It seemed as though we’ve repeated the frenetic pace of the northbound trip in our southbound journey. We are now docked in Port McNeill after covering the 295 miles from Prince Rupert in four days. The last three days were all nearly 12 hours underway. On account of the shorter days, we started all of of our days before sunrise.
On last year’s southbound trip, because of the time of the month, we frequently encountered opposing currents. This year, we were luckier and did a better job of choosing anchorages so that we could frequently ride favorable currents for much of the day.
On August 27, we revisited Lowe Inlet, an anchorage we used on the northbound trip. We were surprised that no one else anchored here as it is a convenient distance from Prince Rupert and quite lovely.
The next day, August 28, we continued the trip down Grenville and Princes Royal Channels (the “ditch”) and anchored in Mary Cove. This was a new anchorage to us and one we would use again as it is just a short distance off the main channel.
On August 29 we positioned ourselves for rounding Cape Caution by anchoring at Green Island. We anchored here in 2007 with our first boat, Dragontail, and thought it a delightful, well protected anchorage. Our opinion remains the same.
Yesterday, August 30, after some careful deliberation, we made the trip around Cape Caution and across Queen Charlotte Strait to Port McNeill. The West Sea Otter offshore buoy is often used by boaters as a key indicator in deciding in the “go/no go” decision. The 1.7 meter wave height was a bit more than the 1.5 meter cutoff we normally use but the winds were from the NW so we thought we’d have wind waves on our aft quarter. Unfortunately, the winds were forecast to increase to 25 knots in the afternoon. Since there was no forecasted storm and we had bailouts once past Cape Caution, we decided to go for it.
The current pushed us quickly out of Fitzhugh Sound and into Queen Charlotte Sound where we dropped both of our stabilizers into the water. They made a huge difference in cutting down the rolling from the beam on ocean swells and allowed us to continue in relative comfort. Once past Cape Caution the swells seemed to increase but were now coming more from the aft quarter. As we started to lose the current swell, the wind and the wind driven chop was directly behind us. The docking at Port McNeill in 20-25 knot winds turned out fine once we were given an end side tie where the wind blew us onto the dock.
From here we are slowing the pace down. We’ve reserved a space at Pierre’s at Echo Bay in the Broughtons for this weekend’s pig roast and are looking forward to that. We are still targeting a return to Seattle the last half of September.
Total distance this leg was 295.7 nautical miles (in 4 days!) bringing the trip total to 3008.9.