Thursday, July 31, 2014

Of Rapids and Whirlpools -- 7/27/2014

We have a lazy morning with just a few miles to go from Stuart Island to Blind Channel Resort, which is billed as having cell and internet, a nice restaurant and a store for provisions.

A float plane breaks the silence as it starts the engines, skims across the water and takes to the air.  Then one helicopter after another flies overhead to transport passengers to a lodge on the interior of Stuart Island.

Timing our transit of Guillard and Dent Rapids, we cast off and see several boats coming from Yuculta Rapids to make the others along with us.  At some point they overtake us and breeze on through.

At 10:55A we see a few swirls, but mostly smooth as we go through Guillard Rapids.   Slack at Dent will begin at 11:15; our ETA is 11:10 but we actually start the pass seven minutes early.  

Ah, a Ranger Tug is coming.  When closer, we see Day Dreamer II in Dent Rapids.

Much of the turbulence is from wakes of the ten or more vessels meeting or passing us.  Even at slack there are eddies and whirlpools forming and it takes a bit of concentration and steering to stay in the calmest water.  Congratulations to our skippers!

Cordera Lodge looks like a place we might enjoy at a later date, so take a photo to remind us.

We are now in Cordera Channel with Sonora Island on our port.  It takes us northwest to the confluence of Frederick Arm on the starboard and Nodales Channel on the port.  We continue straight, following Cordero.  Mike finds a place to do a little fishing in a cove near Phillips Arm.

From here we have a short cruise on in to Blind Channel Resort.  The harbour master directs us to the south end, which doesn't look deep enough at first glance.  

We do a side tie and another boat moves back to make room for OdySea.

Chris suggests that after fighting the whirlpools, we all deserve a night off from the galley and makes reservations for dinner at the Cedar Post Inn.  The write-up in Waggoner Cruising Guide says the tables are covered in linen; ours was not, but we paid linen prices for a very good German entre.  We read that the restaurant is a family enterprise, spanning four generations:  Edgar and the late Annemarie Richter bought blind Channel in the 1970s, designed and built all the buildings.  Her lovely artwork decorates the dock and restaurant.  A hand made quilt adorns the wall next to our table.

Below are two views seen from the restaurant.

The Window of the Ladies' Washroom
Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Sunday, July 27, 2014

Life is Good at Stuart Island BC -- 7/26/2014

To catch Yuculta Rapids at the 11A slack we leave Toba Wildernest promptly at 8A under partly cloudy skies, seeing some bright areas between the darkest clouds to the East.  It will be a good day.   We hope to stay at Stuart Island Community Dock tonight.

I get a nice shot of OdySea as she follows along.

We go into Pryce Channel on rippled seas, but now flat calm as we leave West Redonda Island on our port.

The green marker on our starboard ahead appears mostly white, making it more easily seen from a distance.  

Here is an early peek passing Deer Passage on our port.

An aqua culture is also on our port, the west side of Raza Island, and we think the white house may be the living quarters for the attendants.  Possibly some logging ??   A few logs have drifted onto the beach behind.

It is pretty quiet with few boaters on the water today.  A sailboat on our port appears to be either joy riding or frequently changing her mind on direction, scoping out Frances Bay, then Calm Channel to come along side Willie's Tug.  We watch her carefully.

Yea!  Cell service in Calm Channel!  We call the marina for availability of moorage for the night and are invited to come on in.

As we near Yuculta Rapids we see a white boat go through at 12 knots, 10A, which is an hour before slack.  Our thinking is she wants to make both Guillard Rapids and Dent Rapids in succession.  We opt to stay at (Big Bay) Stuart Island Community Dock overnight for a transit of only two rapids on our way north.

Boat at 12 Knots into Yuculta Rapids

Harbott Point

I love the setting of a house on Harbott Point at south end of  Stuart Island -- especially the winding road back to a main highway.

Turning to starboard, we now transit the Yuculta Rapids and approach Stuart Island Community Dock, formerly known as Big Bay.  June tells us to come on in to the mostly empty marina.

Rapids at Slack


While I elevate my strained knee Herb, Mike and Chris take a walk on a lovely trail behind the marina and return to tell me of the many, many eagles they saw -- both adult and young flying and resting at Eagle Lake.  Herb took one of the provided rowboats to drift around the lake, taking cell phone pictures.  (Photos will come later.)

Later in the afternoon at the captains' meeting I see one perched on a beached log at low tide near our boats. 

A huge barge comes into the bay, slowly turns around, then goes toward Yuculta Rapids.  It is near the afternoon slack.  With my binoculars I see the name, Arora Explorer, and the advertisement of tours.   I am intrigued by all the equipment loaded at the bow end near the ramp, but I see well dressed passengers whom I don't think are crew.   They wave to me (as happy people always do) and I wave back, then get some quick photos.   Touring....

What a tour!

Happy Hour is on the deck of the marina and this afternoon we have it to ourselves.  Well, mostly.  There are hummingbirds flitting about, but the lighting is not good for a photo.  A chattering squirrel in the tree at the corner of the deck drives Chris' dog, Charlie, nuts, but Charlie doesn't climb well.  

It's a good day!

Jake wanders off to get a drink of water, then lie down in the coolness at the edge.  As he shakes himself dry, I am glad he is there and I am here!

After dinner the roving camera takes a walk to capture the magic of the evening.

Goodnight, Jake....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Saturday, July 26, 2014