Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Where we went in 2016

Below is a map of the locations that we visited during our 2016 cruise.  If you click on one of the map symbols, the name of the location and some descriptive text are shown.

To open the map in a separate window click on Cruise 2016

Port McNeill to Bainbridge Island – Home Again, Home Again

It had been a long time since we washed the boat and dirt & salt had been accumulating on the boat in our travels.  Our expected thorough exterior washing in Port McNeill was halted by the water restrictions at the marina due to dry conditions in the water shed.

2016-08-073xSince we had time in Port McNeill while waiting for guests to arrive, we headed over to Sointula on Malcolm Island, a short ferry ride away.  It immediately rose in our estimation with a tasty bakery at the head of the ferry dock.  With the town having a strong Finish heritage, lots of butter was used in the pastries.  We only spent a few hours checking out recreational opportunities and the marina but decided we ought to visit the community again on a future trip.

2016-08-081xOur friends, Natala and Don Goodman flew into Port McNeill in their own Cessna 182 equipped with floats.  Don is a longtime climbing friend and when he retired from Boeing, he purchased the airplane as his means of continuing to explore and visit new places.  The weather was a bit blustery when they arrived but Don expertly put the plane down outside the breakwater and docked it in the marina.

On Tuesday, August 30, the day after they arrived we headed out into the Broughtons for a few days.  The first night we anchored next to Blair Islet in MacKenzie Sound.  We dropped prawn pots on the way in hoping to offer up fresh seafood in a meal.

The next morning, on the way out we retrieved the three pots and had enough prawns to feature in the night’s main course. We traveled through the inner channels in the Broughtons and made our way to Waddington Bay on Bonwick Island for the night.  The weather was nice enough that we dropped the kayaks for a paddle around the bay.

2016-09-002xWe returned the following morning, September 1, to Port McNeill.  Don & Natala were wanting to continue the journey flying north along the BC coast than cutting into the interior to visit a friend in northern BC.  The rest of the day, Don spent researching the route, checking weather and calling to confirm the availability of services along the way.

The next day, Friday, September 2, Marcia and I left Don and Natala in Port McNeill waiting for the weather to shape up along their intended route.  We continued our journey south down Johnstone Strait.  We anchored the night in Port Neville.

2016-09-023xOn Saturday, we left the anchorage at a leisurely 11 am in order to catch the building flood current in Johnstone Strait.  We raced through the channels with the current and anchored the night in Owen Bay on Sonora Island.  The sunset was particularly stunning that evening on account of the interplay of low angle sunlight and patchy clouds.

An early start on Sunday, September 4, to catch the slack before the ebb got us through Upper Rapids and Hole-in-the-Wall quickly.  We made our way to the very popular Prideaux Haven anchorage in Desolation Sound and squeezed ourselves into a spot.  Since we arrived pretty early in the day, after lunch we had a nice paddle through the anchorage and into the next anchorage east.


The forecast on Labor Day had the winds out of the SE picking up in the afternoon so we got an early start.  Conditions were good until near Powell River when the winds picked up to the mid teens.  As we entered Malaspina Strait the winds bumped up to the low 20’s and the seas became higher and steeper.  Soon we were pounding along, barely able to average 5 knots.  The cats quickly emptied their tummies and hunkered down for the grind.  With much relief, we reached the calm conditions in Pender Harbour and made our way into the south part, Gerrans Bay.  Remarkably, when I recorded our position in the ship’s log, I noticed it was the exact spot, to one-thousandths of a minute of arc (about 6 feet), that we had anchored on the way north this year.  I could never repeat that performance even if I tried.

Weather conditions the next morning, September 6, were the exact opposite and we had pleasant crossing of the Strait of Georgia, through Porlier Pass and anchoring in Montague Harbour on the north side of the Gray Peninsula.

2016-09-044xWe crossed back into the United States on Wednesday, September 7.  We anchored in Reid Harbor on Stuart Island.  We stayed two days here, doing the short loop around the camp area the first day and the longer walk to the Turn Point Lighthouse the second day.

On Friday, September 7 we traveled the 10 miles to the Deer Harbor Marina on Orcas Island where our yacht club has leased dock space for use as an outstation.  Marcia did a couple of loads of laundry that afternoon while did some boat chores.  We left time for ice cream cones from the marina store.  The next day we borrowed the marina van to drive to Eastsound and did some shopping.  Being Saturday, there was a Farmer’s market where Marcia purchased the most luscious tomatoes ever.

A special treat for us that afternoon was a visit by Kathleen & John Douglas, owners of MV Laysan, a sistership to ours.  When we were in Reid Harbor, we chatted with the owners of a vessel on the dock who mentioned they had seen a vessel exactly like ours on Sucia Island.  I texted the Douglas’s and we worked out the rendezvous.

On Sunday morning, we headed out to Echo Bay on Sucia Island.  The weather was sunny and a bit breezy, but that didn’t stop us from paddling our kayaks to shore and doing walks along the trails that stretch across the island on both days we were anchored.

On Tuesday morning, we headed to Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes.  We stopped first at the fuel dock where we added 785 gallons of diesel.  The only other time we fueled was in Juneau on July 1 where we added 420 gallons.  We’ll top off the tanks next Spring before starting the 2017 cruise.

A predawn start the next morning, Wednesday, September 14 got us into the ebb current down Rosario Strait and allowed us to catch the building flood down Admiralty Inlet.  We arrived back in Eagle Harbor shortly after 3 pm, 20 weeks after we left on Wednesday, April 27.

We spent 99 nights at anchor (71%), 40 nights at a dock and one night on a mooring ball. This years cruise was 3979 nautical miles long with exactly 700 hours of engine operation.  Backing out the 68.6 engine hours devoted to sightseeing or fishing (trolling, drifting or prawning), our average speed was 6.3 NM/hr.  This speed is measured from starting the engine at anchor or dock until stopping the engine at anchor or dock.  We ran the genset for 51.9 hours.