Crossing Millbank Sound. July 26, 2012.
05 August 2012 | posted at Kitimat
Photo Catala Passage south of Price Island between Millbank and Laredo Sounds.
Ever since our first trip on this coast, in 1999 on a trip to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Steve has wanted to take the outside route to Laredo Channel by crossing Millbank Sound, rounding Price Island, and sailing north up Laredo Sound. Despite the word “sound” in those names, this is open-water sailing with potential for strong winds, rough seas and ocean-like swells. On that first trip we charged out into the open Sound only to be met with strong westerlies on the bow. We turned back and took the easy route -- north up Millbank Sound instead of across it and then past Klemtu and through Meyers Passage. Subsequent passages north have all been the same and on passages south the wind was always from the south.
But this year when we headed out Seaforth Channel, the seas were like a millpond. This was our chance.
Like many difficult passages, when done in the right conditions, it was an anitclimax. A light southerly came up and we motorsailed, Osprey rocking easily in gentle swells. At the bottom of Price Island we had a choice: sail out around McInnes Island and its off-lying rocks and islets or go through rock-strewn Catala Passage. We chose Catala Passage and it was easy, so easy we’d take it again in rougher seas.
A thick fog came in as we sailed north up Laredo Sound in a freshening wind and we saw little of remote Price Island. In late afternoon we passed the exit to Meyers Passage where we would have come out if we’d gone inside. The distances were identical, approximately 35 miles, but we saved ourselves a day of travel time by not having to time ourselves at the Narrows.
“That sure was a lot more interesting than going up the ditch,” said Steve.