The Log of M/V Wandering Star
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Excerpts from the Captain's Log:  Leg I  -  Seattle to Ketchikan

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Sunday 4/22 - Seattle Yacht Club to Elliot Bay Marina

 

Weather: cool, intermittent showers. Wind: calm  Sea: calm

Engine Hours: 31.6   Fuel used to date: 37.5 gal.

 

Commissioned, christened, warranted and finally ready, the new Wandering Star is finally ready for sea. After 18 months, thousands of decisions, gut wrenching anxiety, and seemingly endless anticipation, the day has come to leave the nest that has been Lake Union and take to the salt and the adventure beyond…

 

The learning curve is always steep on a new boat. Thinking I would move some fuel to the starboard tank so we could take on more fuel before leaving caused a near disaster. As the tank filled, Ws listed enough for fuel to come out of the starboard fuel air vent. So what was meant to be a leisurely departure turned into a bit of a fire drill and my shipmate and I had to scramble to prevent a major oil spill.

 

 We departed the Seattle Yacht Club guest dock post haste and headed for the Diamond Bay Marina fuel dock to sort things out. With a very cautious fueling complete, it was time to leave Lake Union at last and set out the busy fisherman’s channel for the Ballard Locks. 

 

Locking through went smoothly. The experience we’ve had with the 99 locks we went through on the Great Circle with WS1 certainly didn’t hurt either.  We dropped some 40’ to sea level in the “big” lock with about 6 other boats, hung a left out of the channel and headed to the Elliot Bay Marina for the first night of our cruise to Alaska.

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Monday – 4/23 – Elliot Bay MarinaOak Harbor, Whidbey Island

 

Weather: showers, cold, foggy.   Wind: S 10 knots. Sea: calm.

Engine Hours: 33.9  Fuel used: 42.2  Distance Plotted: 44.2NM

 

Up early to catch the ebb at its best laving EBM by 0935. All systems working good after a bit of a computer glitch loading windows.  The course for today is very straight forward and we proceed at a steady 8+ knots burning about 4.25 gallons per hour.

 

Still getting comfortable with the new radar and the Nobeltec chart plotter software and the foggy rainy morning gives us a good chance to test both. Logs and debris in the water are already quite apparent.

 

In a little over five hours, we are pulling into Oak Harbor. The slips are only 40ft long with cleats not set right for us but we manage to get secure with just a minor bump on the nose. It is here that we catch up with our partner boat with Dottie & Ken aboard Dreamweaver. We have dinner together aboard WS to celebrate.

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Tuesday 4/24 – Oak Harbor to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.

 

Weather: showers, cold  Wind: S 15 knots  Sea: calm

Engine: 40.3  Fuel Used:  69.4

 

            Today we experience our first difficult challenge as we navigate Deception Pass, a narrow, rocky, windy passage known for its treacherous currents and nasty whirlpools. Key to successfully passage lies in hitting “The narrows” at exactly slack tide so carefully planning makes the departure time critical.  Our computer based Tides and Currents software coupled with Nobeltec’s Navigation System make this critical calculation easy. We find that by leaving Oak Harbor at 0600, traveling at a consistent 7 knots and we’ll arrive there just as the tide changes from ebb to flood. 

 

            Lots of wind, current and debris mark the early going - keeping us on our toes throughout the early morning. At 0900, just ten minutes before slack, we enter the pass just 10 minutes before slack tide. The passage goes smoothly and the scenery is remarkable.  Coming out the side of the pass, we cross Rossario Straits, round the South end of Lopez Island before the final few miles up the San Juan Channel to Friday Harbor.

 

            Slip for the night is courtesy of our friend Gary at Friday Harbor yachts – the brokerage we used to buy Wandering Star. Lots of good docking practice in very tight quarters as we squeeze WS into the tight quarters between the ferry dock and the brokers slips. We do some shopping in town followed by dinner on board.

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Wednesday 4/25 – Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor, San Juan Island.

 

Weather: Cloudy, chance of showers.  Wind: calm.  Seas: calm

Engine Hours: 43.5  Fuel Used: 85.8

 

            Our current program tells us that a 12:30pm departure is best for the 10.7 NM trip to Roche Harbor.  Again lots of flotsam and jetsam as we round the point leaving Friday Harbor again reminding us that vigilance is the order of the day.

 

            Our Simrad autopilot performs does a precise job of keeping us on course and dealing with the wind and currents.  Rounding the turn into the final approach to Roche we do go over a sea mount where the depth quickly goes from many fathoms to 11 feet – more careful placement of our future waypoints is certainly indicated to avoid these moments of acute anxiety.

 

            Once inside, we contact the harbor master on channel 78 for a slip assignment. The 35 Selene’s coming to the rendezvous are to be lined up on the huge end dock with all the blue hulls like ours on the outer side ties. As one of the first to arrive, we get a prime location right next to the party tent.  Dottie and Ken anchor out a few hundred yards in center harbor.

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4/26 to 4/29 – Roche Harbor and the Selene Rondezvous

 

            The next four days are devoted to meeting other Selene owners, touring their boats, eating and even some drinking.  On the serious side, most mornings are spent in classes on first aid, navigation, cruising to Mexico, and other useful boating topics. Even the weather cooperated with several sunny days. Much fun was had by all.

 

Monday 4/30 – Roche Harbor to Reid Bay, Stuart Island.

 

Weather: partly cloudy  Wind: calm  Sea: calm

Engine Hours: 48.8  Fuel Used: 91.5

 

            Off the hook (we moved off the dock on Sunday for some anchoring practice) by 10 AM for the short 3.1 NM trip to Stuart just across the strait from Roche.  A beautiful large well protected bay awaits us and we are soon anchored in 27 feet at the head of the sound.

 

            This is island is a national park so we pick up Dottie and Ken right after lunch and head to shore for some hiking after a quick lunch. The 2.5 mile trail takes us to Turn Point Lighthouse, right on the Canadian-US boarder with spectacular views of Victoria Island across the Haro Straits.  Much of the trail involves up and down the hill trekking through forests and marshes – a real good workout after a winter on boat commissioning.

Dinner on board followed by a quiet night makes a nice end to our first real taste of Pacific Northwest cruising.

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Tuesday 5/1 – Reid Bay to Friday Harbor

 

Weather: Partly Cloudy,  Wind: S 8-knots, Channel: calm

Engine Hours: 50.1, Fuel Used: 93.2

 

Decided to take a quick trip back to Friday Harbor so that Jo could catch the ferry back to the mainland on Wednesday to do some errands. The trip was only a couple of hours and we are getting very comfortable running around these islands – the water is deep and except for the occasional ferry, easy to navigate.  The scenery is quite nice – lots of quaint little cabins tucked away on remote islands with no way in or out except by boat.

 

Dinner and a movie with Jo before her early morning departure.

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Wednesday 5/2   Friday Layday in Friday Harbor

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Thursday 5/3 – Friday Harbor to Deer Harbor, Orcas Island.

 

Weather: partly cloudy,  Wind: calm  Channel: calm

Engine Hours: 52.3       Fuel Used: 101.2

 

Jo’s back so we ran up to have a look at Rosario Resort on Orcas Island – the staging site of Heather’s Primal Quest adventure race. The wind was blowing right into the anchorage so we continued to explore the area checking out Blind Bay On Stewart Island before deciding to head back to Deer Harbor on the western side of Orcas to spend the night.

 

We anchored in 30 feet of soft mud tucked up against a substantial hill before heading off on foot to explore the Bellport Marina that is here and the local area.  Back on board before sharing dinner on our boat with D&K.

 

Today’s Fuel: 5.1 gal

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Friday 5/4 – Deer Harbor to East Bay, Orcas Island.

 

Weather: Partly Cloudy, Wind: S 10 Knots,  Channel: choppy

Engine Hours: 59.5,      Fuel used: 121 gal.

 

Spent the morning working with Ken on my watermaker bring it on line for the first time. After some consternation with the wiring, we were soon able to start making water at the rate of 20 gallons per hour while we recharge the ships batteries achieving true independence from shore ties at last (except for fuel). So now we can make electricity, make drinking water from sea water, process our sewerage, run our communications network with internet, shortwave, satellite, cell phone, do laundry, and watch Direct TV wherever we go!

 

Up anchor at 11:30 for a cruise back to East Bay and the main town of Orcas Island.  We decide to anchor in Fisherman’s cove just beyond the point for better protection from the predicted westerly breeze that never came.  Instead, we had a south wind blowing directly down the long fetch of the channel all night with gusts up to 19 knots by morning.

 

The crews of both boats took the Dtreamweaver dinghy ashore for a walk around town, some margaritas, and a few items from the local market before heading back for dinner aboard WS. The new Rocna anchor held us solidly in 20 feet of soft mud all night without any sign of dragging and a good night sleep was possible despite the high wind,

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Saturday 5/5 – East Bay to Friday Harbor

 

Weather: cloudy, cold.  Wind: S 10-15 kts, Channel: choppy

Engine Hours: 62.6,  Fuel Used: 127 gal.

 

Leisurely but cold morning doing inside boat chores.

 

Anchor up at 11:30 for the 2-hour run back to Friday Harbor, our staging area for tomorrows run for the boarder and our official crossing into Canada.  We plan on moving one boat at a time to allow us to take the car across for a few days of use in Vancouver before it is put in storage for the month before we need to come home from Alaska for Heather’s wedding.

 

The mid-day, 2 hour run back is routine with just some strong head on currents to deal with to make it more interesting.  Once tucked back into the Friday harbor marine, the rest of the afternoon is spent on routine maintenance, All of us head to the local pub for dinner in honor of Cinco de Mayo but it is pretty quiet celebration this far north so we are back on board early for a good nights rest before a long day of travel tomorrow.

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Sunday 5/6 – Run for the Boarder – Friday Harbor to Vancouver, B.C., Canada

 

Weather: rain, fog.  Wind: NW 1 knot.  Channel: Light chop

Engine Hours: 62.1,  Fuel Used: 127 gal.

 

The big day is finally here!  Canada and the boarder await us at last. We are away from othe FHYC dock at 7:30 am.  After a few qliches with the nav system – the gps tracking seems stuck and once free the Nobeltech plotter doesn’t like the autopilot so we decide to press on the old fashioned way and hand steer our way to Canada.

 

While uneventful, it turns out to be a long, 8 hour push against counter currents most of the way.  WS handles well but speeds of 6 – 7 knots are all we can average.  Rain makes visibility difficult at best but the digital radar performs flawlessly.

 

On the customs dock in Coal Harbor, Vancouver by 4:30. Once cleared, we head over to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club for the night.  In the morning, we will head back aroung Stanley Park and up False Creek to the southern side of Vancouver with its fun and colorful nightlife/theater district on Granville Island. Here we’ll stay as guest of the False Creek Yacht Club for several days as we finish preparations and provisioning for the trip north and our departure on Thursday.

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5/6 – 5/9 Vancouver, B.C.

 

Spending a few days in the big city enjoying the last vestiges of civilization…walking and riding the bikes to stores,  restaurants, Starbucks Chi Tea lattes, and Granville Island.

We move WS over to the False Creek side of the city to be closer to the action on Sunday, guests of the False Creek Yacht Club. Only one problem, the guest dock in under the Granville bridge, home to 100’s of nesting Cormorants. The bird poop bath WS endured was shocking!  

 

It blew 30 knots up the creek all night adding to the spray effect so needless to say, we moved over to Fisherman’s wharf at first opportunity for much needed day of washing her down from top to bottom.

 

We spent several days enjoying the shops and pubs of Granville Island, taking long walks each day  with the locals as everyone enjoyed the beautiful spring weather.

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Thursday 5/10   Vancouver to Pender Harbor

 

Weather: sunny, Wind: SW 10, Bar: 1019

Sea: 1’ww, Engine Hours: 73.0, Fuel Used: 170

 

First stop this morning is the fuel dock to top off the tanks before heading north. We take on 700 liters (185 US gallons) giving us a total on board of just over 700 gallons.

 

The 44 nautical miles to Pender Harbor huge the eastern shore of the mainland most of the way passing many islands and tugs towing huge log booms. Visibility in great so Vancouver Island is in plain sight off to the west all day. Dottie and Ken have been working their way up from the Gulf Islands and both boats will be together again tonight in Garden Bay, a marine park inside Pender Harbor.

 

We drop the hook in 32 feet of water tucked in behind a rocky point. Seattle YC and RVYC both have outstations here but guests are not invited. We pick up D & K, drinks in hand,  for a quick dinghy trip further up the channel and then ashore to the local market for more beer and few none essentials. Evening was quiet aboard as Direct TV finally lost its signal and an early morning departure is anticipated.

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Friday 5/11  Pender Harbor to Princess Louisa Inlet and the famous Chatter Box Falls

 

Weather: beautiful! sunny, clear,  Wind: calm, Bar:1020

Engine Hours: 7.2/78.4  Fuel Used: 17.4/199

 

Up anchor at 6 AM for the long ride to Princess Louise Inlet and to arrive at the slack water to cross the Malibu Rapids at the entrance. Some of the most spectacular scenery yet – snow capped mountains, deep fjords, and steep, tree covered, rock walls on both sides of the entire waterway.

 

We arrive just slightly ahead of slack water but are able to proceed through the narrow passage with only moderate turbelance – just enough to let you know you wouldn’t want to do this when the current is if full flow. Once inside the PL Inlet, the still rudded beauty really sets in close as you make your way to the head of the bay and Chatterbox Falls.  The Pards Service has been nice enough to provide a 900’ dock for we passage makers and soon we are greeted by most as they help us secure to the float.

 

 

It took just over seven hours to make the trip so an afternoon of hiking and relaxing are in order followed by dinner with D & K on Board WS.

 

Nautical Miles on WS to date: 399.1

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Saturday 5/12  Princess Louise Inlet to Sturt bay, Texada Island

 

Weather: sunny, clear.     Wind: calm.  Bar:1016

Engine Hours:   86.2     Fuel on board:   Distance: 55/399

 

Off the park dock at 0900 after saying goodbye to our new friends on Ploada, Peter & Su from Darango, Colorado on a Nordhavn 43. Once again we must cross the Malibu Rapids at slack water, this morning it is at 10AM.  While not he most dangerous rapids we will encounter, it still gets ripping up to 9 knots (not good for a boat that goes 10 knots) if you hit it at the wrong time.

 

The long trip down the fjord was beautiful if uneventful.  Wind piped up a bit so 7 knots was a push to maintain.  Jo and I have found that standing hour and a half watches at the wheel seems to work best for us. This leaves enough time for the off watch person to get really into a project or just take a nap.

 

It’s 5:30 pm by the time we get into the tiny harbor of Sturt and tie up. The local boat club provides visitors with plenty of dock space and fresh water for a nominal fifty cents a foot. While there is no town as such, a short walk past modest homes and up the hill to the hotel finds you in a real friendly locals pub in a few minutes. Beer is good, dark and cold – chicken wings were not bad either.

 

A late dinner followed by a quiet night on board is spent watching direct TV (which decided to work again after we thought we lost it for good due to our high latitude). 

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Sunday 5/13  Sturt Bay to Grace Harbor, Malaspina Inlet, Desolation Sound

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Weather: sunny, warm.  Wind: E 6 knts. Bar: 1024  Sea: calm

Engine Hrs: 95.1  Miles: 440     Fuel on Board: 641 gallons.

 

A nice run in the warm sunshine across the Straits and into the Sound with a quick pause in Lund where some new friends have a cabin and boat dock.  Grace Harbor is amazing! Best of all, no one else is here in an anchorage that is know for its summer popularity.

 

We set the hook by 3:30 and launch our speedy tender from the flybridge for a quick roar around after dropping off the crab trap in a likely spot, the deepest part of the bay. Cruising around the bay we meet some kids on a high school outward bound packi trip taking a swim in the 50 degree water…just a bit too cold to even look like fun.

 

It’s Mother’s Day so a gala pot luck dinner in planned on Dreamweaver featuring my now famous Port wine tart cherry reduction sauce over peppercorn steaks. Much wine, champagne etc rounds out the evening.

 

Todays Distance: 25.8 in 4.1 hours using 9.8 gallons of our 641.Total miles to date: 480.6

 

Engine Notes:  at 33-50 %  Load using 3.5

Load  Oil Pressure:  47.5  Temperature: 172 F

            Manifold temp: 64 F     Pressure: 2.9 to 4.6

            Gear Temp: 114 F        Pressure: 357              

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Monday 5/14  Grace Harbor to Malenia Cove, North Desolation Sound

530851/1244048

Weather: sunny, clear.  Wind: 390 4 knts.  Bar: 1026

Engine Hours: 99.4   Fuel on Board:  231 Today’s run: 12 nm

 

Slept in for awhile this morning after the celebration last night.  Pulled the anchor on board at 11:00 for the short, 2 hour run to the other side on the sound.  Our choice of coves for tonight is set deep in a rock protected approach and a narrow channel that leads into a nice quiet little bay, just right for our two boats. 

 

We towed our dinghy over so it is ready to go ashore for the afternoon hike.  I decide to stay on board to finish the last connection to the watermaker. It seems the builders put a hidden “T” in the system with an undiscovered loose end that leaked whenever I made water.  Our friends with the Nordhavn, Peter & Sue (from Chatterbox falls) anchored out at the end on our bay so we connected again to discuss strategy for riding Dent Rapids.

 

All hands in bed early in respect for the 5:30 departure in the morning.

 

 

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Tuesday 5/ 15  Malenia Cove to Blind Channel Resort via Dent Rapids

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Weather:  warm and sunny.       Wind: W 4 knts.  Bar: 1017

Engine Hours: 100.5  Fuel OB: 627 gal.  Today’s run: 45 nm.

 

Weighed anchor before the 5:32 sunrise and headed for the North Passage using Lewis and Calm Channels.  We hit our slack water right on time at 0959 and pass through the treacherous Dent Rapids, know for “Devils Hole” whirlpool, with hardly a ripple. Wind was gusting to 25 knts as we made the turn into the rapids as well.

 

Lots of current though to kept both the helmsmen and the autopilot very busy most of the day. We pass our first large Log Boom, hundreds of logs held together with cable and pulled by a huge tug this afternoon on its way to the papermill. We had the opportunity to hit Green point rapids later at 4pm too but the lack of good close anchorages on the other side make it an easy decision to pull out and take the afternoon off.

 

The small, family run Blind Channel Resort was just up the channel and soon we are the only boat tied to their docks. Still hard to get used to the idea of not having to line up for dock/mooring anchor space as we did all our boating days in So Cal. We are still a few weeks ahead of the summer crowds up here as the place does get busy.

 

Laundry, water, power, and some ships chores while away the afternoon followed by a salmon feast on board with D&K… early to bed again as 6 am departed is needed to capture the most favorable current down to Johnson Straits tomorrow.

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Wednesday 5/16   Blind Channel to Native Cove, Village Island

 

Weather: cloudy, cool.  Wind: NW 8-15, Bar: 1015 falling.

Engine Hours: 109.01   Fuel on Board: 609   Total used: 296.

 

Weather taking a turn for the worst but we must push on towards Queen Charlotte Sound. Today is are first venture into Johnstone Straits, with a huge ebb running in our direction…a great ride with the boat hitting just over 13 knots and riding like a run away surf board.  By 10AM the ebb has run its course and it is time to hide out in Port Hardy Bay (which is neither a port of hardly a bay) till the afternoon tide turn back to favorable.

 

After much debate and weather study, the group decides to push on using a narrow back channel called Chatham and find an overnight anchorage further up Knight Channel. Anchor back up by 3:30 and up the channel to hit the narrow, shallow pass just at slack water.  Once through we turn to Port in Knight for several mile, around Village Island, and into Native cove. We bury the Rocna in sand in 23’ of water with 150’ of scope. Once secure, off we go with K&D for a dinghy trip to the abandon native village, cocktail in hand. Shallow water keeps us off shore but it is still worth the trip just to feel closer to the spirit of this unique toehold on man in a very primitive land.

 

It’s already 8:30, still broad daylight, but a tired crew decides to have a quiet dinner and early night – tomorrow it off at 6 AM to try for position and a possible assault on Queen Charlotte Straits.

 

Today’s run was 62 NM using 23 gallons of fuel in 9 hours of running time.

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Thursday   5/17    Native Bay to Fury Cove, Penrose Island

 

Weather: Overcast, rain            Wind: NW 6-10kt        Bar: 1017falling

Destination Latitude: 51029.26’ Longitude: 127045.43’

Engine Hours: 117        Fuel on Board: 576       Used: 334

 

Today is a big day for Wandering Star and her dauntless crew. Today she will make her first open water, pure ocean passage.  Today there will be nothing between her to the West till mother Russia with so many miles of cold and storm tossed sea in between.  Today she will get her first real test as an ocean going trawler in the very waters where her type of rugged, stable and dependable working fishing boat was first conceived.

 

We leave the protection of Native cove at first light, and head out into Knight Channel for the open water of Queen Charlotte Sound.  Again using the ebbing tide for a push, we are able to easily get speeds over 10 knots flowing along with the logs and debris out to sea. The passage becomes wide and the going slower as the tide runs out of steam and is dissipated by the expanse. Soon 6.6 knots is the best we can do as we escape the lee of Vancouver Island into the Queen Charlotte Straits.

 

Other pleasure craft are all but gone now for this is the domain of the serious work boat.  Ocean tugs with there barges, Alaskan ferries, deep water fisherman and the occasional cruise ship are now our only companions.  Fortunately, we’ve picked a perfect weather day sandwiched between a gale just ended and the predicted one with 40 knots winds to arrive tomorrow.  The winds are light and more importantly, the sea is calm with a large but genteel swell rolling in from the Gulf of Alaska.

 

We round Cape Caution in early afternoon and make the turn for the once again protected waters of Northern British Columbia.  The day has been long, some 80 plus miles and 12 hours underway, but satisfying.  Wandering Star did well. She rolled gently and evenly in the strong beam seas with a stable solid feeling of safety and control. Once we tracked down everything that was rolling around in drawers and lockers, even the refrigerator shelves needed attention, she was a very quiet ship in did and her skipper and mate will be very pleased to take her anywhere the horizon beacons.

 

It’s very late in the day when we finally find shelter in Fury Cove, a tight little, fully enclosed anchorage were several other power boats have also taken shelter for the night.

It is here we meet Phil and Sue with sled dog Taq who are canoeing across Canada. Starting in Victoria in March they have just made it this far in their three year odyssey.

Quickly a pot luck is organized aboard Dreamweaver to warm up and feed these kindred adventurers, soon even Taq and all are enjoying the celebration of new friends and our mutual fascination for life on the water.

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Friday 5/18   Fury Cove to Shearwater Resort, Denny Island

 

Latitude: 52D08.86’ N Longitude: 128D05.20 W

Weather: cloudy, light rain pm.  Wind: SE 5-10kts. 

Bar: 1014 falling

Engine Hours: 128.5   Fuel OB:  538

 

Hiking and exploring ashore started the day with a stop to see our new canoeing friends at the parks cabin. Interesting to see the 700 lbs of gear the choose for a 3year/3000mile trip. Then a walk along a beach of solid clam shells and some scrabbling over rocks to get to the outside beach. 

 

By 10am we are back on board hoisting the anchor and on our way up the Fitz Hugh Sound.   It is a solid 8 hour/50 mile cruise to our next planned stop, the small resort town of Shearwater near the Indian town of Bella Bella. Just off the final turn, we must wind our way through the worst log jam of the trip so far but Dreamweaver plows a nice path and WS follows through a clear channel.

 

This weekend is the local are celebrating Victoria Day and there is a festival planned…we plan on a quick visit and doing some provisioning.  Tonight though, it will be prime rib dinner ashore – the first dinner out in several weeks.

 

Today’s Run = Engine Hrs: 136   Distance: 50/730   Fuel Used/OB:  20/518

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Saturday 5/19   Lay day in Shearwater Resort

 

Rainy day spent enjoying the locals, water taxis to Bella Bella Indian Village, Spring Festival and resting up.

 

Sunday 5/20   Shearwater to Rescue Cove

Latitude: 53 31.35 N    Longitude:   128 16.94 W

Weather: sunny, warm, clear   Wind: 50 0 4-10 kt.  Barometer: 1013

Engine Hours: 136  Fuel on Board:  518  Trip Distance: 33/763

 

Left Dock at 0915 and headed out into Seaforth Channel. Last of the cell sites for awhile so we are able to check in with home base/Heather.  Weather keeps getting better all day til by the anchorage in Rescue Bay it si the warmest it has been for months.

 

We quickly set the hook in 25 feet of mud, dawn our shorts, and dinghy ashore for some shoreline hiking as the forest is impenetrable.  Afternoon find us with K&D on the top deck sunshine with some good wine, music, and munches…just doesn’t get any better!

Tri-tip BBQ on board for all followed by a rousing game of Texas Hold-em where Jo cleaned us all out. Early start tomorrow so festivities over around 10pm.

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Monday  5/21   Rescue Cove to Khutze Inlet via Kynoch Inlet

 

Latitude: 52 46.96 N Longitude: 128 13.29  W

Weather: cloudy becoming sunny   Wind: 167 0 10-15 kts.  Barometer: 1017

Engine Hours:142   Fuel on Board: 504.  Trip Distance/Total: 82/845

 

Hook up at 0630 for a day of cruising in the Fjordland  Recreation Area. Our first stop is a visit to Kynoch Inlet with its hanging valleys and many waterfalls.  We alternate between driving WS for the foredeck with the remote autopilot and the flybridge to fully enjoy the view.  At the end of the inlet, D&K drop their hook and take a quick dinghy ride up Culpepper Lagoon while Jo & I hold WS off shore and keep an eye on Dreamweaver.  The anchoring area is barely minimum and wind is gusting to 16 against the lee shore…not a place we want to chance with WS.

 

Proceeded to the end of Matheson Inlet, through Sheep passage to Finleyson Channel, then Tolmie Channel to Khutze Inlet.  Jo & I went all the way to the end of the inlet to see the falls but were not happy with the anchoring possibilities and after several tries headed back to Greene spite a shallow spot half way up the inlet and snuggled up close to the bank in 40 feet of water.  The problem with anchoring in a fjord is that the sides are very steep and drop right down to depths of 1000 feet, not much you can do with 400’ of anchor chain. So you must look for a spot with a little shelf and try to drop the thing on top with out being too close to the rock wall.

 

As the sun set behind the snow capped mountains, I was busy making water while Jo made dinner and by 10 pm we were too sleepy to get through much of a DVD.

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Tuesday  5/22   Khutze Inlet to Bishop Bay

 

Latitude: 53 28.19 N Longitude: 128 50.46  W

Weather: sunny, warm   Wind: 14 0 10-15 kts.  Barometer: 1023

Engine Hours:155   Fuel on Board: 474.  Trip Distance/Total: 32/877

 

Quiet night with little good sleep due to frequent anchor checks.  Our position was precarious enough though to warrant the extra caution, especially with the steady current that changed direction n the middle of the night. 

 

Up at first light and on the water by 0630 for out last day in Fjordland.  The first stop was to old cannery of Butedale. Lou, the caretaker was only too glad to show off the water driven turbine form the old days that he has harnessed to turn a 100amp alternator which went through a 1000 watt invertor and supplied all of the power he needed to sustain life…TV, freezer, and some lights.  Lou also sells ice cream to passing boaters and some of his handy crafts.

 

Next stop, about 25 nautical miles further North, we come to Bishop Bay Hot Springs tucked up at the very end of a mile long reach. Here some kind locals have built a primitive bath house, complete with three pools, for the natural hot (no sulfur smell) spring water that pours out of the mountain side. Complete with a 100’ boat dock, it is free for all passing boaters to use and enjoy it we did.  The protocol here is that all newly arriving boats raft up to the docked boats so that a number of boats can use the facility at one time.

 

Other boaters’ soon joined us and an impromptu cocktail party on WS soon evolved. Here we met Horst and Susan on Metz, a sailing boat originally designed for fishing from Victoria who were long term cruisers in the early 70’s. They knew all of the early world circling legends, the Roths, Hiscocks,  Montesiea, even our old friend, Dick from Dick’s last resort in Fiji. A visiting shrimp boat even traded Ken about 4 lbs of shrimp for some beer and a tri-tip steak so a late dinner aboard Dreamweaver was the conclusion to this perfect day     

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Wednesday 5/23   Bishop Bay to Kumealon Inlet

 

Latitude: 53 51.65 N   Longitude: 129 59.24 W

Weather: sunny, cooler Wind:1290 10-12  kts.   Barometer: 1021

Engine Hours: 159  Fuel on Board: 462

Trip Distance/Total: 68/944

 

Our friends are up and cast off early, we take our time and leave just after 0900. Today is a long passage day as we want to be in position to make Prince Rupert easily tomorrow.  We made our way back to the main cruise ship channel and out of the beautiful Fjordland Park area.

 

Jo and I continue to take turns standing hour and a half watches so the day passes smoothly with time for projects and naps between the time we must be on watch and alert looking for logs.

 

We approach Kumealon anchorage just after 6pm and do some seaching around the small bay for an area with enough holding ground and sufficient swinging room for the changing tides. It still takes several tries to get the Rocna to set in about 50’ of water with just over 200’ of chain.

 

A quiet dinner on board and the continuing of our DVD movie before early to bed.

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Thursday 5/24   Kumealon Inlet to Prince Rupert

 

Latitude: 54 19.19  N   Longitude: 130 19.11 W

Weather: overcast  Wind: 2100 10-12  kts.   Barometer: 1018

Engine Hours: 169  Fuel on Board: 439

Trip Distance/Total: 34/978

 

Short day today to PR after a quiet night on the anchor.  Large bubbles of foam on the water attest to the shallow rapids leading to a large lake further up the anchorage. By 0930 we are back in the passage again and on our way to the last major town in British Columbia.

 

The approach to PR leads up a long, curved channel to the enclosed and well protected harbor.  We call the Prince Rupert Yacht  Club at 1:30 as we pass the main waterfront and are assigned a side tie on the main float with DW right behind us. Conveniently located, the PRYC is only a short walk to the Pub and the main shops of town.

 

Both crews take the afternoon off to walk and explore town as it is the first time here for all of us. Evening finds us in the pub with friends of D & K from Mexico for dinner.

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Friday 5/25   Day off in Prince Rupert

 

Boat chores, provisioning, and laundry occupy the day with dinner aboard Dream Weaver and an early night.

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Saturday 5/26   Prince Rupert, B.C. to Foggy Bay, Alaska

 

Latitude: 54 57.01 N Longitude: 130 56.45  W

Weather: overcast  Wind:  2750 10-17kts.  Barometer: 1013

Engine Hours: 174 Fuel on Board: 427

Trip Distance/Total: 50/1028

 

Well we made it to Alaska!  We no sooner drop the hook in Foggy Bay and a mommy bear with two cubs wander out of the woods and feed in the meadow at waters edge…wow! 

 

It was a rough ride getting here though. Dixon Channel had 3-4 foot swells most of the way across. WS handles the beam seas great and once we chase down all the things rolling around she is quiet too. Paravanes would be nice but for the short times we would need them hardly worth the trouble.

 

Weather was rainy too but once we got here the sun came out and soon we were exploring our 49th state in the DW dinghy,  Nestled in the trees we did find a trappers cabin still being used although no one was home. Hiking now includes bear bells and pepper spray. The local story is that you can easily tell black bear scat from grizzly – black bear has berries and squirrel fur in it and grizzly poop has bells in it and smells like pepper.

 

It’s back on board for naps…we have set the clocks ahead an hour for Alaska time so now it will be light from early morning till bedtime. It will be a salmon BBQ on board and a night of quiet repose as we enjoy just being here.

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Sunday 5/27   Foggy Bay to Ketchikan, Alaska

 

Latitude: 55:22.21 N Longitude: 131:27.92 W

Weather: overcast   Wind: 2170 10kts.  Barometer: 1024

Engine Hours: 182        Fuel on Board: 404

Trip Distance/Total: 37/1065

 

The race is on!  Two other trawlers pulled into Foggy Bay after us last evening and managed to leave at 6AM, a half hour ahead of our planned departure of 6:30.  Not knowing how much dock space was available in Ketchikan, I decide to see if we can pass either of them on the 37 nm run to town while still running WS at a reasonable fuel burn rate. So off we go. By tightening up our waypoints and running at 1600 rpm we did manage to pass one boat about half way up the channel and called in for our slip assignment before both boats so mission accomplished.

 

We are assigned a slip in Bar Harbor, North Ketchikan.  The harbor master assigned any slip slip not being occupied at the moment by its owner to transient boats and moving about during the stay is likely.  We buy a month long pass giving us access to a slip for the month we will be gone if we decide to use it and can find an available slip for that long a period.

 

Once docked, we are off with D&K to explore town and find the Artic Bar, the oldest pub in Ketchikan. Know for it’s “happy bears” logo and a real local waterhole, we feel right at home like we would at any bar in Big Bear. Cruise ships stop and go constantly as the main source of income for the town with the loss/decline of timber, fishing and mining industries.  Voyager, with Les and Rose Dobbes, fellow Selener’s, invite us for cocktails on Sonata, a 62” homebuilt steel trawler where we meet the owners, Les and Diane, and are amazed by the comfort and spaciousness of their floating home. I even has a complete workshop.

 

Late dinner back aboard DW as we officially celebrate our arrival in Alaska.

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End of Leg I – Seattle to Ketchikan

 

5/28 – 6/4  - Ketchikan, Alaska

 

First sunny days of the entire trip were spent planning our next adventures in Alaska with D&K, maintenance on WS, and socializing with many new friends as they too arrive from the lower 48.

 

Ketchikan is a great town once you get past the dominance of the cruise ship passengers the seem to descend on the small village like swarms of frenzied feeding Piranhas.  It is not long until we’ve found the locals bar – the oldest bar in Ketchikan – owned and operated by the lovely Paula who would have been just as comfortable running a brothel during the golden days of “Creek Street” where both the fisherman and the fish went up stream to spawn.

 

Our main challenge here though was to find a safe place to leave WS while we must leave her to go “home” (we both feel WS is now home) for Mom’s 90th birthday, Heather and Ted’s party in Big bear and their wedding in Hawaii. 

 

Till our next leg, thanks for coming along with us, for your encouragement and all of your support for our wandering ways.

 

The Crew of Wandering Star,

Adie & Jo                                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye till Leg II

 See more photos at: http://wanderingstar.smugmug.com/gallery/846869/1/38054396

Cruising Adventures of Adie & Jo