The Big Blue

14 May 2021 | Anacortes
05 August 2020 | Billy Goat Harbor
02 August 2020 | Fury Cove
31 July 2020 | Meyers Passage
26 July 2020 | Ketchikan
22 July 2020 | Petersburg
20 July 2020 | Petersburg
16 July 2020 | Appleton Cove
10 July 2020 | Sitka
07 July 2020 | Gulf of Alaska
04 July 2020
04 December 2014 | Anchorage
24 July 2014 | Bulldog Cove
21 July 2014 | Shelikof Straight
10 July 2014
02 July 2014
28 June 2014
19 June 2014

Spring cruise with the ladies

14 May 2021 | Anacortes
Mark Ward
My two lovely daughters joined us for a 4-day spring shakedown cruise in Radiance. We also got to try out the brand new OC 300 tender and were thrilled with its performance!
We are ready for summer.

Johnstone Straight

05 August 2020 | Billy Goat Harbor
Mark Ward | Clear
Port Hardy was foggy this morning when we woke and pulled the hook. After changing the engine oil, we headed directly for the fuel dock at Coastal Mountain Fuel and were greeted by a lovely young lady with a great smile who took our lines. In short order, we fueled up, watered up, got rid of our waste oil and were on our way. The morning got quite socked in and I was glad to have both AIS and radar as we navigated out of Hardy Bay and through the islands. At several points, we couldn’t see farther than about 20 yards around the boat, which is an eerie feeling. As we made our way closer to Johnstone Straight, it began to lift and by the afternoon we were in full on sunshine again. Amazingly, we had cell service the whole way and Lolo attended two work meetings up on the bow, while under way. We were also able to call Jessica and wish her a happy 30th birthday. Hard to believe my first born baby is now 30!
Today, our timing was perfect as we caught the full tide and rode it most of the 67 miles to Billy Goat Bay on Helcken Is. The currents around here are just something to behold and steering through and around swirling eddies that spin the boat this way and that are kind of fun. Sometimes they have logs in them as well, so we have to keep a constant watch for them. Vancouver Island is really beautiful and reminds me more of the terrain in Alaska than some of the recent places we passed through. It’s taller, more rugged and the trees are bigger. I don’t know what the square acreage is, but I’m sure it’s bigger than a lot of countries.
Billy Goat Harbor is a tiny little place situated just out of the raging tidal currents that sweep around the island and you can see the currents raging just a couple hundred yards away! It’s pretty cool to be tucked in here. After a delicious chicken dinner (which Danny prepared,) I set the crab pot with kayak and then took Ginger for a kayak ride. Though still very cautious, she seems to enjoy these short outings away from the boat. But she’s always eager to jump back aboard when the kayak gets within reach. Tomorrow, we’ll leave a little later in the morning with the tide and make our way to the famed Seymour Narrows, then on to Campbell River.

Fury Cove

02 August 2020 | Fury Cove
Yesterday we had yet another warm sunny day as we motored past Shearwater (now closed to tourists,) out into Fitz Hugh Sound and on to Pruth Bay, where it is said that there are some of the best beaches on
the entire west coast. However, the research station, Hakai, and even the island itself are also closed due to Covid. This is normally a prime destination for visiting yachts, so it was eerie that there was no sign of life at the facility, and no boats anchored out in front. The large ocean-facing beaches are normally accessible via a short hike through the woods to the other side. It was frustrating to be here, and unable to go ashore and visit these places due to Covid 19. We clearly are no risk to anyone as there
isn't anyone here. But rules are rules. We did set the crab pot after anchoring in the cove just to the north and this morning were pleased to pull up 5 in the pot, with 3 keepers!
Today was a short and wet 17 mile run out Lama Passage and down Fitz Hugh Sound. Danny and I did a little fishing at the entrance into Fitz Hugh and caught some rock fish for us to eat while keeping the carcasses for crab bait. Though it was wet and foggy, the seas were calm with just a light headwind. On seeing a reddish ship emerge in the fog, I had Lolo turn on the AIS to identify ourselves. At first, the AIS target just showed Canadian Vessel. But after some time, the description confirmed it was a Canadian
Coast Guard cutter. We watched them change course and veer off toward Safety Cove - presumably satisfied that we were an authorized vessel in transit. We continued on to Fury Cove and after winding into the small protected inner harbor, we found a nice place to anchor with two small sandy beaches framing a small opening looking directly out into Fitz Hugh Sound. Though wet, it's quite picturesque.
Tomorrow, we will continue on to Port Hardy, where we'll change the oil, get fuel and water before continuing on.

Making tracks

31 July 2020 | Meyers Passage
We've had a string of nice days and have take advantage of them to make some serious tracks down the coast.
We departed Prince Rupert and had a lovely 65 mile day sailing with sunshine and following wind and seas. Anchored last night in a
spectacular little place called Lundy Cove. As soon as we dropped the hook, I dropped a fishing line and immediately hooked into
something that was large enough to begin stripping line off my large ocean rod. Not necessarily wanting to deal with a large fish after the
long day, I was not too disappointed when the line went limp as he'd gotten off. I messed around just a little longer and couldn't hardly
get the line down without it being hit by a black rock fish and when I did get it down to the bottom, it was fish after fish of some other rock
fish. Luckily, it wasn't very deep and so each one I released sped away down to the bottom. Lundy cove is just outside a saltwater
lagoon surrounded by granite and at high tide the ocean spills into and out of the lagoon over the boulders in addition to it's normal outfow
spot. In short, it was yet again, another spot I'd like to spend at least a couple days exploring. But, we found there is weather coming our
way, and we really should make some mile and get away from Queen Charlotte Sound. And so it was that today we left Lundy at 0800
and headed south. Listening to the VHF weather, we found a discrepancy between the French version - which was predicting FIFTY
KNOTS SE, and the English version on the same VHF weather, predicting 15-20 SE. We had really wanted to stop in McMicking and
stay, but that would put is with another 45 miles to go against the SE winds on Friday and since the velocity of those winds was
somewhat in question, we opted for a quick 1 hour treat to duck in there and take a swim, before heading on. After eventually ducking
into Laredo Channel, we rode the last of the flood in and over the shallows - seeing 20 feet at one point. This coincided with the fact
there is only 5 feet at mean low water, so our timing was just right. Once through, we dropped the hook just on the other side, shut the
engine off and ate dinner. Basking in the calm and clear night, we just found the forecast for Queen Charlotte Sound has now been
upgraded to a full gale. It is good to have made the prudent decision.


26 July 2020 | Ketchikan
Mark Ward | Rainy
We arrived in Ketchikan on Friday and were lucky enough to get a very nice slip on the Ketchikan Yacht Club float just a stone’s throw from the yacht club building which has laundry and shower facilities! Once tied up, I set off via city bus to the post office to retrieve my package from Trans Atlantic Diesel – a new front main oil seal for the engine. This would be Saturday’s project. On my return, and since it was nice and dry out, I took the opportunity to repair the head of our genoa as we’d somehow managed to rip the Kevlar webbing off of it the day before while beating up Clarence Strait. I had tried reaching the only sail maker in Ketchikan, but found that he’d unfortunately passed away a few months ago. Unfortunately, we did not bring the Sailright sewing machine with us on this trip, so this job would have to be done by hand. Luckily, we have all the things we need to do such a job. The top of the sail is many layers thick, requiring the use of an awl to make a hole for each and every stitch. A few hours later, and with pretty sore hands, I had it done and we hoisted the headsail and rolled her up.
On Saturday I mopped out the oil under the engine did an oil change and installed the new oil seal. Everything went without a hitch, but in the process, I also discovered the bolt holding the pulley on the crankshaft had become loose which resulted in the woodruff key wearing out. Danny volunteered to longboard to the closest Napa auto parts store to pick up a replacement and on his return, we completed the job and buttoned up the engine compartment. This should resolve the slobbering oil issue. Today I was reminded of the adage that cruising is often referred to as “fixing the boat in exotic places.”
We’ve been enjoying a few days here in Ketchikan, doing some shopping and getting our laundry done. Today, we’ll get fuel and propane, go out to dinner, shower up and be ready for our next leg – Prince Rupert, BC. We won’t be able to go ashore for anything but fuel while in BC due to Covid, so tonight will be our last night in a town for a while.

Who's got crab legs?

22 July 2020 | Petersburg
Mark Ward | Rainy
Today, I was on a mission to find some live Dungeness crab. Petersburg is literally engulfed in a cloud of boiling crab steam, yet there are no live tanks or boats obviously selling crab on the docks. Likewise the processors seem unable to comprehend the idea that someone would want to buy a couple live ones. I guess the tourists are missing so nobody is catering to our particular need. I had to go under cover.
Stopping by the Napa for some boat supplies, I casually asked if anyone was selling crab off the docks. The clerk hesitated and said, “well,…the crab season is winding down, but sometimes there are some skiffs that come in later in the afternoon and they may have some. If you can’t find any, let me know and I have a couple numbers I can call.” So off I went to the middle harbor and walked the two floats. But there was no activity and no obvious crab sellers. I would need to come back later in the afternoon. And so it was, after I took a load of laundry to the Laundromat and dried it, I set off again with my bucket. On the south float of the middle harbor, I met a stately older gentleman cleaning his gill net and he asked if I was looking for a boat. “No,” I said, “I was looking for anyone willing to sell a couple of Dungeness crab.” He looked me over and said, “Well, you can check with that guy over there.” I looked at the boat he was pointing at. It was covered in tarps and clearly hadn’t moved in some time. But there was a modest skiff tied alongside. The gentleman walked over with me and poked his head under the tarp. “Hey, you selling any crab today?” “Yep. 10-bucks a piece for the bigger ones. How many you want?” I chimed in and told him, I’d take 3 if he had them. “I’ll have to pull up my trash can. Give me your bucket. And hey, you’re not an undercover cop are you?” “No!” I said, and pulled out $30 bucks from my wallet. A few minutes later, he handed me back my bucket and I was off down the dock with my prize.
And so it was, tonight we feasted on the freshest and most delicious Dungeness crab we’ve ever tasted. After getting the water headed, Ginger watched as I ripped their heads off and rinsed the gills and guts off each half. Then, I took them in and straight to the boiling water. The garlic mashed potatoes I’d made seemed to lose relevance as we each dove into the steaming pile of crab halves on our plates. Ginger’s senses were heightened as Danny kept sliding her pieces of crab under the table, decrying “This crab doesn’t even need any butter!” We proceeded to cover the salon table in crab shrapnel. Hmmmm, we are leaving tomorrow, but perhaps we should go visit the “crab-man” again.
Vessel Name: Radiance
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First456
Hailing Port: Seward, AK
Crew: Mark Ward, Laurence
M [...]
Radiance is a German Frers designed Beneteau First456 sloop. She has the deep lead fin keel and tall rig. She competes in the local sailing regattas and had taken top honors in all events on multiple occasions. Laurence and Mark have returned from a 2.5 year blue water cruise that essentially [...]
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Cruising Bay of Islands and driving about the North Island.
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S/V Radiance in Niuatoputapu
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Radiance in Palmyra, Aug, 2012
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Photos beginning May 2012, Departing Seward Alaska - heading south.
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