Friday, August 21, 2009
In the last few days we crossed into US waters and checked through customs at Friday Harbor. We stayed in the Marina for the night and Bill (Mike's - 1st mate earlier on the adventure) met us for a few days of rest, relaxation and lots of laughter. We anchored at Doe Harbor and went ashore and hiked on Doe Island.
August 18th we dropped Bill in Anacortes to return home and we are continuing to Bellingham.
We have had an amazing adventure. It is hard to put into words all the incredible sights, sounds, smells and experiences we have had. I know I speak for all of us that got to experience this adventure, (Jim, Brian, Bill, Evan and Mike).
After 60 days together on the boat Mike and I still even really like each other...at least I think he likes me?
Just a minute let me yell to him..."Mike did you have a great time and do you still like me?" "Yep, he is giving me a thumbs up - later when I pull the dinghy in to throw him his dinner I will ask him again." We've been getting along just great!!!
Thanks for tagging along with Mood Indigo. Until next time...this is Mood Indigo - over!
We are in the Strait of Georgia more big water and today we have 3 foot, choppy seas with winds up to about 15 knots, nothing the boat can't handle, but uncomfortable to be in for too long. Mike tried to set a course to keep things smooth as I made breakfast. We noticed out the window that some military planes were flying very low and in the middle of the strait there is a large boat anchored - that is unusual. Mike knows we are close to the Military Explosive Canadian Torpedo range which periodically is closed for military operations. Mike casually says, "They are probably going to bomb that boat." I respond, "I hope they don't make a mistake and go for us." I almost have breakfast ready when I see a zodiac boat come zooming in on our stern and guess who? Oh, just some fellas from the Canadian Navy and they aren't dropping in for breakfast. Mike steps out and they tell us we ARE in the restricted area and it is closed today - WHOOPS. We quickly change course as the breakfast dishes start crashing and things get jostled around as we take the bumpy course out of the restricted area. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the guys, they didn't appear to be very friendly. Later I notice that Mike had taped up the Canadian flag last night because it was flapping in the wind - I don't think they appreciated our lack of patriotism for their country or maybe us trespassing into their military zone.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Whales - Orca Whales! Heading South on Johnstone Strait there is a bight called Robson Bight, it is a whale preserve. The Orcas frequent the bay to rub against the sand and gravel bottom to rid their bodies of parasites and because, it just feels good. The preserve is closed to motoring vessels and open to kayakers. We see kayakers all up and down the area around Robson and we see a huge pod of 15-20 Orcas's, all sizes including one huge male with a dorsal fin that curves up into the sky like a windy road. We observe them "fishing" they are lined up moving down the coastline. They stop and splash around a bit, but they are definitely on the search for food, salmon or seals are their preferred dinner, but their have also been sightings of orcas's finding a bear or moose crossing the water and attacking and eating them. Mike wants to know if I would like to get out and kayak - no thanks! We stop the engine and they glide very close to the boat and as they dive you wonder where will they come up? And then, this dorsal fin starts to surface, like a submarine's telescope and he is right in front of the boat, his back end must have been under the bow - he is magnificent.
Planning to get somewhere by boat, in these waters takes some thought. If we leave at a certain time we can catch the right current, but that would put us at the whirlpool at the wrong time, so you adjust. You have to watch the tides, sometimes at a very low tide there is not enough water to leave your anchorage and then on top of all that - you think you have it figured out. You get up at 4:30 AM, slurp down some coffee, gulp down some oatmeal, pull up the anchor and start the engine and go around the island and there is fog! Not your wispy, misty fog your thick pea soup fog - thank goodness for radar. We see a big, moving island on our radar screen, no, beg your pardon it is a huge cruise ship. You have heard of Norwegian and Carnival Cruise Ships - we have no idea what this ship is called, it slipped right by us - let's just call it the Foghorn Cruise, as the shadow moved parallel to us it let out a resounding HHHOOKKK! We have heard this sound before, but usually it is behind us telling us to get out of the way.
Monday, August 10, 2009
We are heading into Port McNeil Harbor for the night. We are motoring along minding our own business when -HOOOONNNKKK! Something right behind us honked at us and it sounded like a freight train, it's not a freight train just a HUGE cruise ship about ready to mow us over. The radio had gotten turned to a different station, so the ship wasn't able to radio us and so we got the big honk. We quickly moved out of their way, but we did notice as we slipped behind them that the ship was leaning to the port side. We think it was all of the cruisers hanging over the rails watching the drama unfold in front of them! Luckily, we out maneuvered them and rode the huge wake into the harbor. For Mike's late birthday present I am considering getting rearview mirrors for the boat.
We are in Shearwater. I small little village that is busy with summer boating traffic. We can't get to the dock, so we anchor outside the harbor. We go in and take a shower and feel refreshed. We stop by the local watering hole and have dessert and a drink. We met a nice man (Bob) that is anchored near us and it is his birthday, so we invite him for a drink to celebrate his birthday. Little did we know that later we would meet him again - knock, knock, knock - who is knocking on the boat at 12:30, it is Bob and our boats are dancing a little too close together in the middle of the night. We get up Mike makes some adjustments on our anchor. It is now...August 6th - Happy Birthday Mike, what a way to start his birthday.
We decide to go outside of Price Island and down to Calvert Island. On the way we see whales near us and stop to enjoy. We decide to fish a little off the coastline and see thousands of birds. When the birds find bait fish on the surface the ruckus begins, screeching and squawking. We move a little closer and all of a sudden we are surround by fins, fish are flipping and diving all around us - they are black cod fish. We put our lines in the water, to hopefully catch salmon, but these cod fish are biting at anything. I hang my lure over the boat just touching the water and they are jumping out of the water to get it - it was a feeding frenzy. We celebrated Mike's birthday with a boatmade (toaster oven) lemon tart and a fun day on the water. Anchor in Adam's cove.
Got up early - not too early and tried our luck at fishing from the dinghy. On our way out of the cove at low tide, we noticed the incredible sea creatures clinging to the rocks. The tide change was at least 20 feet and the most beautiful creatures were peeking from the water; red sea urchins, some spotted, large and small, colorful star fish all wrestled together and white puffy sea anemones. So beautiful, we wanted to suit up and scuba dive, until we remembered we weren't in Hawaii. We fished for a few hours and caught a few rock fish, saw some seals slumbering on the rocks. Later, we went on a search for a beach that would take us to a resort. Mike promised me lunch at the resort. We found the beach - white sand, sea shells and crashing waves. The sand was like flour between our toes. Then we decided to find the trail, first idea was over the logs - no luck, next idea was the other end of the beach, no luck. Third idea follow the wolf tracks in the sand- no thanks. Last idea, look closely at where those buoys are hanging on the trees - BINGO! We walked on a rough trail through the woods, of course Mike didn't think we needed our "Bear Go Away Bag", but I snuck a fog horn along and I sang Christmas tunes the entire way. We finally came out on another beach - no resort, no lunch and thank goodness - no bears or wolves! Incredible anchorage, the rocks had varying colors of moss and seaweed, it was like gazing at an artist's canvas surrounded by water.
Heading south on Whale passage and then into Campania Sound and down Laredo Channel. Sunny day with some wind - the wind is usually right on our stern, not good sailing weather. Along the way we see a group of 5-8 eagles swooping down from their perches along the shoreline and "fishing" in the sound. It might be a training session since we see about 4 eaglets that are also trying to catch fish. We stop and watch for a few minutes. We also see a few whales today. Catch a glimpse of a humback's tail taking a deep dive.
Jumping Fish Cove - That is the name I am giving it because we were surrounded by jumping, spinning, splashing Silvers. They were begging us to catch them. So, we "mooched" basically means,you fish off the boat. We would drop our hooks to the bottom and slowly reel it in. The fish were not much interested in our mooching, they were too busy jumping. At the end of the cove was a creek, we could hear the waterfall back in the forest, we think the fish were getting ready to spawn up the creek. Maybe the Silvers didn't like my fishing position. I want to sit back and relax and rest the pole and enjoy the experience. Mike would like me to stand up and hold the tip down and support the pole and "feel the fish" all I felt was my back getting tired and my arms aching. That technique is just not working for me. I like to sit on the pilot house with one leg up supporting the pole on my knee, one hand lightly holding the pole, so I don't get a arm or hand cramp, while my eyes gaze out over the sparkling water, wind blowing my hair, sun on my back and drinking a Mike's Lemonade - that works for me!
Rudolf Bay is on the rugged coastline of Price Island. It is the only anchorage on the west coast of the island. It sounds easy enough to get to, just go through a maze of rocks and anchor. The book wasn't clear about what side of the island to go on a the charts aren't real complete in this area. We swerved and manuvered through the myraid of rocks, kelp and with the extreme tides we weren't sure we would have enough water under us, so we better leave now while the tide is still high enough to get out - but no, the fog is rolling in and we have to stay. We find another deeper place to anchor and we are here. It turns out to be absolutely gorgeous. The rocks are huge, jagged and tower over us. We take a dinghy ride around the area and take the GPS to check out the depths, so we can find our way out safely. Later in the evening we heard wolves howling and loons singing, every anchorage has something special to offer.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Mike had wanted me to see Kyutemazeen Bear Preserve, but we didn't want to go back North to go up the channel, so we went by float plane. We waited till the early morning fog had lifted and flew over the mountains to the Bear Preserve. We landed near a floating lodge, called Palmerville lodge. The lodge is quite rustic, everything is made out of rough hewed logs that have been varnished. Greg Palmer is the local expert on bears and his 9 year old son lives with him in the summer and sells cookies. After landing Mike and I loaded into Greg's boat and proceeded up strait. We saw two grizzly bears. The first bear was eating grass in a field next to the beach the other bear was looking for fish in a creek. The plane ride was exhilarating, going over the mountains that we have been looking up at was a special gift.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
July 27 Gardner Cove
Long day, we are now in the waters around Dixson Entrance and we can feel the ocean swells. We went around the south side of Prince of Wales and ducked into a beautiful serence cove called Gardener Cove. It is very rocky, but pristine. It is hot out - almost hot enough to jump in and cool off. Instead we have a cold outdoor shower on the stern.
July 28 Foggy Bay
Last stop in Alaska, tomorrow we will be in Canadian waters.
Prince Rupert here we come. Gorgeous trip down Chatham Strait - we try to sail, but not enough wind. We stop the boat and have a wonderful lunch and relax before we get back to civilization. When we get in to Prince Rupert harbor we are in for a surprise. It is so full you need to "raft" with other boats. As we pull in the wind is whipping up and we hear on the radio there are gale warnings for Prince Rupert Strait and there appears no place to dock. Finally, some nice guys tell us to tie up to an old fishing boat. By the looks of the boat it hasn't been out fishing for a long time and won't be moving any place soon. We tie up next to him and he is tied up to another boat, who is tied up to another boat. We are actually 4 boats away from the dock. We will stay in Prince Rupert for another night and then we will continue south.
*Before we left Craig we heard about a local artist that works with Alaska Stones and creates amazing creations. We called and he (Gary) happened to be at the studio and agreed to let us come see his work. When we got there we noticed immediately how talented he was, and then we saw a book that we had bought a few days earlier. He asked me how I liked the writing in the book and I told him we had only read one story about a sailboat getting stuck in Rocky Pass and how we had just come through Rocky Pass. I was busy looking around and Gary continued to ask me questions about the book and Mike was laughing. (While I was looking, Gary showed Mike the book and pointed to the author's name.) Come to find out - the artist, Gary, is the same person, he not only wrote the book, but he also had the sailboat adventure. He was actually in Rocky Pass to look for some rare rocks. We got some beautiful things at his studio and if you ever go to Craig, Alaska you must go and see his work. We also found out that he lives part of the year near Bellingham - it really is a very small world.
Sunday, July 26 - We are back on the boat and it must be at least 70 degrees. The sky is blue and we are heading south. We have a short stretch of water to go through called the Tlevak Narrows. We are getting pretty good at this type of navigation and Mike has figured out the best time to go through...well we thought. Come to find out the current that was supposed to run through at about 2.5 knots was actually running 6.5 plus. The Mood Indigo usually travels around 6.5-7.0 knots. We were only traveling about .2 knots - that is almost standing still as the water rushes past and the whirlpools whirl. I was down below when Mike called to me and ask me to put on my life vest. Not a good sign! I joined Mike outside and we were not going anywhere fast, but he kept with it and slowly we came out of the narrows. Yikes! I think we will head for big open water tomorrow!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
It is evening and we had an early dinner. Fish are jumping everywhere. I ask Mike about going fishing and he agrees, we should gie it a try. Mike has a "technical gadget" for most things and for fishing he has the "fish finder" ...unfortunately - Julie unplugged it before it was charged. I told him I didn't need it - we were going to catch a fish. After about 10 minutes I felt a nibble on my pole. I pulled on the rod and started reeling. The fish was giving me a good fight, jumping all over the place, but I kept the tip up and kept going. I finally got the fish to the dingy and we realized - we forgot the net. Oh well, Mike will just grab it with his hands and he does, so we have a fish flipping all over the boat and we notice the fish isn't on the hook - it is tangled in the line and I still have another fish on the line. I keep reeling and Mike was pulling the line and in comes fish number two! Mike grabs the second Silver and we pull in 25 pounds worth of fish from one line and one hook - what a fish story to tell. Of course, we have the pictures to prove it!
July 24-26 Craig Alaska
We find moorage at the North Harbor in Craig. We have lots of laundry to do and also some shopping. We stumble onto a lovely B&B and stay for 2 nights. Right now I am typing on the the bed looking out over the Bay, watching Eagles carrying fish, the sun setting in the pink sky with the crescent moon above and whales blowing their spouts in the distance. Tomorrow we head down the coastline and get ready to cross Dixon Entrance. We will update you when we can.
Thanks for following our adventure with us. We wish we could share more with all of you.