Hapatoni Bay, famous for artisans, especially carvers. We also visited Hana Moe Noa Bay and Ivaiva Bay where the beaches were white sand and the water crystal clear!
24 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
Fatu Hiva is probably the most spectacular island in the Marquesas Group. Photos include the Bay of Virgins, mountain hikes and a traditional pig roast dinner.
61 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2011
This was our first landfall in the Marquesas. Photos include the anchorage at Taahuku Bay and village of Atuona, along with an inland road trip across island to Puamau Bay.
84 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We had a wonderful 19 day passage from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Group of French Polynesia. Photos include everything from laundry day to our equator crossing.
64 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We spent a couple of weeks in February exploring the Gold Coast from Puerto Vallarta south to Manzanillo.
47 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
A few shots of the great marina at La Cruz and our explorations around the Puerto Vallarta area.
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Created 16 February 2011
We took a panga trip up the Rio Tovara near San Blas. This is a mangrove jungle area with many birds, iguanas, turtles and even crocodiles.
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Created 22 January 2011
This magic island is a breeding area for many species of birds including frigates and blue footed boobies. The birds have no fear of people - allowing very close encounters and amazing photos!
38 Photos
Created 22 January 2011
A collection of random photos taken at Marina El Cid and Old Mazatlan. We enjoyed the city, especially the many art studios and galleries.
38 Photos
Created 12 January 2011
A great family Christmas together sailing in the Sea of Cortez from Puerto Escondito to La Paz. Hikes, snorkeling, sea lions, wake boarding, beach cattle and more . . .
112 Photos
Created 2 January 2011
This is the bay and fishing village where we holed up during a big norther.
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Created 9 December 2010
This wonderful cruising area is located just north of La Paz. Red cliffs, crystal clear water and white sandy beaches abound!
34 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
We spent about a week in this wonderful Mexican city. It is laid back with no visile tourist industry except for the yachties like us. We liked this place!
16 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
This is a wonderful anchorage on the Baja Cape between Cabo and La Paz. We spent a couple of days here snorkeling, hiking and enjoying the beach.
12 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 15 November 2010
A visit to the town of Two Harbors, including a great hike, followed by a visit to the bigger town of Avalon.
24 Photos
Created 14 November 2010
We anchored in Pelican Bay and did a great hike along the bluffs to Prisoners Bay. Vistas and some wildlife incliding an island fox!
31 Photos
Created 13 October 2010
Beautiful beaches, elephant seals, sand dunes and great hiking - San Miguel has it all!
29 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 13 October 2010
A few shots around the marina while we were waiting out a big blow.
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Created 13 October 2010
A few photos a day at anchor in San Simeon including kayaking in the bay and views of the Hearst Castle verlooking the ocean.
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Created 1 October 2010
Shots of Monterey, the famous aquairium and a bike ride along the 17 Mile Drive to Carmel.
46 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
Photos of Santa Cruz Marina and a bike ride to the boardwalk, pier and surfer museum. We then road to the cute village of Capitola a few miles south of Santa Cruz.
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Created 28 September 2010
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 24 September 2010
Angel Island is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. We spent the day exploring it on our folding bikes. Awesome views in all directions!
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Created 19 September 2010
Passage from Cictora to San Francisco. Departure on Sept 6. Arrival on Sept 11. Crew were Kris & Ryan. Great first passage for Sarah Jean II.
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Created 15 September 2010
A few photos of our boat.
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Created 2 August 2010