It stopped raining this morning.  Everything is still wet and the low cloud persists, but not as low as yesterday and in the afternoon it cleared to high cloud and finally the sun popped out for half an hour.

I could not believe that in had to stop for a deer crossing again today.  The deer was swimming across the Surveyor Channel and cut straight in front of me.  When I walked up to the bow to take a photo he saw me and put on a bit of a spurt, deer can swim pretty fast.  A local told me they do this all the time, either to get fresh pasture or escape predators such as wolves.

Bambi on the Port Bow. Photo Ray Penson
Bambi on the Port Bow. Photo Ray Penson

The next surprise was a Sea lion popping up right next to the boat as the deer was still swimming away.  The Sea Lion looked at me, rolled over and disappeared.  A little further on I motored up slowly to a sea otter who was sleeping on the surface, just as I was alongside he woke up, did the double take and crash dived.  All this was in Portlock Harbour, its alive with wildlife.

By low water I arrived at the entrance to Mirror Harbour, the closest anchorage to White Sulphur Hot Pools.  I met an American yacht anchored off, he didn’t want to go inside as there are many rocks and he had been advised not to enter.  I decided to have a look and entered slowly between the breakers, the passage is narrow and full of rocks, usually marked by kelp.

I managed to get past the first part and found that the entrance to Mirror Harbour was blocked at low water, so had to back out.  I then took a side turn into the West Arm where a guy I met in Warm Springs managed to anchor.  As I crept in I found a rock with the keel.

Rock Dodging trying to enter Mirror Bay.Ray Penson
Rock Dodging trying to enter Mirror Bay.Ray Penson

Thankfully, I was doing less than a knot, but it’s a nasty feeling touching bottom, especially a rocky bottom.  After this experience I anchored to launch the dinghy and take some soundings at the entrance to  Mirror Harbour.  I found that at high water slack it would be possible to enter through a narrow section.

However, once inside there would be no exit until another high water slack and I didn’t want to risk the entrance or be confined to a small pool.  So, I picked up anchor and headed out as there was not enough swinging room where I had anchored to stay overnight.

During my trip in the dinghy the outboard started slowing down.  I checked the cooling outlet and the water coming out was hotter than usual, a short time later I stopped the motor as it was overheating, sizzling is the word.  I don’t know why as the cooling water was running OK.  I will read the manual but it doesn’t look good at the moment.

Anyway, after all this excitement I motored around to Porcupine Cove and anchored next to a waterfall.  I was hoping there would be a trail from Porcupine Cove to White Sulphur Hot Springs which is about 2 km south.  I can’t find any trail and as the outboard is out of action it looks like I won’t make the hot pools.  I am very disappointed.

To console myself I cracked open my last can of Lighthouse Brewing Extra Special Bitter.  It has travelled well.

I feel very isolated this evening, there are no other boats around, the swell from the Pacific is entering the anchorage and gently lifting the boat.  It’s a reminder that there is a vast ocean just outside the anchorage.  Total voyage distance 1,302.8 miles.

Logged 27th June 2016


Weather turned out well today, a bit of rain and drizzle in the morning but then it cleared up and I could feel the suns warmth through the clouds.  The sun didn’t get to be serious or cast any shadows but it was there in the background, behind the clouds.  The forecast wind didn’t arrive and it was a flat calm, glassy sea all day.  We motored on, Mr Yanmar doing a fine job again.

Not much wildlife today apart from Dalls Porpoise – the most boring of animals.  It’s dolphins that are fun but I haven’t seen any so far this trip.

Coffman Cove Harbour. Photo Ray Penson.
Coffman Cove Harbour. Photo Ray Penson.

The destination today was Coffman Cove, it looked a decent anchorage on the chart.  Surprise, Surprise.  It’s actually an inhabited place and I tied up at the dock on the third attempt after someone took my lines as I kept being blown off the dock.  The population of Coffman Cove is about 150 but this swells during the summer months as tourists and holiday makers come in.  They get a monthly ferry call.

An exploration ashore discovered an ATM, Post Office, Store and Bar.  Yes, a real bar complete with pool table and tap beer.  Bar population included fishermen and loggers.  I am learning a whole new language, quite difficult when I only understand one word in three and every second word is a swearword.  Style here is ZZ Top beard, baseball cap and serious braces (Suspenders) to hold pants up.

So far I am liking this place.  The people are friendly and open and this is my first experience of the real Alaska.  I may stay another day to soak up the culture.  Total voyage distance 819.1 miles.

Logged 4th June 2016


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