Skipper checks Fanny Island WX station for the conditions in Johnstone Strait and reports the good news of 5 knots. We get a last look at the cell phone gazebo, where we did not get cell signal, and cruise to the fuel dock to be in line when they open.
We take fond memories of spotty free WiFi and walking about with our laptops to look for the sweet spot. The grocery store was very good, so we load up with provisions for the next few days.
After fueling, we go southeast in Mayne Passage at 8:43A on flat calm waters -- except for the whirlpools.
All is right with the world.
Environment Canada WX station issues a 'strong wind warning' for Johnstone Strait to occur later in the day, so we make Plan B in case we have to tuck in somewhere. Skipper also increases speed to 13 knots to transit before the winds are high. As we leave Mayne and go into the Strait, we have one ft waves, spray, trash and logs. My, my!
Vary the speed a little faster to be sure we don't get caught in the strong winds. With Vancouver Island on our port, we will get safe harbour in Port Neville if necessary.
The scenery is beautiful with patches of snow on the mountains -- tide rips at the hull. We have West Thurlow Island on starboard and Prince of Wales Range on our port. Herb pushes to 17 knots, 1.7 nm/gal., and heads into Race Passage on the south side of Helmcken Island. There is light chop as he pushes farther to 18.8 kn.
Oh, now fog ahead!
The fog thins as we approach and we see clearly ahead.
Far into the distance a tug pulls a log boom our way. What a sight! I hope all logs are tied together well.
The mountainsides show evidence of past logging operations and not much replanting. Patches of snow dot the highest peaks.
Passing "Windy Point" is a non-event. Smooth sailing even though we have a little chop and I watch a pretty pleasure craft overtaking us. Nice lines....
We hear on VHF Ch 72 about fog at Broken Islands, where we turn inside and Havannah Channel takes us into Chatham Channel. Happy are we that the fog lifts and moves to another arm so we can clearly see the picturesque Broken Islands.
|Rounding the Broken Islands|
The channel between East and West Cracroft is too narrow to transit and we continue up Chatham, which looks a little tricky to me. I am confused by the range markers noted on the chart. Where are they? We search the shores as we make turns and watch the depth of the water below us. Finally we see one and faintly the top one appears. Herb does a perfect job of lining them up to keep us in the channel.
Another log boom comes toward us. Lucky we did not meet him in the narrows. The logs at the very end carry quite a few sea gulls who get a free ride. Looking for better fishing grounds?
Herb calls Mike on 72 to discuss going through the Blow Hole channel, which is a short cut to Lagoon Cove, but which can be shallow. They decide to probably do it, just take a look when they get closer. I zoom Navionics on my iPad and it looks shallow to me.
Then we see Defiance, a larger vessel than we, and watch her. Will she go or will she continue around Minstrel Island to double back for Lagoon Cove.
Hmmm...she is turning. Herb calls Defiance and confirms she will go through Blow Hole and says we will follow.
Finding plenty of water, we approach the marina and get our slip assignment. High on the hill (we later learn) is the home of Jean Barber, owner of the marina.
At 5 o'clock Happy Hour for all mariners begins, with each one bringing a favorite appetizer to share on the buffet. I enjoy the decor of the community room and realize it has been collecting treasures for a long time.
I learn from Waggoner that Jean and her late husband, Bill, provided fresh prawns for the social in years past. She joins us at Happy Hour today and tells me that a few years ago she had boaters from Cut N Shoot TX and we tell her our stories about Gunbarrel City. She will tell the stories of Minstrel Island, Negro Rock and White Nob Point next time.
Most of the Canadian islands we have visited to not accept garbage or trash of any kind because it is too expensive to get it hauled off. Jean provides a 'burn barrel' for a do it yourself burn of paper items.
She is shown below with a long time friend, Dave, who regularly travels this way.
|Dave and Jean|
Find Willie's Tug and OdySea....
|Ship Launch Rails|
Willie of Willie's Tug,
and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
Monday, July 28, 2014