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Friday, July 30, 2004

New Updates and Pictures

We're in Port Hardy with complete internet access (for once!) so I've updated the web log with some pictures and two new posts. Make sure to look past the pics to the posts. There are a couple good ones in there.

The bear on the beach where I was going to take a walk.

My first two salmon. The tail fillets from the one on the right were super good!

Nakia in front of the big mountains at Kwatsi Bay. I played a trick to make them look that high in the photo, but they really are that high!

Here are a few pics to keep your imagination going. This first one is from Goat Island. That's the lone tree where the eagle sat (eventually).

Booker Lagoon to Port Hardy

We left our cozy spot in Booker Lagoon Thursday, which we had all to ourselves last night. But first I took the opportunity to go salmon fishing once more. This time, since we have a freezer full of fish, I thought I'd do things a little differently and use my fly rod as a fly rod (instead of a trolling pole). I put on an intermediate sinking tip 9 weight line and tied on a Clouser Minnow in dark green and white (I don't have a dark green and blue fly unfortunately). Luckily I couldn't look like too much of a fool because there was only one other boat fishing the area. I cast for about an hour and managed to hook one fish. It seemed pretty small compared to the others I've caught but I didn't get a chance to see for sure. While I was trying to figure out how to retrieve it the fish got off the hook. (When fly fishing in still water, you have to pull in line to give the fly some action. This is called stripping. When you've stripped in all your line and are ready to cast again you have a big pile of line at your feet. That's ok, because you're going to cast it out again. However, if you hook a fish during the latter half of your retrieve you have to make a choice: 1) Strip the rest of the line to get to the fish; 2) Let the fish run all the line out so you can use the reel to pull the fish in; or 3) Reel in the pile while holding the fish on the line, then pull the fish in using the reel. I hadn't finished deciding before it got off.) I was running out of time, so I switched to my green and blue hoochy on the trolling rig and quickly caught a 21 inch Pink. That was all for the day. I trolled the rest of the way back to the pass but no more fish. I was out of time, we had a date at 1300 with slack water in the pass, so I headed back to Nakia to put things in order for crossing Queen Charlotte Strait.

Linda and I got the outboard off the dinghy and stowed, cleaned the dinghy and lashed it on deck, stowed things below, and raised anchor for our exit. As we pulled out into the lagoon the two Pacific White Sided dolphins came right up to Nakia, swimming from the stern to the bow looking up at us as they escorted us to the pass. Linda (watching them out on the end of the bow sprit) says they were so close to the bow of the boat it's almost as if they were scratching their backs on the hull. Our transit of the pass was uneventful (slack water is my friend) except that we had to wait for two power boats to clear the pass before we could enter. We made our way out into Queen Charlotte Strait and set sail. It was soon evident that the wind was blowing directly from our intended destination. The weather wasn't that great, the morning fog still hadn't burned off, and it was a bit cold. At least we were sailing though, so we set a course and started on our way.

I'm sure none of you reading this have any reason to follow Canadian weather forecasts, but lately it's been pretty monotonous in our area: Strong to Gale force northwest winds in the afternoon easing overnight. Our destination, Port Hardy, was 32 nautical miles almost directly northwest from our starting point. At the most we probably only had 25 knots of wind, with wind in the 18-22 knot range more common, but it turned out to be a very long day. In the end we sailed 43 nautical miles to cover 32. We now realize that the dolphins were not telling us goodbye, they were really saying, "Don't go out there! It's safer in here!"

I'm not sure if I should say this, but I think I will anyway. It's rarely a good thing to have a "reason" to go someplace. It limits your options. In this case our "reason" was mail. We have mail waiting for us in Port Hardy. (Thanks Leslie!!! No joke, I mean it!) Had we not had a reason to sail to Port Hardy we could have born off and reached to any number of destinations off the wind. Oh well, we got a chance to see how well the new sails work (they work great!) and it's clear to me the combination of new sails and the new feathering propeller make a huge difference in upwind sailing.

Once we arrived at Port Hardy, the challenge was not complete. Every foot of dock space is occupied either by fishing or pleasure boats rafted three deep in some places. We spent 30 minutes motoring around the harbor looking for a spot, and had finally resigned ourselves to going out and anchoring in the bay when a man on a sail boat invited us to raft up to him. We were both starving (by this time it was 9:30 PM), so we had some soup and went to bed.

In the full light of morning I find we have a pretty good spot. We're tied up right across from the "Eagle Tree." There is so much fish in Hardy Bay that the eagles flock here to feed. Mostly immature eagles, but about 10-15 will sit in this one dead tree waiting for an opportunity to practice their "fish catching, sky diving swoop."

Fish Finally!

(I posted this day before yesterday, but it didn't show up for some reason.)

Our anchorage mates got up early this morning to get underway and had an unexpected delay. The pass they went through yesterday (when the tidal difference was small between high and low tide) was roaring with a 4 knot current complete with overfalls and whirlpools! I guess they forgot to check the tides before they pulled up anchor. They ended up drifting around in the lagoon for a couple of hours until slack. One sailboat made it through early, but reported it as "a pretty wild ride."

You might ask how I knew the pass had overfalls and whirlpools. Well I got up at 0800 to fish the channel outside the pass during the flood tide and went through the pass at about max flood. Of course I went through in the dinghy and had no problem dodging the whirlpools with the help of our trusty 15 horsepower Evinrude.

Once out in the channel I found I was the only boat fishing (it was pretty foggy) but I didn't let that stop me. I set up my rig and started trolling. After half an hour or so I was getting frustrated. I could see fish jumping and I even saw a couple feeding at the surface (just like big trout sipping duns in a slow moving river). I mentally went over all the things people had told me about fishing for salmon: 1) use a flasher (check), 2) troll at a speed that gets the flasher to spin (check), 3) put a 24-28 inch leader between the flasher and the hoochy (check) and 4) use a green hoochy. Well I had a green hoochy, but maybe it wasn't green enough, so I changed to a darker one with some blue in it for good measure. I re-set my rig and within about 10 minutes, FISH ON! A short fight yielded a 21 inch Pink Salmon (it's about time!). I quickly subdued it (they make a big mess in the dinghy) and cleaned it. I decided one fish wasn't quite enough so I re-set my rig and soon had a 26 inch Pink on board too. That was enough for one day, our freezer is now well stocked with fish.

Later in the day Linda and I took the dinghy out to view the wildlife and had a little adventure. We took the "alternate pass," which is not passable by large boats, out to Queen Charlotte Strait and back into the channel where I had fished. Of course it was foggy when I was fishing, so none of the landmarks looked familiar. But that didn't really matter, the two passes are separated by an island and I thought it would be easy to find the big boat pass by simply circumnavigating the island. That was the plan, but as we continued down the channel things started to look very unfamiliar. Ack! We were lost. No problem, we just re-traced our steps and easily found the entrance to the big boat pass by traveling in the reverse direction. (I was so intent on showing Linda where I had caught the fish that I forgot to look back as we went up the channel. The entrance was behind us as we went around the front side of the island.) All's well that ends well I guess, except we used valuable "fishing gas" motoring around in the dinghy looking for the pass.

Back at the boat, the sun came out and we spent time enjoying the scenery around Booker Lagoon. Linda pointed to the shore just behind us and whispered, "Look." A black bear was foraging on the beach (or as Linda calls it, vacuuming under rocks). This, of course, was the same beach that I was convinced there was a foot path leading from. Linda had said earlier that she'd let me off the dinghy onto the beach and come back for me after I'd finished hiking the path (or bushwhacking through the forest as she put it). I'm glad I didn't take her up on it after seeing the size of that bear!

That's all for now, have to get those salmon fillets on the BBQ!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Linda has reminded me that I've been remiss in answering everyone's questions, so this update is an attempt to go back through old comments and get caught up.

Don: We've had those Costco pork loins before. They are HUGE. We usually cut them into three or more chunks and freeze them for later meals. They are great cooked on the grill. We've tried all the short wave frequencies and haven't had much luck. We'll keep trying though, you never know when the propagation will kick in and we'll be able to get a good station. Just last night we tuned in to a broadcast AM station in Sacramento. But for the time being we have to be happy with Neil Sedaka singing "Laughter in the Rain" playing on a Vancouver AM station. (Yes, we have CDs as well as 5300 songs on MP3, but we like to mix it up a little.) I've been in contact with the system administrators about sending email to verizon.net. It seems there is a problem on the Verizon end and they are blocking email from winlink.org. Don if you can, without too much trouble, send an email to your service organization and complain that you cannot receive email from ke6hua@winlink.org. Maybe we can get them to fix their system. We can continue to communicate exclusively using this web log, but it's not private. Anyone surfing the web can read my posts as well as your comments.

We've been talking to Phil almost every night on his route home. He thinks he'll be in the weekend of August 7. We sure wish we could be there for his homecoming; it will be very exciting.

What was the end result of the tour? Did Lance win it again this year?

Here now, the news: We left Waddington Bay this morning for Booker Lagoon (Position 50 Degrees 47 Minutes North Latitude, 126 Degrees 45 Minutes West Longitude). I wish we could have gotten a picture of us going though the pass to this incredible spot. It's no more than 50 feet wide. Our boat takes up 11 1/2 feet of it, leaving only 19 feet on either side. Of course the edges don't go straight down, so 10 feet from both sides of the boat you can clearly see jagged rock just waiting for a slip of the wheel. We made it though ok and were promptly greeted by the welcoming committee: two pacific white sided dolphins that live in the lagoon. We've been told that they were chased into the lagoon by orcas and haven't figured out how to get out. Personally I think they'd have no trouble finding their way out, they just prefer playing around the boats that visit their lagoon. After we said good morning to the dolphins we found a bay all to ourselves (there are four smaller bays inside the 1 x 2 mile lagoon). Of course we were only alone for a short while. About two hours after our arrival four boats chose our bay as well and anchored around us en mass. One is only 60 feet from us (I'll never understand why people anchor so close in such large anchorages).

I spent the afternoon baking bread and making black eyed peas with ham hocks. I'd like to say it all turned out wonderfully, but that wouldn't be entirely accurate. The flour I used for the bread was pretty old and I'm afraid it was packed too densely to measure accurately. The result were loaves that didn't rise well. Oh well, we have new flour, maybe I'll use it tomorrow. The black eyed peas turned out good though.

I understand everyone's trouble with trying to figure out where we are, that's why I'm going to start including the positions for our anchorages. Also, if we find a web site for a marina near by we'll post it. Maybe they'll have a map that will help. To that end, take a look at www.echobayresort.com. We had a nice happy hour at their picnic dock with boaters who were staying in the marina (we dinghied over from Shoal Harbour). Also our current anchorage, Booker Lagoon, is near Sullivan Bay which has a web site at www.sullivanbay.com.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Bad Weather, Good Food

After several days of clear, warm, sunny weather it's finally taken a turn for the worse. This time it's not rain that's got us hunkered down, it's wind. There's a gale warning out for the entire north coast of BC so we're holed up in Waddington Bay waiting for something to change.

We moved here from Shoal Harbour this morning, only about six miles but we had to battle wind the whole way. I thought this anchorage would be more protected but it seems that is not the case. Our spot in Shoal Harbour was a little more protected and a lot less crowded.

On the positive side, this being Sunday we had our "special breakfast:" pancakes with Mrs. Butterworth's syrup. The pancakes were made with the mix (Bette's Ocean Diner) Rick gave us and man are they good. Also, before leaving Shoal Harbour I checked the crab trap and there was another keeper (that makes 4 total; there were two more since my last post). This one we cooked before leaving and when we arrived at Waddington Bay Linda made great crab salad sandwiches! Of course during lunch cleanup the galley foot pump decided to blow a gasket. So we spent the afternoon getting the rebuild kit out from under the pullman berth and installing it. At least it was a nice workout after our rather rich lunch.

For dinner we tried something new. I had caught a large rockfish the other morning from which I got about 3/4 of a pound of fillets. (Usually we don't eat rockfish because they are mostly head and don't have much meat on them, this one was an exception.) I cooked the fillets on the griddle after marinating them in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. We had them with pinto beans, Spanish rice and salsa. All wrapped up in fresh corn tortillas which I made using the tortilla press Linda gave me for my birthday. Fish tacos in Canada!

The weather forecast sounds like we'll be here for awhile, but that's ok. There are plenty of places to catch fish in the area, including the anchorage I'm sure, so maybe we'll have fish tacos again or maybe I'll get lucky and catch a salmon for once. Either way there's plenty to do here without going far.

Friday, July 23, 2004

From Fog to Sun

We left Kwatsi Bay this morning at 0800 to avoid the west wind that can come up in the Tribune Channel. The problem was that leaving so early we had to deal with pretty dense fog. Another 'video game and opaque void' drill, and we eventually just shut off the engine and let NAKIA drift mid-channel until finally the fog lifted and we could see where we were going. Hope we didn't miss anything good along the way.

Kwatsi Bay was very nice but I have to wonder if it wasn't nicer a few years ago before the "Marina" went in. It was pretty interesting to talk to the owner (actually he did all the talking, I just listened). He went on and on about fish farms and other "resource consumers" and the hypocrisy of his opinions never seemed to dawn on him. Kwatsi Bay was once unspoiled, having never been logged or settled. Then this guy comes along and goes through the hoops to put a house on shore and build a marina (in one of the better anchorages) and the place is now just another spot for yacht club cruise outs.

Since I'm on a soap box... It seems to me people aren't as friendly this time as they were in 1997. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that we're here much later than we were last time (July as opposed to May). I guess we'll have to put forth some extra effort to make friends.

Yay! It's happy hour. For the first time in weeks I might add. I was just saying to Linda that I wish we had some ice so we could have a rum and coke and she surprised me by pulling a small tupperware of ice out of the freezer. I hope we don't get too wild and crazy.  :-)

We're anchored tonight in Shoal Harbour which is near Echo Bay resort (I'm not sure, but I bet they have a web site; look them up and you'll see where we are). Shoal Harbour is almost an exact opposite of the anchorage we just left. Kwatsi Bay was deep, 65 ft where we dropped the anchor where as Shoal Harbour is, well shoal.  :-) Today we dropped the anchor in 11' at low tide, though there are places where it is shallower.

We'll be here for a couple of days since the fishing is supposed to be very good in the area (though the guy at Echo Bay marina said there's not much catching going on). We'll see.

Late breaking news! It appears there was at least one crab of keeper size left in Canada. Our trap placed in the head of Shoal Harbour produced about 8 crab, one keeper. Linda and I split it between the two of us. Hopefully we can find at least one more before we leave for SF. Then we will have only spent $50 on the two of them (the fishing license having cost us over $100).

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Good Weather Again

We finally have a day with sun again. Ever since we left the Octopus Islands it has been pretty damp and we were starting to wonder if maybe it's just wetter north of Johnstone Strait.

We made the trip from Cutter Cove to Kwatsi Bay today. Cutter Cove, which the guidebook says is "ALIVE with crab," is. But not the kind you can keep. We caught eight or so female crabs and a couple of small males. So we're still fishless and crabless. I guess I should have bought a catching license instead of a fishing license.

Kwatsi Bay is very pretty. It's like being anchored in Yosemite Valley with high granite cliffs all around. The only bad thing is the sun disappears behind the mountains at 7:30. Maybe we'll be able to sleep in tomorrow though, without having the sun come through the portholes at four in the morning.

Kwatsi Bay is also very deep. We dropped the anchor 250' from shore in 65' of water and let out about 200' of chain. We ended up about 80' from shore in 40' of water. That's about the best we could do, as it's over 150' deep in the middle of the bay. It's very secure though. Because of the high mountains all around there's no wind whatsoever in the bay. We'll probably stay here two nights so we can explore a little more.

Monday, July 19, 2004

A Flock of E-Gulls?

Well, no crab last night in the trap (it finally stopped raining long enough for me to check the trap), so it was blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Normally we have cereal, either oatmeal or granola, but we try to have a "special" breakfast on Sunday. We missed it this week because of our early departure from Alert Bay, so to make up for it we had pancakes this morning.

I got up early to go salmon fishing after a guide on a resort boat told me there had been "surface" fish in the morning. I don't have fancy downriggers like they do so I have to do all my fishing close to the surface. No fish, but lots of fog and a few whales (I heard breathing though the fog).

After breakfast, Linda and I went out in the dinghy so she might have a chance to see the whales and eagles I saw during my trips. At first there wasn't much happening. We hung around the salmon fishing area for a while and then went a few miles up the shore, but still nothing. Finally, after we were about to return to the boat, Linda spotted a few eagles catching fish close by. We motored over and stopped far away so as not to disturb them, but in a position allowing us to drift closer. We sat and watched about 20 bald eagles catching herring at the surface for at least half an hour. At one point we were pretty close, about 75 yards, and could clearly hear the rush of air under their wings as they dove.

Finally the eagles seemed to have enough herring, and went off to sit in the trees so we started back. On the way in through the narrow pass I stopped to bottom fish in case I might be able to get a halibut on the incoming tide. Up ahead I could see a large log which seemed to be caught in a side current. It was going directly across the channel. After a bit it seemed obvious that there's no way it could be a log. It had to be something swimming across the channel. We both watched as a small black bear completed its morning dip in the 52 degree water, then got out, shook itself off, and headed up into the woods. Linda wanted to go back to the campsite we had just passed to warn them of the bear but I said, if they're out here, they have to be prepared for bears!

NOTE to Kathy and Tycho: We stopped to talk to John and Kathy of the BCC, Gertrud, hailing port Seattle, but they live in Oregon and are moving the boat to Newport for the winter before heading to Mexico next year. It's a 1977, hull #23, and they are the fourth owners.

After a quick side trip to check the crab trap, which we had moved on our way out, we passed a fish farm and saw a dorsal fin break the surface. Stopping immediately we sat and watched a pod of 7-8 white sided dolphins slowly swim by.

Finally we arrived back at the boat, having had plenty of wildlife for one day!

We're planning on moving tomorrow to Cutter Cove which the guild book says is "ALIVE with crab." We'll see I'm sure.

P.S. We need entertainment! Can someone do a google search for SSB (Shortwave) radio shows and send us the time and frequency? Anything will do, anything other than BBC world news that is. Thanks!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Off to the Broughtons

We made it out of Alert Bay on time this morning at 0900 and headed to the fuel dock. My estimate of $4/gallon of diesel wasn't quite accurate. We ended up paying $156 CND for 224 liters of fuel. That's $117 US for 59 gallons or $1.98. Not bad really, though the price at the Alert Bay fuel dock was much less than other fuel docks we checked on the way.

We're spending the night at an anchorage called Goat Island which doesn't have much to recommend it other than a beautiful view and a few bald eagles flying around. We're using friends Kathy and Tycho's charts, and there's a note pointing to Goat Island which says, "Eagle in only tree." The tree is still there but the eagles seem to prefer other trees these days.

I went out fishing for a couple hours this afternoon and had to race back in WOT (Wide Open Throttle) because a thunderstorm was setting in. I thought I was watching, but I found out about a half mile from the boat that I was about a half a mile too late. I got soaked in the last 2 minutes! Thankfully Linda was there with a dry towel and a hot meal when I got back. No, I didn't catch any fish.

M&D, you were wondering what we're up to when I skip a day or two writing to the web log? Mostly I'm waiting for something interesting to happen. If I wrote about all the mundane stuff, you'd be bored to tears!

Phil's race ended in Hanalei Bay on Kauai. I'm not sure of the web site but I think it's http://www.sfbaysss.org if you want to check the results and email us directly about how he did. We'd love to know after listening/talking to him most nights during his passage!

That's about all for now. If it would just stop raining I'd go check the crab trap to see if we have anything. Linda wants pancakes for breakfast but a crab omelet with cream cheese and onion is sounding pretty good to me.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Whales and Native Culture

We arrived at Alert Bay yesterday afternoon after completing our trip from Octopus Islands with stops at Otter Cove and Port Harvey.

The trip from Otter Cove to Port Harvey was pretty exciting. We left early to catch the ebb tide and to avoid the strong northwest winds that blow in Johnstone Strait in the afternoons. Unfortunately we had another obstacle to deal with - fog. We managed fine, though I'm sure it was easier for me than it was for Linda. I stayed down in the cabin and "played video games" while Linda was stuck up on deck steering, all the while looking into the opaque void of 1/4 to 1/2 mile visibility. Of course I wasn't really playing video games. I was watching for traffic on the radar as well as tracking our progress on the computer navigation software. After awhile it seems like you're playing a game of "avoid the dots" with the boat. Eventually the fog cleared and we sailed the last couple of miles into Port Harvey, putting the anchor down in the early afternoon. We both took a much needed nap.

After dinner, I entertained myself by casting a jig along the bottom. I didn't really expect to catch anything but after about 10 minutes I got a hit and pulled up a small halibut (about 3/4 of a pound). I set him free, thinking there must be at least a 24 inch minimum size limit, and went down to take a look at the fishing regulations. Imagine my surprise when I found that there is no minimum size for keeping halibut! I quickly went back to jigging the bottom. Soon I had another bite, but this time the fish was even smaller. The thought of spending an hour filleting that fish for 1/4 pound of meat didn't appeal to me so I threw it back too. After a little while longer I had another good sized bite and pulled in a 10 inch halibut. This one was big enough to fillet! I got about a half pound of very nice meat. Too bad we had just finished dinner. It would have to wait until the next night.

We departed Port Harvey at about 0800 in the wake of a big cruise ship (the first we've seen). This time the weather was better: no wind, no fog, favorable current. We made good time and were soon within sight of Robson Bight, a particular place where orca go to gather with other orca. They are also known to rub their stomachs on nearby rocks. It's an ecological preserve so you have to maintain a 1/2 mile distance. Even at that we were rewarded with the site of two orca, one male and one female, doing orca things. I don't think there was any rubbing going on, but who knows.
On our way we passed two humpback whales who seemed to be feeding in the area. One surfaced about 100 yards behind us and we could clearly hear it breathe at the surface.

We completed our trip to Alert Bay, tied up to the public dock, and immediately set out to do laundry and shopping. These chores completed we treated ourselves to cheeseburgers and fries at the cafe next to the laundromat. The only hiccup in the day was when I was working in the storage bins beneath the pullman berth. I was drilling 1/4 inch holes for a wire to control a remote deck light switch and dropped the drill. Of course the drill landed on my foot! Not only was I barefoot, but the drill also contrived to land bit first, giving me a new 1/4 hole in the skin between toes #3 and #4. Yeeeouch! I bandaged it up and completed the wiring project.

Today (Saturday) we did touristy things. We went to the U'mista Cultural Centre where the local Natives have built a longhouse style building to show masks and other artifacts from their history. It's a pretty moving exhibit (see www.umista.ca for details). Afterwards we chatted with a local wood carver/artist who was working on a mask. Except for having to limp around everywhere it was a beautiful and educational day.

Tomorrow we're beginning our time in The Broughtons which I've always referred to as Queen Charlotte Strait. Whatever it's called it promises to be an exceptional cruising area with many opportunities for exploring, fishing, hiking, crabbing and wildlife viewing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Hot Fun in the Summer Time

We just departed Octopus Islands for Alert Bay today, with a stopover in Otter Cove to wait for the Johnstone Strait wind to die down.

The Octopus Islands were beautiful. We arrived Monday after an easy trip from Rebecca Spit. Even though it's about five miles shorter to go through Surge Narrows, I opted for Hole In The Wall (HITW). HITW is easy and straightforward with no islands to weave through, whereas Surge Narrows has a tight channel with a rock in it that you have to go around - all with the current swirling around. (For the uninitiated, there is an area that you have to go through above Desolation Sound in order to get farther north. Each and every channel that leaves this area will eventually have a "narrows." All narrows have fast currents and most have a great deal of turbulence. You have to time your passage to the turn of the tide when you can pass relatively safely. Trying to transit a narrows during the peak of the tide would be like sailing down a class 3 whitewater rapid!)

When we arrived at Octopus Islands the first thing that struck us was the number of boats. When we were here in 1997 there were two other boats. This time there were 30! It was so crowded we decided to anchor in the much larger and open Waiatt Bay. The weather for our trip from Rebecca Spit was nice but it soon turned excellent. We had a dinner of grilled salmon (unfortunately salmon from the Ballard farmers market, not from my fishing pole) and no sooner had we finished cleaning up than a dinghy pulled up and the driver offered us a few dozen scallops (swimming scallops we were told). I tried putting them in a bucket in the bay with a net over it to see if they would revive but they didn't move much so we had no choice but to steam them in garlic and olive oil. They were very sweet and tender.

The next day dawned bright and sunny with a forecast of 25 C (that's 77 F to all of you Americans). The day was wonderful and we spent it exploring the area in the dinghy and doing some fishing (no fish). It looked like a big thunderstorm would dump on us for awhile but it never came our way. I actually got sunburned! (I put sunscreen on but missed a few spots.)

Today, Wednesday, we got up early to take a hike on the trail that goes from the head of Waiatt Bay to Small Inlet. This we did, all half a mile, to where a signpost pointed to "Newton Lake 1 mile." That sounded nice, so off we went on a trek which took us up a fairly steep (but short) hill. The hike was through lush fern and pine tree forest with moss padding our every step. We were sweating heavily by the time we arrived at our destination (the forecast for today was 28 C/82 F!) but it was worth it because Newton Lake is crystal clear and a great temperature for swimming. We were soon down to our birthday suits (having not brought swimming suits) and into the lake to enjoy the cool refreshing water after our steamy hike. Unfortunately the fun ended abruptly when I felt a prick at the back of my knee. Something had bitten me! I quickly got out of the water and looked down and saw a leech swimming along the edge of the shore. I'm sure it wasn't the leech that took a bite out of me, but seeing it was all that we needed to get out of the water asap. Does anyone know if leeches will stay close to the shore? Would it have been safe to stay out in deeper water? (Linda: Or would they have spotted the easy meal and come after us out there? Eeek!)

We made our way back to the dinghy and dropped a rec.boats burgee off at the 'art cabin' where people leave mementos of their visit. Then it was back to Nakia to pull anchor and head out for our 1605 slack at Okisollo rapids. We went through at 1555 and it was pretty exciting. Saw one good sized whirlpool and a few small overfalls. Exciting, yes, but not as exciting as it would have been if we'd gone through when I had originally planned. You see I had studied the tide books carefully and determined that slack was at 1655 - on THURSDAY! I was off by a day, I thought it was the 15th, not the 14th. I guess I'd better start wearing a watch so I know what day it is. Thankfully this was the last of the rapids that we have to transit.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Gluttony at Rebecca Spit

We arrived at Rebecca Spit yesterday after a beautiful sail from Campbell River. The sun has been in and out (mostly out) and there's been a little rain, but overall the weather's been nice.

Today we had a great time at Rebecca Spit. Spent the morning doing projects, the main project being reassembling and doing maintenance on the CapeHorn windvane (we hadn't put it back together after trucking Nakia to Seattle). Then we went for a walk on the Spit, having a picnic lunch on the point. But that's not the gluttony part. After our walk we took the inflatable over to Heriot Bay and got propane and a few groceries. Among the groceries were some cherries, about 3/4 pound of "lean ground beef," and some ice.

Now for the gluttony: First, we've been planning on making a large batch of my mother's rice/shrimp salad, which I did, about a gallon of it. Then I grilled hamburgers (since we now have propane for the grill) which turned out to be pretty juicy. Canada doesn't put the fat content on their ground beef, so now I'm figuring "lean" is about 75% lean. That's way more fat then we would normally buy in ground beef. Anyway, we had juicy hamburgers and rice salad for dinner. (Yes, we had lots of left over rice salad!)

Then as a special treat I tried something I'd seen on a PBS show. The show is about things you can do with your kids using common household items. Stuff like making sidewalk chalk out of plaster and food coloring, your own watercolor paints, or homemade ice cream. It's the ice cream that interested me the most, since I don't have a sidewalk, and we've never been able to keep ice cream in our freezer.

The process is this: In a gallon zip-lock bag put about half a gallon of ice and half a cup of salt (any kind of salt). Then in a quart size zip-lock put about a pint of half and half, a quarter cup of sugar, and some vanilla. You can use milk or cream, depending on how rich you want it. We also added some fresh cherries cut into chunks. Close the quart zip-lock and put it into the gallon zip-lock with the ice and salt mixture. Close the gallon zip-lock and begin "agitating" the package. Slosh and turn the zip-lock for about 10 minutes; you might want to wear gloves because it's going to get REALLY cold! After 10 or so minutes, take out the quart zip-lock and wipe it dry. Then cut a corner off and squeeze the ice cream out into your bowl and enjoy!

Linda was just fascinated while eating our ice cream thinking of the flavor possibilities. Banana, Amaretto, Raspberry, Coffee, and Chocolate all came to mind.

We're both stuffed from the richness of our dinner (did I say we made the ice cream with half and half), and are trying to figure out how we're going to work it off.

Tomorrow we're underway for the Octopus Islands, through Hole In The Wall narrows. No more ice cream for awhile.


Saturday, July 10, 2004

Campbell River

This is a picture of our berth at Campbell River. Can you see Nakia in amongst all those fishing boats? We had a nice dinner out last night and have had good luck finding free internet access at the visitor center. I'm sitting on the curb outside of there right now to send this since they aren't open yet.

Engine Repair

We suffered a minor detour yesterday. We were on our way from Galley Bay to Rebecca Spit (both in the Desolation Sound area) and I noticed the engine overheating. I found this hose which had blown (and of course we didn't have a spare), so I patched the existing hose with another piece of white hose and we made for Campbell River. The Yanmar dealer didn't have a replacement in stock, so we went to a local auto supply and were able to find a radiator hose which is a reasonable substitute.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Greetings from Galley Bay

Yesterday we woke up at 5 AM to raise anchor off Newcastle Island and go into a marina to take on water. We had to be kind of sneaky because we technically weren't supposed to be on their dock without checking in. To make matters worse the water pressure was very low and it took forever to top up the tank even though we were less than half empty. But we managed to get in and out of there without anyone coming after us.

Departed Nanaimo at 0630 and motored to Desolation Sound - 72 miles in 13 hours. We looked at Copeland Islands Marine Park first but decided the best spots were taken and it was too deep everywhere else. So we continued on to Galley Bay which is really only good for stopping when it's too late in the day to go on to somewhere else. The other factor is that we have the dinghy on the foredeck and were too tired to launch it and mess with a stern tie, so we needed to find someplace where we could swing on our anchor.

There were lots of other boats making the crossing during a perfect weather window. Flat seas and light southerlies, compared to the day before when it was very windy from the NW and we could see lots of white caps during our hike around the perimeter of Newcastle Island. Today is the first time it's rained during the day. Depending on how it looks this afternoon we will either sit tight or move on to Rebecca Spit Marine Park in Drew Harbour.

Fishing Report: Yesterday John caught a small shark on our way across the Straits of Georgia. After dinner he caught one rock fish after another here at anchor in Galley Bay. All catch and release so far, though we'll need to keep one soon for crab bait.

Wildlife Report: Over the past week we've seen mink and raccoons on the beach, a mother raccoon and small baby in the forest, several bald eagles, auklets (surprisingly few sea birds), harbor seals, a few porpoise/dolphins, but no whales yet.

Weather Summary: Our first week was hot (mid to high 70's - that's hot for Canada!) with increasing overcast the past few days. Light rain today.

Fuel costs are very high this season (almost $4.00 Canadian per gallon for diesel), so we hope to do more sailing and less motoring. They say the high cost of fuel is keeping the crowds down, but having been here before when there were no boats in the anchorages, it seems crowded to us.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


Saturday we spent the morning getting a few groceries and last minute things from around Sidney. We also tried to use the "free" internet access from a local restaurant (we bought coffee so we'd be "customers," because only customers get free internet access). Unfortunately after buying coffee they told us that the internet access wasn't working! On top of that when we returned to the boat we found that the tide was so low that we were aground in the slip and unable to move. The result was I washed the boat and Linda went and took a shower. Finally around 1 PM (check out time was 11 AM) we were able to pull out of the slip and make our way out into open water. We ended up having a wonderful sail to a place called Montague Harbor. The only problem is there are about 100 boats anchored here with us. Looks just like Hilton Fireworks in the Delta!

Today we went a short eight miles to an anchorage called Princess Cove at Wallace Island Marine Park. It's a little narrow cut big enough for just a few boats. There are still several boats here. One thing's for sure, we're seeing many more boats out than when we were here last time!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Bad Planning

Well, the day started out fine. We got a few chores done and left Ballard Mill Marina around 0900 this morning. We locked through to Puget Sound in record time (using the small locks which are much easier than the large locks). We made good time up the Sound, sailing downwind in a 15-18 knot southerly. That is, we were making good progress until we entered Admiralty Inlet and were faced with a 2.5 knot contrary current. That made our speed over ground about 3 knots. We struggled along like that for some time, getting down to 1.7 knots at the slowest, although the speed through the water was much higher. Finally we had had enough of going nowhere slowly and decided to pull into Port Ludlow. We'll leave here early tomorrow and catch the ebb tide to Sydney, BC where we'll check into Canada.