Knowing that we couldn't leave Big Bay until 1pm at the earliest due to the timing of the slack tides at Arran Rapids, which can run up to 9 kts, we had a lazy morning. After waking up at 9:30, enjoying coffee in the cockpit with the wonderful views that Big Bay provides, we filled water, topped up the engine coolant level in the reservoir (damned thing!) and motored out to catch the 1:03p slack. We arrived just in time for the dying ebb and the beginning of the flood, which pushed us into Bute Inlet with 2 kts of current. Another sailboat was heading north from Calm Channel into the entrance of Bute Inlet with a south wind (the daily inflow up Bute Inlet) under spinnaker. The gauntlet was thrown.
Up went our sails, off went the engine, and the race was on! The wind built to a steady 15-20 which made for a fantastic spinnaker run until the pole downhaul bridle parted during a jibe. I scrambled around the foredeck and with Rachelle at the helm and running spin sheets and halyards in the cockpit we quickly had the kite down, the pole stowed, and the genoa out to replace it. We lost a few kts of boat speed, but our adversary quickly wiped out during an accidental jibe from a 25kt williwaw, which convinced them it was too gusty and fluky to have the spinnaker up anyway, so they doused their spinnaker and pulled out their jib as well. We quickly pulled out front, made a covering jibe, and crossed ahead of them putting them behind us for the rest of the 36 mile sail up Bute Inlet.
Bute Inlet is a wild and uninhabited fjord with the exception of a few seasonally operated logging camps, where 6,000 ft snow capped granite peaks drop suddenly into the 2,000 ft deep waters, with glacial melt providing dramatic waterfalls and a chalky, teal (cucumber for my friends at Swedish) green coloring to the water that makes one believe that you are in an alpine lake, not at sea level. Amazingly beautiful and wild. We hope to see grizzly and have been told that you can often hear wolves. Unfortunately, there is no protected anchorages and we have heard a wide variation of reports from a strong inflow creating a very choppy anchorage all day, calming during the night with a strong and bitterly cold outflow in the mornings causing temperatures to drop into the 40's, to no wind whatsoever. Given our days current sailing, I'm guessing it will be the former.
We arrived at the head of the Inlet at about 6:pm and motored around for an hour to find the best anchoring, and found a "bay" of 50 ft depth mud bottom in the N corner of the Waddington Harbour. Rachelle had been prepping a wonderful dinner of herb roasted chicken and vegetables with a mushroom and white wine gravy that she pulled out of the oven and served as soon as the anchor was down. Between the view of Waddington Harbour at sunset and the fantastic food and wine, I give this restaurant 5 stars.