Voyages North

03 June 2018
22 September 2017 | Posted in Seattle
08 September 2017 | Posted at Spencer Spit, San Juan Islands
18 August 2017 | Posted at Spencer Spit, San Juan Islands
17 August 2017 | Olympia
22 August 2016 | posted at Prideaux Haven, Desolation Sound
29 July 2016 | Posted at Hakkai, Fitz Hugh Sound
29 July 2016 | Posted at Hakkai, Fitz Hugh Sound
29 July 2016 | Posted at Hakkai, Fitz Hugh Sound
08 July 2016 | Posted at Ucluelet

Destination: Seymour and Belize Inlets

15 July 2014 | posted at Pender Harbour
Elsie Hulsizer
Chart showing location of Seymour and Belize Inlets, just south of Cape Caution

"Where are you going this summer? North again?" People asked me as summer approached.

"Yes," I'd say. "But not to Alaska. We're just going to Belize and Seymour Inlets."

"Where's that?"

"Just south of Cape Caution."

"Where's that?

"On the mainland, across from the northern tip of Vancouver Island."

These exchanges were good reminders of how remote a location we'd chosen for our summer trip. Many of the northwest's most seasoned sailors have never been there -- although many have been by on their way to SE Alaska.

Descriptions of these inlets explain why we picked them as our destination. We've read or heard tell of pictographs on the rocks, cliffs with gardens that overhang the water, rock walls where voices echoes back eerily, and beautiful anchorages that we can expect to have all to ourselves.

The two inlets cut deep into the mainland mountains: 42 miles for Seymour Inlet and 25 miles for Belize Inlet, with sounds and bays branching off both. Logging is the only industry within them and not so much of that.

So why do so few people go there? Not just because the inlets are a long way from civilization, but also because to get there you have to navigate the Nakwakto Rapids, where currents move so fast Turrett Rock, in the middle, has earned the local name of Tremble Island. At 14.5 knots, Nakwakto Rapids aren't the fastest in the northwest (that's Seymour Narrows at 16 knots) but with their well known turbulence, they're certainly one of the scariest.

We decided to go there after approaching the entrance last summer on our way south from Alaska. At slack water the passage looked like any other harbor entrance; so calm we almost wondered what the big deal was. What had seemed so scary earlier, now seemed achievable. We just had to aim for slack water: all seven minutes of it.

Photo: Nakwakto Rapids at slack water.

Of course to get there we pass through many of the northwest's more famous cruising grounds: the San Juan and Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, Desolation Sound and the Broughtons. Stay tuned.
Vessel Name: Osprey
Vessel Make/Model: Annapolis 44 sloop
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windward)
Elsie and Steve Hulsizer have sailed northwest waters since arriving in Seattle via sailboat from Boston in 1979. [...]
2017: local cruising including South Puget Sound and San Juan Islands 2016:north up West Coast VI, across QC Sound to central BC coast 2015: trip to SE Alaska 2014: Seymour and Belize Inlets through Nakwakto Rapids 2013: SE Alaska and back. 2012: from Seattle up the west coast of Vancouver [...]
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Osprey's Photos -