After enjoying the pleasures of restaurants and ‘city life’ in Prince Rupert we departed into the gray and gloomy weather, transiting the shores of the port and watching all the activity, i.e. loading of a container ship. All the way down Grenville Channel and into our first anchorage of the southbound trip the weather remained cool and rainy. We found a nice spot in Kumaleon Inlet and stayed for 2 nights while the weather remained wet and cool…always a great opportunity for more boat chores…but also reading and relaxing! Next we ventured down to Klewnuggit Inlet and set the anchor, still overcast and rainy. The next morning the sun shone and we were entranced by the beauty of the inlet! Amazing how the sun makes all the difference in not only the surroundings but also the mood! However, we didn’t linger and made headway south in Grenville Channel enjoying the lovely weather and also taking note of logs and debris in the water as well as a host of commercial gillnetters heading north.

Pristine Grenville Channel

Pristine Grenville Channel

We headed for Hartley Bay to ready the boat for our friends, Bev and Ross, who were arriving in a couple days from Prince Rupert. They were taking the BC Ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert then a small ferry/water taxi to Hartley Bay. The weather was a mixed bag and we hoped for sun on their arrival day! Luckily that’s what happened and we enjoyed a great walk around the village, which is all boardwalks and then later we walked up the creek to the lake.

The village of Hartley Bay. A delightful place to walk the boardwalks and talk to the townsfolk.

The village of Hartley Bay. A delightful place to walk the boardwalks and talk to the townsfolk.

We decided that since the weather was not supposed to be great we would head to the hot springs, one of our favorite places on the coast! Along the way we anchored for a night and caught a couple very nice crab, actually the biggest so far this summer. The next day we made a lovely crab bisque served with homemade bread and enjoyed by all.

Freshly baked bread and buns make a nice accompaniment to soup!

Freshly baked bread and buns make a nice accompaniment to soup!

From the trap into the pot and then into the soup. The best crab bisque ever!

From the trap into the pot and then into the soup. The best crab bisque ever!

As it turned out the weather really warmed up and although we enjoyed the hot springs the evening we arrived the next day was almost too hot! This is the time for cool weather but apparently I can’t control that! Nevertheless we enjoyed our 2 night stay and it was great to have the company of our good friends, as well as extra help with the boat and in the galley.

Ross and Bev at the helm.

Ross and Bev at the helm.

Bev's fabulous plum cheesecake! Needless to say we ate well all week!

Bev’s fabulous plum cheesecake! Needless to say we ate well all week!

We decided to explore another hot springs in the area so ventured off with a roast beef and trimmings in the galley oven and a lovely lemon cake for dessert (thanks to Bev for making me a birthday cake!).

Delicious wild huckelberries (red and black) served as a fantastic topping to my lemon birthday cake! Thanks Bev!!

Delicious wild huckelberries (red and black) served as a fantastic topping to my lemon birthday cake! Thanks Bev!!

At the hot springs we tied to the mooring buoy, picked huckleberries along the way that eventually Bev turned into a sauce for the cake and went for a soak. On return to where our dingy was tied up on shore we met a couple from Kamloops who arrived in their 18 foot boat from Kitamat to have a quick soak before heading back to their campsite. Another large power boat had come along earlier just as we had arrived but decided to return later after we left the hot springs, to allow everyone some privacy.

Nick and Tami at Weewanie Hotsprings (hut in background). It's located in a lovely setting with a trail and campsite along route.

Nick and Tami at Weewanie Hotsprings (hut in background). It’s located in a lovely setting with a trail and campsite along route.

After we left we were motoring around checking out a nearby logging operation and searching for an anchorage we heard the power boat calling the Coast Guard. Then we learned that the Kamloops couple’s boat was high and dry on the shore so we headed back to offer assist. Since the tide was not high enough to float their boat for several more hours we invited them aboard Kyan II. Luckily I had enough dinner to serve all and thus we had an impromptu birthday party…mine that day and Joanne’s (from Kamloops) the next!

Celebrated in style thanks to my girlfriends in Victoria supplying the bubbly!

Celebrated in style thanks to my girlfriends in Victoria supplying the bubbly!

After ensuring their boat was safely floating, they were off, back to Kitamat and we stayed tied to the mooring buoy as it was too late to find an anchorage. The next day we sailed/motored along Sue Passage at the north end of Hawksbury Island, then into Douglas Channel back to Hartley Bay as the ferry was coming the following day. The week had gone flying by and we were waving our friends so long already!

 

Bon voyage! It's been a great week!

Bon voyage! It’s been a great week!

Water taxi/ferry leaves Hartley Bay and returns to Prince Rupert with an ETA of 4 hours.

Water taxi/ferry leaves Hartley Bay and returns to Prince Rupert with an ETA of 4 hours.

As we left Hartley Bay we again saw many whales, feeding and also spy-hopping and breeching! My zoom lens is not strong enough to have captured this amazing sight, unfortunately so it will simply remain as a wonderful memory!

As we always like to explore new places we decided to go back north into Grenville Channel (dodging whales along the way!) and transit Hawkins Narrows which led into Union Passage. Inside it was lovely and peaceful with no other boats around. Since we needed to time our exit through another narrows we went into an adjoining lagoon to wait for slack waters and enjoyed a lunch break in another lovely spot all alone. Exiting Union Passage via Peters Narrows we headed for Mitchell Cove, which had been recommended to us by fellow boaters at Hartley Bay. Whilst doing shore leave with Tami Nick spotted an old logging steam donkey sitting on skids.

Steam donkey used for logging in days gone by.

Steam donkey used for logging in days gone by.

Although rusted out it was completely intact even though it had not seen active operation for many years. We had also been recommended to see Tuwartz Inlet so that was our next stop, although we stayed outside of the narrows so that our time of departure would not be affected. Coming out of Tuwatrz we encountered whales feeding close to the shore as well as more breeching and spy-hopping out in the sound. Campania Island area is one of the main habitats of humpback whales in the Central Coast so boaters need to be extra careful. Humpback whales grow to 37-50 feet in length and weigh many tons. They have been known to rub up against and come under boats so we are always very cautious!

Our next stop was one that I had been yearning to explore and that was McMicking Inlet on Campania Island, right along the most amazing white sand beach on the coast. Although there are a few rocks to dance around we made it in easily and ventured to the head of the inlet only to find a large motor yacht already anchored there plus another sailboat searching for anchorage. I was disappointed to see that the white sand beach does not run along the inlet. We spent a very restless night as the north wind was blowing right into the inlet but luckily we had a well set anchor and were holding very well. As we motored out the next morning we saw a fishing boat anchored just inside the inlet and right by the beach! The boat was also out of the north wind so next time we will do the same! By the way, the First Nations people in the area call this beach ‘Wolf Beach’ because of all the wolves that live on the island. Several years ago while exploring the beach we saw wolf tracks. Apparently wolves are on many of these ‘outside’ islands whereas bears are more often on the mainland coast. But these animals can be anywhere so adventurers must always be aware!

At this point we hadn’t yet decided whether to go back to Aristazabal Island to visit Rick and Jeanne Beaver in Borrowman Bay or to continue into Loredo Channel. We decided to let the weather man decide for us and thus opted not to go to Aristazabal and instead headed towards Surf Inlet. After reading our reference book for potential anchorage sites we chose to explore Chapple Inlet. (note: the reference book we use primarily is called ‘Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia’ by Don Douglass & Réanne Hemingway Douglass).We had been there last year but the weather was wet and foggy and we hadn’t had a chance to see it in nicer weather. We entered into Emily Carr passage and found it rocky and a bit tricky. Once in the main channel of the inlet the journey was easy all the way to Kiln Bay. Unfortunately there was a power boat anchored inside the bay and although we tried to drop the hook we were unable to find a satisfactory spot so turned the corner and anchored on the opposite side of the islet with complete privacy from the other boat. As it turned out this proved to be a perfect spot and we enjoyed 2 wonderful nights there!

Solitude at dusk in Chapple Inlet

Solitude at dusk in Chapple Inlet

One of many trips to shore and this time just chillin' for awhile in beautiful Kiln Bay, Chapple Inlet.

One of many trips to shore and this time just chillin’ for awhile in beautiful Kiln Bay, Chapple Inlet.

It happened to be our 38th anniversary so I baked and we BBQ’d steak and had a lovely meal to celebrate.

Anniversary cherry cheesecake!

Anniversary cherry cheesecake!

Just as Nick was replacing the BBQ grates he spotted movement on the shore and got my attention. The movement was a Kermode bear, which is an albino black bear, so of course they are white and also not that common. What a treat!

A rare sighting of a Kermode bear. The first nations people refer to them as Spirit Bears. We considered this a lucky sign on our anniversary!

A rare sighting of a Kermode bear. The first nations people refer to them as Spirit Bears. We considered this a lucky sign on our anniversary!

We knew that they were on Princess Royal Island and also a few others but thought it unlikely that we would see one let alone right by our boat! The bear was oblivious to us and continued walking the shore searching for food. We watched it until it disappeared into the forest, reappeared further down the bay and then disappeared again. That was truly one of the highlights of our trip!

A seal relaxing on a log floating in the calm waters of Loredo Sound.

A seal relaxing on a log floating in the calm waters of Loredo Sound.

We resumed our southward bound trip the next morning and headed down Loredo Channel, into Loredo Sound and into Higgins Passage which is a very rocky, reefy (on the west entrance) passage between Swindle and Price Islands. In the narrowest part of the passage boats can only transit at high water slack. After getting nervously through the first few islets and out of the wind, which was pushing us and making steerage a bit more difficult, we maneuvered through the maze of islets and rocks and found the narrows and then set anchor for a couple hours to wait for slack. This gave us an opportunity to cook our dinner, feed Tami and do shore duty. At about ½ hour before slack we pulled anchor and set off, me at mid ship watching for weeds and obstructions and Nick carefully monitoring 2 GPS’s, the depth sounder and the chart. At one point the depth sounder showed 8 feet and since our boat draws 6 feet that meant only 2 feet under our keel! Yikes!! That plus A LOT of seaweed, which can foul the propeller. Anyway, we made it safely through and thought ‘been there, done that, no need in future!” We decided to head for Klemtu for water and fuel and did not set anchor until 9PM, which amounted to a tiring 12-hour day.

Since we had fuel and water and a few groceries we only made a quick stop at Bella Bella and headed south into Lama Passage. I should say that on the way to Bella Bella, right at Dryad Point we passed both BC Ferries, the Northern Expedition and the Nimchuk in the narrowest part. Then again in the narrowest part of the passage south of Bella Bella we passed a tug and barge. There was a large commercial seiner anxious to get by so he radioed the tug and told him that he wanted to go between us and the tug. Why the big hurry, we ask! Another 10 minutes and we’d both have cleared the tug. Oh well!! One good thing about tug captains is that they are always happy to communicate with any boater but we can’t say the same about commercial fish boats as we have tried to hail them on the radio to no avail!

We then headed into Lizzie Cove off Lama Passage as we heard from sailing friends that people there sold fresh vegetables. After tying up to Janna and Nick’s dock we were welcomed to come see their gardens and other ventures…and they are really into many things! Besides their amazing, lush gardens, they are avid garlic producers and create lovely wood-fired stoneware. Nick mills logs, gathers seaweed as fertilizer, grinds flour, and makes sour dough bread. Janna is a beautiful potter, knitter and recently raising chickens. One chick was born with a lame leg and is now their pet ‘Frieda’. She loves to be cuddled and stroked like any other pet! They sell their wares locally and have recently gotten a Facebook site for interested customers. Both are very talented and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our dinners and stories for a very pleasant evening. We left the next day loaded with veggies and pottery and a personal delivery to a friend who, coincidentally, lives across the street from us!

As I said earlier, we are always looking for new anchorages and so headed to Kisameet Bay by Fog Rocks in Fisher Channel. What a treat we found! Even though there were 3 other boats there we found a great spot by a rushing stream and a small beach. Very lovely and protected, this anchorage will be on our must do list next time we are up in these waters! The next day we headed down Fitz Hugh Sound and anchored in Fury Cove, Penrose Island. It’s a great place with a lovely midden (shell beach) and protected from wind. Since we had heard about the lodge across Rivers Inlet we decided to head that way and check it out as well as potential anchorages in that area. When we saw Duncanby Lodge and Marina from the water we were impressed so we decided to stop at the fuel dock and explore the premises as well as inquire about amenities.

Duncanby Fihsing Lodge and Marina in Rivers Inlet

Duncanby Fihsing Lodge and Marina in Rivers Inlet

Since the restaurant was open to ‘non-guests’ that night we decided to stay at their dock and enjoy a restaurant meal. We both opted for seafood and pasta, mine was curry and Nick’s was Alfredo; both yummy! Then a slice of ice cream cake for dessert, equally yummy!

The next day we explored Goose Bay where there were 2 more fishing lodges and then into Rivers Inlet and off towards Smith Inlet. While rounding from one inlet into the next Nick spotted a sea otter! These lovely creatures were almost extinct at one point in time but are slowly making a recovery. We first saw them on the west coast of Vancouver Island in 2013. Then last year saw a couple in Smith Sound, so were pleased to see another one this year. They have a very furry head (one of the reasons for their near extinction was for their fur) and lay on their back with their feet poking out. They always look like they are relaxing and chilling out! Adorable!

Since we had explored the north side of Smith, including a lovely orange sand beach by Dsulish Island, we decided to check out the south side. So we headed for Takush Harbour and into Fly Basin. Yes, there were a few little flies there but no big deal. Lovely anchorage although Tami did shore leave on a mud flat! And it was the captain’s birthday so he got a lovely chocolate layer cake (with whipped cream, candles and all!) a bottle of almond liqueur and a great steak dinner!

 

Happy Birthday to the Captain!

Happy Birthday to the Captain!

After listening to the weather report (which boaters do at least daily if they are planning departure anywhere), we decided to head around Cape Caution the next day as the strong south wind was coming in the days ahead. We departed at about 8 AM and had a lovely transit, almost flat calm! A tug (‘Findlay’) and barge was heading around Cape Caution and he radioed us to ensure we knew each other’s routes and intentions. A large police boat ‘Lindsey’ went speeding by as well as a large motor yacht. We nestled into a great anchorage at Skull Cove to wait out the bad weather before we head to Port Hardy to visit friends and relatives and do our usual ‘port chores’. Turned out not to be as sheltered from the gale coming from the southeast as we would have liked so we were tossed and turned for a couple days. Luckily the bottom is sticky mud so we were holding very well.  We actually ended up staying for 4 nights until the storm blew over and then headed to Blunden Harbour for another rainy 2 nights. Finally we felt the wind had calmed enough to head to Port McNeill for our usual stocking up, etc. We were happy to hear from our friends John and Karen aboard their sailboat ‘Spiritus II’ who were there dropping off friends. So we joined them for an evening of catching up on all the summer news and then decided to head out to the Broughtons with them before heading south into Johnstone Strait and beyond.

Until next time…bon voyage!! 

Advertisements

I love it when I can indulge (uninterrupted by life) in a good book. Some of my best and most memorable reads have been while cruising, especially while anchored in a quiet bay. This coming summer I’ve loaded up on some great reads I can’t wait to sink into!  Here’s a sample!

 

So we just returned from a 10 day road trip. Departing Victoria BC we boarded the Coho Ferry to Washington state; drove through Port Angeles, through the Olympic Peninsula (most of it is park) and then over to the coast. We spend out first night at an Air B&B in Raymond, which was located in a very scenic country home. Day 2 was a long but wonderful day driving the coast of Oregon. The sun shone and the waves crashed as we put mile after mile on the Suburu. Cannon Beach was recommended and it was wonderful! Discovered what a monolith is….and it seems the coast has many of them! We also soon realized why sailors go a long way off the coast when navigating this coast….rocks and shallow water are lovely to look at but take on a different perspective while on a sailboat! We spent a glorious night in Brookings at our second Air B&B. This home overlooked the harbour so was a very different contrast to our first night. Day 3 we dipped into Northern California and then back into Oregon so that we could see some of the forests in the area. A lovely drive through rural Oregon, farm land and vineyards and we made our way to enchanting Jacksonville. The town has many historic buildings and we ate lunch in a saloon. We were imagining fights there many years ago as we sipped our tea (too early to drink beer!)! Next stop was Eugene to spend a few days visiting Barr and Terry, sailing friends whom we met on the west coast of BC a couple years ago. Visiting, eating, sipping, walking and driving with our dear friends made our stop there a real joy. Day 7 we departed Eugene and took the byway to McMinnville to stay at the Oregon Hotel (one of the many McMenamin Hotels). What a delight! We began Day 8 with a trip to the Air and Space Museum just outside of McMinnville to see the Spruce Goose and many other planes, choppers, rockets. Very well done! Next we went to Milwaukie to shop and eat at Bob’s Red Mill store and restaurant. We love these products so stocked up for the boat! Also had a terrific sandwich there! That night we checked into another McMenamin Hotel, The Kennedy School in Portland for 2 nights. LOVED IT! Such a great place! Only 6 bars, a theatre, soaking pool, art everywhere, funky everything! Toured Portland by car as we had our Shih Tzu ‘Tami’ along and she doesn’t like to walk! Then we drove to meet our Eugene friends at their boat to give them a lift back to their car and had breakfast along the way. The next day we drove the I-5 to Seattle then took a side road to La Connor, a quaint town in Washington known for its tulip festivals each spring. Then off to Anacortes for the last night and a lovely ferry ride through the San Juan islands to Sidney the next morning. Home sweet home!

   
    

The first pic is a monolith at Cannon Beach. The second pic is Kennedy School, one of the McMenomin Hotels in Portland. And the last one is the elevator door of another McMenomin Hotel in McMinnville, the Oregon Hotel.

We are seriously considering buying an industrial sewing machine and doing some projects ourselves. In researching what to buy we asked some of our fellow boaters and so far the machine of choice is the Sailrite. So I’ve been looking at their website and talking to Mason Sewing Center in Vancouver to ensure we get the best price and product for our needs. Anyway….long story short….I came across this DIY site on the Sailrite website and found it to be most informative! So I am following their blog and hope the information therein will be invaluable for us as we venture forth with making our own boat ‘stuff’ (for lack of a better word!). https://sailrite.wordpress.com/page/6/

We have been sailing and cruising the coast of BC since retirement in 2009 and loving every minute of it! But we have only shared on Facebook and Instagram so now we are trying the blogging world! The next adventure officially starts May 1st 2015 when we leave our off-season mooring dock at Brentwood Bay Resort.