Time is flying by as usual this summer! June ended with a visit with Aunt Shirley and Cousin Sherri who came down from Port Hardy to Port McNeill to see us and hopefully see Kyla and meet Stuart. Unfortunately that did not work out so they will have to catch up down in Victoria in July.
Kyla, Stuart and Tucker (Shih Tzu brother of our dog Tami) arrived in Port McNeill late Saturday and escorted to Kyan II by the captain in our dingy as we were anchored out by then. We headed out straight away to Hanson Island in the same lovely little cove by Spout Islet. Along the way we were able to sail in the following wind while Stuart took the helm. Not far from our anchorage Stuart spotted a humpback whale quite close to our boat. This is always a mix of worry and wonder! The whale surfaced 3 times before showing tail flukes and sounding deep in the water. Nice treat their first night out! Poor Kyla missed it though but the rest of us got a good view!

Stuart and Kyla at the helm!

Stuart and Kyla at the helm!

Lovely quiet night spent on the hook, a great breakfast and we were off to explore the Broughtons the next morning. We were only able to hoist the head sail for short periods as the islands offer much wind protection. But the scenery is lovely and always lots to see – dolphins, eagles, seals and of course other cruisers, including sailboats, power boats and kayaks. While the hot weather is lovely it also brings out horse flies by the dozens! Of course I got bit as I can never seem to avoid them. Over the next couple days the bite on the top of my foot caused my entire foot and 2 inches above my ankle to swell! Sore and itchy…not fun! Benadryl and Reactine, here I come. Captain also recommended Aloe Vera which was quite soothing! He’d have made a great doctor!
Along the way Stuart needed to cool off so had a quick dip off the boat and back in the cockpit in short order! We tried two of our favorite anchorages and as they were occupied we sought another, which ended up being in the mouth of Ladyboot Cove. The next morning we headed out in flat calm water with an overcast sky. As we weren’t able to sail and cell phone service was required we headed for Alert Bay, located on Cormorant Island. Services included a shower, which is a luxury when aboard a boat! This was enjoyed by all! After walking the town, resting, doing general boat duties we enjoyed a nice dinner and wine and settled for the night. Barr and Terry from ‘Absolut’ tied up on the dock for a quick hello as they are headed out for a couple nights between friends visiting from Oregon.
The next day we had to say goodbye to Kyla, Stuart and Tucker as business called them back to Victoria one day early (sniff, sniff). Since we would have taken a very long time bucking into a north wind to get them back the Port McNeill they opted to take the ferry as the timing was perfect for them. After they left we headed back to Hanson/Spout Is and joined Absolut once again. Onboard their boat we shared dinner and a great card game of Wizard (aka Oh Hell!). Terry beat the crap out of the rest of us!

Back to Port McNeill July 1st to do laundry and stock up (again). Also had another lovely visit with Aunt Shirley and Sherri. Nice to see them when we are up this way!

Bulk Carrier for Orca Sand & Gravel Port McNeill

Bulk Carrier at Orca Sand and Gravel outside Port McNeill

Early the next morning we left the dock and sail/motored across Queen Charlotte Strait to Blunden Harbor where we had anchored last year. This time though the northwest wind knocked us around all night. Guess that’s why there were no other boat there! So, needless to say, we headed out 0530 the next morning but the seas were rough and the going slow so we anchored in a more protected bay around the corner about an hour later! There we stayed till the wind settled down – 2 days later! Again, we made an early start (0500) July 4th with relatively light wind and a 3 foot swell. Off we went towards a favorite anchorage Skull Cove where we anchored for a couple hours. This is very well protected, has a great view of the strait and also a large, quite sophisticated kayak camp hidden in the trees! Because the weather was favorable though we decided to cross Cape Caution so this meant a very long day – sigh. We only encountered one area of rough seas crossing over Spiller Channel and then smooth going the rest of the way to Penrose Island ‘Fury Cove’6 hours later. This is a great anchorage as it is protected all around and has room for quite a few boats. As well it has a lovely midden (shell beach) to allow four-legged friends some exercise! We quite often see other boats we recognize from the current sailing year or previous. This time we saw ‘Quaddi’s Run’, an all-female crew from the Maritimes whom we met a few years ago. After spending one night there we left and headed over to Rippon Island, Sunshine Cove where I had briefly met a fellow knitter in Courtenay in the spring. Sarah and her husband Robin live here in their float home year round working for fisheries and caretaking float fishing lodges brought in for the winter. Since the bay was quite breezy and no dog friendly shore we opted to return to ‘Fury Cove’. Along the way, while motoring but also under sail we hit a log! A big NO NO!! Captain was not happy and I can’t repeat what he said. However, there was no boat damage done that we can ascertain so ‘onward and upward’ and keep our eyes on the water!
By now we were anxious to assure our son Ian that we would indeed be in Bella Bella to meet him and his girlfriend, Charito, when they fly in July 13th. Since we had no cell service we carried on, up Fitz Hugh Sound in calm seas and a light wind. We were able to sail almost to Addenbroke Island when we lost the wind. Another sailboat ‘Nomad’ had hoisted her spinnaker and was having a lovely sail up the sound.

S/V Nomad with spinnaker up in a light wind in Fitz Hugh Sound

S/V Nomad with spinnaker up in a light wind in Fitz Hugh Sound

Our next anchorage was special and we had never been there before! We snuggled into Kwakume Inlet, right inside the narrow, rocky entrance and alongside a little mud/sand beach. Whenever there is a friendly dog shore we are ALL happier! Fog welcomed us in the morning with a promise to dissipate by noon. Since we have radar we set out confidently and about 1 ½ hours later the fog lifted and it was a gorgeous sunny day. When we cruised the coast the first time in 2011 we visited an abandoned fishery town called Namu where the cannery was slowly sliding into the ocean. Upon walking the ghost town we saw all the buildings with everything inside appearing to have been hastily abandoned when the industry crashed many years ago. In 2011 there were 3 people living in a float home and offering moorage but since then, after Namu was sold, the float house family moved to nearby Lizzie Cove in Lama Passage and Namu is totally abandoned with no signs of clean up or development. Such a shame as it is located in such as beautiful bay!

Namu

Namu

Cannery slowly falling into the bay

Cannery slowly falling into the bay

We arrived in the Bella Bella/Shearwater area late in the day and were able to connect with Ian and other family and friends. Large vessels needing to transit the central coast in protected inside waters come around Dryad Point, past Bella Bella and into Lama Passage going south (opposite route going north) so we get great photo ops!

Week 4-5 Northern Expedition

The Northern Expedition makes daily runs between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert as well as stops in Bella Bella and Klemtu on some days.

 

Cruise ship

Cruise ships are a common sight in the Central Coast as they make their way to and from Alaska

The cruise ship ‘Disney Wonder’ goes by Bella Bella playing the Walt Disney theme song for all on shore to hear!
Saturday and Sunday we spent exploring nearby areas until Monday when Ian and Charito arrive. Passing time catching more crab (yum!) and getting water in Ocean Falls where it is more plentiful thanks to Link Lake (which also supplies water to the dam built there when the town was flourishing as a paper mill) and powers Ocean Falls, Shearwater and Bella Bella. Our friends aboard Absolut were already on the dock and since there was no more room we rafted Kyan II up to them. After a few chores and some refreshments we sat down to crab cakes and Terry’s chili while the rain poured buckets! A good thing as it has been hot and dry for weeks.

Till next time…which will be a short update on our week with Ian and Charito.