A REAL SAILING DAY

Last night was horrid.  The island where I anchored seemed to have its own evil micro climate going on.  The wind came in shrieking squalls, the rain was incessant and the sea came in the bay from around the corner.  We dragged anchor in the early hours – its always the early hours – but it caught again.

That’s the thing about anchorages, they may look good on the chart but it’s the surrounding topography that creates shelter, wind funnels and wave reflectors.  You just don’t know until you have tried it, or you get some local knowledge.  I wont be going back to warren Cove.

At first light we departed, glad to be free of the place.  I waited for first light as there are so many logs about in Sumner Strait.  The new logs are easy to spot, it’s the old gnarly rascals that have been around for years, they barely show above the surface but are very solid.

We had wind for a change, quite squally at first and with rain all day.  But it came from a direction we could use.  Truce got in the groove, put her shoulder down and surged through the waves.  The speed rarely dropped below five knots for hours on end, we sped past our planned stopping place, not wanting to waste the wind.  Tonight it’s another open anchorage called Seclusion Harbour on Kuiu island (don’t ask me to pronounce it).  Fingers crossed the wind and rain abate when the sun goes down.

I was reading the visitors guide to Prince of Wales Island this morning.  June is actually the driest month with less than four inches of rain on average.  That compares with thirteen plus inches in October.  I reckon this June must be an exception, its still raining now and I have bailed about two feet out of the pig in the last two weeks.

Tomorrow I will have a look at Rocky Pass or Keku Strait.  My book says the coastguard have removed the navigational aids to deter people from using the Strait as its dangerous.  Doesn’t sound right to me.  No harm in having a look anyway.  Total voyage distance 1,031.9 miles.

Logged 12th June 2016

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