Leaving Vancouver May 23 2019
The time has finally come. We’re cruising to Alaska. The original dream was by kayak, but I am not complaining about the comforts of a power boat with diesel heat, a comfy bed and a Sub-Zero refrigerator, not to mention a pilot house full of navigational aids. We left Tucson 4/30/19 and spent about 21/2 weeks getting the boat ready. Washing, waxing, engine makeover for tool storage, provisioning, fixing the diesel heat, and presuming we fixed the water makers (we didn’t fix the water makers after all). We left Vancouver on May 23, and headed down the Fraser River to the Strait of Georgia. It was kind of a blur. The lines are thrown off and you’re on you way. There’s a significant current in the river, so we were concentrating on keeping clear of other boats and docks. When we finally relaxed we realized we were on our way. OMG!
We knew we were facing a few “gates” in the next few days. Gates are the difficult parts of the Inside Passage that give pause to many boaters. Large bodies of water are gates because they are more exposed to winds and usually ocean swells, plus tidal currents. If those elements oppose each other directionally, the seas become confused and the ride becomes “uncomfortable”. There is a saying that the boat can take more than the operator; however, not fun at all! The other type of gate is the rapids that occur when large volumes of water get pushed through narrow channels between islands. We had 5 rapids coming up in a few days. They are close together, so you can’t wait until each one goes slack (Slack is when an incoming tide changes to outgoing and vice versa. The water goes flat and quiet). Rapids 1,2 and 3 can be done in one day, then anchor overnight and do 4 and 5 the next day. We chose to do that. Rapid 3 has a little feature called “the Devil’s Hole”, so nothing scary there.?? For those interested, Google Dent Rapids Devil’s Hole. We timed it correctly and we had an uneventful passage. That’s good! We moored in Shoal Bay in the most lovely spot. They had a huge lawn that they just mowed and it smelled like honey.
We went through Rapids 4 and 5 the next day and continued on our way north. The next few days we wound through the Broughton Islands and had beautiful views of wilderness channels with very few boats going our way. We are early for this trip, most folks start in June, so it’s nice to be ahead of the crowd. The rapids also weed out more reluctant boaters. Our next gate would be Cape Caution. This barrier weeds out even more boaters. Cape Caution is a point on the BC mainland that lies just north of the tip of Vancouver Island Our route goes around this point, and it’s completely exposed to open ocean and wind. It can be treacherous. We have engaged a weather router, a gentleman who monitors weather all over the world for commercial, pleasure and naval vessels. He told us that 5/30 was an excellent day to round the Cape and we followed his instruction. He was right, very smooth with no wind and gentle swells. We anchored in Pruth Bay, which is home to the Hakai Institute. They maintain trails that lead to the side of the island that faces Queen Charlotte Sound. It was gorgeous!, and so nice to use our legs.
We are so pleased to be on this trip. We are enjoying the problem solving, the scenery, and the adventure of the unknown (to us). We are each other’s constant companions, but we are used to that. We are making a good team. I’m learning more about the boat and taking over the helm more often. We have a small exercise bike that folds up, and a TRX strap that hangs from the grab handle in the salon. We are trying to keep up our strength and cardio this summer. We hope to be catching salmon, crabs and prawns to supplement our frozen proteins. We have very limited cell and internet service in Canada. We anticipate being in Alaska in the next week or so, and publishing a blog will be easier to manage. They reportedly have good cell service. I don’t have quite enough power here to include photos, so I’ll try again in when we’re in another location.