13 July 2013 | Blind Channel to Port Harvey (not Hardy)
Laurie / Sunny and Warm
Day 8 - July 12, Friday
Another early morning start. I think I'm getting used to this! We did manage to get some breakfast before leaving at 6:05. Our traveling companions for the day, Wendy and Eric on Sabrina, were right behind us.
Our first challenge was the Blind Channel Rapids right in the channel in front of us. It was quite minimal, with only a little swirling as we cruised by Shell Point on East Thurlow. We weren`t expecting it to be very strong as we timed our departure to make sure that we got the slack at Greene Point Rapids, just a half hour away from Blind Channel Marina. We reached Greene Point Rapids at just the right time so those rapids were pretty easy too! Wise boaters know that it makes the experience so much better when you wait for the right time to navigate through narrow channels with potentially strong current. And around here there are a lot of narrow channels with strong currents! Once through the rapids we hung a left and proceeded down Chancellor Channel.to Wellbore Channel. These channels are actually quite wide once you get into them and the scenery is rugged and beautiful. Logging has taken its toll on all the mountains so almost everywhere you look there are bald patches on the mountains. Of course there is reforestation so it`s not really that bald.
Whirlpool Rapids, at the north end of Wellbore Channel was our next challenge. These rapids proved to be a little more interesting! Going through the narrowest part of the channel wasn`t bad at all but coming out the other side there were lots of back eddies and swirly waters to keep the skipper on his toes as we reached a top speed of 9.9 kph. that`s pretty fast for us! Yee haw!! The influence of the current was felt for just under a nautical mile past mid-channel. And that was it for rapids for the day. We conquered all of them without any problems.
Just out of Wellbore Channel we saw our first dolphins! They didn`t come and play by our boat but it was pretty cool to see them surfacing out of the water. Wellbore Channel brought us into Sunderland Channel which led us back to Johnstone Strait. The wind was up to about 15-20 knots and the water was choppy but not nearly as bad as our first excursion into this strait. I was very glad that we had decided against transiting Current Passage between Hardwicke Island and Vancouver Island. I`m sure the devil was dancing on the water over there and would have caused us much grief.
We traveled fairly close to shore so weren`t buffeted around too much. There was no cause for concern on the part of the first mate. Whew! By noon we had motored into Port Neville and dropped anchor just off the public wharf. The wharf is pretty small there and there was already a boat tied up to it which is why we both anchored. Eric and Wendy came over with Joe (the dog) in their dinghy and let us know they were just taking him for a walk on shore and would be right back. Moe got into his coveralls and went into the engine room to check out the oil situation. Thank goodness everything looked just fine! That was a relief for both of us.
As all this occurred we noted the weather and current conditions of our anchorage and found that it was far from pleasant. Too windy and the current was just too strong. The Sailing Directions had mentioned this so we weren`t too surprised to find it so. We conferred with our travel mates and both decided that Port Neville was not the place to stay. We decided that Port Harvey would likely be much better so we pulled up anchor and left Port Neville and went back into the bumpy strait where about an hour later we were rewarded by seeing some more dolphins! I can`t wait to see them swimming alongside our boat but this was not to be the time.
We turned up to Port Harvey around 3:00 and by 3:35 were anchored at the north end. This anchorage was way better than the last and we were very happy that we came here. Moe and I relaxed on the deck with our celebratory beverage and enjoyed the scenery while Eric and Wendy took Joe for a walk over at the Port Harvey Resort. On their return they stopped by our boat. Apparently the management is not at all friendly over there. They were told, after being hailed `Hey lady, hey man with dog!`, that they weren`t allowed to be there and, by the way, it will cost you $10 to walk on that bridge. Needless to say we were not going to patronize that establishment! After a drink Eric and Wendy left to make their dinner and we had ours. We planned to take our dinghies and go for a little explore together after dinner.
Our exploration wasn`t extensive, we just went over to the beach and walked around checking out the shore. It was interesting to see layers of sea shells buried in the dirt where some of the dirt had been removed from the bank. We didn`t stay too long before hopping back into our dinghies and saying good night. They have been great traveling companions. Both Moe and I liked to have some other people to travel with.
Moe and I set about our nightly planning which, of course, included another early morning start as we head further north to Port McNeill tomorrow.