The Broughtons. Alert Bay to Echo Bay

 

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Pierre & mate at Echo Bay courtesy of Teri Weronko

Our destination this afternoon/evening is Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina.  We have about 25nm to cover before reaching Pierre’s.

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Alert Bay to Pierre’s Echo Bay

1330 hrs June 24, 2015 at Alert Bay N 50º35.456′ W126º56.204′

The crew slowly wandered back to the boat.  Each of us with our own thoughts and images about this place.  A half day visit is simply far to short for this island.  Three days or more would honor the beauty of this place.  But with so many places to visit we needed to have a schedule.  With a full crew we cast of our lines and slipped out of Alert Bay.

Alert Bay Village

Alert Bay Village

We motored SE down the south west side of Cormorant Island and then north east for the Pearse Passage as Gordon’s Bluff slid past our port side. Up into the Cormorant Channel as the west winds picked up with growing seas. 55 degree temp with a dropping barometer and raining. As we approached Malcolm island we changed our heading to the east pointing the bow at Backfish Sound.  Turning north off the tip of Swanson Island we motored to the opening between Midsummer Island, to the south, and Bonwick Island on the north.  Motoring east we entered the Retreat Passage at 1715 hours.  We opted to pass anchoring in Waddington Bay due to the west winds and continued on to Pierre’s Echo Bay.

Pierre's Echo Bay

Pierre’s Echo Bay from the Channel

1830 hours we have Echo Bay off our starboard beam.  We swing to starboard and enter Echo Bay throw Pierre a line and tie up for the night.

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Homes & Docks in Echo Bay

Echo Bay is both a community and a marina.  It is famous for Billy Proctor and his museum.  The charm of this place is beyond your dreams.  Unfortunately, as with all lovely things it can get crowded in July and August.  Be certain to do a reservation.

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Marina at Echo Bay

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A Pederson 45 from Portland in the marina

After an evening of showers, dinner in the saloon we walked the docks in the long summer evening.  With light to 2300 hours there is a lot of socializing, drinking and meeting new friends.  Finally, with welcome darkness I went to bed after creating the nav plan for the next day.  Our new destination will be Kwatsi Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving Desolation Sound for Port Harvey

Toba Inlet & Coastal Mountains

Toba Inlet & Coastal Mountains

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.

S/V Aquilla at Big Bay

S/V Aquilla 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.

Stuart Island to Cordero Lodge

Stuart Island to Cordero Lodge

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.

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Teri arrives at Big Bay

1210 hours  Terri’s plane lands and we depart at 1225 hours for the Gillard Passage on the other side of Big Bay.

Gillard Passage Ahead

Gillard Passage Ahead

Small whirlpools and no white caps or large vigorous whirlpools are visible.  Gillard is in the last part of the ebb.

Dent Rapids Ahead

Dent Rapids Ahead

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.

Cordero Lodge

Cordero Lodge

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.

Cordero Lodge Bar

Cordero Lodge Bar

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.

Cordero Lodge to Port Harvey

Cordero Lodge to Port Harvey

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.

Whirlpool Rapids Ahead

Whirlpool Rapids Ahead

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.

Johnstone Straits Looking East Helmcken Island

Johnstone Straits Looking East toward Helmcken Island

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.

Port Harvey Marina

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.

Mansons Landing thru Desolation Sound

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Mansons Landing Anchorage

0830 hours 6/18/2015 @ Masons Landing N 50º04.509′ W124º58.958′

After a great evening of dinner, discussion of tomorrows destination, sleep, I was up at 0600 hours to quietly make the coffee with Jon and Wendy being quietly awake and rising about 30 minutes later.  Our route for the day would be Refuge Cove to fuel up and take on water.  Then we would head for Tenedos Bay.

Mansons Landing to Tenedas Bay

Mansons Landing to Tenedos Bay

We pulled the hook and pointed the boat south as we motored down the western edge of Cortes Island to Sutil Point.  Turning towards the Baker Passage and passing north of Hernando Island we turned north toward Kinghorn Island and beyond is the Lewis Channel of Desolation Sound. This was my first time to approach and enter Desolation Sound.  The raw stark beauty……The feeling of this place was stark & intimate.  With apologies to all poets I offer the following below.

Shan

Shan

Mountains slicing thru the sky

Cathedral walls of evergreens

Glacier clad peaks releasing waterfalls

A carpet of blue green water

The essence of Gaia

Hope Point Refuge Cove

Hope Point at Refuge Cove

Abeam of Hope Point we came to 31º magnetic and motored the half mile into Refuge Cove.  Here we had the opportunity to fill up with diesel, take on potable water, fill our propane cylinders and have ice cream & chips.  This is your last opportunity for these items and garbage disposal , for a fee at the barge, until you leave Desolation Sound.

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Refuge Cove from the store

By 1400 hours we headed back out to Hope Point and pointed the boat on a 133º magnetic course past Martin Island across the sound towards the southern tip of Mink Island. Then onto a northerly course for the last 4 miles to Tenedos Bay.

Tenedos Bay Anchorage

Tenedos Bay Anchorage

There are two bays, a NW bay and a SE bay, for anchoring. Above is our approach to the SE bay.  Finding a spot to drop the hook and do a stern tie was not a trivial matter for us.  When all was completed it was 1 to 2 hours later!  We spent a wonderful evening with food, good wine, star gazing and quiet.  Tomorrow we will head to the Wildernest at Toba Inlet.

Tenedos Bay to Toba Wildernest

Tenedos Bay to Toba Wildernest

0830 hours 6/19/2015 @ Tenedos Bay N 50º07.394′ W124º41.460′

A relaxed morning for all.  There is the sense of we’re here lets be less driven.  We have approximately 15nm to the Toba Wildernest up the Homfray Channel.  Ken fixes breakfast for the entire crew.  Pancakes, blueberries, maple syrup, butter.  A feast for breakfast.  With seal heads popping up to see the visitors we lounge with food & coffee while watching seals.

1000 hours we pull the anchor, Jon & Geoff, with Ken at the helm.  We motor out on a reciprocal of our entry course until we are past Ray Rock and then turn to 310º M to pass the southern tip of Otter Island into the Homfray Channel.

Look South down the Homfray Channel

Looking South down Homfray Channel

As we head up the channel we pass two bays that have potential anchorages. Forbes Bay, the lower, and Atwood Bay the more northerly bay.

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Atwood Bay off the Homfray Channel

Jon, Irene and Wendy on scenery watch

Jon, Irene and Wendy on scenery watch

As we approach Channel Island directly off the bow we are at the confluence of the Homfray, Price, Toba Inlet.   Our destination for the night.

Toba Wildernest

Toba Wildernest with Channel Island in the background

This place is a true gem.  Showers, bathrooms and a dock and stunning views.  We were welcomed by Ranger Kyle.  He shared his knowledge about shell fish with Irene and Geoff.  Kyle, his wife & nine year old daughter have homesteaded this place for seven years.  The off season solitude must be both wonderful and immense.

Irene & Ranger Kyle

Irene & Ranger Kyle

0600 hours 6/20/2015 at Toba Wilderness Marina N50º19.440′ W124º47.742′

My iPhone alarm sounds and I’m up to make coffee and start the day.  Sunrise is 0430 hours and sunset is 2200 hours this far north.  Its 52ºF, little ripples on the water fairly still.  By 0815 hours everyone is up and stowing gear in the nooks and crannies of the boat.  Today, we need to be disciplined in our departure time, 0900 hours, since we will transit the Yuculta Rapids on the west side of Stuart Island before we reach Big Bay for the evening.  Our estimated arrival at the south end of Stuart Island is 1300 hours and slack water at Yuculta Rapids is 1400 hours.  Starting today we will be leaving Desolation Sound and going to the Broughtons which are north east of Queen Charlotte Sound.  There are three passages to go from the north end of the Georgia Straits to Queen Charlotte Sound.  The most direct, the Discovery Passage, has significant tidal currents and fewer places to pull off if things are bad.  The passage using the Calm, Cordero, Chancellor, Welborne, and Sunderland Channels  decreases our exposure to the Johnstone Straits.  This is our choice for the transit to the Broughtons.  There is a middle passage but it offers more exposure to Johnstone Straits.

Toba Wildernest to Big Bay at Stuart Island

Toba Wildernest to Big Bay at Stuart Island

0900 hours

We slip out of the Wilderness and head SSE between the mainland and Double Island.  We change our heading to 265ºM to follow the Pryce Channel to the north tip of Raza Island and into the Raza Passage.

Raza Island on port and Passage

Raza Island on port and Passage

We enter Calm Channel and turn to 308ºM as we head toward the southern tip of Stuart Island. 1215 hours we are off the southern tip of Stuart Island with another boat right at the southern tip.

Stuart Island South Tip

Stuart Island South Tip

Jon & I discuss our strategy for Yuculta Rapids.  We agree on the following.  We will go close to slack water time and  follow the other sailboat. Jon will be at the helm and I’ll be on the deck with binocs.  I’ll be looking for whirlpools, boats yawing, and turbulent water.  Everyone is killing time in their own way until 1330 hours.  1330 hours we pass harbor point nav light and follow the other boat at a respectful distance as we reach the Whirlpool point nav aid.

Whirlpool Point Yuculta Rapids

Whirlpool Point Yuculta Rapids

No yawing, frothing just slack water.  We hit it dead on and our goal was “no drama”  with that we pulled into the Big Bay Marina at 1500 hours.  We have a layover until 1200 hours when Teri arrives on a float plane.