Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 19 - Guests and more time in the Broughton Islands

On Monday, August 19 we headed for Port McNeill early (to beat any afternoon wind, which is always strong there). Indeed the wind picked up, but we were secure and started to do chores, including laundry, getting the forward cabin ready. On Tuesday, I provisioned with freshies, and our friends Ginny and Ken arrived around 4:30. We had dinner that night at Gus's Pub where they have nice prawns items on the menu. The following morning was final provisioning at 8 when the grocery store opened and then we're off.

First stop Cullen Harbor, and we saw several whales, Humpback and Orca on the way to Cullen. As soon as we arrived we launched the dinghy and Kurt went into Booker Lagooon and dropped the prawn traps. In the evening a few hours later, he and Ken went in to harvest and rebait. They were gone a long time, well the currents were stronger and they waited 15 minutes for the whirlpools to calm down in the narrow entrance. They brought back a good haul. It being Ginny and Ken's anniversary, we had a nice steak dinner. We even brought up a good bottle of wine (from the bilge wine cellar) to celebrate. We had a fabulous sunset. This has become a favorite anchorage for me, in no small part due to the very nice supply of prawns nearby!

After retrieving the prawn traps the next morning, with another nice haul, we headed to Turnbull Cove, via the outside of the Broughtons, in Queen Charlotte Strait, and we saw more whales. Shortly after arriving, we took the dinghy to shore and the others went on a short hike to a lake while I tended the dinghy (due to an injured knee I didn't go on hike). That evening we were the only boat in Turnbull and it was quite lovely. Dinner featured the prawns harvested from Booker Lagoon just that morning! They were really good.

From Turnbull we headed to Echo Bay, where we had reservations for moorage and the pig roast on Saturday night. This gave the opportunity for Ginny and Ken to do a hike to visit Billy Proctor's museum/collection. He is quite the interesting fellow, who has lived in the Broughtons for over 60 years, and done a variety of jobs, fishing, logging etc. And he has written a few books on the area and his life that are quite interesting. On Saturday we made two potluck dishes and went to the pig roast. It was lots of fun and we had a nice chat with another couple at our table who have a Nordhavn 62.

On Sunday we headed to the Monday Anchorage area, which we thought would be nice for our last night out with the Crowders. Well, we didn't like our first anchor drop location (we drifted too close to an island), we then secured in a slightly different location but concluded that though it was a good "stick" and plenty secure, the anchorage was exposed to the anticipated wind direction. Up comes the anchor again and we head to another nearby location, Joe's Cove, which was quite lovely. While there, we saw a Krogen 42 we had seen in 2007 (I recalled they had a cat)! I got their boat card and Kurt paddled over in a kayak and said "hi". Later the fellow came over in his dinghy after dropping crab pots and we asked if he still had his cat, yes he still had the cat, but then added his wife had passed away 2-1/2 years earlier. We expressed our condolences.

The next morning, Monday August 26 , after downloading the latest weather, Kurt rouses me while still dark around 6 AM (Yikes, the days are really getting shorter) because the forecast talks about SE winds from 30-35 in Queen Charlotte Straits. We've docked at Port McNeill in 25 knot winds before and don't want to repeat that experience. The trip across QC Strait is fine (see more humpback and orca whales) and the winds stay benign until right before the harbor when they rise to the upper teens. Fortunately, the Port McNeill Harbor Master gives us an easy side tie to use and is right there on the dock to catch our line as we come in. We dock without incident. Since it is just late morning when we arrive, the Crowders take a BC Ferry over to Sointula on Malcolm Island in the afternoon while Marcia and I do chores and provision.

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