During the first two COVID years our direct transits to/from SE Alaska along the British Columbia coast went remarkably smoothly and quickly. We had no weather delays and even had some very calm days that allowed us to take more direct routes outside of the protected inside channels. .The weather so far for 2022 is very different and is moving us back closer to the average conditions we’ve had over the years.
We departed our homeport on Bainbridge Island on Thursday, April 28. First night was Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. The next morning we cleared into Canada at Van Isle Marina next to Sidney. The interaction with the Canadian Border agents was done via telephone but they must have been very busy because Marcia was disconnected several times while on hold and the phone wait was about 30 minutes each time she called.
The weather was soggy and forecasts not great so we spent two nights at the Salt Spring Marina before crossing the Strait of Georgia and continuing north. We had to wait another two nights in the Broughtons on account of weather before we could get around Cape Caution north of Vancouver Island.
For the last major hurdle, Dixon Entrance separating BC from Alaska, we departed from Brundage Inlet on Dundas Island. While the swell was not large, about one meter, the period was short and steep, and we were beam to the swell and wind. We put our roll stabilizing “fish” in the water shortly after leaving Dundas and didn’t take them out until we were north of Mary Island. The ocean swell was mostly gone at that point but the wind had picked up and pulling the stabilizers in rough conditions is difficult.
As we entered Ketchikan, we stopped at the fuel dock and took on a little over 600 gallons of diesel fuel. The price per gallon as pretty similar to that in Puget Sound, about $4.94 per gallon with all the taxes and fees.
Our arrival at Bar Harbor Marina in Ketchikan was a bit later than we like and the wind was now blowing briskly up Tongass Narrows. Since it is early in the season, most fishing boats were still in port so the only slip available was one we needed to back-in. We tried once and failed. With the wind now blowing 15kts gusting 20kts, we decided to go anchor for the night and try the next day.
Our first night, May 10, in Alaska was spent at Deep Bay, a small bay off of Moser Bay (~10 miles NE of Ketchikan). The next morning we returned to Bar Harbor and managed to get ourselves secured to the dock despite the wind again blowing in the ‘teens.
As we watch the rain showers roll through, we study the long range forecasts looking for hints of a pattern change to this cool, wet and windy weather we’re in.