Saturday, October 3, 2015

Alaska 2015 - The Final Chapter

Alaska 2015 – The Final Chapter

We have not posted in more than six weeks as we retraced our route over familiar anchorages and marinas.  The weather, by and large, had improved since we have arrived in the Broughton’s, but we still had many days of heavy rain and some wind.  The fishing gear has been mostly stowed away and we are just meandering our way to our home port of Anacortes.  Even new photo opportunities are fewer, but we enjoy the relaxed pace.

August 16, 2015

Port McNeill

August 17, 2015

After two days in Port McNeill, Spirit left the dock and headed north around Malcolm Island and then a rhumb line to Wells Passage across a flat calm Queen Charlotte Strait.  Entering Napier Bay we rafted to Steel Tiger, who we last saw in Sitka.  The weather was overcast, then partly sunny.

August 18, 2015

We fished from the Grady White in Wells Passage near James Point.  Very foggy at first, so the radar was useful.  Discovering a large bait ball, we trolled though it and had immediate luck.  Two humpback whales were also searching for food, so we had to keep clear of them.  We kept 2 Coho, one 11 pounds, one 5 ½ pounds.  Sunny in afternoon.
Afternoon cocktails on Steel Tiger, Napier Bay

Steel Tiger and Teri's Mink

August 19, 2015

Timing our departure from Napier Bay for slack water in Stuart Narrows, we headed into Drury inlet and rafted to Steel Tiger in Macgowan Bay.

After anchoring we all made a trip up Acteon Passage in the Grady White.  The entire end of Drury is a Rockfish Conservation Area, so no fishing is allowed.  Returning to the raft-up, we found the bottom conditions would not hold the anchors, so both Spirit and Steel Tiger moved locations and anchored separately.

August 20, 2015

We made a trip to Jennis Bay in “Teri’s Mink”, then hunted for Ling Cod.  Wind came up and no luck with fishing.

August 21, 2015

Spirit departed early to hit slack tide at Stuart Narrows.  Steel Tiger headed for Port McNeill and then south.  Spirit re-anchored in Napier Bay and enjoyed the solitude and sunshine.

August 22, 2015

Another sunny day.  Patrick took the Grady White fishing.  Released one Coho and 7 small rockfish

August 23, 2015

Arriving in Sullivan Bay, we fished from dock for halibut, lots of bites.  DFO inspection, we were OK.  Set menu dinner at restaurant of Chicken Alfredo and accompaniments.

General Store at Sullivan Bay,not Safeway!

August 24, 2015

We made the short trip to Pierre’s Echo Bay in sunny weather.
Prime Rib dinner night.  “Seeker” arrived.  We last saw them in Sitka.

August 25, 2015

Travelling just a few miles to Cullen Harbour, we anchored.  Fished, but no luck.

August 26, 2015

Cullen Harbour
Day Fished from Grady White, no luck.

August 27, 2015

Back to Port McNeill for the final time in 2015.
Dinner at Sportsman Steakhouse with Alex Benson (Wild Blue), and Len and Vera from the Selene 53 Chatham II.  Patrick installed a temporary VHF radio to replace a failed wheelhouse unit.

August 28, 2015

Spirit departed for Port Harvey.
Rain, heavy at times.  Reconnected with Montgomery’s on the Selene 55 “Rendezvous”.  We shared a Pizza dinner on board “Spirit”.

August 29, 2015

Port Harvey
Port Harvey Yacht Club annual general meeting.  Only 6 members (3 boats), so election of new officers was deferred until next July.  George and Gail prepared BBQ baby back pork ribs for dinner.  Rain, again heavy at times.

Gail and George with the pork ribs for the PHYC annual meeting

August 30, 2015

Shoal Bay, Cordero Channel
Departed early from Port Harvey to hit high slack tide at Whirlpool rapids and beat predicted winds of 30-40 knots in afternoon.  Intended destination of Thurston Bay was abandoned after circuiting the bay and finding no safe anchorage from the predicted high winds.  Returned to Shoal Bay and rafted to “Magic Moment” (Glenn and Liz Dodge from RHYC), just in front of “Miners Debt” (Tom and Chris Miner, also RHYC).  Rain, heavy at times as we enjoyed the funky “pub” and then a potluck dinner on “Magic Moment”.

August 31, 2015

Dent Island Lodge
Spirit departed Shoal Bay at 1020 for the short run to Dent Island Lodge, timing our arrival at Dent Rapids for low slack water.  By 1215 we were docked.  There were only 8 vessels at the docks.  We had dinner at the “Rapids Grill”, a six course tasting menu, which was very good.

Unusual to see a heron in a tree, Dent Island

September 1, 2015

Dent Island Lodge
Day fishing from the Grady White in the morning.  No luck, but were probably fishing too deep.  Not all boats were catching fish.  Patrick took the Jet Boat ride in the rapids at maximum flood tide in the afternoon.  The whirlpools were amazing and makes one respect the power of the rapids.  The bachelor male Stellar sea lions cavort and fish in the rapids and spend the winter on Jimmy Judd Island.  Dinner was in the main dining room.  Rain, heavy at times.

Jet Boat departing up Canoe Pass to ride rapids

Mermaid Bay with Tug nameboards

Bachelor Stellar Sea Lions, Jimmy Judd Island

Overfall at Arran Rapids

September 2, 2015

Dent Island Lodge
Remained at the lodge for another day, since the weather was heavy rain all day in any event.  A nice lunch at the lodge.

September 3, 2015

Drew Harbour, Rebecca Spit

We headed out from Dent Island at 0800 to make use of the last few minutes of the flood tide in Yuculta Rapids.  Three hours later we were anchored in Drew Harbour (Rebecca Spit), where we viewed a trenmdous rainbow after three days of rain, and then had a nice lunch at the Heriot Bay Inn.  The balance of the mostly sunny day was spent putting away the fishing gear for the season.

Rainbow approaching Rebecca Spit

September 4, 2015

Drew Harbour, Rebecca Spit

September 5, 2015

At 0815 we pulled the anchor from the excellent holding in Drew Harbour and headed directly for Comox Harbour under sunny skies.  We had never crossed the Comox Bar and carefully followed the range marks in, seeing water depths near high tide of 25 feet.  Comox Harbour had good docks, but fairly shallow water, only about 7 feet at zero tide.  After walking the main street, we finally decided on Martine’s Bistro for dinner.  The food and service were both excellent.

September 6-7, 2015

Since we had a 54 nautical mile run to Nanaimo, we departed Comox at 0805 and headed down west of Denman Island, past the large oyster farms near Fanny Bay.  We exited the channel into the Straits of Georgia at the Chrome Island Light and headed directly for Winchelsea Islands.  The Whiskey Golf test range was not active, but we were west of it in any event.  At 1530 we tied up to the Port of Nanaimo Cameron Island docks.

The next day we took a long walk around town, since it was the final day of a three day holiday week end, Labor Day.  We lucked out and were present for the final noontime cannon firing over the harbor.

September 8-9, 2015

The tidal current at Dodd Narrows would not be slack until 1400, and with an 1100 checkout time we decided to go outside and make for either Active Pass or Porlier Pass.  Sea conditions were rougher than expected and we briefly turned around to wait for slack water.  Looking ahead we could see that conditions were improving and once south of Gabriola Pass the winds died and the seas gradually subsided.  Heading into Porlier Pass we bucked a 3 knot current for a mile or so and then calm water all the way to Montague Harbour.  We set the anchor among many other boats at 1520 after a 36 nautical mile trip.

The sunset that night was spectacular!

Sunset in Montague Harbour

We remained in Montague Harbour the next day and soaked up welcome sunshine.

September 10, 2015

Pulling the anchor from the mud in Montague Harbour at 1000, we made the short 8 nautical mile run to Ganges Marina where we docked at 1120.  We had dinner in the sunshine at the “Oystercatcher” restaurant with Miriam’s cousin Dean Sevold and then adjourned to Spirit to catch up on family history.

September 11-12, 2015

We were underway at 0920 from Ganges for the 21 nautical mile run to Roche Harbor.  We crossed the US/Canada boundary at 1130, clearing US Customs by phone with our Nexus Passes.  At 1230 we were moored in the RHYC outstation on “G” dock.  We splurged on dinner at McMillen’s restaurant that evening while watching the sun set and the somber “Colors” ceremony remembering 9/11.

The next day Patrick walked to the distillery and Miriam shopped at Roche Harbor, all in warm, sunny weather.

September 13, 2015

We can only stay two days at the outstation, so at 0900 we departed for the 10 nautical mile run to Parks Bay where we anchored at 1045.  By late afternoon we were joined by 4 other vessels.
September 14, 2015

Spirit traveled to Spencer Spit and anchored close to “Sea Jay”.  We all went to Fisherman’s Bay for dinner in “Sea Eagle”.

September 15, 2015

At 0900 we pulled the anchor for the last time this trip and headed through Thatcher Pass, up Guemes Channel and after re-fueling at Capsante fuel dock, moored at our home port dock in Anacortes Marina.  We were away 146 days, travelled slightly over 3300 nautical miles and caught plenty of fish.  We are already planning for the 2016 trip.