Sunday, May 3, 2009

We're Cruising!

April 29, Wed Otter Cove/Chatham Pt
We’re right on schedule for departure if we use past trips for reference. But since we hoped to leave early it feels frustratingly late. I took us out of the harbor (with a bit of coaching) while the Capt handled lines and bumpers. We transited Seymour narrows at slack current in the mixed company of nine fishing boats, pleasure craft and one tug and barge. What a joy to head out in full-blown spring sunshine and light variable winds.

Systems check revealed the new salon Espar heater would not fire. We anchored in Otter Cove at Chatham Point to troubleshoot the problem. After some hose clamp tightening, fiddling, trial runs and the like, the unit functioned properly. We’ll stay put overnight and recheck the heater early Thursday a.m.

Apr 30, Thurs Miles Inlet
Hooray! The Espar performed beautifully at 0500 and we now have a warmly comfortable cabin for the run west out Johnstone Strait. With a current push most of the day our speed over ground should be good (good is anything more than 9 knots).
Jerry and Tanya (M/V Jericho) were still at Lagoon Cove so weplanned to meet enroute to Blunden Harbor, ready to round Cape Caution early on Friday. Four dolphin cavorted in Johnstone Strait east of the Havannah Channel intersection - it must be a good luck omen.

VHF weather reports indicate the high is moving out and winds will pick up in the next day or so. Jericho was 2+ hours ahead of us on the route and motored ahead to cross Rivers Inlet and anchor in Fury Cove. We stayed south, anchoring in Miles Inlet and happy to relax and enjoy this lovely spot. One plump mottled gray seal studiously ignored us, circling the anchorage to keep us company during dinner. Background music was the sound of the overfall at the rapids as a rising tide filled the west lagoon.

May 1, Fri Ocean Falls

0400 weather report indicated terrific conditions today so we fired up at dawn and set out to round Cape Caution. I checked out the east arm of Miles but the Capt pointed out our course was elsewhere. OOPS! my bad.

What a good cruising morning with light variable winds and low chop on almost no swell. This could be a very comfortable crossing and well worth the super-early alarm clock call. Outflow winds and current off Rivers Inlet popped up some whitecaps and put spray on the windows. The drifts of yellow pollen wanted to stick and smear so additional spray will almost be welcome.

A visit with Sally the Wharfinger is one of the reasons to travel up Cousins Inlet to Ocean Falls… that and the crab. But Wharfinger Sally Isaksen and husband Joe are moving soon so Tanya organized the traditional first-crab-of-the-cruise crabfeed and a farewell party in the dock’s party room. The crab were huge and plentiful. Males well over the legal size were tossed back and only the really big boys made the cut. Large chunks of sweet, succulent crabmeat were savored and initially slowed all conversation to a series of appreciative moans.

Gusting outflow winds (33 kts, 41 kts...), deteriorating weather, good company and easy crabbing will keep us in Ocean Falls for a while. (Mainly the weather kept us at the dock for 5 days. Hurricane force winds were reported offshore and we recorded 40+ knot gusts in the harbor.) More crab, more hikes, more socializing... it's all good.

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