HEADING SOUTH TO VICTORIA

This morning Ngozi departed Truce on her way back to New Zealand.  The Harbourmaster at Hoonah very generously gave her a lift up to the airport.  I am now alone again and have missed having company today.  And no, it’s not just to have help with the cooking and cleaning!

The voyage from Canoe Cove to Glacier Bay has been a great experience for me.  I have experienced rain, cold, headwinds, glorious days, calm nights, wildlife, interesting people and made new friends along the way.  Truce has proved to be a wonderful little boat, well built, comfortable, capable of looking after me and tolerating my mistakes.  The next voyage to the south will mean a bit of backtracking but I will try and avoid visiting previous stops.

I was a bit lazy this morning, probably a bit flat after Ngozi departing.  Eventually I managed to get off the dock and headed out into Icy Strait, still not sure what route to take south, only knowing I was heading east first.  Once I got into the Strait a westerly breeze picked up and I set all sail, so relaxing to be sailing and switch the motor off.  At the east end of Icy Strait, the wind shifted to the south, blowing up Clarence Strait.  My route was now decided, I was not going down Clarence Strait, I sailed up Lynn Canal with a good following breeze.  I will now head down Stephens Passage, into Frederick Sound and Wrangell Narrows.  This is all new territory for me.

The weather was very warm today with clear visibility.  I was sailing in just a pair of shorts in brilliant sunshine, sparking seas with vistas of snow-capped mountains and glaciers.  Magical.  There was a lot of boat traffic about today, fishing boats, sports boats, tourist boats, the most I have seen in Alaska.  Auke seems to be the centre for boating out of Juneau.

After sailing for seven hours today, mostly not too fast, I have anchored in Auke Bay for the evening.  In the anchorage there is another yacht, a French yacht also heading south.  The anchorage is a bit bumpy due to all the boat traffic passing by at high speed, also a bit noisy with 3 jet skis buzzing around and music coming from the shore.  This place looks like a holiday destination with nice homes doted along the shore line.  Total voyage distance 41.4 miles.

CHICHAGOF ISLAND

Many times when crossing the North Pacific by ship I have looked at the chart and wondered about Chichagof Island.  In my mind the name has a mystery and provokes thoughts of early Russian explores and traders.  Well, I am here now, although I have yet to set foot on its wet soggy ground.  All I have seen so far is mist, low cloud, a few thousand tress and lots of rain.

This morning I set out in the hope of a good sail up the coast, there was a small craft advisory issued with South Easterly winds, 25 knots.  The first hour was fine sailing and we had all sail set making good time.  Then the wind died and a lumpy sea from the quarter and swell from the beam made life unbearable, we had to motor as there was not enough wind to fill the sails.  Neither Truce or I like the sea from the stern quarter, she squirms and rolls and I hang on swearing at anything and everything.  Then it started raining in a fashion that inspired Noah to take up shipbuilding.

After a couple of hours in the blender we made smooth passage and chugged up, wet and bedraggled, to the anchorage for the night.  This is typical Alaska, two or three glorious days followed by a couple of shockers.  No sun again today.  It’s funny how the mind works, after a short time you forget the horrid days and just remember the good ones.

The whales made an appearance again today, one was breaching, coming out of the water vertically and then arching over onto its back.  It gave me quite a fright at first as I saw the splash ahead and thought we were running into breakers, we were running in-between breakers and rocks at the time.

Once at anchor I dried off and warmed up with a brew.  Then got to making some bread, a couple of hours later the cabin was warm and full of the smell of fresh bread, lovely.  I am anchored in Kimshan Cove on Chichagof island.  There are the remains of a jetty and some buildings on the shore, part of an abandoned gold mining venture on Dooth Mountain close by.  No sign of humans ashore now, just some deer feeding on the grass between the trees and water’s edge.

Tomorrow I will make an effort to get to White Sulphur Hot Springs.  A fisherman told me about them, supposed to be fantastic with a newly build cabin and hot pool.  The only access is by boat.  Entry into the anchorage is tricky and requires local knowledge but my fisherman friend says it’s not too bad and most of the rocks are visible.  Of course it’s the visible rocks that you don’t normally bump into!  I will plan my entry for low water.  Total voyage distance 1,284.7 miles.

Logged 26th June 2016

PRINCE RUPERT – SOCIAL SCENE

Rain pissed down all day today, heavy in the morning and light in the afternoon and now what a local refers to as Scotch Mist in the evening.  A busy day doing chores as this is the first port call for a couple of weeks.

Real time location. Yacht Truce.
Prince Rupert Stay over. Real Time

Garbage disposal, two trips to the launderette, ship chandlers, Library for internet access, Canadian Boarder Protection Services, provisions, and general housekeeping.  All good fun and great exercise.   Last night I had a fish dinner, Lemon Sole, very nice fish and fresh.  All washed down with the local brew.  Needless to say I slept well.

This evening I met up two groups of people I had met a couple of times before, they are also travelling the same direction.  We had a good night in the pub swapping tales.  Parked next to me tonight is an American boat I met at the Bella Bella fuel dock – It’s a small world.  Another rest day tomorrow and a bit of touristy and cultural stuff if I can fit it in.  Should sleep well again tonight.

Logged 27th May 2016

GRENVILLE CHANNEL – CONTINUED

We caught the tide up Grenville Channel this afternoon from Lowe Inlet where we passed a comfortable night at anchor.  We anchored just inside the entrance to the inlet on a bank and I expected to be disturbed by the wash from passing ships, but it was all peaceful.  I have only seen two cruise ships so far, its still early in the season.

A dark gloomy day going up Grenville Channel. Photo Ray Penson
A dark gloomy day going up Grenville Channel. Photo Ray Penson

It was a good job we had the tide behind us today as the North Westerly wind and chop were on the nose and it would have been very heavy going without a push.  This is the last time I will come up Grenville Channel so am making the most of it with three stops planned.  Today we passed the narrow section and a couple of big waterfalls, particularly spectacular is the waterfall at Saunders Creek as it spills from a mountain lake high above.  There are quite a few bald eagles along the Channel, some flying very high, don’t know why they fly so high.

The weather was gloomy today, overcast with the odd rain shower.  The wind was bitterly cold and I had full thermals and multiple layers and still felt the chill.  My thermometer says it was ten degrees, it felt like minis ten.  I expect it will start warming up next month as we get into summer.

Ray Penson

This evening we pulled into Klewnuggit Inlet.  The anchorage that I targeted was, as the book said, spectacular.  High mountains and sheer granite cliffs on three sides.  The problem is that high mountains mean an early sunset and late sunrise.  Its gets cold after sunset and I didn’t fancy a cold night so moved out to another anchorage.  Its hard to find shallow water here to anchor in, I am in a bay very close to the shore where I found some water less than twenty meters deep, just have enough room to swing and clear the rocks.

Tomorrow I expect to overnight at Kumealon Inlet on the north shore of Grenville Channel.  Total voyage distance 599.9

Logged 24th May 2016

HUMAN CONTACT AGAIN

Curlew Bay proved to be a nice quiet anchorage and I had a good sleep.  A bit of a late start today, we are heading up to the village of Hartley Bay and it’s not far so no hurry.  The wind was very light from the south and we sailed under the jib slowly up to Hartley Bay.

Approaching Hartley Bay from the South. Photo Ray Penson
Approaching Hartley Bay from the South. Photo Ray Penson

Hartley Bay is an Indian village and the last populated place before Prince Rupert.  There are two other yachts in the harbour this evening, both are American.  Bill off the yacht Nayeli helped me tie up which is always welcome when single handed.  Bill and his wife are also headed up to Glacier Bay and will be travelling North on a similar schedule to me through Grenville Channel.  The other American yacht is going south to Seattle from Sitka.

These people were the first humans I have seen and spoken to since leaving Klemtu last Sunday.  Just by sailing west for a day off the inside passage route, I took myself to a part of BC that is uninhabited and quite remote.  I saw Seals, River Otters, furry animals in the woods, Bald Eagles, Whales, Dolphins, a gruesome Jellyfish, multiple species of Ducks and heaps of trees.  But no bears yet!

Nothing much going on in Hartley Bay on a Sunday night.  It’s a dry village so no drinking alcohol allowed – I will sneak in a tot in the cabin.  Tomorrow I will start up grenville Channel, just need to figure out the tides and current first.  Total voyage distance nautical 556.2 miles.  (That’s 1,030 Km in metric).

Logged 22nd May 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

OVERCAST, WET, COLD AND DAMP

A really grey and overcast morning and raining but nice and calm.  We caught the tide through Jackson Narrows this morning and proceeded up Jacksons passage – sounds weird.  The highlight of today was a call at the village of Klemtu.

Klemtu is a village on the inside passage route.  There was not much going on, a couple of guys sitting around in the café and not many people out and about.  Very quiet, not really surprising for a wet Sunday.  I got some WiFi at the café and paid for it by ordering a Chinese takeaway, I should have known better and it became fish food.

Klemtu Welcome - seen better times. Photo Ray Penson
Klemtu Welcome – seen better times. Photo Ray Penson

I took the opportunity to top up with fresh water from a hose on the dock.  There was a salmon fish farm boat at the dock as well.  I had an interesting chat with the skipper who showed me how they syphon up the salmon, stun them, cut the gills to bleed them and load them into a cold water hold.  This hold gets sucked ashore through a huge hose into the processing plant.  All this activity is mechanised, truly industrial fish farming.

After exhausting the attractions of Klemtu I set off north and into a position to transit Meyers Narrows tomorrow.  Meyers narrows are at the bottom of Princess Royal Island and will take me out to the West Coast and away from the usual inside passage track.  The tidal information is a bit confusing for the narrows, I have two different times of slack water.

Boat Bluff Light. Photo Ray Penson
Boat Bluff Light. Photo Ray Penson

To further confuse matters the tide at my anchorage, 3 miles away, is turning 3 hours before high water.  I will just give it a go and if I have to wait for slack or more water that’s OK.  It’s quite a shallow rock and weed infested passage according to the chart, looks challenging.

My anchorage this evening is quite exposed between an island and the shore.  The bay that I had chosen to anchor in proved too deep unfortunately.  I am now perched on a rocky outcrop for the night.

Klemtu Village and Harbour. Photo Ray Penson
Klemtu Village and Harbour. Photo Ray Penson

Total voyage distance 457.1 miles.

Logged 15th May 2016

WATCHING THE WEED GROW

Still waiting. I expected the courier to turn up today with the EPIRB but he was a no show. Called the dispatcher who sent it from Canoe Cove to learn that he doesn’t work weekends and will be back on Monday.

I am getting so frustrated and stressed by this whole saga. I don’t want to say anything negative so will leave it there.

For the last couple of weeks I have been losing fresh water to the bilge. Just a small amount and its been so hard to trace. Looks like I found it today and fixed it so happy about that.

I hoisted the pig out of the water today and put her on deck ready for sailing. It went quite well and nothing got damaged or bruised. The fresh water got topped up again and the boat has a wash down.

The Pig nested on deck Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson
The Pig nested on deck Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson

Its Sunday tomorrow and since I will definitely be here until Monday now I will try and have a side trip and take in some culture. Nothing much else going on today.

Logged 7th May 2016

THE WAITING GAME

Once again waiting. The EPIRB was delivered today to Canoe Cove by Canada Post today. Now it’s is on its way to Port McNeil by Courier. Hopefully, fingers crossed it will arrive tomorrow.

It looks like I will miss my sailing window early tomorrow morning and the forecast is now giving 40 knot N W’ly winds for Saturday and Sunday. Oh well that’s life, I don’t mind waiting for weather because that’s just nature and it’s out of our control.

Waiting on man-made delays is not so easy to bear.

This morning I did the supermarket and booze run. We are now stocked up for the next leg. I will try and make the remaining diesel on board last until Alaska as fuel prices are lower there. It should be OK as long as we can do a couple of hours sailing each day.

So we are almost ready for departure. I will take the pig out the water tomorrow morning and put her on deck. This will be another superhuman effort and hope we can get it done without too much damage to body or structure.

I turned the boat around today in the dock so we are pointing the right way for departure. It doesn’t make any difference really, just feels better.

The weather was beautiful again today and I went for a walk to see the famous Port McNeil Burl. There is no doubt it is a seriously big burl, its not an official world record apparently, but I can’t imagine there is a lot of competition for the biggest burl.

Port McNiell burl the worlds largest. Photo Ray Penson
Port McNiel burl the worlds largest. Photo Ray Penson

Logged 6th May 2016

 

BREAKFAST IN THE COCKPIT

I had breakfast in the cockpit at 7 this morning in shorts and brilliant sunshine. Then I went and retrieved the (empty) crab pot. But not discouraged, the bait had gone so I just need to place the bait better and should have some results next time.

Breakfast at the cockpit sailing yacht Truce. Vancouver to Alaska.
Breakfast at the cockpit sailing yacht Truce. Vancouver to Alaska.

The forecast today was not good so only a short hop planned for the morning when conditions are usually calmer around here. Even managed a couple of hours sailing under the headsail. Then pulled into a place called Potts Lagoon, which one guide describes as the best anchorage on the coast.

Shortly after anchoring it blew hard from the South East, it’s now blowing just as hard from the North West, around 30 knots.

I saw another yacht today, a large one anchored in a bay some distance off. Like most nights, I am the only boat in the anchorage again this evening.

This place looks good for crabs but don’t want to risk a trip in the Pig in this wind, so will have to wait until calmer days for my first crab. Total voyage distance 238.9 miles.

Logged 2nd May 2016