Sea Otter Cove to Winter Harbour
26 July 2007
Yesterday was a full day. By the time we had done our morning chores, all of the other boats had left the cove, so we moved to a mooring buoy with plans to spend the night. After we tied up, I went below to check water levels on my computer since it seemed a little shallow at the buoy closest to shore that we had chosen. Guess I should have done that in advance because my calculations showed that we would likely rest on the bottom at low-low tide in the wee hours of the morning. So we moved over one buoy. The good news was that I steered us right where we needed to be to catch the buoy both times; the bad news is that it was really uncomfortable for John up on the bow to make the catch and tie off. We have lots of important and lumpy things on the bow, like the windlass, anchors, forestay, cleats, and such.
Once we were secure on the second buoy, we got the dinghy out and took Märzen to shore to go beachcombing. John hoped to find a fender to replace the one that got sliced up in our landing at the dock at Echo Bay. When I was a kid (and maybe even still when John was one), you used to be able to find an occasional glass float from Japanese fishing nets. This time we found a Japanese plastic water bottle and a Japanese plastic fishing float — plus a bunch of plastic and nets from Canada and the States — but no fender. It gives you an idea how much junk must be floating around out there to find so much in one small, remote cove.
The beach wasn't very easy to walk on. It was rocks, not sand, and Märzen got pretty tired. When we got back to the dinghy, John went exploring in the other direction, and Märzen and I got the dinghy into the water and rowed over to him. I thought it would be fun to row us all back to the boat since the wind was in our favor. As John was getting into the dinghy, though, the camera around his neck dipped ever so briefly, and not even completely, into the water. That pretty much took the fun out of the dinghy trip. John got the camera dried off as much as he could immediately and continued working on it off and on the rest of the day. The good news is that it works again. It was touch and go for a day or so, and we thought we'd be ordering a new one. While we were trying to resurrect John's camera, we found out that my camera doesn't work at all. I hadn't used it in several years, but I'd stored it without the batteries in it as a back-up. Now with batteries it does nothing.
With nothing more to explore close by in the cove, and with the weather in our favor, we decided to move on to Winter Harbour rather than spend another night in Sea Otter Cove. It was beautiful sailing weather with five to ten knots on our beam most of the way (less than 30 nautical miles). With the main and jib we averaged a little over five knots. As a bonus, John rigged up the Monitor wind vane steering, so I didn't have to sit at the helm and steer the whole time. It was a very pleasant sail. As John said, he would be happy to sail like that all the way to San Francisco.
As we approached the entrance to Quatsino Sound, we went over a bank that was the right depth for halibut, so we stopped and fished. A couple of times, John got a ling cod to the surface, but both times, it slipped the hook. He did catch a couple of rock fish, and they were very good for dinner.