22 July 2014,Tuesday, Jennis Bay, Drury Inlet
We are out on our 2014 summer cruise to the Broughton Archipelago. After completing some necessary business in Bellingham, we departed on July 1st. Our travel route was one that we have used many times and included stops in Nanaimo, Comox, and Campbell River, B.C. It has been typical summertime weather, including some periods of strong winds in the Georgia Strait and the Johnstone Strait. We departed Campbell River on July 7 with a good forecast and an early morning slack at Seymour Narrows. The winds usually pick up in the afternoon in Johnstone Strait so we only traveled as far as the Thurston Bay Marine Park, off Nodales Channel. We anchored in Chameleon Bay at noon and by three the wind reports from the strait are approaching 30 knots.
The winds continued into the night and all of Tuesday. We felt 15 knot winds in the anchorage and by the morning of July 9 we decided to move on up the channels to a more protected location. Our anchor was well dug in and it took some effort to clean the mud off. Sharon does the deck work on Sirena and uses our salt water washdown hose and a boat hook to get the wad of tightly packed mud worked loose. We headed up Nodales Channel to Cordero Channel. The winds rarely penetrate into this area and we travel with the ebb current to one of our favorite stops, Blind Channel Resort.
This is a real family enterprise, now spanning four generations. Edgar and the late Annemarie Richter bought Blind Channel in the 1970s. Edgar designed and built all the buildings, and Annemarie's distinctive and lovely artwork decorates the dock and the restaurant. The docks are sturdy and well maintained. They have fuel, groceries, good water, and a full service restaurant. The resort is surrounded by hiking trails. One trail leads to an 800-year-old cedar, 16 feet in diameter. It's a good hike and a splendid old tree. We decide to spend a few days here and wait for the winds to die down out in the strait.
The weather, though windy, is sunny and warm. We hike and have lunch on the resort's patio. They serve wonderful halibut tacos and pulled pork sandwiches. We had dinner one evening at the Cedar Post Restaurant and enjoyed their signature German-style meals. The inside of the restaurant is decorated with original art work by Annemarie Richter, one of the founding owners. She has done paintings, mosaics, and textiles.
By Friday evening the forecast is calling for light winds so we decide to leave early on the next morning. The full moon was just setting over the mountains on Vancouver Island as we shoved off the dock at 0500. The ebb tide had just begun and would give us a boost in speed of about 2 knots. In the six miles down Mayne Passage we had good visibility and got some pictures of the setting moon. When we reached Johnstone Strait, we encountered dense fog starting at Knox Bay. The fog persisted for the next 34 miles, all the way to Port Harvey, our destination. We went into fog navigation mode and used the radar and AIS to avoid other vessels. Fortunately there was little traffic at this time of day and we made good time, reaching Race Passage by 0700. The current was flowing at full ebb and we encountered some turbulence near Ripple Shoals and Earl's Ledge, which are notorious for eddies and whirlpools. We plowed through and in 20 minutes were beyond the turbulence. We turned up Havannah Channel by 0900 and were moored in Port Harvey by 0945. We had not seen any landmarks or other vessels for the last four hours. But hey, we are now in the Broughtons! Port Harvey is our first stop in the islands and we are able to get freshly baked bread. We make grilled ham & cheese sandwiches for lunch with it. Tonight we will have their excellent fish & chips for dinner.
We departed on Sunday morning in time to transit narrow Chatham Channel at slack current. This passage is the southern gateway to the Broughton Archipelago and we use the range markers to stay in the center of this narrow channel. The tide is out so the hazards are visible. As we exit the narrows and continue past the small resort, four dolphins meet us swimming the other way. The pod splits in two and one pair shoots past us on each side of the boat!
Today's destination is Pott's Lagoon, a quiet anchorage on West Craycroft Island, off Clio Channel. Sirena is anchored in the middle lagoon by 1230, sharing the anchorage with four other boats. At the outer entrance to the anchorage, we observed that a logging camp had been established on the peninsula south of Klaotsis Island. We had to maneuver our way in around the log booms. They are building a road system around the lagoon and have several ships, barges and log booms anchored in the outer-most of the three lagoons. Today being Sunday, most of the crew is off and there is little activity.
At high tide, Rob takes the Bullfrog tender out for a tour of the inner lagoon. This is a salt water lagoon that has a narrow entrance. It is only accessible at high tide as it becomes a salt water river at low tide. The scenery is very pretty with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Upon returning to Sirena, we observe five Canadian boats preparing to anchor and watch as they raft together using four bow anchors and one stern anchor. Shades of the rafts that Squalicum Yacht Club has built over the years!
On Monday we leave Pott's and travel through Beware Passage and the Village Islands to Knight Inlet. We have decided to make a passage across the Queen Charlotte Strait to what we call the "back country". We will stay at Sullivan Bay Marina for a few days and then explore Drury Inlet and McKenzie Sound. On arriving at Sullivan we meet up with "Voyageur" with Gary and Judy aboard. We know them from the Grand Banks Owners Association. The next day they leave and "Eagle's Gig" arrives. Sue and Byron are also friends from PSGBOA and we are invited to have dinner aboard with them. They have been very successfully trapping prawns and we dine on prawn tacos. Most excellent!
We take on supplies and top off our dinghy fuel while in Sullivan Bay. We also have lunch and dinner at the Town Square restaurant at this floating community. Wednesday was pizza night and it is very good. We take leftovers back to the boat. By Friday all is set for some travel and we depart in time to go through Stuart Narrows at the noon-thirty slack tide. This is the entrance to the western most inlet in the Broughtons, Drury Inlet. We will anchor for a while and then spend time at the Jennis Bay Wilderness Resort. As we pass the entrance to Jennis Bay we radio our reservations for Sunday night. Our anchorage tonight is a small cove in the Muirhead Islands. A light rain has been falling since mid-morning and continues, becoming heavier, until the next morning. This is only the second rain storm we have had since leaving Bellingham and helps wash down the boat.