Today has been a long day motoring. It’s also been a day of calculating the tides and timing the passage down towards Sitka. This morning we caught the tide down Hoonah Sound then Peril Strait, Sergius Channel, Kukul Narrows, Salisbury Sound, Neva Strait and finally Olga Strait.
The engine was running for nine hours and I am happy to be at anchor in Cedar Cove at the end of Katlin Bay. The weather has been flat calm all day with low cloud and rain – a sort of brooding damp day. In Hoonah Sound I saw Humpbacks breaching again. The whales were about half a mile away; I saw one breach four times.
Today there was a lot of boat traffic about, fishing boats, pleasure boats, ferries, large charter boats, expedition yachts and fast runabouts zipping around. Tomorrow it’s just a two hour run down to Sitka. I am looking forward to a shower, laundry and some fresh provisions. Total voyage distance 1,221.0 miles.
I woke up this morning and it was still pouring with rain, damp and cold. No hurry this morning and no point in getting out of a warm bed so I rolled over for another hour kip. When making tea this morning I got a drip of water on the head, there is a small leak on the overhead skylight.
I will get some materials in Prince Rupert and make it good again, also the one on the other side as a precaution, when we get some dry weather. We set off just after nine from Lawson Harbour towards Port Edward. There was telephone reception so I called ahead enquiring about a berth. The guy gave me a whole load of drama about how busy they were and I would probably have to raft up. I then called to Prince Rupert Yacht club
and they said there was a berth available. So Port Edward was bypassed and we continued on to Prince Rupert in the rain. The reception at the Prince Rupert Yacht club was very friendly, the guys turned out to help me tie up. They have put me in a berth head in to a small space. It’s going to be challenging getting out without hitting anything. Hopefully it will be calm on Sunday and I can turn the boat around by hand so its pointing in the right direction.
Its 30 years since I had last been to Prince Rupert. We used to load grain here for China. The locals were always friendly and our stays were always pleasant and good fun. The stevedores used to fish from the side of the ship and bring up big halibut and were always generous in sharing it about.
Back then Prince Rupert was a small place – it has really grown to quite a big town. It has a shopping mall and Walmart store so its arrived. The grain silo jetty, where we used to load is still there, the old concrete silos have been replaced with modern steel structures.
This afternoon I had a quick walk around town and the luxury of a hot shower for the first time in two weeks. This evening I will head out to find a fish restaurant and sample some halibut. I already found the local brewery (by chance) and sampled their Gillnetter Pale Ale – nothing to write home about, but as my mate Jim says – ‘there’s no such thing as a bad beer’.
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.
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!
Hartley Bay Harbour and Village. Photo Ray Penson
Hartley Bay Administration Office. Photo Ray Penson
Hartley Bay Harbour. Photo Ray Penson
Hartley Bay Harbour. Photo Ray Penson
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).