WAITING IN SAUSALITO

Another quiet day at Sausalito anchorage – just a bit more wind and cooler since yesterday.  There is a cold front approaching on Thursday and everybody is getting excited at the prospect of rain – apparently quite rare this time of year.  Quite impressive watching the cloud coming off the ocean and building above Sausalito then cascading down into the town this morning.

Sausalito getting Cloud Bombed Photo. Ray Penson
Sausalito getting Cloud Bombed Photo. Ray Penson

Early today a Pelican was fishing by the boat.  What an ungainly bird.  First, he gets airborne with a great seemingly uncoordinated performance of feet and wings.  Then circles around and drops like a bag of wet rags into the water beak first.  I suppose Pelicans must catch fish but they don’t look very convincing, looks like pot luck fishing to me.

Later in the morning I took the rubber duck ashore – getting to be a routine.  I was going to walk up to West Marine, quite a way up the road.  The wind was building so I didn’t wander too far as it’s a wet ride in in any chop in the dinghy.

I downloaded another weather file, a strong cold front is hitting the coast on Thursday.  Looks like there will be a weather window for departure on Friday following the front.  I expect I will need to sail quite a way south to avoid the high pressure and calms sitting on my route.

Meanwhile – nothing much else happening.  That’s good I suppose.

WATCHING SEA OTTERS

Wonderful sparkling clear and calm weather today, perfect for motor boating.  This morning we shot out of Red Bay at ten knots with the outgoing tide and into Sumner Strait.  We carried the tide down to Port Protection where I tied up to a public float.

West Coast Prince of Wales Island. Photo Ray Penson
West Coast Prince of Wales Island. Photo Ray Penson

Port protection is a small place, just a base for fishing really.  The harbour is well protected and the name was given after the Chatham and Discovery sheltered there from a severe storm in Sumner strait.  I was invited to have a beer with the fishing guys but declined as I needed to get a bit further down the track today.  Drinking with fishing guys would have led to another night tied up.

On leaving Port protection we headed south down Sumner Strait towards El Capitan Passage.  I know this is the wrong direction for Glacier Bay but I have time, the Glacier Bay permit starts on the 9th July.  This part of Alaska is not on the inside passage route and not that well visited so worth a look.  I don’t quite know how I am going to get back north yet; I expect the weather will have a say.

Sea Otters banding together in Prince William Sound near Whittier, Alaska Image credit. secure.defenders.org
Sea Otters banding together in Prince William Sound near Whittier, Alaska
Image credit. secure.defenders.org

Since starting the voyage I have been on the lookout for Sea Otters.  Today I saw the first ones and they were everywhere.  They are really interesting to watch and don’t seem at all frightened of humans.  I had three by the boat playing around, floating on their backs while cracking sea urchins on their chests.

They are very cheeky characters and much bigger close up than I expected.  I had a whale surface quite close in front of the boat this afternoon, I thought about slowing down but at five knots we are pretty slow anyway.  Total voyage distance 883.4 miles.

Logged 7th June 2016

OTTERS AND JELLYFISH

The weather blew all night and into today.  A gale warning in place so I decided to sit another day in the cosy anchorage and carry on doing bits and bobs.  The sun came out and the weather was beautiful out of the wind.  I completely filled my day with activities and the time flew by.

River Otter
River Otter

I spent some time watching a River Otter fishing around the boat, he came very close and didn’t see me in the cockpit.  I wanted to take a photo but knew if I moved he would be gone.  There are also some weasel like creatures running around in the woods.  I don’t know what they are but there entertaining.

The mother of all jelly Fish turned up, never seen anything like it.  It looked disgusting, like a big blob of putrefied matter, the colour was yellow changing to orange and red with long thick dark red coloured tentacles.  The thing was very mobile and swimming around not like the usual blobby Jelly Fish.  Just the one.

Some Jellyfish. Photo Ray Penson
Some Jellyfish. Photo Ray Penson

I bought some petrol in Bella Bella to try running the outboard.  Hey presto, it ran this afternoon.  I now need to check the gear oil and get some two stroke oil and I will have a motorised pig.

It’s a full moon tonight and a near five-meter tide.  I reckon that means the weather will be calm tomorrow morning before the forecast North Westerly gale sets in.  If it looks good I will get away early and make some headway before the headwinds kick in.

Logged 20th May 2016. Image: http://www.mnn.com

SUN AND SHORTS DAY

Wonderful weather today, sunshine and sparkling scenery.  Had a leisurely departure from Squirrel Cove, what a great place to stop over.  Then motored up to Teakerne Arm Marine park.

There is a spectacular waterfall and close by a small float, just big enough to take a couple of small boats.  There are not many other boats around so was able tie up and go for a trek to the top of the falls.

The destination tonight is Francis Bay which is seven miles from the Yuculta Rapids.  We need to arrive at the rapids just before slack water at about eight tomorrow morning.  On the way from Teakerne Arm I sailed for a couple of hours in the lightest of breeze.  We didn’t make much distance but it was nice and peaceful with the engine off and great to watch new snow topped mountains appear around every turn.

I also tried my hand at fishing but obviously don’t have a clue about it.  Just as I was packing my rod a seal popped up next to the boat with a fish in his mouth, as if to say “is this what you are looking for”

Hoping for a calm night tonight as the anchorage is not too good.

Voyage distance 146.5 miles

Logged 27th April 2016

PLUMBING DAY

Didn’t get a good sleep last night, we had gusty winds and the boat was charging about all over the place with the anchor chain and snubber making a terrible racket.  Strong wind from the NW again this morning, no point in heading into it so staying put in Scottie Bay.

Decided to clear up a few little jobs on the boat and do some cleaning.  When cleaning the bilge I noticed an unusual amount of water sloshing about.  I bailed it all out and dried up.  Then twenty minutes later there was water again, not much but it wasn’t going away.

Eventually I found the accumulator tank for the water pressure pump was leaking.  So I took half the boat apart to get to it and them opened it up.  Yuk, it was full of green slime, made me feel sick I had been drinking that stuff.

Anyway I put it all back together and found a bicycle pump on board to give it some pressure and plumbed it back in.  It’s still leaking but from a different place now.  So it’s back to square one, bilges have water in them but at least they are clean now.  I will bail them out tomorrow.

Wildlife started turning up this afternoon.  Lots of different types of ducks and birds, a seal, an otter and an eagle cruising around.  My neighbour in the schooner departed for another bay to try some more fishing.  I am here alone now.

The water here is so clear the bottom is clearly visible.  In a quiet period this evening I saw a big crab moving around.  Over went the crab pot with some bait, the crab circled the pot but didn’t seem to know how to get inside.  Eventually he gave up and moved on.  No crab protein on the menu this evening.

The outlook for tomorrow is improving with SW’ly (South Westerly) winds forecast later to push me on my way.  If we get a good push it will be Desolation sound tomorrow evening.

Logged 25th April, 2016

ELECTRIC DAY

The weather this morning was nasty and the forecast just as bad.  So stayed tucked up in Scottie Bay and got stuck into the electrical jobs that I can’t find an electrician to do.

First I set about the easy job and fitted a new light over the chart table, it works but just need a couple of small screws to mount it properly.

Matsutec AIS up and running
Matsutec AIS up and running

Emboldened by this early success I took on the solar controller.  I even read the manual again and all I could figure it was not reading the battery.  So with my trusty light on a wire I eventually found a wire that was only letting current pass one way, therefore stopping the controller from reading the battery.  I just removed the non return valve in the system and hey presto juice flowed again into the batteries from the solar panels.

The only worry is that without the non return valve something else may go beserk, someone put it there for a reason.  We shall see.

There is one other boat in the anchorage, a nice schooner with a guy sailing himself.  This afternoon he brought some fresh cod over that he had just caught.  I cooked it straight away and wolfed the whole lot, swilled down with a Lighthouse lager, beautiful.  I will start fishing when I have my boat in order very soon.

With a full stomach I decided to see if my run of good luck would hold out and wired up the AIS.  Very tricky and small wires in tight spaces.  I switched the unit on and bingo, lit up like a Christmas tree and asked me for data.  I called up a passing tug boat and asked if he could see my signal and he confirmed yes.  Truce should be showing up on marine traffic soon.

Now it’s time to clean the boat up, have a rum and hope the weather improves tomorrow.

Logged 24th April 2016