Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spirit is back in Anacortes

After nearly two months in Lake Union, Spirit is now safely moored at her home port, Anacortes Marina.

We are now on the 4th ECM for the Cummins main engine, and hope the problems with the ECM, wiring harnesses and other engine controls have been put to rest. Most of the other warranty work was accomplished, as well as most of the planned upgrades to make both fishing and cruising more enjoyable. We are ready to head back to SE Alaska in April or May, 2011.

The trip back from Selene Yacht Service was interesting due to the high winds, floating debris in the water, and an errant log boom in the Swinomish Channel. John and Kay Scott accompanied us as we tried to make a silent departure in the dark from the dock in Lake Union. The rain and gusty wind arrived just as we cast off the lines, a foretaste of winds to come. We were almost successful in the quiet departure, but needed a little bit of bow thruster to safely depart. We hoped all the nearby live-aboard residents were already awake when we nudged Spirit away from the slip and headed for the locks. We even beat out most of the rowing shells that practice in the lake and canal every morning, but there were already a few out between the Fremont and Ballard bridges, with their red and white strobe lights showing their position. Our intention was to get to the locks well before 0800 so that we would not get trapped in the 0800-0900 dead time.

It was a good plan, arriving at 0730, but we did not count on having the small locks closed for maintenance, so we tied up in the waiting area and then were told over the PA system that we would lock though the large locks at 0830 or later. However, in just a few minutes the lock attendants changed their minds and flooded the large locks and let us in, the only boat. The locking thru maneuver was uneventful; the engine ran fine, our first real test of the latest ECM.

All the rain we had the last few days had created a lot of overflow runoff in the locks, and the current as we exited was turbulent, but in just a few minutes we passed under the railroad bridge and out into Puget Sound. It was now daylight and we were greeted by a solid wall of whitecaps as far as we could see. However, the wind was behind us, so the seas and wind actually helped push us speedily north. The winds continued to increase, until we had gusts of 40 knots off Edmonds, and the stabilizers were working hard in the quartering seas. About 1000 we enjoyed a delicious breakfast dish of corned beef, eggs, potatoes and cheese prepared by Kay Scott as we relaxed with our cups of coffee. It was very nice being warm, dry and stable given the wind, rain and seas.

Spirit was virtually the only small boat in sight as we continued past Everett, Langley, the west side of Camano Island and started to head into Skagit Bay. We the saw our friends, Jim and Cheryl Matheson coming south in SEA JAY, their 65 foot Pacific Mariner. Jim warned us about the debris in Skagit Bay from the river floodwaters, so it was time for a close lookout. Sure enough, there was a lot of debris in the brown floodwater runoff from the Skagit River. As we made the turn into the Swinomish Channel, we were blocked by a tug trying to regain control of a log boom that had broken loose. After negotiating on the VHF radio, we managed to squeeze by in the narrow channel. The Selene 58 "Rhapsody", headed the other direction, was not so lucky and had to wait some time to get by the log boom. After passing the tug, the debris lessened, the current pushed us swiftly north up the Swinomish Slough, and we then dodged numerous crab pots in the channel as we headed for Anacortes Marina where we docked just after 1500.

We averaged 8.6 knots as we headed north, and all systems operated well. We now have 4554 nautical miles on the log since May 1, and a total of 820.1 hours on the main engine since new, with total miles now over 6000 nautical miles since delivery in July 2009.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Downside of Electronic Engine Controls

Failed Main Engine wiring harness SIM module connector

Last week we decided to go to Victoria, BC for a few days since the Fall weather has been so nice. Joe and Sarah Dreussi were going to go with us and had placed Gracie, their black lab, into doggie playschool for a few days. We had most of the lines off, the shore power disconnected and went to start the engine.


No lights, no displays on the Smartcraft gauges – NOTHING.

Patrick checked all the fuses and breakers, everything looked normal, so we called Cummins Northwest and they suggested we contact North Harbor Diesel who sent down a technician the next morning. In the process of checking connectors he detected an electrical burning smell and pulled a connector off the SIM module, which promptly burst into open flame when the watertight seal was broken and oxygen reached the overheated and shorted connector.

At that point Patrick rapidly pulled the fuses rather than have the technician cut the wire and the flame could be put out. In the process of removing the main harness, a leaking coolant level sensor was discovered. Apparently the slow leak, under pressure when the engine was operating, forced conductive coolant up the inside of the wiring harness, through watertight connectors and eventually reached a connector which shorted, overheated and failed. Many of the connectors on this harness were wet with coolant. There were no indications of leaks on the outside of the harness!

A new harness was ordered, as well as a new coolant sensor, new SIM module and the ECM, which showed corrosion on some of the connector pins was sent to Cummins Northwest for checkout.

In the process of reinstalling the new harness we also discovered that 24VDC power may be present at the engine even with the engine battery switches off, if the Blue Seas ACR's (automatic charging relays) are in the "AUTO" position and the battery chargers are on, or in the "ON" position at any time. Apparently the battery safety switch (to remove power from the engine room in the event of fire) is only between the batteries in the engine room, so the ACR's provide an alternate path between the house and thruster battery banks and the engine starter, which actually makes sense from an ability to cross connect the battery banks to start the engine in the event of an engine starting battery problem. This fact also implies that the "echo charge" connection from the chargers to the engine starting batteries is redundant when the ACR's are in the "Auto" position. Just another addition to the manuals!

The ECM uninterruptible power from the engine battery has a similar issue. The only way to remove power is to go into the engine room and open the battery box and pull a fuse. We have asked Cummins for permission to install an emergency shutdown switch outside the engine room for use in the event of a fire.

Today, Wednesday, October 20 we hope to have a test run and then take Spirit to Seattle in the morning. We expect Spirit to be in the yard for approximately one month.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Decompression and Reflections

The past four months have been filled with so many memories of people we have met, places we have seen and activities we have done that sorting out what we would do again and what was most memorable will take some time. To help us on that mental journey, we have decided to use one of the web publishing services to turn our blog into a book, amplified with more text and photos than we included on the blog itself. The book development process should help us clarify our thoughts.

However, one fact is certain. We want to go north again next year to explore new places and spend more time in our favorite places.

We realized that we need to make some changes to Spirit to make fishing, crabbing and prawning easier. Among these changes is the addition of a trolling valve to the main engine transmission to permit slowing the idle speed of Spirit down to below 2 knots, the addition of line pullers for prawn and crab pots, the addition of downrigger mounts on Spirit, and the addition of a cleaning table on the swim step. We also need a longer telephoto lens for the camera to get better wildlife shots. We are going to add additional bug screens to the flybridge enclosure to make it more useable. Often the temperature was too warm without the panels open, but then the bugs were too voracious. We are also going to add a much longer and stronger stern tie line. We need at least 600 feet. We also need a longer floating tow line for the tender, for those rare times that we choose to tow.

We also need a more robust communications suite due to the scarcity of internet connections. We are looking at options including both SSB and satellite phones.

We do not need to provision the boat as extensively with food, but more extensively with spare parts. We are really going to beef up our "damage control" spares after reading about the sinking of a Selene 47 in July near Ketchikan following a grounding/anchoring incident. We already had soft plugs for through hulls and covers for the engine room air intakes, but will add a real "fothering" blanket with lines and are considering a portable dewatering pump since the bilge pumps could be out of the water if the boat has any significant heel angle. We are also going to beef up our "ditching" bag contents.

The current border crossing policies of both Canada and the US make provisioning the boat more difficult in knowing what meats, vegetables, dairy and fruits will be accepted by either country. The real impact is the cost and quality of the items purchased at remote locations in Canada. Alcohol quantities are well known, the main impacts are cost and selection. The British Columbia liquor taxes make the cost 2-3 times Washington State, which are high themselves. We were told by US Customs and Border Protection that they would begin enforcing collection of Washington State excise taxes on alcohol in excess of the duty free limit for those vessels that they physically inspect.

Some facts:

Total distance travelled since May 1, 2010 – 4288 nautical miles, including the Roche Harbor Yacht Club cruise to Port Townsend on Labor Day weekend. Total miles since delivery – 5700.

Total fuel consumed, all sources (main engine, generator, heating system) – 3070 gallons

Main engine hours – 543 – two oil changes

Generator hours – 359 – three oil changes

Kabola Heater Hours – system on for more than 100 days

Average speed over ground – 7.8 knots

Maximum Wind Speed encountered – 52.7 knots in Peril Strait

Minimum water depth under keel – 2.3 feet in El Capitan Passage

Number of nights at anchor – 60, there would have been more except for the throttle issue.

We have unloaded the summer equipment into a storage locker at the marina. This includes the crab and shrimp pots, the stern line reel, fishing equipment, extra ice chests, kayaks and other miscellaneous equipment. We did not realize just how much "stuff" we had, and the volume of stuff, even if the weight is not that much.

We have settled into Anacortes Marina life, lazy mornings, maintenance and cleaning (there is always something that needs doing), visiting with friends, sampling the variety of "happy hour" choices in Anacortes and moving excess clothing and food back to our home in Bellevue.

Visiting with our friends in Anacortes has been bittersweet, as many leave for warmer climates during the winter and they are gradually winterizing their boats and departing. Some boats, like our previous sailboat "Spirit", now named "Dilligaf", have headed out Juan de Fuca straits and turned left, planning on being gone to the South Pacific and further for 3-10 years. They are loosely following "Panta Rhei" and "Ponderosa", who left a few days before them. We saw all three boats several times while in SE Alaska. Dilligaf plans on wintering in Mexico and then heading for the Marquesas next April. They are really living the dream!

We plan on bringing "Spirit" south to Lake Union for warranty work and upgrades the second week of October and spending most of our time in Bellevue, except for shorter trips when the weather permits, until next spring.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The cruise ends, but the story is not over!

September 1, 2010

The marina was still when we awoke and prepared to get underway for the final day of the 2010 Spirit Voyage. The heavy rain from the night before had stopped and the skies were clearing as we disconnected shore power and untied the lines for the final push to Anacortes shortly before 7 AM. The weather report from Environment Canada was favorable, the gale warnings were lifted and the Halibut Bank Buoy (about 12 miles north of our projected course) showed 10 knot winds and 2 foot seas.

We should have known better. Conditions in the Straits of Georgia can be wildly different just a few miles apart.

As we headed out of English Bay past Spanish Bank, the wind continued to increase, and the seas followed. We noticed that there was a small sailboat hard aground on Spanish Bank as we passed. The skies were clear, but instead of 10 knot winds, we were soon in 27 knot winds and seas big enough that we could hardly see where we were going due to the spray. We tried altering course to the South, but the roll motion in the quartering seas was scary, even with stabilizers. The best course we could make would take us to somewhere between Gabriola and Porlier Passes in the Gulf Islands, where we hoped for a lee from the brisk westerly winds. We did not pick up the lee shore until about 4 miles from Gabriola Pass, but were then able to head south to Porlier Pass, which we hit just at slack water. Once inside, we had calm seas and light winds as we headed south through the Gulf Islands, down Trincomali Channel and finally passing Bedwell Harbor.

We had intended to clear customs at Anacortes, and we had plenty of time, so we just headed across the international boundary, lowering the Canadian Flag for the first time since the 4th of August as we crossed the boundary about 1325 in the afternoon. The weather continued clear and calm as we headed past Stuart Island, down San Juan Channel, through Harney Channel, across Blakely Sound, through Thatcher Pass, across Rosario Strait, up Guemes Channel and into Cap Sante Marina to clear US Customs.

We arrived at Cap Sante Marina at 1710, during dinner hour, but by 1830 we had not only finished the formalities, but were back in our slip at Anacortes Marina, where we were greeted by Suzanne and Gary Patton (37 Nordic Tug "General"). After a quick rinse to remove some of the salt, we spent time reconnecting on our mutual adventures in the Broughton's this year before calling it a night.

Our guest for the past month, John Duvall, reluctantly packed his bags and headed back to his boat "Sabbatical" to get ready to re-enter the working world in the morning.

We are preparing for the diesel mechanic to look at the throttle problem in the morning.

After 124 days, we have 4,228 miles on the log. There are lots more statistics, observations and pictures about our cruise, but that is why the 2010 Spirit Voyage is not yet over!

Stay Tuned In!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Desolation Sound to Vancouver

Moon near Dent Island
View down Pryce Channel

Moonrise in Prideaux Haven

Canadian Goose Begging for Food in Squirrel Cove

August 24, 2010

Leaving Dent Island Lodge behind, we entered Yuculta Rapids at slack water and proceeded down Calm Passage. Although we still had worries about the throttle, there was so much boat traffic going the same direction that we felt comfortable. The weather was sunny and the winds calm so we decided to cruise up Deer Passage, across Pryce Channel and down Waddington Channel so we could investigate Walsh Cove Marine Park. Walsh Cove looked good, but was already full of stern tied boats. The water temperatures were in the low 70's as we headed down the channel. We continued on to Prideaux Haven and found a place to anchor and stern tie. By this time it was just plain hot, so the kayaks went over the side for a paddle around in the 70 degree water. There were lots of people swimming and jumping off the rocks in Prideaux Haven, Melanie Cove and Laura Cove. We invited the Usher's on "Friendship II", whom we had met at Dent Island, over for a BBQ in the sun. We ate out on the boat deck and had a great time as the sun set. We had a selection of burgers, hot dogs, polish sausages and steak, along with homemade potato salad.

August 25, 2010

Waking up to another sunny day, we decided to just stay where we were and explore the area in detail from kayaks and the tender. We treated the anchorage to the aroma of a marinated pork loin and potatoes au gratin, along with a huge green salad as we tried to use what fresh vegetables we had left before they spoiled.

August 26, 2010

We reluctantly hoisted the anchor and headed just a few miles to Squirrel Cove for the evening. We had not been in Squirrel Cove for at least 10 years, and two boats ago. Luckily we found a place to anchor right in front of the reversing rapids to the lagoon and had a ringside seat as we watched tenders and kayaks attempt to enter the lagoon. The breeze started to pick up, and the temperature cooled down as we converted some of the pork loin into a spicy Szechuan stir fry over rice. As night fell, the rain started, just as we were stowing the tender on deck in preparation for the trip to Pender Harbor in the morning. The rain continued most of the night, at times extremely hard.

August 27, 2010

Since the trip to Pender Harbor was expected to take 7 hours, we hoisted the anchor at 0800. There was a large quilt wrapped around the anchor chain, all covered with mud, and the smell was atrocious. Since we did not have a fishing license for quilts, we returned it to the deep. At least we did not snag any logging cables! The rain had stopped, and the weather just got better as we headed south. We were part of a parade of boats all headed the same direction, although there were a few boats still headed north. When we arrived at Pender Harbor, Garden Bay was pretty full, so we went to our back-up plan and anchored in Gerrans Bay at 1415, a fast run. It was time for a pub lunch, so the tender was launched and we headed for the Garden Bay Pub for halibut and chips and some Kusshi oysters on the half shell. We then toured some of the other parts of the bay in the tender, including Gunboat Bay, which has a narrow rock filled entrance with high currents. The bay looks good, but no large boats due to the narrow and shallow entrance.

August 28, 2010

After unsuccessfully trying to get dock space in Howe Sound at either Gibsons or Bowen Island, and being unsure of the space on a summer weekend in either Smuggler Cove or Plumper Cove we decided to just stay anchored in Gerrans Bay and enjoy another day in the sun, along with more tours of the entire harbor. Dinner was grilled New York steak, getting down to the bottom of the freezer stock from our initial provisioning four months ago. The wind came up in the evening and the temperatures cooled a little, but we were treated to a gorgeous starry night.

August 29, 2010

The anchor was raised at 0730 for the 50 mile run to Quayside Marina in False Creek, Vancouver. For most of the trip we had mild winds and calm seas, until we got to the entrance to Howe Sound. The ebb tide and opposing wind made for choppy seas until we turned the corner and transited Shoal Passage to look at Gibsons and Plumper Cove Marine Park. We are glad we did not head for Plumper Cove. It is crowded and surrounded by private homes and buoys. Most of the boats there were in the 20-30 foot size, and the dock and buoy spacing seemed sized for them.

We continued up around Bowen Island and then headed for False Creek. Snug Harbor on Bowen Island looks like a place to stop in the future, but with advance reservations. Since it was a Sunday afternoon, there was a lot of traffic entering False Creek, everything from kayaks to powerless sailboats and dinner cruise ships. We finally docked at Quayside Marina behind the 151 foot Northern Marine megayacht "After Eight".

Today was John Duvall's birthday so we headed into the Yaletown area of Vancouver at the head of the dock looking for a place to celebrate his special day? There were lots of places to choose from in this former warehouse, now trendy upscale area, but a place called "100 Days" caught our eye, and we headed in. The menu was in chalk on the wall (also printed), and after being seated in an area with open French windows onto the street, found out they had only been open 2 days and would close in 100 days and renovate again. Our waiter was from the Gold Coast outside of Brisbane and told us the story of how they had created the restaurant in only 5 days. The place stilled smelled of fresh paint. However, the food and service were great, and the staff brought us a special dessert platter for John's birthday that had tiramisu, a halved Okanogan Peach broiled into a cobbler with topping, Boston cream pie ├ęclairs, and three kinds of panna cotta, mandarin orange, pineapple and chocolate/hazelnut. Some of the entrees included crab and lobster Mac & Cheese (Miriam's choice), Spaghetti Bolognaise (John) and Angus steak (Patrick).

After dinner, a walk along the new waterfront esplanade brought us to False Creek Yacht Club where we stopped for a glass of wine before heading back to the boat.

August 30, 2010

Today we went to Granville Island on the water taxi and looked for some inside passage planning charts for John Duvall. Alas, this late in the season none were available. We shopped in the public market for some cheese and cold cuts for appetizers later in the evening with Mike and Susie Miner on the Selene 50 "Seeker". Miriam and Patrick also explored the "Urban Fare" supermarket one block from the boat. It has a fantastic selection of food at reasonable prices.

We have crossed paths with the Miner's several times, most recently in Sullivan Bay. After appetizers we all went up to the "100 Days" restaurant for dinner and let the chef pick a tasting menu to share, which turned out to be more than we could all eat.

Light rain started shortly after we returned to the boat, and just got heavier overnight

August 31, 2010

The rain was very heavy when we woke up, along with gale warnings in the Strait of Georgia. At 0900 the Halibut Bank buoy was reporting sustained winds of 24 knots with gust to 30 and 5 foot seas which were building over the previous hour. With the intermittent throttle problem still not resolved we are staying one more day in False Creek to let the winds and seas subside. We will then go direct to Anacortes, a distance of about 72 nautical miles.

We now have 4142 nautical miles on the log after 123 days on this adventure.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Port Harvey, Cordero Lodge and Dent Island Lodge

The view down Cordero Channel
Heron Fishing at Dent Island

August 20, 2010

Our route from Sullivan Bay took us back down past Echo Bay, Cramer Passage, Retreat Passage, Spring Passage and into Knight Inlet. Along the way we saw porpoises, bears on shore and more sunny skies. As we approached the turn into Lagoon Cove, we decided to keep going since the radio traffic indicated Lagoon Cove would be very crowded. We continued down Chatham Passage into Havannah Channel and decided to see what the new marina at Port Harvey was like. As we approached the inlet the main engine throttle problem we had experienced just one week earlier resurfaced and we ended up idling the final two miles into Port Harvey. The owners were really trying to be helpful and offered any assistance to help solve our issue. There were only two other guest boats in the marina which could hold 10 or more.

We decided to try their small restaurant at Port Harvey and had good fish and chips for dinner, as well as good conversation with the owners and other guests in the restaurant. There is a small store, but with a good selection of items.

August 21, 2010

Light rain greeted us as we departed Port Harvey, certainly a repeat stop on future trips. There were several Orca whales in Johnstone Strait as we left, but too far away for photos. Since we were uncertain of the throttle performance, we met up with Ron & Bonnie Zuckerman on "Z-Worthy", another Selene, just outside of Port Neville, and they graciously shadowed us into Cordero Lodge in case we had throttle problems while transiting Whirlpool and Green Point Rapids. We arrived at Cordero Lodge in early afternoon just before the rain began in earnest. We had a German dinner (we had beef rouladen) at Cordero Lodge with Zuckerman's as we rehashed the day.

August 22, 2010

Zuckerman's departed early in the morning for Campbell River and we followed shortly after to transit Dent Rapids to Dent Island Lodge at low slack water. There was a long line of boats waiting for slack water, but the transit was uneventful and we were docked at Dent Island by 0930 in the morning. The sun began to peek out from the clouds as we went up to the lodge for coffee and pastries. The sun continued to shine as we relaxed in the hot tub and decided what to order for dinner. We are definitely in the "pampered" stage of our cruise, with only 6 more nights planned at anchor, the rest tied to a dock.

Dinner was good, as usual, with appetizers which included oysters prepared several ways, salads, rack of lamb as well as surf & turf, and cheesecake and key lime pie for dessert. The staff does a great job, as they should, for the price Dent Island charges.

August 23, 2010

We spent the day at Dent Island on the phone with ZF and Cummins Northwest, as well as several Canadian firms trying to resolve the throttle issue. No one was able to help in any kind of reasonable time frame. We were quoted waits of two weeks or more due to staff vacations and backlogs of work. Our plan remains the same, depart at low slack water to transit Gillard Passage and Yuculta Rapids so that if the problem occurs we will be going with the current.

With the throttle problem at least defined we went to the new Tapas bar at Dent Island for our evening meal. It is hard to adequately describe the variety of tastes we were exposed to over the course of the evening. John, the executive chef goes all out in preparing a culinary journey to enjoy. We started out with a spot prawn civiche along with a pico de gallo and tri-color corn chips just to whet our appetites. This was followed by an oyster dish broiled on the half shell with parmesan and other things, a Caesar salad with grilled eggplant and lemons and spot prawns, wings and ribs with several different sauces, half a Dungeness crab to crack with two sauces, grilled lamb chops and sausages with pesto, butternut squash ravioli with beef tenderloin and dessert of grilled pineapple, pound cake and chocolate sauce, followed by coffee. We were even treated to opera singing by Kathryn Humphries ( , who also sang last night. This all took place in a new pavilion alongside little Dent Rapids called "The Rapids Grill", which provided an incredible backdrop to the evening, both in sound and scenery. We went back to the boat and continued our conversation with Felix and Rita Brenninkmeijer on the Nordhavn 62 "Feria". They live in Duesseldorf, Germany and have crossed the Atlantic several times on several different sailboats and are now cruising the west coast on their Nordhavn.

August 24, 2010

We depart this morning at 11 AM and will be out of internet range for several days as we explore Desolation Sound.

We have now logged 3,994 miles on the log as our trip winds to a conclusion in a little over one week.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Laura Bay and Greenway Sound

River Otters at Laura Bay Cove
Stern Tied in Laura Bay Cove for the first time this season

Incredible scenery

Hike to Broughton Lake

Broughton Lake

Dinner at Greenway Sound

Remains of a boat high up in the hills, are we on Mount Ararat?

An example of our prawn catch

We arrived in Laura Bay on Broughton Island after a calm wind and flat sea passage from Kwatsi Bay and found we needed to stern tie for the first time this trip. We joined 8 other boats in a peaceful setting. The prawn pots were set in the outer bay in 300 feet of water among a dozen other pots. The silver salmon were jumping in the cove where the schools of pacific whiteside porpoise had herded them. The BC fisheries people estimate that over 5000 pacific whiteside porpoise have invaded the Broughtons. A number of small boats were fishing in among the silvers, but we only saw one salmon caught.

The prawn pots yielded a few dozen spot prawns and coon stripe shrimp; soon we hope to have enough for more than an appetizer.

August 17, 2010

The weather has cooled down from yesterday, with low overcast and fog. The wind is still light and retrieving the prawn pots was easier than the evening check we did last night when the wind was blowing the tender all over the bay. The prawns are still elusive, but we added several dozen more to our stores. We now have enough for generous shrimp louie's for all three of us.

We pulled the anchor about 1015 and headed for Greenway Sound Marina, towing the tender. The weather remained overcast and calm as we pulled into the dock just as another Selene, "Raindancer" was preparing to leave. We last saw "Raindancer" in Port McNeill three months ago. The skies began to clear and we had a sunny afternoon as we gave Spirit a much needed washdown. During the afternoon two more Selenes arrived, "Koinonia" and "Ulla Dulla" as well as "Gold Duster", a member of RHYC. The docks were still sparsely populated, and that seems to be the story among all the marinas in the Broughtons this year.

The prawn pots were reset and we headed up to the restaurant for an excellent steak & prawn dinner. Our waiter was Greggor, who knows our niece Sidney and is also attending the UW.

August 18, 2010

We woke to overcast skies and pulled our pots. This time there were 40 prawns. After much discussion we decided to stay one more day at Greenway Sound and so we reset the pots in a new location, hoping for better luck. After having Greenway Sound Pizza for lunch, Patrick & John hiked up to Broughton Lake and then checked the prawn pots. We collected 70 large spot prawns, which went into the freezer since our stock in the refrigerator was up to about 150. The prawns were not as large as Gary & Suzanne Patton found earlier in the Broughton's, but they were still good sized. Later in the day Ron & Bonny Zuckerman arrived in their Selene 48 "Z-Worthy". We had hoped to meet up with them in Alaska, but our paths never really crossed.

We cooked a roast beef for dinner, along with shrimp and avocado cocktails as the skies finally cleared for dinner in the sun.

We plan on going to Sullivan Bay tomorrow, but who knows where we will end up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kwatsi Bay

Kwatsi Bay is deserving of the name "Glory Be"
Directions to the marina - it is the only structure in the bay.
The scenery at rustic Kwatsi Bay Marina

We departed Pierre's shortly after 10 AM, bound for Kwatsi Bay. We could see "Sea Jay"( Jim and Cheryl Matheson) on AIS anchored in Laura Bay, just 4 miles away, so we headed that way. By the time we arrived, they were underway so we stopped and chatted in mid-channel for a few minutes. We may see them later in the week.

Heading slowly up Tribune Channel we discovered the macerator pump had failed again. Fortunately we had a spare and were able to replace it underway. The failure was the same as before (failed duckbill valves) probably caused by an incorrect installation of the discharge hose reducer at the factory (it was only 14 inches from the pump, not the 60 inches the manufacturer recommended). We had brought back a longer section of hose in July but had not installed it when we replaced the duckbill valves on the existing pump. This time we installed the longer hose. In the process we also discovered a poorly crimped electrical connection which we also fixed. We are hoping this finally fixes the problem since we have no spare duckbill valves.
With the underway repair complete we finally arrived at Kwatsi Bay Marina at 1315 to a warm greeting by Anca. Kwatsi Bay reminded us of Misty Fiords in Alaska with the cliffs and high hills. We set the prawn pots and cooked up the crab for happy hour on the dock (there were 6 boats present) and also met Max. We converted more of the crab into crab "mac & cheese) with bow tie pasta, 4 kinds of cheese, diced green chilies, green onions and a topping of panko and sliced tomatoes. It was great. After dinner we checked the prawn pots, where we found a couple of dozen spot prawns. We moved the pots to a new location hoping for better luck in the morning.

August 16, 2010

Another sunny morning, but the prawn pots were empty. The new location was not good. We are heading for Laura Bay and will be out of e-mail contact for a few days.

Pierre’s and Pig Roasts

Pierre unveils the pig, soon to be eaten by all

Patrick & John in Pirate Garb (sort of)

Friday morning, the 13th, we departed Port McNeill in dense fog, which had been dissipating but then settled back to only about 100 yards visibility as we cleared the Port McNeill breakwater. When we got to Donegal Head on Malcom Island, the fog began to lift, just as we passed "Steel Tiger", owned by Harry and Teri Johnson, also members of Roche Harbor Yacht Club going the other direction. We motored up Arrow and Cramer Passages to Pierre's at Echo Bay for a two day stay and the Saturday Pig Roast. While in Arrow Passage the throttle control on the ZF Electronic Engine Control stopped working, but after contacting Selene Yacht Service (we were still in cell phone range at the time) reset the power switch and operation returned to normal. We discovered no error codes so it must have been just a gremlin!

The weather continued to improve and we docked in clear warm skies. Other boats continued to arrive and the place was soon full, including another Selene, "Three Wishes". We set the shrimp and crab pots and gathered for the potluck happy hour on the barge, which is a section of the old Lake Washington Bridge. Among the vessels present was "Rendezvous", Peter and Linda Jung, also members of Roche Harbor Yacht Club.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On Saturday we awakened to clear skies and no fog. We checked the pots, with just a few prawns and no crab. We reset the crab pots in Shoal Harbor in new locations and by evening we had four legal crabs, soon to be converted into crab cakes. We enjoyed breakfast on the flybridge in the sunshine and warm temperatures, where we spent most of the day. Several of the boats had good luck fishing, with a 47 pound halibut and a 38 pound ling cod brought into the cleaning tables. Our crab and prawns looked puny compared to their catches.

The pig roast had a pirate theme, so many of us were in some sort of pirate costumes and everyone was asked to use "pirate speak" at the dinner. The potluck was good, lots of food, and the roast pork was great. The weather continued fair, clear and warm into the evening, not cooling down until well after sunset.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The skies are still clear, the seas calm, and the sun is warming up the boat quickly. The crab pots yielded 4 more crabs, so we are going to have to come up with some new ways to use crab in dishes.

Today we head for Kwatsi Bay, which is a new location for us.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Prince Rupert to Port McNeill

Waiting for dinner to jump into his mouth
The number of fish waiting to jump the falls was stunning


Patrick's Coho Salmon

Ever hopeful the salmon will fall in his reach

Almost making it over the jump in the falls

Double Trouble on both sides of the falls


Carrying away the spoils!


We were underway in heavy rain at 0755, but the seas were calm. There were fog patches before we arrived at the head of Grenville Channel, with the weather clearing as we passed Lawyer and Client Islands. The weather report for Hecate Strait was still for windy conditions and rough seas, so we elected to head down Grenville Channel, arriving at Nettle Basin in Lowe Inlet shortly before 4PM. We managed to pick up three Coho salmon, each about 6 pounds, as the rain continued. The Coho were trying to jump Verney Falls and there were two black bears feeding on the unlucky salmon at the base of the falls.


Once again, we were underway at 0800 in light rain, but clearing. We cruised past Hartley Bay, up Verney Channel and down Ursula Channel to Bishop Bay Hot Springs for a quick soak. After the refreshing soak we continued down Princess Royal Channel past Butedale and arrived in Khutze Inlet where we anchored behind Green Spit rather than go another 5 miles to the head of the inlet. We set the crab pots at the head of the inlet after launching the tender.


After retrieving the crab pots (6 nice legal crabs) we raised the anchor at 1000 and continued down Princess Royal Channel, down Sarah Passage, then Klemtu Passage to view the longhouse at Klemtu, through Jackson Narrows and finally anchored in Rescue Bay at 1630. Some of the crabs were converted into Patrick's crabcakes for dinner.


Patrick made a crab and basil omelet for breakfast before we departed Rescue Bay with the intention of staying in Shearwater. Our route took us down Mathieson Channel, past several humpback whales, through Percival Narrows and then Reid Passage. The docks at Shearwater were full, so we anchored and went in for pizza for lunch. The pizza was not memorable. The weather report was deteriorating and we wanted to get across Queen Charlotte Sound as soon as possible, so we continued on to Codville Lagoon where set the prawn pots after arriving and anchoring at 7PM.


After pulling the prawn pots (only 80 prawns), we headed out of Codville Lagoon. We listened to the weather report which predicted gale force winds in Queen Charlotte Sound on Thursday and Friday, so we made it a long day, heading all the way to Blunden Harbor. Humpback whales were active in Fitzhugh Sound, with several leaping clear of the water, but too far away for photos. The swells off Cape Caution were running up to 6 feet on the beam, giving the stabilizers a real workout. The fog and rain set in about Egg Island and fog plagued us the rest of the way. We finally anchored in Blunden Harbor at 7:15 PM in brisk northwest winds. By that time we elected to just have dinner and retire for the evening.


The weather continued foggy, about 1 mile visibility as we headed across Queen Charlotte Straits to Port Mcneill to re-provision, a trip of slightly over three hours in a moderate beam sea. The fog began to lift as we arrived at the marina, where we joined two other Selene's as well as the Westbay Sonship 58 "Seventh Wave", owned by Ray and Sue Biggs from our yacht club. We joined Ray and Sue for cocktails as the weather continued to clear and the wind continued to increase from the west. The skies have cleared and we hope the wind subsides.

We now show 3746 nautical miles on the log since May 1.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dixon Entrance

August 4, 2010

Yesterday we motored to Foggy Bay in glorious sunshine and flat seas. We anchored with several other vessels and watched the sun set while enjoying 75 degree weather. The next morning we headed out early into dense fog and swells that still had not dissipated at Foggy Bay as well as lots of gill netters between Foggy Bay and Cape Fox. The fog just got thicker and the swells higher as we headed out across Dixon Entrance, but little to no wind. As we got into the lee of Dundas Island the swells disappeared completely and we began to see a few targets on the radar and AIS.

Heading down Chatham Sound we decided to use Venn Passage, and as we entered Venn Passage, the fog burned off ahead of us (still foggy behind) and we entered Prince Rupert Harbor in sunny, clear skies.

We cleared Canada Customs and tied up at Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club where we will spend the next two days before continuing south. Looking west, the fog is still thick over Chatham Sound, but it is warm and sunny at the dock. We re-provisioned the boat with the items we could not bring across the border.

No pictures in the fog!

We now have 3397 nautical miles on the log.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Behm Canal

Our Behm Canal Route
An evening in Punchbowl Cove

New Eddystone Rock

Sean & Margaret Kayaking in Punchbowl Cove

Margot and Margaret enjoying the placid waters

The steep sides of Rudyerd Bay

This really looks like Norway

The back side of Punchbowl Cove

A brief glimpse into Walker Cove

Sean relaxing with a book in the sunshine

Cracking Crab
and working for dinner

Our evening dinner on the flybridge
Sean & Margaret made spring rolls

Celebrating Margaret's Birthday early!

July 25, 2010

We left City Floats in Ketchikan at 1020 and headed down Tongass Narrows under sunny skies into Revillagigedo Channel and the entrance to the Behm Canal, the passage of water that stretches some 130 miles around Revillagigedo Island. Right at the entrance to the Behm Canal a large group of purse seiners was fishing, so we got some good photos. Three years ago when we went through the Behm Canal it was foggy and raining, giving the name "Misty Fiords National Monument" true meaning. Today, however, we had clear skies and were able to get good photos of New Eddystone Rock, which is an ancient volcanic plug jutting up in the middle of the channel just outside Rudyerd Bay and Punchbowl Cove. When we arrived in Punchbowl Cove, it was deserted and the USFS buoy was vacant, so we tied up to it rather than anchor, although we have anchored here in the past. Both cartography systems (C-Map and Navionics) have the buoy in a significantly different location than the GPS indicated. The black cliffs of Punchbowl Cove are as spectacular as those in Princess Louisa Inlet. During the rest of the day we watched float planes landing further out in the bay with loads of sightseers from the cruise ships. The shrimp pots and crab pots were set and the kayaks were launched for paddles around Punchbowl Cove. The sunny weather allowed us to have dinner of crab cakes and flank steak with garlic roasted potatoes out on the aft boat deck when the tenders and kayaks were launched and out of the way.

July 26, 2010

Waking up to more sunshine and mild temperatures, we checked the crab pots and found 2 legal crabs, but no shrimp in the shrimp pots, just these curious creatures that look like a cross between a crab and a prawn, we called them "crimps" but later found they were "pinchbugs" or galatheid crabs. We decided to spend another day in Punchbowl Cove in the sunshine. All day long we watched one float plane after another land and spend 10 minutes taking photos before heading back to Ketchikan. Dinner was an extensive taco bar on the flybridge as we watched the sun set over the steep cliffs.

July 27, 2010

We headed out at 0930 after making a crab omelet and went further up Rudyerd Bay to look at the sheer cliffs and the "Rookery" before heading back out into the Behm Canal. We could have been in one of the Norwegian Fjords, the scenery is so similar. The weather continued to be sunny and warm as we set the shrimp pots in Saks Cove before anchoring in Fitzgibbon Cove several miles further up the canal. Fitzgibbon Cove turned out to have quite a bit of wind channeling in, but the bottom was mud and held well. At this end of the Behm Canal, the topography is far less spectacular than in Rudyerd Bay, the heart of "Misty Fiords". However, the water color is a strange green from all the glacial runoff into the canal. Even with the wind the temperature remained in the 70's until after 8PM. Margaret and Sean prepared chicken enchiladas with green sauce for dinner.

July 28, 2010

Waking up to another sunny morning we continued our journey around the Behm Canal. First we pulled the crab pots which contained 4 more legal crabs, and then went back to Saks Cove to retrieve the shrimp pots. There were just a few shrimp and a lot of "pinchbugs", but enough for part of our dinner. After Saks Cove we passed through Behm Narrows and motored past Bell Island Hot Springs, which has deteriorated even further in the three years since our last visit. Just a short distance away was Yes Bay, our destination for the evening. We anchored in the innermost cove and set the crab and shrimp pots in the next cove out. It was another warm and sunny day, so the kayaks and tender got a workout before a dinner prepared by everyone. Margot made appetizers, Patrick cooked crab cakes and Sean and Margaret made spring rolls with the shrimp and crab. We ate dinner out on the "sun deck" and then celebrated Margaret's August 9 birthday early with a surprise birthday cake baked by Miriam. We were also going to have a crab risotto, but decided we were too full of crab cakes and spring rolls.

July 29, 2010

For the first time in several days there were clouds in the sky when we got up. After a hearty breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy we pulled the anchor and headed for the crab and shrimp pots. The crab pots were empty, but we got a nice haul of coon striped shrimp before we headed for Naha Bay. We tried to tie up at the small public float, but we were really too big and there was a lot of current coming out of Roosevelt Lagoon, so we headed back out to Helm Bay on the Cleveland Peninsula, skirting the restricted area in the middle of the channel. We pulled into the public float area behind Fors Island and although there was empty space, the other occupants (apparently a commercial salmon fishing guide operation) quickly moved their small boats to fill the space and then called us on the radio with a story that the dock was high and dry at low tide, even though they had a Bayliner 38 and another large fishing boat tied up to the same dock. They also sent one of the small boats over to the USFS buoy to prevent us from considering that option(note: the buoy is in front of the USFS cabin, and when you have a cabin reservation you also have the buoy reserved, so we thought they were just protecting their rights). We decided we would not have wanted to tie up with such a negative reception (the first we had seen in SE Alaska). We continued to the head of Helm Bay and anchored in 90 feet of water in the middle of a field of crab pots. By now, the skies had finally clouded over and the wind had picked up, but it was still pleasantly warm.

Sean and Patrick cooked the crab and basil risotto that had been deferred from the night before and we relaxed watching a movie and looking for wildlife on the beach.

July 30, 2010

The skies are clearer than last night as we pull the anchor at 0815 enroute to Meyers Chuck. We passed the now empty dock behind Fors Island but did not go in to see how deep the water actually was, although the dock does look very close to shore near low tide. The dock at Meyers Chuck was full when we arrived so we anchored in the harbor, but no sooner had we launched the tender and gone ashore when a boat left, opening up a gap long enough for us. We pulled the anchor and tied up astern of a 42 foot Nordic Tug and across the dock from another one, both travelling together. After visiting the gallery and purchasing some handmade wood bowls we spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sun.

July 31, 2010

Another sunny morning as we departed at 0715 for Ketchikan, docking at City Floats in a brisk breeze shortly before noon. There were no cruise ships in today and most shops were closed as well as restaurants. Sean, Margaret and Margot depart tomorrow and John Duvall arrives to join us on the trip south. We went out for dinner at Annabelle's, one of the only places in town that was open. Although the weather is sunny, wind and seas too rough to cross Dixon Entrance are predicted for the next several days, so we plan on going to Foggy Bay and waiting for a favorable window.

We are now finishing up Day 92 of our trip and show 3240 nautical miles on the ship's log.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ketchikan Interlude

July 23, 2010

We are really glad we headed to Ketchikan early. Several of the cruise ships cancelled their stops in Ketchikan due to the high winds in the channel. However, by early afternoon, the front passed by and the skies cleared as we headed to the Ketchikan Yacht Club for their Friday evening BBQ. We really lucked out, as they had a fish fry of halibut and salmon prepared numerous ways along with salads and dessert. It was fun renewing connections from our last BBQ night three years ago. The Roche Harbor Yacht Club burgee we had left three years ago is still awaiting processing for display on the wall of the clubhouse, along with perhaps 40 other burgees. They will join about 140 burgees already on display.

July 24, 2010

This morning Ben and Connie departed and shortly after noon Sean, Margaret and Margot arrived via water taxi from the airport. We re-provisioned the boat at Safeway, discovering that no eggs were available since the barge was late, and the vegetables were scarce as well. While Patrick and Sean were at the store, a 42 foot Tollycraft made a disastrous attempt at docking. Spirit narrowly escaped being hit, but the 80 foot Alaskan ahead of us was not so lucky, sustaining several thousand dollars in damage to the hull. We had hoped to go to the Ketchikan Coffee Company for live jazz, but there was no music on Saturday night and so we decided that homemade pizza was a good option for dinner.

July 25, 2010

It looks like we will have a favorable weather window for the next few days as we head for the Behm Canal and Meyers Chuck and then return to Ketchikan. We will have no internet or phone service for several days.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Craig to Ketchikan

Fog Formations in Clarence Strait

Patrick At El Capitan Cave

Some of the 370 steps to cave entrance

The entrance

Lots of tubes and branches, don't get lost!

Some of the flowstone formations

This formation is called "drool"

Ben and one of the USFS Guides in the "Pool Room"

July 20, 2010

The weather continues fair and warm, for SE Alaska as we depart Craig and head back up towards El Capitan Passage. We have made reservations for a tour of El Capitan Caves for tomorrow morning, so we are just looking for an anchorage close by. Along the way we see numerous shrimp pots set, so we finally settle on Devilfish Bay as our destination since there is reputed to be a good prawn location close by. Along the way we sighted numerous humpback whales feeding. The entrance to Devilfish Bay has a large rock right in the middle, but we found the water to be over 20 feet deep on the south side between the rock and shore, with a width of about 100 feet. The bay is fairly long, and the wind funnels through a cut at the end, so we were not impressed with the location, although the anchor set well. We launched the tender and ran back out the entrance to set the pot, and then back to set both crab pots. There were several sea otters present, so the crabbing may be poor.

As the sun set, the wind abated and we had a peaceful night at anchor after a grilled salmon dinner.

July 21, 2010

Today is going to be a long day, so we were up pulling the crab pots at 0600 (only a flounder in one pot) and underway shortly thereafter, towing the tender out to the shrimp pot location. We did have a few dozen spot prawns in the pot, but a lot of effort for a small haul. We anchored across El Capitan Passage from the USFS float, which is falling apart and limited to boats of less than 25 feet. Ben and Patrick went ashore for a 0900 tour of the caves. There were only 4 people on the tour, and two USFS guides. Hard hats and flashlights are provided, and we suited up for the 370 step climb to the cave entrance. The tour is fascinating and the guides were really knowledgeable about both the cave and the surrounding flora and fauna. When we exited the caves, which are at a constant 40 degrees, it was raining. The tour takes a little over 2 hours, so by 1130 we were back on board Spirit with the anchor hoisted for the trip back through Dry Pass and the rest of El Capitan Passage. The second time through was much faster and by 1200 we were back in Shakan Strait. The rain abated, the wind was relatively calm, but we encountered patchy fog as we rounded Point Baker at the northwest tip of Prince of Wales Island. We continued to spot humpback whales and finally sighted some orcas in Sumner Strait. We were making good time, so we continued down Clarence Strait and into Coffman Cove. There was plenty of space on the public float, which has been rebuilt since our copy of the cruising guides was published. The float now goes out into the channel much further, so anchoring off the public float is not an option.

July 22, 2010

The weather report calls for deteriorating conditions and winds increasing to 30 knots in Clarence Strait, so we leave at 0700, determined to go straight through to Ketchikan, rather than overnight in Meyers Chuck. We stopped at Meyers Chuck for 1 hour so Ben and Connie could visit the gallery, and we stopped again near Ship Island and fished for a while, no luck, although the charter boats were doing well on pink and chum salmon. The charter boats were sharing the area with several humpback whales. The wind continued to hold off until we docked at City Floats in Ketchikan at 1600. The weather report has gone from small craft advisories to gale warnings, and the rain began, so we were glad to find a spot where we will not be kicked out by a fishing boats also running for cover from the gale.

The log now stands at 2867.5 nautical miles on day 83.

We all went uptown to a Chinese restaurant on Creek Street, which turned out to have pretty good food. The rain increased, along with the wind.
July 23, 2010
We woke up to a windy, rainy and bouncy morning, even sheltered behind the cruise ship "Norwegian Pearl". We are really glad we pushed on to Ketchikan, since Clarence Strait is likely miserable, and moorage is really scarce as everyone runs for cover. We would likely still be stuck in Meyers Chuck until tomorrow. The purse seiners continue to stream in looking for moorage. One of them reports that the wind is now blowing 40 knots out in Tongass Narrows when they came in. The reports from Dixon Entrance have seas at 10 feet and 30 knot winds. The rain is heavy enough we have to dog the wheelhouse doors to keep the water out. Patrick also doubled up the mooring lines since we are being blown off the dock with the winds right on the beam.
Ben and Connie headed up to sightsee and geocache, while Patrick and Miriam start getting the boat ready for Sean, Margaret and Margot's arrival in the morning.