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Cruise 2020 – Recap

After three relaxing nights at Prevost Harbor it was off to Anacortes for two more nights at Cap Sante. The last day of our cruise, September 2, was a bouncy crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a windy run down Admiralty Inlet & Puget Sound to Eagle Harbor, where our cruise started on July 2.

Our cruise was 63 days long.  We anchored 42 nights, tied to mooring balls 4 nights, to a dock 14 nights, and traveled through the night twice (once northbound through BC and the other southbound).  We had the anchorage to ourselves 19 times. 

Over the cruise, we covered 2527.3 nautical miles (NM) and accumulated 399.7 engine hours.  For the purpose of calculating our average speed, I exclude hours in which the engine was idling for extended periods such as when trolling or drifting while sightseeing.  We had 11.5 hours of that time.  Using that method gives us an average speed of 6.51 knots (2527.3 NM / 388.2 Hr).

Below is a map of the places we visited on our 2020 cruise. If you click on a mark it will name the location and the distance and time needed to get there.

When you chat with anyone about 2020, words like “strange”, “unusual” or “weird” will be part of the conversation. All of those describe our cruise as well. The table below shows our ten trips to SE Alaska. Our 2020 cruise clearly stands out from all the rest.

  Year  Days  Miles Traveled Engine Hours
2010 129 3221.3 517.1
2011 115 3465.3 577.4
2013 151 3666.9 630.0
2014 141 4052.0 720.8
2015 104 3580.1 629.2
2016 141 3978.7 700.0
2017 140 3816.9 656.5
2018 112 3169.5 528.6
2019 118 3815.7 649.5
2020 63 2527.3 399.7
Totals 1,214 35,293.7 6,008.8

Our transits through Canadian waters were the fastest we had ever done. The northbound journey was 581.3 NM (from last anchorage in WA to the first anchorage in AK) accomplished in 134.1 clock hours and 85.5 engine hours. The southbound trip was 531.6 NM in 126.3 clock hours and 78.6 engine hours.

The trip was short by historical standards, and hard when you look at the miles covered per day. The weather was crummy much of the time (Petersburg had 16.4 inches of rain during the 46 days we were in SEAK while Ketchikan had 17.9 inches). Nevertheless, we are glad we did it and grateful that the Canadian government loosened their non-essential travel regulations to permit the transits that we made.

We are hopeful for 2021 and that it will return more normalcy to our lives.

More Wet Weather and Time to Leave

In our first trip to SE Alaska in 2010, we continued cruising through August and did not depart Alaska until September 4. The next year we planned to cruise through August but after three consecutive storms over about 8 days in the middle of the month, we skedaddled out of Alaska on August 26. Ever since that year, we’ve made it our practice to be south of Dixon Entrance sometime around the first week of August.

With our late arrival in SE Alaska this year, we thought we should make the most of the effort to get here and continuing cruising into August. After leaving Glacier Bay (and a storm), we traveled in pleasant conditions down Chatham Strait to Pavlof Harbor the first night (8/11) and then to Gut Bay the second night.

The next day (8/13) we fished east shores of Baranof Island where Marcia caught a couple silver (coho) salmon.  From there we continued to an anchorage at the north end of Keku Strait to position ourselves for transiting through Rocky Pass. Our goal was to go to the area on the SW corner of Prince of Wales Island (PoW) near Craig for more fishing.

Rocky Pass is a shallow and intricate route going from the Frederick Sound area to Sumner Pass that is best done at high slack. By August the bull kelp has grown during the long summer days to be dense as you travel Devil’s Elbow and it is unnerving hearing it bump along the sides of your hull as you see you depth sounder read only 20 feet of water. Later that same day, after a bouncy crossing of Sumner Passage, we entered El Capitan Passage for another shallow route before anchoring the night in Devilfish Bay on Kosciusko Island.

It was a short day to Kaguk Cove the following day (8/15) where we thought we’d wait out a forecasted front before continuing south to the area we wanted to fish. Besides fishing, our plan was to continue SE around Cape Chacon at the bottom of PoW Island and cross back over the border to Prince Rupert without diverting back to Ketchikan.

After reading the morning’s (8/16) forecast:

8/16 – A broad surface low in the Gulf with associated troughs and smaller scale lows circulating around it will continue to bring dreary and wet conditions to SEAK during the forecast period.

We changed our plan to a more conservative one. Instead we would head back north around the top of PoW Island, follow Sumner Passage to Zimovia Strait where we’d head down to Ernest Sound, back to Clarence Strait and down to Ketchikan. Having been beaten up by Clarence Strait on a couple of occasions, we do our best to avoid it in anything greater than 15 knot winds.

Anchorages along the way back to Ketchikan were Labouchere Bay, Santa Anna Inlet and Meyers Chuck. We did some prawning near Santa Anna and would have done more but the weather forecast urged us to get to Ketchikan before another storm.

8/18 – Most solutions now converge over a gale force low developing south of the Panhandle Wednesday night and near the southeast gulf Thursday.

We arrived in Ketchikan on 8/19, and prepared ourselves for starting the journey south as soon as the weather permitted.

8/20 – The forecast for the weekend has come into somewhat better consensus, featuring more rain for the panhandle.

On 8/21, between incoming fronts, a window of calm winds arrived and we headed down to Fillmore Inlet for a few days before crossing the border into Canada.

8/22 – The forecast for the upcoming week is one dominated by rain.

On 8/23, we cross Dixon Entrance and head to Prince Rupert in order to clear customs. Afterwards, we continue to Kumealon Island Cove for the night. From here it is a very quick (by trawler speed standards) southbound trip with stops at Bottleneck Inlet, Fury Cove, Growler Cove and Yeatman Bay, before running the length of the Strait of Georgia at night and arriving at a crowded Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island on 8/28 at 12:30 PM.

8/29 – The jury is still out on whether or not Southeast Alaska locations will wind up August with the wettest summer (June, July, August) on record. Some, like Ketchikan, seem more likely than others.

From here we’ll head to Anacortes for some preventative maintenance and a fuel up before returning to our homeport in Eagle Harbor.

Juneau to Glacier Bay

While on the dock in Taku Harbor before we went to Juneau, we chatted with several local boaters. They often asked how far north we were going and our reply, Glacier Bay, often elicited the response “have you been to Tracy (or Endicott) Arm.”  We have been to both and while both are spectacular, they capture only a portion of what makes Glacier Bay so enjoyable. Tracy and Endicott are long winding fiord-like features with tide water glaciers at the end that calve ice into the water. Glacier Bay also has glaciers that calve ice but it offers more.

First, it encompasses a larger area than either Tracy or Endicott Arms, with more cruising opportunities and a wider range of environments. It has a fascinating natural and human history as Glacier Bay was created in relatively recent times having its origins during the “little ice age” of the 1700’s. The native Tlingit people have oral history that tell of the advancing glaciers that pushed them from their lands that were 2020-08-013xfirst covered by ice than by water when the glaciers receded. The wild life is extensive, with many marine mammals (e.g., sea otters, sea lions, whales), birds (e.g., eagles, puffins) and land animals (bears, moose, wolves). While the permitting process for entry is a nuisance, it ensures a quality experience and protects the environment from being loved to death.

Because of Covid related changes, we did not have to do an in-person orientation at the Visitor Center in Bartlett Cove prior to going up bay into the park. With that flexibility, on Wednesday, August 5, we decided to make the long push from Juneau to one of our favorite anchorages, 2020-08-027xNorth Sandy Cove, for the night. The route took us by South Marble Island where we saw the requisite sea lions and puffins. While no bears on the beach greeted us, we did have a resident pair of sea otters paddling about and later were serenaded by a pack of wolves, yapping, yipping and howling for several minutes.

Given a forecast of deteriorating weather in future days, the next day we continued up bay to the head of Tarr Inlet and the Margerie Glacier. The absence of cruise ships and the closed Glacier Bay Lodge meant there were no large vessels up bay. Besides the handful of recreational vessels like ourselves, the only commercial vessels operating in the park were small (~30 feet) and fast boats hauling kayakers or taking guests from Gustavus lodges on tours. The ice in the water wasn’t difficult to navigate through, mostly easily dodged large car/truck sized pieces rather than vast swaths of smaller pieces covering an area.

2020-08-056

After leaving the Margerie Glacier, we anchored the night at the NE corner of Russell Island, an exposed location with poor holding. The next day, Friday 8/7, we 2020-08-057xreturned to North Sandy Cove. The forecasts were becoming increasingly dire for the weekend, and on Saturday we returned to Bartlett Cove to sit out the storm. We did paddle to shore and give Drake an opportunity to feel something not rocking under his paws.

As this is being written, we are on the tail end of the storm that brought gale force winds to most of the inner channels. We saw gusts in excess of 30 knots and sustained winds in the 20’s. Bartlett Cove is reasonably protected from southeast and south winds which were the initial predicted direction. Unfortunately after we settled into Bartlett Cove to sit out the storm, the track shifted slightly and the tail end of the storm brought 30 knot west winds and 6-foot seas to Icy Strait, a direction to which Bartlett Cove is exposed. This (Monday, 8/10) morning, in the anchorage, we are getting 3-foot rolling waves coming from Icy Strait. We are counting on the forecasted afternoon change to east winds in Icy Strati bringing more settled conditions to the anchorage.

The weather on Tuesday, 8/11, for most inner channels is 10 knot winds and 2-foot seas and we will begin our meandering journey southward.

Ketchikan to Juneau

While our Alaska quarantine requirements were met by our time enroute to Alaska and our circuit around Behm Canal, we still had many chores to do in Ketchikan. One of them was collecting the many packages we had shipped to us in Ketchikan. Sadly a couple of them were a bit tardy and we had to wait until Tuesday, July 21 before departing.

The first stop was Santa Anna Inlet, a lovely and secure anchorage, on the north side of Cleveland Peninsula and off of Seward Passage. We dropped 3 prawn pots for an overnight soak before going into the anchorage. One other cruising boat preceded us into the anchorage for the night.

Our routine is to use the weather forecasts, which we retrieve using satellite communication devices, to guide our planning. With the unseasonably cool and wet SE Alaskan weather we were having, and a forecast for several days of light winds, we decided to position ourselves to transit Wrangell Narrows on Thursday, July 23. We retrieved our 3 prawn pots, collecting several meals worth of prawns, and headed to Roosevelt Harbor on Zarembo Island, a new anchorage to us. We knew there was a US Forest Service float cabin there but didn’t realize there was also a road head to old logging roads on the island. While there is no active logging, there was a bustle of boats picking up/dropping off folks who were going elsewhere on Zarembo Island. A sailboat also came in and anchored in the harbor. Other than the surprising amount of activity, it was a perfectly fine anchorage.

The next day (7/23), we ended up getting to Wrangell Narrows a little sooner than planned (the flood was still building rather than dying). The narrow channels were fine but we ended up facing a lot of flood current on the north end from Turn Point to the exit buoy east of Petersburg. Once in Fredrick Sound, we headed to Read Island Cove in Farragut Bay for the night. Once again, we shared the anchorage and once again it was a “local” boat (i.e., Alaska homeport) rather that a visitor like us.

2020-07-042xNow in Fredrick Sound, we first headed to Pybus Bay where we dropped 3 prawn pots in our usual area then headed to the West Brother anchorage for the night. The forecast called for a front to move in the following afternoon. West Brother is lovely but fair weather anchorage and we thought we had time to retrieve our prawn pots and head to a more secure anchorage ahead of the front (an atmospheric river promising considerable rain) coming in. While in the West Brother anchorage we paddled to shore with Drake where we walked a trail leaving from the kayaker camp here and played with him on the gravel beach.

Early the next morning, 7/25, we were awakened by waves moving the boat and wind rattling the rigging and realized the front had come in more quickly than the 7/24 forecast on which we relied. We quickly pulled anchor and pounded out through short 3-foot choppy seas and headed up to our “storm” anchorage, Henry’s Arm in Pybus Bay. On account of conditions, we did not retrieve our prawn pots set the previous day.

A2020-07-046xfter spending two nights (7/25 and 7/26) in Henry’s Arm, we left the anchorage with some trepidation to retrieve our 3 prawn pots that had soaked for 3-nights. When we got to the area, we could only find two of our pots. The missing pot had the most line (over 400’) and was dropped in less than 300’ so I was surprised that it had gone missing. Searching both north and south of the area turned up no missing pot and we sadly said good bye to it and had to be satisfied with the prawns in the two pots we retrieved. We did a lunch break at the San Juan Island anchorage and took Drake to the beach to play. Afterwards, we pulled the anchor and tried halibut fishing nearby but came up empty. Since the weather was now calm, we returned to San Juan Island anchorage for the night and enjoyed the expansive views from it.

2020-07-052_stitchX

2020-07-058xOur plan was to stay in Fredrick Sound for several more days before continuing towards Juneau. On July 28, we headed down (SW) Fredrick Sound, fished for halibut at the mouth of Woewodski Harbor, then anchored the night in Chapin Bay. The weather sunny and winds calm made for a pleasant night.

Since the fishing had been poor in the area, we headed back towards Pybus Bay and an area that had been successful in 2019. Before fishing we headed in to the set the two remaining prawn pots we had. As we headed in, just off of our route was a wad of bull kelp with the top end of a yellow float amongst it. We drove by and found our errant pot with its floats nearly totally submerged from having been fouled with bull kelp. After one failed attempt, Marcia managed to snag the elusive floats and we pulled up the pot which, after a five 2020-07-085xnight soak, had about as many prawns in it as its two mates did combined. We gave the previously missing pot a rest and only set the other two. From there we headed to the fishing site. After a couple hours of effort, we headed to our anchorage, West Brother cove, with two halibuts in the cooler.

The next day, July 30, we took a rest day from fishing but did retrieve the two prawn pots set the day before. Returning to West Brother for our last night in the Fredrick Sound area, we took Drake to the beach on the south shore of the cove.

2020-07-087x

As we departed the next day, the weather was clearly changing. Not long after starting up Stephens Passage towards Taku Harbor, our destination for the night, we were fighting head seas and 20-30 knot head winds. Our already, slow 6-1/2 knot speeds were reduced to 5 knots. It was a slow 50 mile journey to the public dock in Taku Harbor. Shortly after 10 pm when the dozen boats on the dock had all settled in for the night. One of the rare thunder storms that SE Alaska gets, passed nearby and with it a violent wind storm. The winds in the harbor went from a few knots to a gust of 45 knots and sustained winds around 30 knots. There was much pandemonium on the dock as people tightened or added lines to secure their boats. One vessel anchored out in the harbor begin to drag its anchor then pulled it and came into the dock with the help of the folks on the dock securing lines before it got blown off or onto another boat. After a few hours the wind calmed down and everyone was able sleep soundly.

After two nights in Taku Harbor, on 8/2 we headed to the Statter Harbor in Auke Bay, NW of Juneau. We planned our arrival for Sunday when both the purse seiners and gill netters have openings and are absent from the harbor. This has been a successful strategy in the past for the first-come-first-served free-for-all that is Auke Bay. We weren’t prepared for the significantly different character of the harbor which was loaded with sport fishing boats. Fortunately, after about ten or fifteen minutes of poking around we found a fine spot that was easy to get in and out of and had access to 30A power.

We’ll spend 3-nights here doing chores and shopping before heading to Glacier Bay.

Escape to Alaska

On June 26, the Canadians threw us a life line by allowing foreign vessels, for any purpose, to transit their waters, either coastal or inside channels, from one foreign country to another foreign country. The transit must be done in a direct route and expeditious fashion but anchoring or essential stops, for fuel or food, are allowed.

We depart Bainbridge Island the afternoon of July 2 anchoring the first night in Port Townsend Bay. An early start gets us across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, up Haro Strait and to the customs dock at Van Isle Marina before noon. With our clearance number in hand, we continue through Active Pass and up the Strait of Georgia to a bay northwest of Nanaimo for the night.

I2020-07-005xn the anchorage, our paths cross with Rosy & Jim Addington of Sea Venture who are planning a similar quick (or as least as quickly as 6.5 knot boats can be) transit to Alaska. We’ve known Rosy & Jim for several years and had been commiserating electronically with them about this year’s border closure, so finding them was not a surprise. Since our boats are similar in category (slow, long range cruiser), we decide to buddy boat2020-07-001x to Alaska.

From northwest of Nanaimo, the next day, July 4, we position in Gowlland Harbor, a few miles south of Seymour Narrows, halfway up Vancouver Island. The next day (and night and day, again) is a long one. We catch the 0530 slack before the ebb at Seymour, ride the favorable ebb current through Johnstone, pass Port McNeill, enter Gordon Channel, cross Queen Charlotte Sound, enter Laredo Sound a2020-07-007xnd make our way up Principe Channel to McMicking Inlet on Campania Island, a 263 mile and 39 hour journey. From here its one more anchorage in Canada at Kelp Passage, SW of Prince Rupert. The next day, July 8, we cross the border between Canada and the USA, clear US customs via the ROAM app on our phones, and enter Alaska.

2020-07-024xTo prevent the spread of Corona virus, Alaska requires those entering the state to bring a recent negative Covid-19 test, take a test upon entering and stay in quarantine until negative results are returned, or complete a 14-day quarantine.  Since the quarantine clock started at our last port of call in Bainbridge we decide to stay isolated on our boat cruising in Misty Fjords and not arrive in Ketchikan until our quarantine is complete. Jim & Rosy on Sea Venture, had left their last port of call in Anacortes earlier than we had and elect to proceed to Ketchikan more directly, so we split up at this point.

2020-07-033xWith fewer cruising boats we are able to secure the USFS buoys in Punchbowl Cove, Walker Cove and Klu Bay as well as anchor in isolation in Fitzgibbon Cove and Moser Bay, as we make our way slowly up Eastern Behm Canal, across the north side of Revillagigedo Island and then back down Western Behm Canal. Misty Fjord lives up to its name and reputation. We arrive in Ketchikan on Thursday, July 16, having completed the transit to Alaska and satisfied our Covid-19 quarantine period.

Cruisin’ Through Covid

We, like virtually everyone, has had their life and plans turned upside down by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We read, listen and watch the daily news of the loss of life and economic disruption created by it. We then feel almost ashamed to complain about the relative inconveniences that we experience in our life as a result of it. For us, the biggest change is 2020-06-006ythe uncertainty of when or if we’ll be able to take our summer cruise along the Inside Passage. One can hardly fault the Canadians over their reticence to let Americans cross their borders as casually as we have in the past.

In the mean time, we go on short cruises from Olympia, at the southern end of Puget Sound, to the San Juan Islands near the border with Canada. Having Drake aboard we 2020-06-012xnow look for those destinations that offer easy beaches on which to land with some walks and fields in which Drake can play.

The last time we cruised that range was in 2012, the year in which our focus was preparing and selling our home in West Seattle. Since 2012, our normal cruising range range ran from Bainbridge Island to Glacier Bay, so we are feeling a bit constrained.

Ship’s Dog

2020-02-029xWith the passing of our last cat, Maggie, we took a one year hiatus from having a pet on board while cruising. Having had a cats for 35+ years, we now have taken a leap and gone to the “bark” side by adding an Australian Labradoodle to our crew.

Born in November 2019 as a part of a litter of five males, we picked up Drake (as in “Sir Francis” but formally recorded as “Fur Fantastic”) from the breeder in January 2020.  Knowing how formative the first few months of a puppy’s life are to its adaptation, we drove immediately from the 2020-04-065ybreeder in Medford, Oregon to the boat for a 3-week introduction.  We returned to Arizona for another six weeks before escaping back to the boat as the Corona virus pandemic accelerated.

So far, he has been a trooper and coped perfectly well with marine life and not been phased by the sound of the engine, bow thruster, walking on dock grates, steep dock ramps or, very importantly, doing his “business” on the deck at the bow of the boat. Descending the steep stairs from the pilot house to the 2020-04-013xstaterooms below are beyond him now so we carry him down. Drake isn’t likely to be more than 25 pounds so even if he never descends the stairs we can easily handle him.

While Marcia had a dog 40 years ago, Kurt never had a dog.  Every day we are reminded by how different cats are from dogs.

Cruise 2019 – Where We Went

Below is a map of the places we visited on our 2019 cruise. If you click on a mark it will name the location and give some numbers associated with the visit.Excluding our time in Port Townsend while having work done, our cruise was 118 days long. …

Season Wrap-Up

We left Port McNeill on Monday, 8/19, and scooted across Queen Charlotte Strait, heading to Turnbull Cove in the Broughtons. The weather forecasts were for strong winds along the inside waters and we thought Turnbull offered excellent protection.  Either it did or the winds weren’t as strong as forecast because over the 2 nights at Turnbull we never saw anything over 10 knots.

We then stopped at the marine resort Pierre’s at Echo Bay for a night to attend one of their prime rib dinners.  While there we reacquainted ourselves with Kathy & John Youngblood owners of Mystic Moon (Selene 53).  They have spent the last 12+ years cruising down the coast, through the Panama Canal, around the Caribbean Sea, back through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia, through SE Asia, up the eastern coasts of Japan and Kamchatka Peninsula, through the Aleutian Islands, and back down the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia (I am exhausted just writing that route).  Enjoy their travels at Mystic Moon Voyages.

2019-Cruise-295xWe also met at Pierre’s, Peter and Sue the owners and builders of Kama Hele, a 54 foot Diesel Duck.  They live in the San Francisco Bay area and cruised up to Alaska this year.  We saw their boat in Petersburg but weren’t able to meet up before they went north and we went south.  I’ve been following their building efforts at their blog BuildingKoloa and their cruising at KamaHeleCruising so it was a treat to meet them and tour their lovely vessel.

From there we positioned ourselves the night of 8/24 at Port Harvey so that we could get an early start along Johnstone Strait and take advantage of favorable currents and winds.  This year, as we have the last several years, we used the route through the Octopus Islands to move from the northern waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland to the southern waters of the Strait of Georgia. After a night in Waiat Bay we continued down to Gorge Harbour and a lovely lunch at the Floathouse Restaurant.

An early start and surprisingly favorable currents allowed us to scoot the length of the Strait of Georgia past Nanaimo Harbour to a spartan anchorage a mile north of Dodd Narrows.  The NW winds blew all night long but the bottom was sticky and we just weather-vaned at the end of our anchor chain and didn’t budge.

The next morning, 8/28, we joined the parade of boats through Dodd Narrows.  Our winter dock mates, Barb & Eric Wood, were also southbound and allowed us to pull in ahead of their vessel BarbEric through the passage.  We continued to Montague Harbour for the night while the Wood’s headed off to Thetis Island.  A surprise to us at Montague was the strength of the wind.  The harbor seems landlocked but the NW wind blowing down the Strait of Georgia seemed to pop right over Galiano Island blow right through the anchorage.  Fortunately, it calmed down in the afternoon and we paddled the kayaks to the marina and had an early dinner at the restaurant.

The next day, we crossed back into USA waters and, after clearing in through the new CBP phone app, headed to Echo Bay on Sucia Island.  We arrived early enough to paddle to shore a take a hike along one of the many trails on Sucia.  Even though we were coming up on Labor Day weekend, the anchorage and island did not seem to be excessively crowded. 

2019-Cruise-306xWe headed into Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes to spend the first two days of the holiday weekend.  Other than a few provisions, the main reason for stopping in Anacortes was to take on fuel.  An additional attraction is the Lopez Island Creamery trailer at the marina’s entrance scooping out generous portions of ice cream.

2019-Cruise-302xOn Sunday we headed over to Deer Harbor on Orcas Island. Our yacht club, Queen City, leases dock space at the marina for its members to use.  The marina was buzzing with activity from holiday boaters at first and then with a flotilla of classic wooden boat attending the 2019-Cruise-301xPort Townsend Wooden Boat Festival a few days later. While at Deer Harbor we continued our bad habit of having ice cream for our “lunch” as the marina store served Lopez Island Creamery ice cream.

After four days in Deer Habor, we traveled the short distance to Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island.  We met up with our friends, Barb & Eric Wood on BarbEric who were anchored in Reid Harbor on the south side of Stuart Island, and hiked out to the light house at Turn Point. 

After two relaxing nights, we headed to MacKaye Harbor at the south end of Lopez Island.  David Cohn who owns a “cousin-ship” to ours, the classic Seahorse Marine Diesel Duck Shearwater.  David and his wife Rachel own a vacation home a few hundred yards from the beach in MacKaye Harbor.  We anchored, near Shearwater then paddled the kayaks to shore.  Dave prepared a wonderful meal which we enjoyed while catching up on how our respective summers went.  We got back to the boat just before the rain and lightening started.

2019-Cruise-308xBesides visiting with David & Rachel, MacKaye Harbor was the perfect jumping off point for crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Townsend. Although we weren’t hauling out until Tuesday morning, 9/10, we wanted to arrive on Sunday so that we could take care boatyard paperwork and any in the water tests ahead of time.

After 9 days hauled out and another 2 days at the dock, we departed Port Townsend at first light on Saturday, 9/21 and arrived at the dock in Eagle Harbor at noon, closing out our 2019 cruise.

South to Port McNeill

2019-Cruise-253xThe journey south went smoothly with one pleasant surprise along the way.  We chose the “outside-inside” route from Prince Rupert along Petrel and Principe Channels.  Whale activity in Squally and Whale (I wonder how that name came about) Channels was brisk.  During one early morning start to reach a fishing area for the first bite of the day, three or four whales came vertically out of the water 200-300 yards away in a tight column with mouths open gathering their breakfast of herring and other bait fish.  Of course no photo was taken as it happened and ended so quickly.  Lots of whale tails, however.

While in this area, I received an e-mail from friends Don & Natala saying that they would be flying in their 2019-Cruise-263xfloat plane (see Echo Bay Aerodrome) in the area exploring lakes on the islands and could I suggest a possible rendezvous.  After exchanging several satellite messages and phone calls we managed to work out a time and place.  Amazingly, it all worked perfectly as though we had planned and rehearsed it in advance.  It is a bit odd to look out the rear doors to the salon and see an airplane propeller 6 feet from your stern.  The weather was calm and Don & Natala spent the night flying off the next day while we continued south at a more measured pace.

We fished our usual places along the route and caught six nice silver (aka, coho) salmon for the freezer.  Our stay north of Cape Caution was abbreviated by a long range weather forecast for a period of windier conditions which would keep us from rounding Cape Caution.  While not having a rigid schedule we weren’t willing to risk a prolonged delay to our journey south.  Others had similar concerns as there were more than a dozen pleasure craft transiting Cape Caution along with us.

From here we’ll head into the Broughton’s for a few days before transiting the constrictions south of Johnstone Strait.