Sunday, August 16, 2015

Petersburg to Port McNeill

July 27, 2015

We spent the day in Petersburg, in the rain, of course, which was heavy at times.  Patrick delivered two more boxes of fish to Community Cold Storage, making a total of 7 boxes awaiting shipment back home.

July 28, 2015

Departing Petersburg for the last time in 2015, Spirit headed south down Wrangell Narrows and then east to Wrangell.  The weather was calm, but with heavy rain.  Spirit was moored without incident in Heritage Harbor, Wrangell.

July 29, 2015

After walking to town in drenching rain, which we are getting very tired of, we spent the day relaxing on Spirit and then had an excellent dinner at the Stikine Inn.  The inn provides transportation both ways, so we managed to avoid walking in the rain both ways.

July 30, 2015

Patrick went fishing in the Grady White and returned with another halibut, pretty small at 30 inches, but enough for 4 meals for the two of us.  We sponsored a potluck halibut dinner on Spirit with the Lennon’s and Davidson’s on the Selene 53’s “Tranquility” and “Three Wishes”.

July 31, 2015

After a last minute walk into town for provisions, we departed Wrangell and headed south through Zimovia Strait to Santa Anna Inlet.  We decided to not set prawn pots and enjoyed an evening without rain, although it had rained most of the day.

Old Machinery in Santa Anna Inlet

Fog coming over the trees in Santa Anna Inlet

August 1, 2015

Retracing our northbound route under sunny skies down Ernest Sound to Clarence Strait and into Tongass Narrows, we arrived in Ketchikan to find the docks full.  We spent some time fueling Spirit with diesel, gasoline and propane and then anchored north of Pennock Island.  We had no sooner set the anchor when the harbormaster called with a berth that had opened up in Bar Harbor.  Quickly pulling the anchor we headed into Bar Harbor where we tied up at the end of Float 10.  There was plenty of space, but no power, and the slip was exposed to all the wakes from passing boats and seaplanes, so the tender bounced all over, and even Spirit rolled heavily at times.

August 2, 2015

We played tourist in the rain, which returned overnight, and assessed our provisions for entry into Canada in a few days.  All the chicken was cooked, along with hard boiling the eggs, and potatoes were converted into salad.  That evening we had a great dinner at the Bar Harbor restaurant, which has moved downtown to cruise ship berth 4.

August 3, 2015

We slipped the lines from Bar Harbor in heavy rain at 0810 and headed south down Tongass Narrows.  Stopping near Mountain Point we fished and released three pink salmon.  Continuing south down Revillagigedo Channel we stopped again north of Mary Island and fished for halibut, where Miriam landed a 37 inch fish.  In the process of fishing, Patrick punctured his finger on a dirty halibut hook, but thought nothing of it at the time. Continuing south, we stopped at Foggy Bay for the evening.  By sunset there were five boats anchored in the inner bay.

August 4, 2015

Departing Foggy Bay at 0505, we headed out in rain and had to dodge gillnetters, logs and deal with wind and seas until we were south of Cape Fox.  When Patrick got up, his finger which was punctured had swollen, was oozing pus and looked ugly.  The wind ended, the seas were just gentle swells, but the rain persisted all day.  We docked at Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club at 1335 local time after the 51 nautical mile trip.  After finding out that there were no walk-in clinics in Prince Rupert, Patrick walked the 1 ½ miles to the emergency room at the hospital.  The doctors confirmed a potentially serious bacterial infection which needed IV antibiotics, so an IV line was put in and after the first treatment, Patrick walked back with the IV line still in place, but covered with gauze.  The process for a US citizen is “cash up front” and the emergency room fee is $975 Canadian, but they take Visa.  The whole process took over four hours for the first visit, with two more visits scheduled.  Internet searches revealed that fish and sea water are full of nasty bacteria which can get into the blood stream from fish hook puncture wounds, and can be fatal if left untreated.

Another note:  The city is building a new marina at Atlin Terminal to help the transient moorage situation.  The docks are designed for larger boats (greater than 50 feet), and should be finished by the end of the summer.  The new marina should relieve the tight moorage situation we all deal with, since we all have to clear Canadian Customs at Prince Rupert when southbound.

August 5, 2015

We resupplied Spirit with fresh produce and Patrick made another trip to the ER for another dose of antibiotics via IV.  The finger is responding well, with the swelling and redness rapidly receding.  This time it took only two hours.  Dinner was at the Cow Bay CafĂ©, which we highly recommend.  The rain held off for the evening, so we could have eaten on the deck of the restaurant, if it had not already been full.

August 6, 2015

Another rainy day in Prince Rupert.  Patrick’s last visit to the ER only took a little over one hour for the last IV antibiotic infusion, after which the IV was finally removed from Patrick’s left wrist.  The doctor prescribed an additional 7 day course of oral antibiotics, but felt that the aggressive IV treatment was successful.

August 7, 2015

With medical clearance to finally leave Prince Rupert, we pulled out shortly after 0900 and headed out in heavy rain, southbound towards Grenville Channel.  Entering Grenville Channel we were pleased to see that we had cell phone coverage until we were south of Baker Inlet.  The currents were not favorable, and were as much as three times higher than the predicted values, so we did not arrive in Lowe Inlet until 1830, having covered only 58 nautical miles.  But nightfall there were 10 pleasure vessels anchored in Lowe Inlet, with 8 in Nettle Basin alone.

Verney Falls was running hard, Coho salmon were jumping, but we saw no bears this evening.  The Coho were not biting either.

Verney Falls,, Nettle Basin

August 8, 2015

The rain continued overnight and into the morning.  Nonetheless we tried fishing, but with not even a bite, though there were fish jumping all around.  Also, no bears, and according to one boat that had been there all week, there had been no bears for 4 or 5 days.  In mid-afternoon the rain stopped and we went for a photo cruise in the Grady White.  By nightfall there were 10 boats anchored in Nettle Basin, so the parade south has really begun.

August 9, 2015

After a leisurely morning in the rain, we pulled the anchor from the bottom of Nettle Basin and headed out into Grenville Channel.  As we headed south into Princess Royal Channel the rain lowered visibility to less than ½ mile and we were reminded of the dense fog we experienced going north three months ago.  This time, however, the rain stopped as we approached Butedale, so we could see the continued decay.  There was one boat moored at the remains of the dock, and the vessel following us also stopped there for the evening.  We continued south and entered Khutze Inlet.  Knowing there were several AIS targets in at the head of the inlet and knowing the limited room for anchoring we anchored instead in 60 feet of water on the inside of Green Spit.  We had anchored there in 2010 and by evening we were joined by 5 other vessels.  The winds were calm and the anchorage was very satisfactory.

Butedal continues to deteriorate

Gull in Khutze Inlet, Green Spit

Sailboat emerging from the fog, Khutze Inlet

August 10, 2015

There was patchy fog in the morning, especially further into Khutze Inlet.  To make best use of tides we left at 0905 and continued south down Princess Royal Channel under sunny skies after the fog lifted.  We had timed our arrival at Hiekish Narrows for slack water so that was a non-event since currents can run to 5 knots.  By 1245 we entered and anchored in Bottleneck Inlet.  The sun sent the temperature soaring, so we were soon down to shorts.  Patrick went fishing for Coho, but no luck.  By evening, as we cooked London Broil on the BBQ there were 9 vessels in the inlet.  One of those was “Voyager”, from Long Beach, that had been at anchor at Bottleneck Inlet in May as we headed north.  We had a chance to meet the live-aboard owners in Petersburg several weeks ago.

Spirit anchored among the vessels in Bottleneck Inlet

August 11, 2015

By 0600 four of the vessels had already departed the placid waters of Bottleneck Inlet.  Spirit departed at 0900 for the 45 mile journey to Shearwater.  Finlayson Channel was calm and the tide was favorable, so we headed out into Milbanke Sound to save one hour on the journey.  There was a lot of debris in Finlayson, including some large trees with the root balls apparently still attached floating in mid-channel.  Passing Ivory Point we readied the fishing gear and a few minutes later stopped at Idol point where we caught one Coho and released a small Pink salmon.  By 1630 we were anchored outside the breakwater at Shearwater.  The docks were full, but the anchorage is good and it is free.

Large trees floating in Finlayson Channel

August 12, 2015

After shopping for some fresh produce at the store we pulled the anchor and headed down Lama Passage to Fisher Channel and Fitz Hugh Sound.  We diverted from the deep water route and went down Ward Channel and across to Meay Channel and into a foggy anchorage at Pruth Bay.  There were already nine boats anchored, and by nightfall there were 15.

August 13, 2015

The anchorage had emptied out by 0900, down to 6 boats.  We headed out fishing in the Grady White and returned shortly after noon with another nice Coho.  The sun came out and although the breeze picked up, it was still pleasant.  By evening the anchorage had filled back up with 12 pleasure craft, but there is plenty of room.  The free wifi from the Hakai Beach Institute was suitable for e-mails, but each session is limited to 100 MB of traffic.

August 14, 2015

Although the weather report was not ideal, with the West Sea Otter buoy reading 7.2 feet, the lighthouse reports for Egg Island and Pine Island reported only a low westerly swell, less than 1 foot chop and minimal winds, so at 0715 we headed out from Pruth Bay and down Fitz Hugh Sound.  There were a number of humpback whales feeding in both Pruth Bay and Fitz High Sound, as well as many small sport fishing boats working the shoreline of Calvert Island.  As we cleared the tip of Calvert Island the swell increased, nearly on the beam and we could see a fog bank in the distance.  We kept going and the swells increased to an average of 7 feet, with some twice as high as we passed Egg Island.  We wonder what the definition of a “Low Westerly Swell” is, since it was matching the West Sea Otter readings, which by then had increased to 2.4 meters or 8 feet.  With Cape Caution now only a few miles away we kept going and when 2 miles abeam of the cape we were able to alter course so the swells were now almost directly on the stern.  Surfing down the swells, which gradually diminished as we proceeded, we finally entered Allison Harbor and were anchored by 1425, after a 54 nautical mile day.  The harbor was initially empty, but by early evening there were four of us anchored in the soft mud bottom.  Setting the anchor gently to avoid plowing a channel across the bay, we relaxed and prepared Spirit for the final 36 nautical mile run to Port McNeill in the morning.  There are several hazards in Allison Harbor and we took a picture of one to show the difference at low and mid tide.

Humpback feeding near beach, Pruth Inlet

Reef at low tide, Allison Harbor

Same reef at mid tide, Allison Harbor

August 15, 2015

Since we wanted to maximize the boost from the flood tide southbound in Queen Charlotte Strait we delayed our departure from Allison Harbor until after 0900.  It was a good plan, but the reality was that the boost did not materialize until we were almost at Port McNeill.  What did happen was that the swell we had experienced the previous day had persisted and made Spirit roll for several hours until we could alter course and get the swells directly astern.  However, there was no wind and mostly sunny skies, along with several humpback whale sightings, so it was a pleasant transit to Port McNeill.  We docked at 1405 and found we had just missed Orca Fest, the annual parade and celebration we had seen last year.  We met up with several cruising friends for dinner at Gus’s Pub near the head of the docks and shared fishing stories from the summer cruising season.

Humpbacks in Queen Charlotte Strait

We have now travelled just under 3000 nautical miles since our departure from Anacortes 116 days ago.