Monday, June 9, 2008


The Ketchikan harbormaster assigned us to Thomas Basin, one of the city's three harbors. We moored amongst the trollers, seiners and the occasional long range cruiser or sailboat. Our pilothouse view features cruise ship docks to port and historic Creek Street to starboard. Tatsuda's grocery is one short block away from the harbor, but delivery service came in handy again at a minus tide. We've dined out, toured shops ad galleries and a totem center, walked a lot in town and along the docks, located some new-to-us totem poles, and visited with boaters and residents. 

Now it's time to get out of town and slow down while we enjoy some freshly caught seafood, explore new coves, get the kayaks wet, spot some grizzlies... 

More from Petersburg in a week or two... maybe.

Making the miles

Tues. June 3

It usually it takes a day after a storm for waters to settle down, but the 4 a.m. wind and water reports were too tempting to pass up. The captain's routes always have several optional anchorages for us along the way, but we didn’t need them today. Sunshine and long, smooth rollers kept me smiling, and Capt. R loved the 1 to 1.5 knot current push. North of Prince Rupert/Skeena River the drift was impressive! Whole trees as well as low-floating logs littered the surface and hid in the troughs. It was unusual to see an entire tree, upright, floating by. Maintaining log alert while traveling for 10+ hours made for a long day. Distance traveled today? around 110 miles. I know, it sounds puny by land standards, but at 8.5 to 10.3 knot cruise speed it’s a very good day. Fuel consumption? about 80 gallons of diesel.

Moving to inside waters

Sun. June 1 Patterson Inlet

Drat! the mid-morning VHF broadcast announcing upcoming gales got our attention. We headed to a more protected, inside route - and passed a Canadian coast guard cutter heading outside on patrol.  Environment Canada puts out extensive forecasts 4 times a day, supplementing them with almost hourly wind/wave/swell height updates from lighthouses and buoys. This really helps with route planning and the occasional decision to just stay anchored for a day or two.

100+ white-sided Pacific dolphin cruised Blackfish Sound with us, but showed no interest in playing with the boat. They were too busy feeding. Just the memory of those sparkling black and white bodies leaping and slicing through the water makes me smile!  Finally, several dolphin pods traveling Nepean Sound  broke away to ride the bow wake.
Patterson Inlet looked like the best anchorage in southerly gales. Entering in mid-afternoon, we had time to anchor -- and re-anchor -- in the southerly arm. (ask the captain for additional information, I’m not talking.) The weather front must have stalled, because we only recorded moderate wind gusts.

Mon. June 2                                                                              Patterson Inlet

The predicted gale arrived this morning, but not inside our sheltered bay. A weather station west of us reported 40 knot winds with higher gusts, but we’re comfortable here in light to moderate winds. That’s a good thing since we’re sitting in 90 feet of water with more than 300 feet of chain down. The captain prefers shallower water and more chain during a blow.

May 28 departure... finally

Port Neville

After years of early departures to catch the slack current at Seymour Narrows and enjoy the ebb tide in Johnstone Strait, our cruise schedule has changed. The Nobeltec “best time” ETA calculator recommended a noon departure. Okay, We can handle sleeping in and enjoying a late breakfast and one last dock walk. We headed for Farewell Hbr but hit really ugly short, steep chop around Kelsey Bay (never a favorite place because the waters are peppered with logs, limbs and other evil flotsam). We plowed on but adjusted the destination to Port Neville. Once there we had the the dock to ourselves. Heavy current required extra stern lines and a fat bumper forward to keep the bow well away from the piling. Next time we’ll moor on an inside float. Whew! The “fragrance” of otter was potent, and a big otter ran the small dock, marking it repeatedly.

Red pot, bread pot sourdough

I was well focused on my provisioning tasks, and then SHAZAM! the temptations of store displays grabbed me. Nope, that gorgeous red cast iron bread baking pot was definitely on the Buy List, but it DID call out my name as I toured my favorite Campbell River kitchen shop. Come to think of it, that shop wasn't on my errand list either.

Storage is a constant issue aboard, so any multipurposing is a bonus feature. I will know that this beauty is truly meant to be a bread pot, but it might also cook up a fine mess of Betsy's baked beans, a baked pasta dish, or maybe some shellfish with chorizo, wine, tomatoes and herbs. OK, now I'm hungry!

Tues, May 6 Discovery Hbr, Campbell River

Boat projects and provisioning fill up the days, and the project list keeps growing. This is not a good sign. Autopilot repair has turned into autopilot replacement, and now the boat interior looks like a tornado hit and scrambled things from room to room.Meanwhile I shopped. Eight boxes of groceries and “stuff” later, I stood at the top of the very steep ramp wondering why I had returned at a super low tide. The crew at the water taxi shack came to my rescue, used their ATV and cart to deliver the groceries to the boat. Cost? one batch of homemade cookies.