24 July 2013 | Klaskish Basin to Columbia Cove
Laurie / Sunny
Day 17 - July 21, 2013 Sunday
It has just come to my attention that my days and dates may have been slightly mixed up over the last few days. I think I know where I am in time now. I'm sure you all know the feeling when you're on vacation and time really doesn't matter. But I am trying to keep track, really!
Today has been a day of reefs, reefs, reefs and rocks. And maybe a couple more rocks. Not to mention Brooks Peninsula. That would be the large rectangle that juts out like a sore thumb on west side of Vancouver Island.
Let me start at the beginning of the day which, in Moe's world, began about 5:30 a.m. We had discussed the night before about leaving quite early in the morning. The wind here is relatively predictable in its pattern. It is quiet in the morning, builds up during the day and settles down for the night. You would think it is in the employ of a rigid boss.
We wanted to leave early to transit the north side of Brooks Peninsula before the winds picked up too much and then catch a nice NW downwind for the trip around. We had conferred with our travel companions on 'Porpoise' the night before and they planned to do the same. As we are the 'slow boat' we wanted to get a head start, so at 6:50 we had the anchor on the deck. We radioed to them that as soon as we had the weather station within reception we would let them know what was predicted.
Our route out, being the same as our route in, was actually much different because the tide was out. The narrow channel that we transited on the way in seemed so much narrower when the rock walls of the channel so were exposed by the low tide! Moe did an excellent job of navigating through and once we were in clear water he gave me the helm while he tended to some deck work. The weather station was very sporadic and full of annoying static until we actually left the entrance to Klaskish Inlet. The first thing we heard was that Solander Island, which is at the north tip of Brooks Peninsula, was blowing 29 knots. 29?! And we knew it would only pick up from there. As we were leaving the inlet we spotted and were hailed by 'Endurance' who were on their way in. We told them what we had just heard, as well as notifying 'Porpoise', who were by now on their way out. We made the decision to turn back around and then 'Endurance' was following us in. After some radio talk, we all headed into Klaskish Anchorage to take stock of the situation and have some breakfast. At least breakfast was on our agenda. As I prepared our meal, Moe listened to the weather and talked with 'Endurance' and 'Porpoise'. A fisherman came on the radio and advised that the weather and wind was actually pretty good. Thank goodness for that fisherman! It is very, very good to get on hand information. With the new information and the weather report both 'Porpoise' and we made the decision to make our way around Brooks Peninsula. 'Endurance' chose to stay in Klaskish Inlet for the day.
At 10:10 our anchor was up and we were on our way again. We expected winds of 25 knots NW with the ebb current pushing us along.
Reef #1 was Clerke Reef. I am responsible for setting our course for the day and had set one well beyond Clerke Reef. Reefs and rocks are not my friends so I like to give them plenty of room. Moe, on the other hand, is at the helm and gets to choose the actual route we take. In my humble opinion, he was going way to close to the reef and this first mate had to do some looking away and deep breathing as we made our way past the reef. Thank goodness, he steered a good course and by 11:54 we were clear of the reefs and had our jib up. We were motor sailing with a three foot swell and a one foot wind chop. The sky was clearing, though Brooks Peninsula was cloaked in a hood of cloud. We could only see just the tip of the peninsula and Solander Island.
By 12:40 we had Solander Island on our port beam and within an hour we made our gybe to travel down the south side of the peninsula. We had conquered Cape Cook! Though the waves and the swell were big, for a city girl such as me, I find traversing the watery hills and dales to be much less threatening that getting close to rocks. As we transited the outside of Brooks Peninsula (BP) we had the waves mostly on our beam which means they were trying to push us over. A sailboat is like a big pendulum, when the top side goes over, the bottom side compensates and brings everything back to center. Of course, with the wind and the waves this happens frequently over the course of a couple of minutes, but I understand it and I trust it. Rocks and reefs, not so much. I was very thankful that we kept the corners of BP (referred to on the charts as Cape Cook and Clerke Point - Reef #2) well away from our hull!
Our trip on the south side of BP was mostly downwind with a fairly big sea following our port stern, the 25 knot NW wind on our quarter stern and a two foot wind chop. I took some video that demonstrates the waves we were surfing. I don't think I can post it to this blog, but may be able to post it to Facebook or Youtube for casual viewing. It was quite exciting!
Our destination for the day was Columbia Cove, tucked in on the south side of BP. We chose to take the route recommended by the Sailing Directions between Baker Rock and Sullivan Reef (Reef #3). 'Porpoise' had radioed us earlier, saying that they skirted the inside of BP and had encountered some strong gusts. We were hoping that we would avoid the gusts by taking the more circuitous route. Though we did feel some strong gusts, it wasn't too bad. Before long we were between Baker Rock and Sullivan Reef. We did notice a reduction in speed, being reduced to 3 knots but powered through.
The entrance into Columbia Cove is marked by two rocks which, of course, you can't see. Thank goodness for GPS and the men that sounded these waters! I spied with the binoculars looking for the passage and simply could see nothing more than a wall of rock. I did mention that I'm responsible for setting our course on the GPS? Moe was simply following the lines that I had made and before you know it, there was the entrance and we could see the mast of 'Porpoise'. Thank goodness! We picked our spot and set anchor at 4:35. Whew, we made it!
As we entered the anchorage we saw 'Porpoise' dinghy setting out for a shore excursion. Though we had invited them earlier to come over for a glass of wine, neither one of us were ready for anything more than some down time. I had a good shot of rum and laid down for abit. After a brief rest I put on dinner (leftover chicken enchiladas) and we had a quiet evening together til the sun went down and it was time for me to journal.
Note for last night in Klaskish Basin - I find the evening and night in the silence and wilderness to be the most interesting. I love this part of the day. All is still. Last night, after Moe went to bed, I stayed out on the deck for awhile just observing. The tide had come in so the basin was full and very still. The sun had set and the birds were singing their night songs. On the port side, as we faced into the estuary, I could hear some activity in the water. At first it sounded like a lone creature making its way up the side of the bay. Then I noticed a rippling on the water. It was moving into to bay. It was like a thousand bodies moving in unison. It followed the shore but did come closer to the boat as it moved its way through the water. Nothing broke the surface at all, but this body of ripple moved stealthily and quietly through the water, back and forth on our port side until I could see it no longer.
I turned to the starboard side and noticed the glow of the moon shining through some fast moving clouds. No way was I not going to watch the almost-full moonrise! So I stayed and watched as the moonlight kissed the whiteness of the dead trees on my port side making them gleam in the night. On my other side I could see the moonbeam shining down into the valley. It was most awesome! As the moon rose higher I watched the stars coming out to play, slowly and one at a time I could see them shine.
Just as I was ready to go to bed I could hear movement in the water on the starboard side of the boat. Slowly and surely some creature was making its way along the shore. It was too dark to see but I could envision something snacking and nibbling its way along the shore. Occasionally I could hear it as it swooshed through the water. I have no idea what it was, but for me the experience was exciting. As I listened to the night sounds, I noticed a slight movement of the water; it appeared to me that the tide was turning. I felt a breath of breeze and noticed a slight shift in our direction. I knew that, in the morning, our direction would be 180 degrees different. This is magic.
With that I went to bed and slept a very peaceful sleep.