It was hard to leave the anchorages and views of Desolation Sound to find other vistas of the inside passage. However, our transit to Big Bay of Stuart Island today from Toba Inlet is part of the plan when you need crew for forty five days of cruising. Members of the crew on Ken Snows boat will come & go over time. Tomorrow Teri W., the ships veterinarian , will be arriving via float plane at Big Bay.
Our layover in Big Bay really helps us address two issues. They have a seaplane dock and it will be nice to have Teri on board. Second, the timing to transit the Yuculta, Gillard, and Dent Rapids from SE to NW is more problematic since tidal changes occur first at the Dent Rapids and last at Yuculta. Yuculta and Gillard are within 0.75nm of each other but Dent is another 4-5nm away from Gillard. With a name on the charts of “Devils Hole” for the main rapids/whirlpool at Dent Island I did not want to arrive late so the layover was good. There is a lovely deck at Big Bay where you can sit, enjoy a coffee from the small grocery store, and watch the rapids go from slack water to rapids and back. It was instructional! Better from the deck on land then on the boat’s deck.
0800 hrs June 21, 2015 at Big Bay, Stuart Island N 50º23.535′ W125º08.145′
Today will be an easy day with plenty of time for us to simply enjoy Big Bay. Teri arrives at noon. 1400 hrs is slack tide for the Gillard passage and the Dent Rapids. I have bail out points for both places if we miss slack tide. If we succeed we will be at the Cordero Lodge this afternoon.
1210 hours Terri’s plane lands and we depart at 1225 hours for the Gillard Passage on the other side of Big Bay.
Small whirlpools and no white caps or large vigorous whirlpools are visible. Gillard is in the last part of the ebb.
1250 hours we are 4nm further at the Dent Rapids. A red/white navaid pillar marks the beginning of the Dent Rapids on the north shore. Still ebbing, towards the end, and the Devils Hole is quiet. 1305 hours and we are well past the rapids and heading to the Cordero Lodge for the night.
1600 hours find us approaching the dock at Cordero Lodge. Lorrie Tanguay and Wayne greeted us at the dock and helped us tie up. From that moment and over the next six hours a lovely evening of hosting unfolded. I went to the bar for a drink to celebrate transiting the major rapids without drama and sat with the crew, Lorrie, and Wayne while we exchanged stories. The lodge is on a floating concrete slab with huge steel cables attached to the land. In the past it had been a timber camp. Now its a lodge for fishing and passing mariners. A well stocked little grocery store and green house are there for dinner greens in the restaurant/bar along with evening meals prepared by the cook and bar tender.
After a few drinks and stories the entire crew retired to the bar for an evening meal. The meal was presented family style on a large table with generous quantities and variety! Roast beef, it looked like prime rib, chicken wings, crab salad, caesar salad, broccoli, twice backed potatoes, and cupcakes. It was a feast! Followed by fishing at one of there spots and then a campfire on the concrete slab in the front of the lodge. Finally, I fell asleep with a full tummy from such a evening of generosity on Lorrie & Wayne’s part.
0825 hrs June 22, 2015 at Cordero Lodge N 50º26.860′ W125º27.013′
Today we have 41 nautical miles ahead of us before we reach Port Harvey off of Johnstone Straits. The route is the Cordero Channel to Green Point rapids to Chancellor Channel to Wellborn Channel and Whirlpool rapids then down Sunderland Channel into Johnstone Straits for 13.5 nm before turning into Havanah Channel for Port Harvey. The weather forecast is for 25 knot NW winds in Johnstone Straits. The plan is we will stick our nose into Johnstone straits after the ebb tide and see how it looks. If we don’t like it we can go back up Sunderland to anchor. We will need to hit both rapids during before or during the ebb to reach Johnstone Straits at slack tide.
0845 hrs we slip our dock lines and motor into the channel. 0920 transit thru Green rapids was quiet.
1045 hrs its Whirlpool rapids and again nice and quiet. Riding on the ebb current we turn to 238ºM for a fast 7 nm down Sunderland Channel.
At noon we pass Yorke Island and turn west into a 25 knot wind on the nose with 3′ to 4′ seas. The decision is reached to press on as we head to Port Harvey. 1500 hours and we are turning into the Havanah Channel and within 20 minutes we are at the dock of the Port Harvey marina.
They offer dinner at Port Harvey in the restaurant. We needed to order when we tied up. A pleasant evening with other voyagers exchanging tips about where we had each cruised and future destination. We gathered beta about the Broughtons, Alert Bay, and Port McNeil.