HUMPBACK BREACHING

Thank you Warm Springs Bay, I had a most enjoyable stay and the weather has been fabulous.  But after three nights alongside the dock it’s time to move on.  My friends, Steve, Bob and Noel have departed north and south and I was in the company of fishing boats and their crews last night.

We sailed at eight this morning to ride the tide up Chatham Strait.  The forecast was for southerly winds ten knots.  As it was a light wind forecast I left the dinghy in the water.  When we got out into the strait the wind picked up and the short seas from the quarter made life very uncomfortable.  It was obvious the dinghy had to get on deck or she would be lost.  I ran for shelter into Takatz Bay and in calm water hoisted the dinghy on deck and set off again.  What a relief not to have the pig dragging behind threatening to destroy the self-steering.

Once out in Chatham Strait again the wind increased and the rain arrived.  I knew it would rain, the forecast said ‘Chance of showers’ in Alaska that means it’s going to piss down.  Under the jib with wind from astern we made six knots and this attracted the Dolphins who came to play around the bow.  These were the Pacific White-Sided Dolphin variety, real show offs.  They stayed for about twenty minutes, I say on the bow shouting and whistling at them, which I am sure they appreciated and enjoyed.

A little further on I was surprised to see a Humpback Whale breach about a mile ahead.  A few minutes later it breached again but closer, we were sailing towards the whales who were moving slowly in the same direction as us.  I got a couple of photos, but when the whale breached very close by the camera didn’t take the shot.  Maybe I was too excited and didn’t tap the screen hard enough.  What a shame it would have been an excellent close up shot.

Humpback Breaching Photo Ray Penson
Humpback Breaching Photo Ray Penson

In all my time at sea I have never seen a Whale breach.  Being on a small boat close to the action makes you realise what a huge event this is.  The power required to launch that huge body out of the water is immense, the splash on re-entry is huge and the sound like thunder, crump.  A truly awesome experience and I feel privileged to have witnessed it.  I don’t know why but Dolphins and Whales make me feel so happy.

Tonight I have anchored in Appleton Cove at the top of Baranof Island.  Tomorrow I will plan a transit of Peril Strait and then down towards Sitka.  Total voyage distance 1,173.9 miles.

Logged 20th 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

A VISIT TO ALERT BAY AND MYSTERY BILGE WATER

A visit to Alert Bay and mystery bilge water.  This morning being Sunday is the system check day, batteries, engine, bilge pumps and everything safety and vital. Upon opening the bilge I found water again. This is a mystery as I had fixed the small water leak. But, the water was fresh water, strange. It had rained heavily the day before – could it be rainwater? Seems unlikely. Anyway I dried the bilge and left it open to air.

Alert Bay Boat Harbour. Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson
Alert Bay Boat Harbour. Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson

I then hopped onto a ferry across to Alert Bay for a tourist trip. Alert Bay is an interesting place and in the past had a wild west reputation. The town has a major Nimpkish Indian village adjacent and is a cultural centre for the region.

Killer Whales frequent the place and the locals call it the home of the Killer Whales. No Orca’s around today, maybe they take Sunday off. One of the things I wanted to see was the museum (even Oprah has been) but I got talking to some of the locals and completely forgot about it. Maybe next time.

On my return back to the boat I found water in the port bilge, fresh water again. So I had been away for 4 hours and half a bucket of water had accumulated and there had been no rain. This time I dried everything out completely throughout the boat, I checked every fresh water hose and connection for drips, nothing. Four hours later it is still completely dry. I just don’t get it, I will have another look in the morning.

Alert Bay Home of the Killer Whale Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson
Alert Bay Home of the Killer Whale Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson

Killer Whales frequent the place and the locals call it the home of the Killer Whales. No Orca’s around today, maybe they take Sunday off. One of the things I wanted to see was the museum (even Oprah has been) but I got talking to some of the locals and completely forgot about it. Maybe next time.

On my return back to the boat I found water in the port bilge, fresh water again. So I had been away for 4 hours and half a bucket of water had accumulated and there had been no rain. This time I dried everything out completely throughout the boat, I checked every fresh water hose and connection for drips, nothing. Four hours later it is still completely dry. I just don’t get it, I will have another look in the morning.

The wind has blown hard all day from the NW which is where we want to head. Hopefully tomorrow there will be less headwind and the wayward EPIRB will finally arrive. I am looking forward to getting out of here and heading towards Prince Rupert.

Logged 8th May 2016