Vancouver Island circumnavigation 2015 Episode 3

day 7 day 8 day 9day 10A couple of things:

there are only about 6 photos for the whole summer trip. In July, while Glenn and I were paddling up the Orford River in Bute Inlet I dropped my little camera into the torrent and it was swept away forever, despite its own little lifejacket. I didn’t want to buy a replacement at the last moment before leaving on this trip so I decided to do a radical experiment and NOT take a weatherproof camera. Probably was a bad idea, and I missed it.

The other thing is the whole singlehanded thing; I mostly go alone because Barb has things that she really wants to do that cannot be done on a boat, any boat. I could coordinate with more friends and family, but every rendezvous seems to take a few days and quite a bit of dedicated sailing and motoring to get there and return at the end of the session. Makes it quite a bit more difficult to sail with the wind. Which is the point, for me.

Back to Blunden Harbour: I decided to take the next day and paddle the kayak all the way to the end of the inlets and lagoons. That took a few hours. It took me inland towards the huge area draining into the 3 big inlets inside Nakwakto Rapids: Mereworth, Belize , and Seymour. I also got to glimpse the vast areas of logging , a process that has been going on for generations in that part of the coast.

As I began my paddle I stopped to chat with Mike and Lindsay on Sans Souci , an old Brandlmayr sloop with no engine, from Quadra Island. They were having a leisurely cruise of QC Strait, following the wind.

Returning to tri in late afternoon I found the wind whistling at 20 knots in the anchorage and some more boats anchored nearby. I plucked the hook and re-anchored just outside the main anchorage in the lee of the Augustine Islands, quiet and calm.

Next day I waited a while for the wind, but eventually at 0930 motored out of Blunden and a few miles up the coast to near Wallace Island, where a little breeze developed. I was able to spend the rest of the day tacking into light NW wind towards Cp Caution. I had hoped to land on the beach at Burnett Bay ( after spending only a day last year there on a kayak trip) but the swell was over 2 metres, so I knew landing on the beach was going to be a bit of a mess. Passed on that, and sailed on. I rounded Cp Caution in light breeze but eventually coasted into Jones Cove as the sun set. This is just at the south entrance to Smith Sound. It is a little gloomy deep in the cove so I anchored nearer the entrance to catch the last of the sunset.

The morning of Aug 16th was calm ,sunny and surprisingly warm.  I hung out, reading, drinking coffee and doing a few little repairs. Such as jury rigging the solar panel input plug. The 100 W panel certainly supplies more electrical power than I need. The only demands are lights at night and the autopilot. The autopilot is a Raytheon ST1000 and it works very well. I have a spare.I only hand steer in exciting conditions with good sized seas.

When the inflow wind arose around noon I headed out across Smith Sound wending amongst the reefs and rocks in clear weather, bound for Fury Cove. As I rounded Paddle Rock into Rivers Inlet, I could bear off and set the spinnaker. Smooth seas with 10 – 15 k fair wind took me at 8-10 knots to the entry to Fury. Nice!

It took me 4 trials to get the hook well set in Fury Cove in about 55′. Then I went for a long paddle out along the shores of Fitzhugh Sound.

The following day August 17th , was my 60th birthday. It was a great day of sailing. Here is where I went on that day: I sailed out of Fury in a light westerly and out across Fitzhugh towards Cp Calvert. I dodged into Grief Bay, and was surprised to see a cruising boat anchored there. I had to start the engine in the calm shelter to get through the patches of kelp and through to the west side of Calvert Is. Shut down the engine and tacked north up the west coast towards Chikchik Bay. Gary Purchase had recommended checking this place out, but when I arrived it offered little protection, a big swell was rolling in, and I could not really envision spending that night there.

So, I cracked off and zipped back down to Cp Calvert, thinking that the NW breeze would be good in Fitzhugh. Alas, it was glassy calm ahead. Before I ran into the millpond I bore off back in the direction of Cp Caution. The breeze strengthened to 15 to18 k and I passed a big troller also heading south. Where to go, with the world as my oyster?? Still mid afternoon with a fair breeze and clear skies , so I jibed around onto starboard tack and took off, bound for Nigei Island and the Goletas Channel area. I stayed high to keep boat speed up in the 9-10 knot range and then jibed down the NE side of Hope Island crossing Shadwell Passage and sailed right into Cascade Harbour on the NE corner of Nigei Island. The seas steepened and as I surfed down the odd one the late afternoon sun formed rainbows in the lee bow spray. The ‘harbour’ is small and the N swell rolls in almost to the inner reaches. I picked up a big mooring buoy with good 1 1/2″ polysteel rope attached. I backed down on it with all 6 horses and WTF!! I dragged it about 200 m around the bay. Weird. I anchored, had dinner and went to bed. Happy birthday. Got the cake and ate it too.

What a great sailing day! This is absolutely awesome; sailing this boat in this area. A taste of more to come.

I had seen lots of whale blows and big flocks of shearwaters and rhino auklets this day. The history of Cascade Harbour is interesting, for next episode.