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Thread: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

  1. #1
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    Default Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    "We were not pioneers ourselves, but we journeyed over old trails that were new to us, and with hearts open. Who shall distinguish?"
    J. Monroe Thorington, The Glittering Mountains of Canada

    In the pre-dawn darkness, I listened to the weather forecast and lighthouse and ocean buoy reports on the VHF as I packed my gear and got ready to get underway as soon as it got even a little bit light. I was the only boat in tiny Jones Cove, north of Cape Caution, the nearest protected cove to the Cape to wait in readiness for rounding it. Cape Caution! For the small boat sailor traversing British Columbias Inside Passage, its the equivalent of rounding the Horn, and frankly, I was nervous about getting round it safely in Fire-Drake, my 18 sail and oar lug yawl.

    It had been hard work to get this far. Last year, Yeadon and I had a go at the Inside Passage from south to north, but we got held up by a week of high winds at the north end of Vancouver Island, which scuppered our schedule and caused us to bail out at Telegraph Harbour. The Inside Passage was unfinished business for me and this year I resolved to complete the journey.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    watching....................

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Nice in medias res beginning, Alex. Don't make us wait too long for the story and photos!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    For the beginning of the trip, I faced a logistics dilemma. How to get the boat to Ketchikan if I wanted to there and go south, or how to get the boat back from there if I wanted to end the trip there. I decided to cheat, by cutting out the Dixon Entrance part of the Passage, and start the trip in Prince Rupert, the northernmost part of the Passage easily accessible by road. I persuaded my brother to come out and make the 2 day road trip to Prince Rupert with me, where he dropped me and Fire-Drake off and drove the car and trailer back to Victoria.

    On the Road somewhere along the highway


    We rolled into Prince Rupert late on the second last day of June, checked in to the hotel and went in search of dinner. We found Dollys Fish Market, where we not only had an excellent meal, I also picked up a couple of packages of smoked Salmon jerky to take with me. Next morning we were up early, but by the time we got the gear from the car stowed in the boat, stopped at the marine supply store to pick up a couple of charts I was missing, got to the launch ramp, waited our turn and got the boat in the water, it was nearly 9 oclock. The weather was overcast but nearly calm, so I set off rowing while my brother stood at the end of the dock watching me until I was out of sight. I think he was questioning my sanity and perhaps wondering if I would change my mind at the last minute.
    Prince Rupert is a fishing and forestry town and the terminus of CNs northern railway line, which makes it the nearest rail port in North America to Asia, so there is a lot of industrial waterfront to pass by before you get to uninhabited countryside.

    Leaving the dock


    Ferry to Haida Gwaii


    I rowed past the commercial docks, the BC Ferries terminal, the container ship terminal and, after about 3 hours of rowing, got to the Ridley Coal Terminal. There, a light wind came up from the WNW. I raised sail and set off south, but I was faced with a choice. The late morning forecast called for strong southeast winds later in the day and even stronger for the next day, and once past Port Edward, there were limited bailout options for the next 10-12 miles. I decided to make it a relatively easy day and head into Port Edward for the night.

    Light outside Port Edward


    The wind dropped away at the entrance so it was back to the oars for the mile and half to the dock. I stopped at the first dock I came to, which was the public fishermans dock. The wharfinger came by and told me normally he would chase me farther along to the yacht dock, but since the fishermans dock wasnt busy, I could stay there.

    I was content to have called it a day, as it began to rain on and off. I talked to a few of the fishermen, who were getting their gill nets ready for an opening the next day. They all told me fishing had been bad so far this year.

    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    The wind came up in the evening and it rained on and off overnight but in the morning the forecast was still for strong SE winds during the day, associated with a trough moving in from offshore. I decided to stay put for the day so went in search of the shower and got cleaned up. Around lunchtime the rain stopped so I caught the bus from Port Edward back to Prince Rupert to take in the festivities for Canada Day 150, this year being the 150th anniversary of the countrys founding. I walked around, visited museums, listened to the music in the park and did some people watching.

    Prince Rupert street scene


    After supper at the pub, I went over to the bus stop to catch the bus back to Port Edward, but after waiting 20 minutes past the time I thought it should have come, it dawned on me that the buses might in fact be operating on a holiday schedule, not a Saturday. Checked the website and sure enough, that was the case. I bit the bullet and got a taxi back to the boat. I turned in to the sound of yet another interminably long train rumbling by the port, carrying containers away from the ship at the terminal. As with the night before, these trains run continuously until the ship is unloaded, which works out to a train every 3-4 hours.

    I tried for an early start next morning, but my routine is always rusty at the beginning of a trip, so it was past 7 oclock before I got going. The forecast was for 5-15 kts SW and it was shaping up to be an RDF (rain, drizzle, fog as they say in Newfoundland) kind of day, so I put on my drysuit. The harbour is narrow and there was both a headwind and a flood current against me so I rowed slowly to the entrance, where I found the wind had just enough south in it I could raise sail. Todays challenge was to get across Chatham Sound safely and some distance down the east side of Porcher Island, heading towards Grenville Channel.

    I was able to sail, in a kind of lumpy chop, to about a mile past Holland Rock, when the wind began to die. There followed a number transitions between sail and oar for the next couple of hours as a puff of wind would come up, suckering me into putting up the rig, only to die away again. The rowing was hard due to the lumpy chop, making it difficult to get into any kind of rhythm, and so I wasnt making good progress. After one such lull, at about 1300, the wind came up from the WNW! Never look a gift breeze in the mouth, so I put up the sails again and set off directly for Arthur Passage.

    As I got further south, the wind strengthened and it began to rain. Id taken off the drysuit earlier and was now getting somewhat chilled. What looked like a possible anchorage in Bloxton Passage turned out not to be so I blew right past it and carried on down Kelp Passage, coming to anchor on the south side of Lewis Island in the channel there. It took a while to get water inside the boat mopped up after the tent went up, but after hot soup and a hot supper I began to feel warmer. It had been such a gloomy day I hadnt taken any pictures at all.
    The rain stopped overnight and next morning there was both wind and tide against me as I rowed out of the anchorage into Ogden Channel. It took me 1 hours to go 1 miles, but I found a little wind once in the channel and so was able to sail south for a mile or so before having to resort to the oars for another mile. Then wind then came up from the south, as predicted this time, so I set off across the channel on a reach, heading for Gibson Island, where I pulled in and dropped the hook for lunch.

    Reaching across to Gibson Island




    The wind came up while I was eating lunch so I put in a reef before heading out, tacking directly upwind toward the head of Grenville Channel. It was the right call, at least for an hour, when the wind dropped to where I could shake out the reef. I got in the groove and was able to make it across to Pitt Pt, when the wind rose again and I had to put in another reef. This time the sea state increased along with it and it became a wet ride, with spray in the face on every second wave.

    The head of Grenville Channel


    I had hoped to make to Kumealon Inlet, but with wind and sea both increasing, I opted instead for Stuart Anchorage on Pitt Island side. Although the wind swept in over the point that forms the bay, it had no strength, and it proved to be a quiet anchorage. A grizzly bear came out in the evening and foraged at the tideline at the head of the bay and later a couple of wolves patrolled the western shore.

    Stuart Anchorage, Grenville Channel
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    It's fun following your journey. You PNW guys are tough. Although beautiful, it seems like an absolutely dismal place to stay dry and comfortable.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Alex makes this stuff look pretty easy. There's a lot of water moving around between these islands. I'm impressed. Can't wait for the next installment.
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    A great adventure,looking forward to the next installment.

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Alex,
    I had a very busy spring and was kicking myself for not following your live track. Thanks for posting this. Hope to get a good look at your route. PR has always been in the back of my mind for a put in. Had relatives there years ago.
    Eric

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    Alex,
    I had a very busy spring and was kicking myself for not following your live track. Thanks for posting this. Hope to get a good look at your route. PR has always been in the back of my mind for a put in. Had relatives there years ago.
    Eric
    Thanks for checking in, Eric. I'll put up some maps of my route shortly.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    The task before me now was to negotiate The Ditch, as Grenville Channel is known locally. Its a 45 nm long channel bordered by steep-sided mountains, with limited anchorages for a small unpowered boat. Different story if you are powered by internal combustion engines fueled with 100-million-year-old dead-dinosaur swamps. Then you just crank up the throttle and 5 or 10 miles to the next anchorage is only an hour away. If your human-powered speed is 2 - 2 kts in flat water, and a contrary current sets in against you, then it can be 5 hours away. So, Grenville Channel was all about the currents, in the absence of useable winds, how to take advantage of them when they were in my favour and how to get around them when they were not.

    I got an early start, away at 6 in cloud and low fog, but no rain, hoping to take advantage of the flood current.

    BC Ferry heading south in Grenville Channel


    It worked for the first 3 hours or so, when I was making good time, but around 930, I noticed the scenery wasnt moving by as fast, and when I checked with the GPS, sure enough I was down to less than 2 kts. This reversal of current was a surprise, since it was well before high tide. I was to encounter this significant disconnect between tide height and current in these channels for the rest of the trip. This day, it slowed me right down once I got past Watts Narrows, so I moved over to the shore to try to find a back eddy or at least slack water.



    There was a light south wind, not enough to sail with (I tried) against the current, but enough to cut my speed. Progress was very slow and I crawled along the shore at less than a knot for the last 3 miles. I arrived at the mouth of Kxngeal Inlet at about 1250, and after a brief stop for some lunch, I rowed another half hour to the head of the bay. I had been rowing for 7 hours, covering about 13 miles, and, since the next anchorage was a ways away, I called it a day. The anchorage was somewhat exposed to south wind but it was welcome as it kept the biting black flies at bay. The sun came out, partly, and I was able to get things mostly dried out after several wettish days. In the bay on the bottom below the boat I saw the first sea stars of the trip, sun stars and regular sea stars. They seem to be slowly making a comeback after the mass die-off caused by sea star wasting disease a couple of years ago.

    Head of Kxngeal Inlet anchorage


    View from Kxngeal Inlet anchorage, late afternoon
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    See any bears casually flipping over giant rocks on the beach?
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    oh dear, this is good, thanks!
    Last edited by Daniel Noyes; 08-14-2017 at 01:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    The task before me now was to negotiate The Ditch, as Grenville Channel is known locally. Its a 45 nm long channel bordered by steep-sided mountains, with limited anchorages for a small unpowered boat. Different story if you are powered by internal combustion engines fueled with 100-million-year-old dead-dinosaur swamps. Then you just crank up the throttle and 5 or 10 miles to the next anchorage is only an hour away. If your human-powered speed is 2 - 2 kts in flat water, and a contrary current sets in against you, then it can be 5 hours away. So, Grenville Channel was all about the currents, in the absence of useable winds, how to take advantage of them when they were in my favour and how to get around them when they were not.

    I got an early start, away at 6 in cloud and low fog, but no rain, hoping to take advantage of the flood current.

    BC Ferry heading south in Grenville Channel


    It worked for the first 3 hours or so, when I was making good time, but around 930, I noticed the scenery wasnt moving by as fast, and when I checked with the GPS, sure enough I was down to less than 2 kts. This reversal of current was a surprise, since it was well before high tide. I was to encounter this significant disconnect between tide height and current in these channels for the rest of the trip. This day, it slowed me right down once I got past Watts Narrows, so I moved over to the shore to try to find a back eddy or at least slack water.



    There was a light south wind, not enough to sail with (I tried) against the current, but enough to cut my speed. Progress was very slow and I crawled along the shore at less than a knot for the last 3 miles. I arrived at the mouth of Kxngeal Inlet at about 1250, and after a brief stop for some lunch, I rowed another half hour to the head of the bay. I had been rowing for 7 hours, covering about 13 miles, and, since the next anchorage was a ways away, I called it a day. The anchorage was somewhat exposed to south wind but it was welcome as it kept the biting black flies at bay. The sun came out, partly, and I was able to get things mostly dried out after several wettish days. In the bay on the bottom below the boat I saw the first sea stars of the trip, sun stars and regular sea stars. They seem to be slowly making a comeback after the mass die-off caused by sea star wasting disease a couple of years ago.

    Head of Kxngeal Inlet anchorage


    View from Kxngeal Inlet anchorage, late afternoon
    Man, these are nice pictures. No matter what I do, when I take pictures, they look terrible. These are great. They convey the size of the place well, and the tranquility. Of the scenery. What a lovely trip.

    I think your brother was watching you for so long because he was debating chasing after you, eh.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    See any bears casually flipping over giant rocks on the beach?
    Not this trip. In fact the only bear I saw on the trip was in Stuart Anchorage. How many saw me is another question.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Next morning, after a quiet night, it was again fog and low cloud, but there didnt look to be any rain in it. I was a little later getting away, but it was flat calm outside the inlet and again there was a helpful current. The rowing felt easy, the sun came out about 815, I saw a Humpback whale in the distance and I had the channel to myself. I covered 6 miles in about 2 hours and pulled into Narbannah Bay behind Evening Pt, at the entrance to Klewnuggit Inlet, to wait the turn of the tide. It had turned into a beautiful day, one of those that makes you glad you are alive, and the scenery from the anchorage was spectacular.

    View of mountains behind Klewnuggit, from Narbannah Bay


    Evening Pt is reputed to be where the tides from south and north meet in the channel and when I headed out after lunch, I found a current in my favour. However, after a couple of miles, the current slackened, the water became confused and lumpy and then a slight south-going current set in again, but not as strong as before. What I had been feeling was the last of the north flood, which carried on 2 miles south of the point. The lesson here is not to put too much faith in guide books.

    I began to see some impressive waterfalls along the channel, some clearly draining high lakes.

    Waterfall, Grenville Channel


    The afternoon got warmer, and there wasnt enough wind to sail so it was more rowing.

    Looking south in Grenville Channel south of Klewnuggit Inlet


    The heat slowed me down and it seemed to take forever to get to my target anchorage, Lowe Inlet. Whats worse, the black flies came out and I wasnt rowing fast enough to outpace them. First I applied some DEET, but even that wasnt enough, so I resorted to donning my bug net over my hat. It restricts the airflow around the head, but it is better than being continually bitten.

    The entrance to Lowe Inlet crawled up alongside at about quarter past 3 and it took me another hour to get to the head, where Verney Falls drains the lake behind. Id covered about 17 miles since raising the anchor that morning.

    Entrance to Lowe Inlet, in case you were in any doubt


    Verney Falls


    There is a lot of water coming down those falls and it creates enough current that I couldnt get very close to them. There was one other boat in the anchorage when I got there, the first anchorage Id shared on the trip. It was still sunny so I got the tent set up as an awning and with a little breeze coming in the bay, together with the shade, it was enough to keep the bugs away without the bug net. This bay had a lot of Brittle Stars on the bottom, another encouraging sign of a comeback.

    Verney Falls
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Wonderful pictures Alex. Kxngeal is not a familiar name to me.
    The sunny pictures are spectacular - the majesty of the more grey, overcast scenes is probably more difficult for many to appreciate. But judging from my past experience, so it is, much of the time. I never found the grey oppressive or bleak. One learns to marvel at 1000 shades of grey and green. At least I did. Sometimes with wispy bits of cloud hanging about the steep mountainsides. Sun is the reward, and icing on the cake.

    By the way - did you stick with the Danforth?

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Lovely pictures, Alex. They bring back memories of our time up there in the schooner. Thanks for sharing the reality of moving about in these waters with only human power (for the most part).
    Last edited by MAGIC's Craig; 08-13-2017 at 05:31 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    Wonderful pictures Alex. Kxngeal is not a familiar name to me.
    The sunny pictures are spectacular - the majesty of the more grey, overcast scenes is probably more difficult for many to appreciate. But judging from my past experience, so it is, much of the time. I never found the grey oppressive or bleak. One learns to marvel at 1000 shades of grey and green. At least I did. Sometimes with wispy bits of cloud hanging about the steep mountainsides. Sun is the reward, and icing on the cake.

    By the way - did you stick with the Danforth?
    Kxngeal Inlet is also shown with an English name on the chart, but without the chart in front of me, I can't recall what it is.

    I particularly liked the transitions on days with low cloud and fog where it got sunny later. The slow lifting of the fog and cloud, the thinning of the canopy overhead, glimpses of blue patches that become more widespread. It's kind of a fan dance, revealing the good bits a little at a time.

    I did stick with the Danforth and it never dragged on this trip, although that didn't stop me from worrying in some anchorages, but I suspect I would do that with any anchor.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Fantastic trip and pictures and my admiration for doing that passage without an engine.
    Leaving from Prince Rupert with the prevailing NW winds in the summer month is smart. Looking forward to seeing the upcoming adventures and thanks for sharing.

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by auscruisertom View Post
    Leaving from Prince Rupert with the prevailing NW winds in the summer month is smart. Looking forward to seeing the upcoming adventures and thanks for sharing.
    I thought I was being clever, too. In retrospect, in the first 14 days I had exactly 8 hours of NW winds. It got better later, though. Stay tuned.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    I thought I was being clever, too. In retrospect, in the first 14 days I had exactly 8 hours of NW winds. It got better later, though. Stay tuned.
    I am glad to hear the winds improved ,mind you finding light NW for the more exposed passages is easier said than done .

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    I thought I was being clever, too. In retrospect, in the first 14 days I had exactly 8 hours of NW winds. It got better later, though. Stay tuned.
    Did that surprise you? Remind us of the month - but that time of year think I'd expect a crap shoot either way. Relatively earlier favoring southerlies, relatively later favoring northwesterlies, broadly speaking without getting into the local topography.

    Did you give any thought to going outside the ditch? Would that produce more uncertainty,
    greater exposure, longer transit time? Maybe not the place to be with systems coming in from the south. Grenville sounds like the more prudent choice.

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    Did that surprise you? Remind us of the month - but that time of year think I'd expect a crap shoot either way. Relatively earlier favoring southerlies, relatively later favoring northwesterlies, broadly speaking without getting into the local topography.

    Did you give any thought to going outside the ditch? Would that produce more uncertainty,
    greater exposure, longer transit time? Maybe not the place to be with systems coming in from the south. Grenville sounds like the more prudent choice.
    It was July. I didn't expect steady northerlies, for sure, as the high pressure ridge that usually settles in to the south diverts the offshore systems to this part of the coast. But I did think it was a little improbable that I would get northerly winds only 2% of the time in the first 2 weeks.

    I did think about going outside, but as you say, it is a lot more open and I was wary about the potential for being exposed to major systems and having to hunker down for days to ride them out. There were some pretty big winds out there, according the lighthouse and buoy reports, while I was toiling down the channel.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    I had every intention of having a leisurely morning in Lowe Inlet and leaving on the afternoon ebb, however, a brisk little breeze coming into the inlet convinced me to leave early to try to sail instead of rowing. Alas, the breeze only existed in the inlet it was possibly only a land breeze caused by the warmer air over the land but once out in the main channel I decided to carry on rowing the back eddies along shore to see what progress I could make against the flood. I managed to make about 3 miles before lunchtime when I pulled into a little creek mouth and dropped the hook to have lunch, wait for the ebb and watch the passing parade of boats.

    I was getting ready to leave when I felt a little queasy. I put it down to some tamari almonds I had been snacking on. A little water had got into the bag during the rain and I had laid them out on the deck the afternoon before to dry, but I suspected they had got contaminated somehow. So I dumped them over the side, but, since I began to feel better within half an hour of getting underway, I think the quease might actually have been a touch of mal-de-mer caused by the wakes of the passing boats. I was surprised, since this was the first time I had ever felt queasy on the boat.

    View from the lunch hook, passing fish boats


    When I left about quarter past 1, a nice wind came up from the south, right where I was heading. I raised the rig, hardened in the sheets and then commenced nearly 7 hours of beating to windward.

    Grenville Channel looking south toward Wright Sound


    It was glorious sailing, under sunny, hazy skies and a moderate wind with enough power to sail, paying close attention to the GPS to make the best velocity to windward. The least lapse in attention to the helm and I would lose a half a knot to a knot.

    Watching the wake during the long beat to windward


    The sailing was so good that I set my sights on getting to Hartley Bay, but at about 7 oclock, a mile or so short of the lighthouse on Sainty Pt, the wind died and I had to take down the rig and start rowing. It was tough work as by this time the channel starts to open up to Wright Sound, and the waves and slop in the Sound hadnt gone down with the wind. It took me an hour and a half rowing hard in about a 3 foot chop to work my way the mile and a half around Sainty and Waterman Points into the beginning of Coghlan Anchorage.

    Once around Waterman, the water immediately smoothed out, thankfully, but it was another couple of miles to Otter Shoals, the likeliest anchorage, and it was nearly quarter to 10 and beginning to get dark by the time I got there. I was done, as I had been on the water rowing or sailing hard since 7 in the morning except for the lunch stop. I was too tired to make supper, so I had a well-balanced meal of a cold beer and a couple of pieces of chocolate and got the tent set up.

    The smooth water in the anchorage now became a little unsettled as ripples and a whisper of a breeze from Wright Sound worked their way in and set the boat to rocking. I set the mizzen sail and sheeted it in hard, which usually works to weathercock the boat, but there wasnt enough breeze for that to work. It was uncomfortable but I dropped off to sleep anyway, consoling myself with the forecast, which was that the wind was due to shift to the north in the night.

    Moon over Wright Sound at sunset in Coghlan Anchorage, with the troublesome ripples


    In the morning, I woke to find that the wind shift hadnt happened and the boat was still rolling quite uncomfortably. Getting up, I started to feel a bit queasy again so I quickly packed up, pulled up the anchor and rowed out of there. I passed a sailboat that was also anchored, which had been there when I arrived the night before, and I noticed that it was also rolling and the mast was gyrating, so, in a misery-loves-company way, I was glad to see that it wasnt just me that found the anchorage uncomfortable.

    Leaving Coghlan Anchorage in the morning, with the sailboat still at anchor in the distance
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    139

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    This is great, I want more... Please! What a perfect distraction from the pile of Monday work I am studiously avoiding.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    6,932

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by galleywench View Post
    This is great, I want more... Please! What a perfect distraction from the pile of Monday work I am studiously avoiding.
    +1!

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
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    1,023

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    I pulled into Hartley Bay under cloudy skies at half past 8. I figured I needed a rest day after yesterdays exertion. First on the agenda was a nice strong pot of coffee, then breakfast. Next was to see if I could find a shower to get cleaned up. Hartley Bay is a First Nations community that turns out to have no amenities for tourists or boaters except the government dock and a fuel dock run by the Gitga'ata nation. It is also the nearest habitation to the site of the sinking of the Queen of the North, the BC Ferry that hit Gil Island in 2006 and sank, with the loss of 2 lives. The people of Hartley Bay were first on the scene and brought the rest of the people back to the village and provided them with shelter, food and clothing.

    Government docks at Hartley Bay


    When I asked a couple of guys at the main float about showers, the young guy thought perhaps I might be able to use showers at the gym, while the older man thought there werent any showers there and my best bet was to follow the boardwalk trail along the river to the swimming hole. I collected my things and walked up the dock to the village. The entire village consists of buildings built on pilings, connected by boardwalks, with the result that the only vehicles in town are bicycles, ATVs and a few motorcycles.

    Boardwalk and houses on pilings


    At the top of the ramp, I checked out the gym, which was open but empty, and it had no showers. From there it wasnt obvious which way the river walk was so I went left. I wandered along for a bit and encountered the older man I had met, sitting in front of his house drinking coffee. I asked him about the river and he told me that Id gone the wrong way, but that he was literally moving out of the house and out of town that day, so I could use his shower, as long as I cleaned up. I gratefully took advantage of the offer and sat and yarned with him for an hour afterwards. He is a teacher and his 2 year contract was up so he was moving to a town in the interior. Hed enjoyed his time there but felt it was time to move on.

    After lunch it started to clear and got warmer so I went for a walk along the river boardwalk. The river is clear and fast, with small waterfalls, and wildflowers at the mouth.

    Waterfall on the river


    Irises


    At the edge of town along the boardwalk is a small hatchery and next to it is the village smokehouse. They were preparing for a funeral east that evening for a member of the community who was being brought back for burial. They were making kippered salmon, which was new to me but involve soaking pieces of Coho salmon, in this case, in brine, cooking/smoking for a bit over a low alderwood fire, then adding brown sugar and smoking some more. They offered me half a piece to try and it was incredibly delicious. I commented that if they ever wanted to make a business of selling this to passing boaters, they could make a killing as people like me would pay big bucks for it. The woman getting the fish ready immediately said, "In that case, that piece will be 10 bucks!"

    Making kippered salmon


    The forecast showers for the day never did materialise and it stayed warm, at times even hot. I spent the rest of day resting and cleaning up the boat. I was glad I had stayed.

    Looking out past the fuel dock at the main breakwater, Hartley Bay
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Victoria, BC, Canada
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    1,023

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Here is my track, as plotted on Google Earth, for the trip so far. The stars are where I overnighted.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Hamilton New Zealand
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    4,012

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Wow! Alex, one of the things high up on my bucket list is to sail a journey like that, in that area with one or more others in sail and oar boats.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Great story so far Alex. Sleeping on any boat is a special kind of hell. There's rolling, pitching, tight spaces, dampness, anchors dragging, masts creaking, wakes... need I go on? . But a good night of sleep on a boat and waking up to greet the dawn and a day of being on the water- that's really something special in a good way.

    -Bruce
    Tales from the land and sea: http://terrapintales.wordpress.com/

  32. #32
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    Wow! Alex, one of the things high up on my bucket list is to sail a journey like that, in that area with one or more others in sail and oar boats.

    John Welsford
    So it's a date then? As soon as you finish Long Steps, put her in a container and ship her here and we'll set off. Good excuse to get away from a NZ winter.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Victoria, BC, Canada
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    1,023

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Bateau View Post
    Great story so far Alex. Sleeping on any boat is a special kind of hell. There's rolling, pitching, tight spaces, dampness, anchors dragging, masts creaking, wakes... need I go on? . But a good night of sleep on a boat and waking up to greet the dawn and a day of being on the water- that's really something special in a good way.

    -Bruce
    Bruce, that was pretty much my only bad night. Normally I'm as snug as a bug in a rug on my boat.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    2,019

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    I am truely enjoying this journey.
    Did you do any fishing or trolling Alex?

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    South Australia and Tasmania
    Posts
    12,257

    Default Re: Fire-Drake Does BCs Inside Passage, north section (mostly)

    And then the murders began. Nah scratch that. Not neccesary

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