KEKU STRAIT AND ROCKY PASS

I spent a peaceful night with no disturbances.  Seclusion Harbour is well named, just the place to get away from it all.  Sun rise was just after four, the animals were up and about early and making noise.  The morning was flat calm and sunny as I picked up anchor and headed over to the south end of Keku Strait.  We dodged a few rocky patches on the way and sea Otters were all around, it felt great to be alive on such a beautiful peaceful morning.

Keku Strait separates Kuiu Island from Kupreanof Island and is a direct route from Sumner Strait to Frederick Sound.  My guide book says ‘The Coastguard removed all navigational markers to discourage its use’.  That’s a bit like saying ‘this road is dangerous so we will remove the road signs and lane markers’ not a responsible thing to do.  Anyway, the book was clearly wrong as all but two navigational markers were in place, one of the missing marker was a pile and the other was a buoy that had broken lose and washed up on the shore.  The strait is very well marked and passage through is straightforward for any competent boat owner.

The buoyage system here is IALA B.  That is to say that in general when entering port you leave the red buoy or marker to Starboard and green to Port.  In the Keku Strait the tide floods from both ends and ebbs from somewhere in the middle.  The markers remain the same side throughout the strait so there should be no confusion.  I marked my right hand thumb with red ink as a reminder in case I became confused.

The strait is spectacular, dotted with islands and meadow areas.  The backdrop is rolling wooded hills with snow-capped mountains away to the west.  Half way through the strait after a twisty section called The Devils Elbow I found a spot and anchored for an hour, had an early lunch and savoured the scenery.  The only other people about were a group of kayakers going north through the strait.  I do like waving to kayakers as they have to stop paddling and put the paddle down before they can wave back.

Logged 14th June 2016

OUTBOARD RUNNING

Of course it rained all day today on and off, just drizzle and like being in a low cloud.  I am in a nice anchorage and quite protected from the high winds blowing outside so made the most of the day. I got suited up in oilskins and carried on.

Exploring in the rain. Photo Ray Penson
Exploring in the rain. Photo Ray Penson

Today was declared a rest day and I set about getting the Suzuki outboard motor going.  After some time and effort, I got it going but not for long, kept cutting out and stalling.  I changed out the plug, put some fresh fuel and two stroke in, cleaned out the fuel line and filter and generally did as much cleaning and oiling and WD 40 spraying as I could.  After that TLC we were in business, the motor is running and the pig is motorised.

In celebration I took the pig on a powered exploration of Lyman Anchorage.  It’s a beautiful place, even in the rain, I can imagine it would be spectacular in the dry with sunshine.  At the head of the cove there is a stream entering through a meadow.  I looked around for signs of bear but didn’t find any.  They are probably sitting in their caves waiting for the rain to stop.

Meadow at head of Lyman Anchorage. Photo Ray Penson.
Meadow at head of Lyman Anchorage. Photo Ray Penson.

There are two other meadow areas around the cove where the geese have been busy and making a lot of noise.  When I approached they got even noisier before taking off.  I have been watching a Kingfisher bird fishing on the bank next to the boat, his success record is 100%.  There was an otter in the anchorage this morning and he has been replaced by a seal this afternoon.  There are some animals running around the edge of the forest but don’t know what they are, a bit like squirrels but bigger.  There is a lot of wildlife around here.

This afternoon I made another batch of scroggin.  I couldn’t get all the dried fruit I wanted in Ketchikan so have improvised.  This time I didn’t bother with rum essence, I used the real thing.  The warm baking smell filling the cabin is wonderful and a contrast to the wet and cold outside.

It looks like the weather is wild outside the anchorage tonight, the forecast is for strong winds locally and gales a bit further south.  The occasional express train gust blasts down the hills around the anchorage and hits us, heeling us over and spinning the boat around on the anchor.

I am not sure where we will end up tomorrow, Thorne Bay and Meyers Chuck are on the shortlist.   I think the wind in the morning will decide for us.  The fire will be on again tonight and all will be well on board.

Logged 2nd June 2016.

PRINCE RUPERT – WEEKEND

Wonderful, it stopped raining – just a light drizzle now and again.  Slowly the damp from the last few days is drying up.

John, Jennifer and Hillary came over this morning with some fresh date and walnut muffins which we had with tea and coffee – very nice.  Whilst I had extra hands around I volunteered them to help me turn the boat around.  I am now facing outward for an easy exit tomorrow.

Last chores today before heading off to Ketchikan, topped up the fresh water tanks, did the library visit to get WiFi (so slow), Safeway’s for groceries and chandler for some rope and essential boat things.

I also called ahead to US Customs in Ketchikan to give them all details required for pre arrival.  Apparently I need a different visa if entering on a pleasure boat, the regular tourist visa is not good enough.  I asked why it was not publicised and the customs guy indicated that a lot of people were unaware.  Oh well I will plead innocence and act dumb as usual – it comes easy.

The evening was spent on a neighbouring boat which I last saw at the Bella Bella fuel dock.  They are also headed for USA tomorrow and we had a drop of red wine.  The wind blew during the night, not hard just from a funny angle and it pissed down with rain again.

The forecast for tomorrow is for winds from the south, just what we need.  Let’s hope they arrive in force to speed us into the USA.

Logged 28th May 2016