Friday, August 23, 2013

Port McNeill to Dent Island

August 17
We spent the day enjoying “Orca Fest” in Port McNeill, starting with a local small town parade and booths selling various items and food.  We indulged in salmon burgers for only $5.   In the afternoon we borrowed the van from the Port McNeill Fuel Dock and drove to Port Alice, a small community near the end of Quatsino Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  There was not much there of interest.  After driving back we again went with Pat and Alex Benson to the Northern Lights restaurant for another good meal. We will probably not see them again until September.

August 18

We departed Port McNeill at 0830 in patchy fog, but with no wind. Arriving at Shawl Bay at 1310 we joined about 5 other boats at the marina.  Patrick set the prawn pots in Moore Bay and then we went to Gary and Lenore Timm's boat, at anchor in Moore bay for prawns and drinks before doing an evening test pull of one of the pots which netted 14 nice sized prawns.

August 19

After the pancake breakfast included in the moorage at Shawl Bay we pulled the pots, getting 30 more prawns, not a lot, but better than nothing.  We got underway at 1020 and while in Spring Passage we stopped for a black bear that was swimming across the channel.  We headed up Knight Inlet and down Clio Channel, anchoring in Potts Lagoon.  Patrick set the prawn pots and then we visited another Selene, “Josie”, which moors on the same dock at Anacortes.  There was only one other boat in the inner lagoon.  It was a very quiet evening anchored in a sheltered lagoon in 15 feet of water.

August 20
Patrick headed out in the fog to pull the prawn pots, netting 98 nice prawns.  We pulled the anchor at 1000 and headed back up Clio Channel, down Chatham Channel, boosted by the current, and pulled back into Port Harvey at 1315.  Patrick set the prawn pots and then we visited with Barbara and Archie Matthew on Blue Heron, a beautifully restored 65 foot William Garden design, who we have met several times both this year and in previous year’s travels.

August 21
The prawn catch was miserable for the effort, only 8 prawns.  After cleaning up the boat from the prawning, we left under sunny skies from Port Harvey and headed in Johnstone Strait, boosted by the flood tide for a portion of the trip.  Turning into Mayne Channel we ran into a large school of Pacific Whiteside Porpoise that put on a great show for a few minutes.  We tied up at Blind Channel resort at 1435 and enjoyed a nice meal in their restaurant.

August 22
We departed Blind Channel a little early to make slack water at Dent Rapids, after watching other boats struggle up Mayne Channel against the 6 knot current.  We picked a slightly different route and avoided the worst of the current, never dropping below 5 knots of boat speed.  The higher than planned speed meant we deliberately slowed down to 5 knots to avoid arriving too early at Dent Rapids.  We finally went through at 1125, about 20 minutes ahead of slack water, without any difficulty.  We docked at Dent Island Lodge at 1230, having to wait for a dock space to clear.  After washing the boat we had a tapas style dinner at the Rapids Grill, with the same menu as one month earlier, but with a different chef.

August 23

After deciding to stay another day at Dent Island, we hired a guide, “Cam” for a morning of fishing, since we felt our tender was too small to take out in the rapids with the large tides.  We kept one 13 pound Chinook salmon and one 7 pound hatchery Coho, a rare find!  We released three wild Coho, which you cannot keep, as well as three undersize Chinooks.  A good morning of fishing with a total of 8 fish hooked up.  After fishing until 1300, we returned and relaxed before dinner in the main dining room at the lodge.  Both of us had the halibut entrée.

Shawl Bay Marina

Our swimming black bear

Scene from Potts Lagoon

Our prawn catch in Potts Lagoon

Pacific Whiteside Porpoise

Porpoise 2

Dinner at Dent Island Rapids Grill

Parade Float at Port McNeill Orcafest

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Echo Bay to Port McNeill

August 11

After departing Echo Bay we fished our way down Cramer Pass, snagging one quillback rockfish and no salmon.  Steel Tiger entered Waddington Bay ahead of us, and after clearing away the fishing equipment we headed into Waddington Bay and rafted alongside Steel Tiger.  Crab pots were readied and placed around the bay.  By late afternoon they had yielded 3 large Dungeness Crabs.

By late afternoon the bay had 14 boats anchored, but there was room for more.

After appetizers and dinner aboard Steel Tiger we watched a movie on the making of “The Life of Pi”.

August 12

Breakfast was aboard Spirit, with fruit, biscuits and sausage gravy.  After finishing breakfast, the crab pots were checked and yielded 5 more crabs, so dinner tonight will be crab.

We headed out at 1040 for the short trip to Mound Island and were rafted alongside Steel Tiger at 1250 in heavy rain.  By afternoon the skies were clearing and the rain was letting up.  The three men took a sightseeing tour out into Blackfish Sound and were greeted with Humpback whales, but no cameras.

Returning to the raft-up the crabs were cleaned and boiled in a mixture of spices for dinner that night on Steel Tiger.  We gorged ourselves and still had plenty for a crab omelet in the morning.   After dinner we watched a movie, “The Illusionist”, on Spirit.

August 13

The crab pots we had set yielded only one Dungeness crab.  About 1000 we broke up the raft-up and Steel Tiger left for Port McNeill to drop off their guests, Cheryl and Denny Berg.  Spirit headed out Whitebeach Passage into Blackfish Sound and had to stop suddenly as a Humpback whale surfaced right ahead of the bow.  We cleared the whale by less than 50 feet.  There were also pods of Orca in the area and we loitered for about one hour trying to get good photos.

Continuing up Blackfish Sound we headed back into the islands via Arrow Passage and re-anchored in Waddington Bay.  The crab pots were reset in the attempt to entice a few more crabs to become our dinner.  Later that afternoon we headed out in the tender to watch a Humpback whale feeding just outside the bay.

The crab pots yielded 2 more crab, so dinner was crab and salad.

August 14

The morning check of the crab pots had only females in the pots.  The rain started in the early morning and continued until we departed Waddington Bay for the short run into Port McNeill to re-provision the fresh vegetables.

The wind increased to 31 knots across Blackfish Sound and then decreased to 20 knots as we docked at Port McNeill.  It was like reunion time, with many friends from previous trips all gathered to shelter from the southeast gale that was blowing through the area.  The rain was heavy at times as we docked and shopped at the stores for supplies.

We shared dinner on the Selene 53 “Wild Blue”, with fresh halibut and salad, followed by Saskatoon Berry pie and ice cream for dessert.

August 15

The wind decreased overnight, but we did have rain again. In the morning we washed the boat, still dirty after all the rain and then greeted Mike and Kathy Hambelton on the Selene 60 “Raindancer”.  Six of us gathered on Spirit for a grilled salmon dinner with mushroom risotto and salad.  The party continued late into the night.  We again had rain overnight and the wind picked up again as another low pressure system approached Vancouver Island.

August 16

The morning brought brisk winds from the south, but the rain disappeared.  We decided to try the “Northern Lights” restaurant in Port McNeill and we were pleasantly surprised with good food, large servings and fair prices, along with a great view of the bay.  This restaurant is definitely a place to go back to.  Miriam and I had the fresh halibut, along with an oyster appetizer and Caesar salads.  The halibut was topped with crab and shrimp and a béarnaise sauce and was very tasty.  After dinner we headed back to the marina for a long nights sleep before seeing “Orca Fest” tomorrow in Port McNeill.

Spirit and Steel Tiger rafted at Mound Island

Crab from Waddington Bay

Crab Feed on Steel Tiger

Movie Night on Spirit

Whale feeding outside Waddington Bay

Close Encounter in Whitebeach Passage


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sullivan Bay to Echo Bay

August 7

After a pleasant evening in Sullivan Bay we departed for Echo Bay in foggy conditions a little after 1000 for the short trip to Pierre’s at Echo Bay, intending to have the Wednesday night BBQ Prime Rib.  We arrived and were moored by 1220.  The fog lifted by 1130, so the last half of the trip was in sunshine, a weather pattern we would experience for the next several days.
After arrival we launched the tender and set the prawn pots, intending to repeat our experience at Kwatsi Bay.
The dinner was good, with a large buffet in addition to generous servings of prime rib.

August 8

A morning check of the prawn pots gave us nothing except hermit crabs.  We reset the pots in new locations and then tried finding Coho salmon with the tender.  No luck.  This evening was Italian night at Pierre’s, with both lasagna and spaghetti with meat sauce, both tasty.  Our original plan was to leave the next morning, but we finally contacted Johnsons on Steel Tiger and they were headed for Echo Bay from Port McNeill, so we decided to just stay for a few days and do the pig roast on Saturday evening.
The evening check of the prawn pots gave us only 4 prawns and more hermit crabs.  Salmon fishing was also unsuccessful.

August 9

There were only 4 more prawns in the pot, and we had another unsuccessful day of fishing, but no one was catching anything.  Although Pierre’s advertises cell phone service, we found it to be extremely unreliable and nearly useless.
The weather pattern of overcast mornings and sunny afternoons continues.

August 10

This morning we motored over in the tender from Steel Tiger and visited Billy Proctor’s museum around the corner from Echo Bay.  The museum was an interesting collection of stuff from around the area, including Native American artifacts.  After lunch we all went to the Burdwood group and explored an island with a white midden beach.  We also checked out anchoring opportunities in the Burdwood Group, identifying the location of stern tie rings since there is not enough swinging room for normal anchoring.  These islands look good only in settled weather and are only a few miles from Echo Bay.
We pulled our prawn pots out of the water after another dismal catch.  The pots were either empty or filled with a collection of small pink scallops, hairy tritons, box crabs and hermit crabs.
We attended the pig roast, with a pirate theme and then watched the movie “Life of Pi” with the crew of Steel Tiger.

August 11

Another overcast morning with a wind direction change predicted by this evening from northwest to southeast and a chance of showers.  The longer term forecast is for several days of southeast winds with a chance of rain.

Our destination today is Waddington Bay.

Billy Proctor's Museum

Island in Burdwood Group

Midden Beach, Burdwood Group

Layers of Clam Shells, Midden Beach

Pierre and the pig!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kwatsi Bay to Sullivan Bay

August 4 – Kwatsi Bay

At 0130 we started losing lock on the GPS, with alarms going off, so we finally just shut down the navigation system entirely, except for the wind and depth sounder.  We are so well anchored that it is not much of a risk to not have the anchor alarm.
Getting up a little after 0800 we enjoyed calm water and no wind, tucked back into our cove.  The skies are overcast and the temperature is about 64 degrees.
By 1100, the skies had cleared so we began the process of releasing the stern line and recovering the tender, all accomplished without incident.  At 1200 the anchor was up and we idled out the bay for the short trip top Kwatsi Bay.  We arrived at 1250 and tied up.  There is a potluck dinner at 1800, so we first placed three prawn pots and then cooked both a crab and artichoke dip and a penne pasta dish with meatballs to share.  The dinner was good, but by the time we finished we had to leave the prawn pots until the morning to see what we had gathered.

At anchor in Wahkana Bay

Morning reflections in our private cove

August 5 – Kwatsi Bay

The morning pull of the prawn pots had 31 nice sized spot prawns, not a huge amount, but enough for a big meal.  While pulling the pots Patrick was surrounded by a school of Pacific Whiteside Porpoise that were leaping out of the water and racing under the boat.  The dolphins are hard to photograph, especially while pulling in the pots.  The overcast skies cleared about noon and it was sunny the rest of the day.  The social gathering on the dock was potluck appetizers at 1700 and by then the marina was full.  Full means about 10 boats depending on size.  The evening pull of the prawn pots gave us 36 more large spot prawns.

Kwatsi Bay Marina

Some of our spot prawn catch

A very dry Lacy Falls
August 6 – Kwatsi Bay to Sullivan Bay

The low overcast returned overnight, but the winds are calm.  Checking the prawn pots gave us 26 large spot prawns for a total of 93, enough for at least four meals based on the size.  We waited until 1050 to depart, since the sun was beginning to burn through the clouds and headed for Sullivan Bay to re-provision with fresh vegetables, if available.

We passed by Lacy Falls, totally dry this time of year and continued west in Tribune Channel, arriving at Sullivan Bay shortly before 1400.  There was a line outside the store waiting for the fresh goods to be unloaded.  We joined the line and got lettuce, eggs and some wine, refilling the larder.  Sullivan Bay has a happy hour on the dock at 1700.  There is no cell phone service here, nor was there any at Kwatsi Bay.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Maltipi to Kwatsi Bay

August 2 – Cutter Cove

The morning began with light rain and calm winds.  After stowing the tender we pulled the anchor at 1010 and headed to Chatham Channel where we misjudged the tidal currents.  We should have waited an hour or more.  We had currents of more than 5 knots against us.  It is still only a short distance to Cutter Cove, our destination for the evening.  By 1120 we were anchored and by noon the crab pots were set.  Shortly we set the prawn pots, but the current in Chatham Channel led us to retrieve one and add more lead weights to keep it in position.  Cutter Cove is good anchorage, but totally exposed to the afternoon westerlies, which hit 24 knots by 1900.

An evening check of the prawn pots came up with one measly spot prawn, which was released.  The crab pot had one nice sized crab, but soft shell, so he was released also.  The guides warn about the exposure to westerlies in Cutter Cove and they are correct.  Although excellent holding we sailed back and forth in the gusts more than 110 degrees all night.

August 3 – Wahkana Bay

The skies were overcast when we arose, and the west wind is still blowing, just not as hard.  It has not rained, but with the temperature only 59 degrees and the low clouds, rain is predicted.  The morning check of the single crab pot we left out overnight gave us four legal hard-shell Dungeness crab, all of them over 7 inches in measurement across the shell.  By 0930 they were in the cooker being steamed for lunch and dinner.  At 1130 we pulled the anchor under still overcast skies and headed across Knight Inlet and up Tribune Channel.  Knight Inlet was choppy due to the wind blowing against the current, but Tribune Channel was glassy smooth until we turned the corner at Irvine Point where the west wind peaked up to 18 knots on the nose and the seas got a little choppy.  By now, the skies had cleared and we entered Wahkana Inlet.  As soon as we entered the inlet, the wind died.  The head of the inlet is almost totally landlocked and about 115 feet deep in the center with steep sides around most of the inlet; making stern ties a good choice.  We tucked into a little cove on the west side and put a stern line ashore.  The water was deep to within 10 feet of the shoreline.  Except for a few gusts to 12 knots the wind stayed between 0 – 4 knots from the west, sheltered by the trees close to shore.  Later in the evening two sailboats also entered and anchored elsewhere in the inlet.

The hills surrounding the inlet are so steep that the TV satellite does not work, and we lose the GPS occasionally, so the anchor alarm may not work
The crab we caught in the morning became pasta with Alfredo sauce later, along with the last of the kale salad from the Costco in Vancouver.

We have now travelled 281 nautical miles since leaving Anacortes.

August 4 – Kwatsi Bay

At 0130 we started losing lock on the GPS, with alarms going off, so we finally just shut down the navigation system entirely, except for the wind and depth sounder.  We are so well anchored that it is not much of a risk to not have the anchor alarm.

Getting up a little after 0800 we enjoyed calm water and no wind, tucked back into our cove.  The skies are overcast and the temperature is about 64 degrees.

By 1100, the skies had cleared so we began the process of releasing the stern line and recovering the tender, all accomplished without incident.  At 1200 the anchor was up and we idled out the bay for the short trip to Kwatsi Bay.  We arrived at 1250 and tied up.  There is a potluck dinner at 1800, so we first placed three prawn pots and then cooked both a crab and artichoke dip and a penne pasta dish with meatballs to share.  The dinner was good, but by the time we finished we had to leave the prawn pots until the morning to see what we had gathered  since it was now dark!

Misc. Pictures

We now have a few pictures while we are at Kwatsi Bay, but no cell phone!
Heron at Dent Island

Dinner at the Rapids Grill, Dent Island

Port Harvey

Rapids Grill menu

Our Meager Prawn Cocktails, Port Harvey

Fog over Johnstone Strait

Midden at Matilpi

Sunset At Matil[pi
Cutter Cove
Landslides n Tribune Channel

Spirit anchored in Wahkana Bay

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dent Island to Matilpi

July 28 – Dent Island

Another sunny day at Dent Island as the boats which were leaving at high slack water topped off their fresh water tanks, had breakfast and said goodbye to the new acquaintances from dinner the night before.  As those boats left, new arrivals took their places until the docks were once again full.  We went up for lunch on the deck and after lunch Patrick prepared the tender for salmon fishing.  Patrick headed out Canoe Passage through the small rapids and north to Denham Bay, only about 3 miles.  There were several other boats fishing.  After less than 30 minutes trolling with the downrigger at 125 feet, in 180 feet of water, Patrick had a fish on.  While reeling it in, he realized the net was still stowed so when the fish was alongside the tender he just grabbed the leader and flipped a 6 ½ pound Coho into the boat, then put one foot on it and pacified it with the toy baseball bat we carry for that purpose.  With no ice chest in the tender, Patrick headed back, with the entire round trip taking only a little over one hour.

We quickly filleted the fish and vacuum sealed it for the freezer.  We decided that we were too full from lunch, so ate dinner on board, chicken, sautéed gnocchi with asparagus, and a salad.

July 29 – On to Port Harvey

High Slack water this morning at Dent Rapids was at 1030, so we left at 1015 and continued north, up Cordero Channel to Greene Point Rapids, now in full ebb of about 5 knots based on our speed over the ground of 13 knots, then into Chancellor Channel and up Wellbore Channel through Whirlpool Rapids, ebbing at 4.2 knots.  The weather sounded good in Johnstone Strait, so we bypassed one potential anchorage in Forward Harbour and headed for Port Harvey.  Johnstone Strait was fairly calm, with only a few patches of tide rips and wind.  We docked at Port Harvey Marina at 1625, having covered 51 nautical miles in a little over 6 hours.  Port Harvey Marina was full; we took the last space and ended up allowing another boat to raft alongside.  Dinner was chicken Caesar salad on board since the Red Shoe Restaurant was fully booked.

July 30 – Port Harvey

The boat rafted alongside left at 0600, with the skies already sunny.  By 0800 fog had moved in as the boats heading south departed to take advantage of the flood tide in Johnstone Strait.  We are staying another night so we went up and had fresh cinnamon rolls and coffee.  Later in the morning we put out two prawn pots and two crab pots and then socialized on the dock until late afternoon when a check of the pots revealed only 4 large spot prawns, enough for a prawn and avocado cocktail for an appetizer.  We had one nice Dungeness crab in the pots also.  Dinner was at the “Red Shoe” restaurant on the barge at Port Harvey where we shared a table with three other couples who we have crossed paths with over the past several years.

July 31 - Matilpi

A morning check of the crab pots revealed one more large Dungeness crab, which was quickly cleaned and steamed for our lunch.  We departed Port Harvey at 1055 in spotty fog and headed just a few miles to the abandoned Indian village of Matilpi.  We anchored in 60 feet of water off of the midden from the abandoned village in sunny skies at 1215.  After converting the morning’s crab into cheddar and crab open faced sandwiches, Patrick placed two crab pots in the bay and two prawn pots in Call Inlet.  An evening check of the pots gave us no crab, and only 13 large prawns, hardly worth the effort.  However, the prawns and crab from Port Harvey were converted into large salads with more avocado.

August 1 - Matilpi

After a brief rain shower, the sun reappeared and a check of the crab pots showed nothing but starfish.  We are not going to waste any more time or bait looking for crab at Matilpi.  With the meager prawn catch we are leaving those pots on board also.  While charging the batteries with the generator we are doing laundry and making fresh water.  The skies have clouded  over, although it looks sunnier further up into the Broughton Archipelago.
Pictures when we have a higher bandwidth connection!