Friday, July 31, 2015

The Open Sea, an Old Friend

Whale in Fisher Channel
After a short respite at Shearwater and filling the batteries with water, we were off once again departing via Lama Passage then south along Fisher Channel where we had the pleasure of seeing two whales surface and submerge near the shore.  The skies were clear, the winds light, and sea chop moderate, a pleasant day for another five-hour run to our next anchorage.  
Whale submerges in Fisher Channel
Upon reaching Fitz Hugh Sound, we turned west into Hakai Passage which leads out to the open ocean.  This is where we experienced the open sea for the first time back in 2011; we were wide-eyed and amazed by the ocean swell, now something that has become routine.  
Heading between the Planet Islands
From Hakai Passage we turned north through the Planet Island Group then into Edward Channel running between Underhill Island and Stirling Island, an area we had not previously explored.  We wound our way through tiny islands and rocky islets before turning west into Lewall Inlet which cuts through the middle of Stirling Island almost dividing it in half. 
Lewall Inlet, a challenging and narrow hide-away
Lewall Inlet is extremely narrow with rocks and shoals lying just beneath the water’s surface.  We motored slowly until we reached the end where it widens enough for suitable anchorage.  If you don’t want to be found, this is definitely the spot, it’s a hide-and-seek kind of place.  We found our way out the following morning from our little hide-away and motored across Hakai Passage to one of our favorite destinations, Pruth Bay located between Hecate and Calvert Islands.  
Looking out to Sea from Hakai Passage
Pruth Bay is the site of the Hakai Beach Institute, a teaching and research center and conference facility.  Trails which have recently been improved lead across the island to beautiful ocean beaches.  Seeing that there were more than a dozen boats in the harbour, we decided to continue on and make more progress southward while retaining the cherished memories of this pretty location.  
Lovely Pruth Bay
We motored out Kwakshua Channel back to Fitz Hugh Sound and turned south; the weather window was still good to round Cape Caution by day’s end.  As we exited Fitz Hugh Sound the seas began to build with typical 4-5 foot westerly swells, fortunately accompanied with only light winds.  At 2pm we rounded the Egg Island Lighthouse putting us in a southeasterly heading and a more comfortable angle with the swell.  
Dall's Porpoise playing off our Bow
About a half-hour later we made another turn eastward to round the southern half of Cape Caution.  The seas had subsided to two feet and Dall’s Porpoise came to play with Got d’ Fever.  We were now entering Queen Charlotte Strait, the area between the north tip of Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland coast of the Broughton Island region.  The seas had flattened to one foot chop until we reached Ripple Passage through the small Walker Island Group; the passage lived up to its name with a 2-3 knot current which slowed our progress and required disengaging the auto pilot and hand steering Got d' Fever  through the surf.  Dozens of birds flocked to the stirring waters that boiled fish to the surface for easy prey.  Soon we were through Ripple Passage and arrived at Blunden Harbour, a popular sheltered anchorage for boats waiting for weather to round Cape Caution or to head south across Queen Charlotte Strait.  We found a spot to anchor among the other boats that had already arrived and managed to set the hook despite the early evening brisk winds.  By tomorrow afternoon we would be enjoying a wonderful pig roast at Pierre’s Marina in the Broughton’s.

No comments:

Post a Comment