It appears to be daylight at Helm Bay, and I get out of bed to check the time – 2:15A and the bright yellow moon is high above, reigning powerful over us – and the tides!
Back to sleep for a few hours, hoping the bouncing of the boat will subside by our 7A start to the day’s cruise. I recall the forecast had said wind waves two feet or less after midnight.
We do rise at 4:30 to listen to the marine forecast again. At 5A the seas are less than one foot, winds light, and a perfect time to go, but little did we know the wind would pick up before the expected time. By 5:30A it is evident that we should leave as soon as possible, as the winds are already picking up.
At 6A the seas are 2 feet and we release Nudibranch’s lines to leave the dock. Herb warms up Willie’s Tug and the lines are ready to pull in from inside the boat. No need to be on the dock. However, the wind is so strong that the stern thruster cannot overcome its pinning us to the dock. The only thing to do is drive straight forward off the dock. As the wind bumps us into the dock, the fender at the stern is squeezed so tight that it pops up onto the dock; the dinghy bumps the dock once before we are able to steer clear.
No damage is done to the boat – but movies are made of this stuff!
We have bright, bright sun and 10 knot winds as we travel south in Helm Bay toward the confluence of Behm Canal and Clarence Strait.
|Photo Courtesy of Ray Perry|
Herb gets a text from Russ and Toni on Traveler, who report now in Petersburg – “had a great time in Denali – and are headed to Ketchikan.” Yea! We should see them on the water!
We see Black Ice and the others anchored nearby head south toward Ketchikan.
At Point Caamano we see the cruise ship Osterdam.
When we round Point Caamano at the southern tip of Cleveland Peninsula and the confluence of Behm Canal and Clarence Strait, we turn north up the Strait to Meyers Chuck. Ocean swells are 2-3 feet, but not too rough.
A fishing boat drags lines from the bow and stern and our radar shows we will come within 500 feet in two minutes. We adjust our course to lengthen that distance and time, while watching to maintain our distance to the rocky shelf on our starboard shore. We note that the boat makes a slight correction also.
A little fast boat goes past us and I fear a bad wake, but not so; we must have hit it just right.
On the horizon are six Grand Banks Ray says are the Northwest Explorations flotilla going 9 knots against the flood. They are Deception, Ajax, Eldean, Aquila, Telita and Navigator, but most look alike....
Nudibranch goes past Ship Island on the inside.
Many times when I see an eagle, he is a tree with dark areas, and today I see why!
This one is pictured above the nest. I wonder if there are eggs in it.
We pass a large logging operation, but don’t see any escaped logs, and it appears they hauled the logs out or possibly skidded them to barges below. Good!
We continue to have large ocean swells, bouncy, bouncy and waves occasionally crash over the bow, leaving tiny droplets on the windshield.
We arrive at Meyers Chuck around 11:30A to see space available at the state floating dock and the red Nordic Tug already there.
Find Willie's Tug....
A look around shows the town surrounding the bay and we walk up the nice ramp to explore the town. A bulletin board has a café menu, but we learn it is across the choppy bay. There are nice walking paths that we explore to find lots of berries to pick and eat along the way.
The literature says there is a craft store, and we peek in the window to see if there is any food available for purchase. A sign on the door says the owner will open it on request. There is a post office, as well, but they provision on Prince of Wales Island across Clarence Strait.
Jim and Linda on the red Nordic Tug, Tugboat Annie, pay us a visit to tour Willie’s Tug. Jim has had some problems his Garmin which is different from ours, so Herb goes back with him to investigate. They join us and Ray for Happy Hour and yet another ample meal of fresh Dungeness crab.
We watch a plane come in and are curious about his take off because he taxies for a long time, appearing that he will crash into the mountain ahead.
Then Herb explains from his experience in flying that the reason the pilot keeps the plane in the water was to reach the channel with air speed up so he could turn safely into the wind.
|Turns toward Entrance|
A black lab named Charlie with lots of energy is on leash walking down the dock with his owner, who is helping to unload gear from a sailboat tied behind us. Herb gives him a treat and they are fast friends. The lady lives here and answers some questions for us. We learn that chuck is Chinook Jargon for a low tide drying salt water area off the bay. It becomes part of the bay at high tide. There are other chucks nearby. The name Meyers comes from her ex-husband’s ancestors who came here during the gold rush. They were miners who became troller fishermen. They established their homes here and subsequently felt the place should be rightly named Meyers Island and Meyers Chuck.
She further shares with that she grew up in Friday Harbor and is sad to see it such a tourist area now, and her ‘backyard’ gone. As she leaves to return to her home up the hill, she hitches Charlie to some throw cushions so he can pull them like a sled dog. He is so cute!
On a late evening walk we meet a man who has a tree service in Washington state and has a house on a bay nearby, where he spends three months out of the year to fish.
I am also delighted to see an eagle in flight.
|Don't take my photo!|
The exciting day seems to be coming to a close as we watch the gorgeous sunset paint the sky both bright and soft colors of pinks and yellows against the pale blue heavens.
However, there is still so much daylight left that we take another walk up the ramp.