The Adventures of the Crew of the Good Ship
The Last Leg
We spent a few days in McNeil, doing laundry
and adding a battery to our house bank. We
waited for a weather window to head over
to the mainland shore. When it arrived we
had a wonderful motor across Queen Charlotte
Sound. It was almost homey. Since leaving
Campbell River the strait has been narrow
with both sides visable in virtually all
weather except heavy fog. Here, it is more
like Georgia Strait - wide open with only
the mountians of the other side visable on
a clear day. Six hours after leaving McNeill
we drop anchor in Blunden Harbour.
After yesterday's long day (we usually only
motor for 4 hours between stops) we sleep
in and do not get away until 0920, bound
for Skull Cove, a sigularly uninviting name,
but a good jumping off place to beard Cape
Just outside of Blunden Harbour we pick up
an escort of Dall's Porpoise. They are very
playful and spend 10 minutes riding our bow
wave. They were blowing so close to the bow
that their breath was coming aboard and if
you timed it right, you could have touched
them. We almost lost Janice overboard she
was so excited.
We had some fog settle in for about an hour,
but it burned off as the sun rose. Thank
goodness, as the enderance to Skull Cove
is tricky and not one to undertaken in low
visability if avoidable.
Janice helms us into Skull Cove and around
the corner to the back or west part of the
cove. Gorgeous. We are eventually joined
in the cove by another sailboat hailing from
Port Hardy, a crab boat that anchored near
the enterance, and a group of kayakers. The
kayakers have a cabin set up stay on their
tours or to hole up for weather. And the
weather for tomorrow is not very favourable.
It is insect season and we are in flying
range of 'skeeters, so at dusk we go below
and hole up, only coming up to check our
position and confirm our anchor is holding.
At our last check, Richard goes on deck and
cannot see the shore for bugs. There has
been some sort of "hatch" of a
mayfly like insect, and there are so many
that you cannot see the shore in the spot
lite - and the spot seems to attact them.
They are even flying into Richard's mouth,
nose, ears and clothing. A fast check of
GPS, and back below. In the morning there
is not a sign of them.
The morning shows that the weatherman was
only too correct and there is heavy wind
and large swells. We run the diesel for an
hour to charge up, then relax and enjoy the
surroundings, well protected, as predicted
by the Waggoner.
The following day the wind has abated, and
we check for the height of the seas at the
West Sea Otter buoy. Waggoner suggests that one will have reasonably pleasant
trip if the seas there are less than two
metres (6'). The morning report shows them
as 1.9 metres. We go.....
Now, when one is reading the Waggoner for direction, one should read ALL of the
Waggoner about you area. Not us! We stopped at the
information about the West Sea Otter buoy.
It also stated (and we did not read until
later) that one should avoid the mainland
shore near Slingsby Channel on an ebb tide,
as the water rushing out of this area (it
is the second fastest tide race in the world)
sets up big swells that run at an angle to
the prevailing wind waves.
HMMM...Skull Cove is just south of Slingsby
Channell, and the time of our departure from
Skull Cove is ----- right at max ebb ----
atta go the Martin's!!!
We still have the remanants of yesterday's
wind, with 6' swells from the NW - and occational
grandfathers at 10'. As we get off Slingsby
Channel we pick up a 4' cross swell. The
sea is very confused and we are not very
happy. But we decide to stick to our plan
of getting around Cape Caution and putting
into Millbrooke Cove in Smith Inlet for the
About 11 am and we are off of Cape Caution.
As we have gone north conditions have improved.
We have lost the SE swell and the swell from
the NW is a steady 8' with a period of about
13 seconds. It is like riding a gentle elevator.
Even the pets are at ease. We decide to by
pass Millbrooke Cove and try for Open Bight
at the enterance to Rivers Inlet.
As we round Kelp head into Rivers Inlet,
there is a gale warning issued for tonight.
We decide that there has to be a reason Open
Bight is called Open, so continue on to Goose
Bay, Rivers Inlet and tie up at Duncanby
And did it ever gale that night!! We were
very glad of being secured to a dock.
We decided to stay an extra day, just to