Thursday, September 15, 2016

South to Anacortes

July 22, 2016 - Wrangell

After the tour of the Anan Wildlife Observatory we relaxed at the dock in the rain in Wrangell.

July 23, 2016 - Wrangell

Another day of rain in Wrangell.

July 24, 2016 – Wrangell to Santa Anna Inlet

Departing from Wrangell in the rain at 1015 for the final time in 2016 we headed on a different route to Santa Anna Inlet.  There was a gill net opening in Zimovia Strait and rather than dodge the nets we headed down Eastern Channel which is a longer route, but scenic.  Cruising by Anan Bay we confirmed with the depth sounder that the bay provides only marginal holding, shelving steeply into deep water without much swinging room.

Entering the nearly empty Santa Anna Inlet, we anchored Spirit at 1650.  By evening there were seven vessels anchored, including some commercial fishing boats.  The horseflies were abundant, the rain had stopped and we enjoyed the quiet evening.

July 25, 2016 – Santa Anna Inlet to Ketchikan

Spirit was the last vessel to leave Santa Anna Inlet at 0745 with overcast skies and calm winds.  Stopping to fish near Meyers Chuck we landed three pink salmon and lost three more.  Proceeding south in Clarence Strait to Tongass Narrows we called the Ketchikan Harbormaster for a berth assignment.  We were given the last available berth for our size vessel at Bar Harbor.  The fishing fleet was in and there was not enough room for everyone, with many vessels anchored over Pennock Reef and rafted three deep at City Floats.

We treated ourselves to dinner at the Bar Harbor Restaurant, but it was not the best meal we have had.  Usually this is a great place to eat, but we must have hit an off-night in the kitchen.

July 26, 2016 - Ketchikan

Patrick spent the day looking for a replacement circulating fan for the galley refrigerator, but no luck finding 24 volt components in Ketchikan.  Miriam walked the 1.5 miles into downtown for some final shopping.

July 27, 2016 – Ketchikan to Foggy Bay

Spirit departed Bar Harbor in the rain at 0632, stopping at Petromarine for fuel before leaving Ketchikan for the last time in 2016.  We fished at Mountain Point, but only pinks were taking the bait, so after landing two we continued south down Revillagigedo Channel.  Stopping at Mary Island we anchored in 200 feet of water and fished for halibut, but no luck.

Pulling the anchor, we continued into Foggy Bay and anchored Spirit at 1650 under partly sunny skies.  By dusk there were seven vessels anchored, everyone heading south.

July 28, 2016 – Foggy Bay to Prince Rupert

Mist and light rain greeted us as we departed Foggy Bay at 0505, the last boat to leave.  The gillnetters were out in force all the way to Cape Fox, and with the low visibility, down to 1/4 mile at times, we just headed out 2 miles from the shoreline and avoided all of them.  Other pleasure craft were being called on the radio by the fishermen, asking them to move further offshore.

The fog and mist meant there was no wind chop in Dixon, but there was a 4-6 foot swell on our beam as we crossed, so we were glad we had stabilizers.  By 0755 we crossed the USA/Canada boundary and when we had cell phone coverage from Prince Rupert called in for NEXUS clearance.

The visibility continued to improve as we headed through Venn Passage into Prince Rupert Harbor.  After stopping briefly at the customs/lightering dock we headed to our reserved slip at the new Cow Bay Marina.  The docks are still subject to the wakes and afternoon winds, but better than the nearby Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club (PRRYC).  Contrary to the latest Waggoner Guide, Cow Bay Marina is not yet a Canada Customs Port of Entry like PRRYC.  We also set our clocks ahead one hour to get back on Pacific Daylight Time.

Dinner was at the Cow Bay Café, with delicious food, good service and a great view.

July 29, 2016 – Prince Rupert

After a resupply run to Safeway for fresh produce we caught the bus to Port Edwards and visited the North Pacific Cannery, now a National Historic Site in Canada.  The cannery is located on the banks of the Skeena River.  The cannery was in operation until 1981 and has been partially preserved to show the worker housing and equipment used in the past.  This cannery was one of 20 just in this area.  The machinery was nearly identical to the machinery we visited at the Icy Strait Point cannery near Hoonah in June.

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Remains of worker housing
Inside the net house

Canning Line
Pressure Cookers
Some of the local brands of salmon
Rusting cart

July 30, 2016 – Prince Rupert to Lowe Inlet

Leaving Cow Bay Marina at 0725 we enjoyed mostly sunny skies as Spirit continued south down Grenville Channel, riding a favorable current most of the way, especially as we picked up the ebb near Klewnuggit Inlet.  At 1445 the anchor was set in Nettle Basin, Lowe Inlet.  We were initially the only boat, but by nightfall there were five others anchored.  The winds were gusty in Nettle basin, peaking at 27 knots and continuing late into the evening.

We tried fishing, but with no luck. The fish are later this year and very few were jumping at the base of Verney Falls.  There were no bears fishing at the falls either.

July 31, 2016 – Lowe Inlet to Bottleneck Inlet

When we departed at 0630, all the other vessels had already departed.  We enjoyed a boost from the ebb tide as we continued down Grenville Channel past Hartley Bay and entered Princess Royal Channel.  The flood tide gave us a boost until near Butedale and then the ebb tide boosted us further south through Heikish Narrows and into Finlayson Channel.  The afternoon westerly winds greeted us there, with sustained winds to 27 knots and three foot seas.

Butedale - the docks are better now

Making the turn into Bottleneck Inlet we retrieved the tender and anchored in 35 feet of water under sunny skies at 1600 after 75 miles of cruising.  There was no wind in the inlet and the sunny skies were welcome.

August 1, 2016 – Bottleneck Inlet to Shearwater

In what is becoming a pattern, when we departed, all the other vessels had left.  However, the entrance is shallow and we wanted to wait for a rising tide to leave.  The minimum depth we saw with the tide at +8 feet was less than 6 feet under the keel, so at a zero tide we would have been trapped in the inlet.
Finlayson Channel was calm, the sun was out, so we continued out into Milbanke Sound, past Ivory Point Light and into Seaforth Channel.  Stopping for an hour to fish unsuccessfully at Idol Point we then headed into Shearwater and anchored at 1540 outside the breakwater with numerous other pleasure craft.

The Selene 50 “Seeker” was at Shearwater and we shared dinner on board Seeker with Mike and Susie Miner and Mike’s brother and sister-in-law.  Patrick prepared halibut with the white miso paste glaze once again.

August 2, 2016 - Shearwater

With no pressing schedule we spent the day at anchor doing maintenance on Spirit.

August 3, 2016 – Shearwater to Pruth Bay

At 0830 we pulled the anchor from the mud in Klicksaotl Harbor and headed back out Seaforth Channel, taking a right turn up Return Channel and then down Johnson Channel, investigating potential anchorages for future trips.

Exiting into Fisher Channel we bypassed Ocean Falls and Codville Lagoon.  Codville Lagoon showed numerous AIS targets and the anchorage is only marginal if the back basin is full.  Continuing down Fisher Channel to Fitz Hugh Sound the afternoon westerlies began to blow, so we ducked behind Nalau Island down Ward Channel, across Hakai Pass and anchored in Pruth Bay, joining 6-7 other boats.

Checking the weather reports on the free wifi in Pruth Bay we decided to spend at least one extra day at anchor.

August 4, 2016 – Pruth Bay

Trying our luck fishing on the east side of Calvert Island in the Grady White for a while, we gave up after numerous rockfish and 2 undersize Coho Salmon.  The afternoon wind picked up as we headed back, making for a bouncy ride in the 2 foot seas.  The wind calmed down after sundown.

August 5, 2016 – Pruth Bay to Allison Harbour

The weather report was marginal, and the seas were not expected to subside at Cape Caution until Sunday, so at 0615 we departed to cross before the seas increased more.  Clearing the tip of Calvert Island, the swells increased to 7-12 feet on our beam at a 7 second period as we passed Egg Island.  Turning at Cape Caution at 1050 we then encountered sloppy seas from the combination of swells and ebb outfall from Slingsby Channel, since we were there one hour before slack water.  The sloppy seas persisted for about three miles and then became just quartering swells once outside the influence of Slingsby Channel.

We entered an empty Allison Harbour and anchored in 30 feet of water at 1305, selecting a spot clear of the numerous commercial crab pots littering the anchorage.  Even though the harbor is well protected, the afternoon westerlies wrap around and blow straight into the anchorage.  The same westerlies had grown the wave height at the West Sea Otter buoy to 8-16 feet by 1400, so we were glad we got across early in the afternoon.

By 1800 rain began to fall, heavy at times, but with no wind.

August 6, 2016 Allison Harbour to Sullivan Bay

The rain from the evening before had been replaced by a thick blanket of fog swirling in from the inlet entrance.  Nonetheless we pulled the anchor from the sticky and stinky mud in Allison Harbour at 0820 and ventured out into Ripple Passage,  the main channel.  The fog alternated between dense and 1-2 mile visibility until about 1100 as we headed up Wells Passage towards Sullivan Bay.  We arrived as part of a parade of boats either leaving or arriving at the floating community.  By 1345 our lines were set and power was connected.

The resort has a Happy Hour in the dock shelter every day at 1700 where you bring an appetizer to share and your own drinks.  Earlier in the afternoon we had introduced ourselves to the owners of the Sailing Vessel Anna Caroline, who we had seen off and on all the way from Wrangell.  They had docked just ahead of us.  Finding out they had a defective propane regulator, Patrick gave them a spare from Spirit so they could operate their stove.  The vessel carries a Dutch flag and the couple live aboard and had come around Cape Horn and Patagonia earlier in the year, about the same time we were in Antarctica.  They then went to Sitka via Easter Island, the Marquesa’s, and Hawaii, and were on their way back to French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.

During our conversations we asked if they knew the red sailboat we had seen in Antarctica, and they knew both the boat and the owner.  Conversation continued late into the night as we discovered just how small the world is, with many similar experiences.

We had a thunderstorm, lightning and heavy rain to keep us occupied as well.

August 7, 2016 – Sullivan Bay to Mound Island

At 1000 we joined the parade of boats departing Sullivan Bay and headed to Cullen Harbour.  Along the way we were escorted by a pod of Pacific Whiteside Dolphins, many riding the wake alongside the stern.  They stayed with us for nearly one hour.  Anchoring in Cullen Harbour, finding an open space among the six other boats already there, we did not like the set of the anchor so pulled it back up and headed to Mound Island where we anchored in 50 feet of water over a mud bottom with excellent holding.  We joined 10 other boats, but the anchorage can hold many more.  Mound Island and Cullen Harbour are both the same distance from our destination, Port McNeill in the morning.

Pacific Whiteside Dolphins in our wake

Another wakerider

August 8, 2016 – Mound Island to Port McNeill

Fog was drifting in and out of the anchorage as we departed shortly after 0800.  Exiting White Beach Passage into a dense fog bank we had to alter course to avoid a cruise ship entering Blackfish Sound.  As the fog layer shifted it was eerie to see just the top of the ship approaching with the lower half obscured.  The fog layer finally lifted entirely as we approached Malcom Island.  We were tied up to the dock at North Island Marina before 1100.  Patrick procured a new propane regulator and then changed the generator oil and filter, the third change of the trip.

Meeting friends on “Rendezvous” and “Daybreak”, we all gathered for dinner at the Northern Lights Restaurant after appetizers on board Spirit.

August 9, 2016 – Port McNeill

Rendezvous and Daybreak departed early to head south and we elected to stay in Port McNeill.  Patrick changed the zincs on the main engine and we went shopping in town.

August 10, 2019 – Port McNeill

Another day in Port McNeill.  Several friends arrived and we had cocktails on “Yachette” and then after a not so memorable dinner ashore, gathered on “Legasea” for the evening with conversation that went until late into the evening as we listened to the winds gust to 30 knots under clearing skies.

August 11, 2016 – Port McNeill to Kwatsi Bay

The winds were calm, with sunny skies, as we departed Port McNeill at 0820.  Spirit ran into fog as we approached Donegal Head on Malcom Island and with visibility less than ¼ mile we carefully headed to Arrow Passage.  The fog lifted as we entered Arrow Passage, passing Echo Bay and finally docking at Kwatsi Bay at 1400, joining 10 other boats.  Happy hour on the dock was enjoyable, catching up with old cruising friends as we snacked on the appetizers everyone had provided.

August 12, 2016 – Kwatsi Bay to Sullivan Bay

Spirit departed Kwatsi Bay at 1050 for the short 25 nautical mile trip back to Sullivan Bay.  Arriving at 1405 we confirmed our reservation for the prime rib dinner that evening.  Mike and Lisa Haistings from Legasea arrived and we shared a table for an excellent prime rib dinner.  Rain was heavy overnight.

August 13, 2016 – Sullivan Bay to Jennis Bay

We cast off the lines at 1020 to make slack water at Stuart Narrows and were tied up at Jennis Bay marina at 1140 after a short 9 nautical mile trip.  The afternoon westerlies came up, so the happy hour was moved to one of the buildings.

August 14, 2016 – Jennis Bay to Napier Bay

Timing our departure for slack water at Stuart Narrows, we reluctantly cast off the lines and headed the 10.5 nautical miles to Napier Bay under sunny skies.  Anchoring at 1300 with several other vessels in the bay we prepared the Grady White for fishing and headed out to James Point.  We returned with one 12 pound wild Coho salmon at 1700.

August 15, 2016 – Napier Bay

After sleeping in and missing the slack water at James Point, we finally left at 0915 and returned at 1200 with a nice 15 pound wild Coho salmon.  After preparing it for the freezer and having lunch we headed back out at 1400, returning at 1530 with our second Coho, this time another 12-pound fish, our limit for the day.  We have only one more Coho we can catch in BC in 2016, since the daily limit is one wild fish and the possession limit is 2 wild fish.  By evening Napier Bay was once again filled with anchored boats.

August 16, 2016 – Napier Bay to Port McNeill

We pulled the anchor from the mud in Napier Bay at 0710 and headed to James Point to fish on the way to Port McNeill.  After dragging the lines for more than one hour with only a few nibbles, we retrieved all the gear and headed for Port McNeill, arriving at 1200.  North Island Marina was full of familiar boats, with almost everyone headed South.  We had intended to go to the highly recommended Cluxewe Waterfront Bistro, but the one day a week they close is Tuesday.

The alternative was the sushi restaurant, which turned out to be very good.

August 17, 2016 – Port McNeill

We did our final BC reprovisioning for the season and tried the Cluxewe Waterfront Bistro for dinner.  The restaurant is located about 15 minutes away by car at a campground overlooking Broughton Straits and has tremendous views.  The food was very good.

August 18, 2016 – Port McNeill to Port Harvey

Departing Port McNeill for the last time in 2016 at 0905 we headed down Johnstone Strait in a mixture of sun and fog, but calm seas.  By 1350 the engine was off in Port Harvey, with warm, sunny, but breezy weather.  George and Gail at Port Harvey Marine Resort have been working hard to recover from the barge sinking last year and have already partially rebuilt a new “Red Shoe” restaurant building on the barge.

New Red Shoe Restaurant taking shape

In the meantime, the new float with the tent is a great venue, lots of room for everyone for appetizers at happy hour.  George has the salvaged pizza oven from the old restaurant set up in one corner and pizzas are made to order in the evening.

August 19, 2016 – Port Harvey

Most of the boats had left by 0700 to make slack tide at either Whirlpool Rapids or Seymour Narrows.  By 0830 only one other boat was at the dock with us, in addition to one anchored in the bay.  We enjoyed the warm cinnamon rolls George and Gail bake every day to order and just spent the day relaxing in the sunshine.

August 20, 2016 – Port Harvey to Thurston Bay

After taking delivery of the cinnamon rolls, we reluctantly cast off the lines from Port Harvey and headed out under low clouds, but with little wind.  Negotiating Whirlpool rapids near slack current, we headed down Chancellor Channel under gusty winds, which calmed as we approached Greene Point Rapids.  Spirit got a generous boost from the flood tide as we headed down Cordero Channel.  Shoal Bay was full of boats, so we continued to Thurston Bay and anchored as far behind Block Island as possible, given the number of boats.

The wind gusted to 34 knots overnight, but the anchor was well set.

August 21, 2016 – Thurston Bay to Dent Island

Pulling the anchor at 1030 we proceeded at slow speed the short distance to Dent Rapids.  Clearing the rapids about 30 minutes early we were tied to the dock at Dent Island Lodge by 1340, having to wait for other vessels to leave.  Today was the “Duck Derby” to raise money for the Gillard Pass hatchery as well as have fun.  First the staff rides Canoe Passage on top of large inflatable ducks after getting pledges at an auction and then the small numbered ducks are released with the winner being the first across a line stretched across the passage.  We did not win, but along with everyone else enjoyed a great buffet dinner on the outside terrace.

Staff riding the ducks in Canoe Passage

Scooping up the winning duck

The docks were full!

August 22, 2016 – Dent Island

Patrick fished, no luck.  The sunny day was a little windy but otherwise pleasant.  Dinner was at the “Rapids Grill”, with a multicourse tasting menu.

August 23, 2016 – Dent Island to Rebecca Spit

Departing Dent Island Lodge at 0830 to catch the last of the flood southbound through Gillard Passage and Yuculta Rapids we headed to Rebecca Spit under sunny skies and warm temperatures.  The anchor was down by 1140.

August 24, 2016 – Rebecca Spit to Hornby Island

Spirit departed Rebecca Spit at 0805 for the 48 nautical mile run to Tribune Bay on the south side of Hornby Island, a new destination for us.  The weather was calm and sunny and we joined nearly 100 other boats of all sizes and types anchored off the beach.

August 25-26, 2016 – Hornby Island to Montague Harbour

Under sunny skies we departed Tribune Bay at 0730 for the 80 mile run to Montague Harbour.  We anchored at 1600, joining almost 200 pleasure craft jammed into the calm harbor.  With the nice weather we remained at anchor the next day also.

Sunset over Montague Harbour

August 27, 2016 – Montague Harbour to Echo Bay

The sunny skies had been replaced by clouds at we departed at 0925 from Montague Harbour.  By 1130 we had crossed into US waters and cleared into the USA with our NEXUS credentials by phone.  By 1300 we were anchored in Echo Bay, Sucia Islands after only 26 miles.

August 28, 2016 – Echo Bay to Anacortes

At 0845 we departed Echo Bay for the 22 nautical mile trip to Cap Sante Marina at Anacortes.  Our slip was not yet free at Anacortes Marina so we arranged moorage at Cap Sante.  After refueling Spirit, we were tied to the transient dock at 1230, having travelled 3100 nautical miles since departing Anacortes April 28.