Day 5 – Day 11 Pender Harbor to Egmont To Princess Louisa Inlet and Back

WEDNESDAY (July 18, 2012)

Jack and Ruth Halsell aboard.

Our Wednesday morning in Pender Harbor was uneventful.  We slept in, had a good run, did some housekeeping, and checked the crab pot (no crabs).

The clouds cleared and the sun came out just as we were heading to pick up our good friends Jack and Ruth at the fuel dock when their seaplane arrived from Seattle.  Their flight came in a bit early, but Jack called us using his portable VHF radio and we were dockside five minutes later.  With our guests aboard we headed for Egmont, the last bit of civilization on the way to Princess Louisa Inlet. We began with some snacks and champagne and headed up Agamemnon channel. It was an easy trip, with a favorable tide, a favorable wind and lots of warm sunshine.  We arrived to a crowded dock, but luckily the first mate had called ahead for reservations and the last spot on the dock was awaiting us.

After docking we headed to shore for some dinner on the deck of the waterside pub.  A good time was had by all as we shared some beer, yummy fresh shrimp, steak and salad.  After dinner we chatted on the boat as we watched the sky explode once again into a beautiful sunset.

THURSDAY (July 19, 2012)

Thursday morning, the first mate mixed up some “Julie elixirs” in preparation for our walk to the local bakery, The Greer Rosette, in the woods along the “Skookumchuck Trail” from Egmont to the Skookumchuck Rapids.  This was a hidden treasure that even our seasoned guests had never discovered.  We stocked up on cinnamon rolls, muffins, and other treats.  But, before heading back we first took time to enjoy some delicious goodies on the deck of the bakery overlooking a little stream.

Our timing was perfect. When we arrived back at the True Love the tides had changed  in our favor and it was time to leave Egmont and head to Princess Louise Inlet.  The sun was out early Thursday and we were ready to enjoy a spectacular day.  Although Jack and Ruth had been up here many times, and this was our fourth trip in four years, the unusual and stunning passage up the fjord named Jarvis Inlet never gets old.  With the wind and the tide at our backs, conditions were perfect for the first mate to do her yoga on the bow of the True Love and the voyage took only about four hours.  We made it through Malibu Rapids with no problems although the first mate lost her hat as the Captain sped up to navigate through the tidal entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet.

Although there were fewer than 20 boats in the inlet (which is about 4 miles long by 1-2 miles wide), one of the boats was in our favorite anchorage at the bottom of tall waterfall.  So it took the first mate a few minutes to find another perfect anchorage near another waterfall that still had just the right view of Chatterbox Falls and waterfall sound.

The waters of Princess Louisa Inlet are very deep, too deep to anchor in the normal way.  Even though we have 300 feet of anchor chain, our anchor can only touch the seafloor if we drop the anchor and then back up to within 30 feet of shore.  The Captain then must use the dinghy to go to shore, put a rope around a tree, and bring it back to our boat so that it’s held in place between the anchor and the shore.

So we dropped the anchor and deployed the dingy so that the Captain could set the stern tie.  Unfortunately, the tide was out and the target tree for stern tie rope was a bit high.  The Captain returned for an assist from Jack, who used the dinghy’s engine to keep the dinghy from floating away from the steep shoreline while the Captain repeatedly attempted to throw the rope around the tree.  Working together, the Captain and Jack successfully secured the stern tie to shore and brought it back to the boat.  Because the tide had moved the boat during this whole exercise, we had to use the main engines briefly to reposition the anchor, but, after a little maneuvering we were firmly and safely set in a truly magical spot.

The waterfalls falling into Princess Louisa Inlet are very strong this year.  Chatterbox Falls is full and roaring.  The air temperature was very warm although the water temperature was still only 69 degrees. We enjoyed the rest of the day and evening, drank wine, shared stories and played bridge.

Around 7:30 PM, we paused our bridge game for a yummy salad with spring greens, chicken, raspberries, blueberries and avocado.  On the side I cooked up some Chinese dumplings and we ended our meal with molten chocolate cakes and homemade espresso chip ice cream.

The sun set and so did all our energy.  We hoped to stay up and look at the stars, but it just gets dark too late in the summer!  Before collapsing into bed we did see the Big Dipper appear along with the north star and two of the brightest planets (our guess is Venus and Jupiter).

FRIDAY  (July 20, 2012)

Friday morning brought light rain around 5 AM.  Later that morning we took advantage of a break in the drizzle to visit the single dock at the head of the inlet walk to Chatterbox Falls.  This is by far the largest waterfall in the inlet, and although you can hear it roar from miles away, it’s hard to comprehend how powerful the falls are until you are standing next to them.

The rendezvous time (1:45 PM) with Jack and Ruth’s outbound seaplane was approaching, but we expected a weather delay because the drizzle had turned to a hard, steady rain and visibility was poor.  We tried to use the satellite phone to call Kenmore Air, but of course it didn’t work.  After noshing on some capresse for lunch the Captain used the dinghy to take Jack and Ruth the four miles through the driving rain to Malibu Camp at the entrance to the inlet so that they could use the satellite phone there to call Kenmore Air and let their adult children know that their return flight would be delayed by hours or days.

I just received a report from the Captain through the VHF.  It is currently 3:30 PM and the plane is supposedly “on the way.”  The First Mate awaits her soggy guests, turns on the generator so she can  put their clothes in the dryer when they return while we wait for the seaplane.  But then there is an update from the Captain, Kenmore Air now says the weather will not allow the seaplane to fly into Princess Louisa Inlet until tomorrow “at the earliest.”  Two more for dinner tonight!  The dinghy and its passengers return to the True Love but they are drenched and dripping wet.  But all was well again after they changed into dry clothes and drank some spiked tea and hot chocolate.

The heavy rain continued into the late afternoon and evening, causing the waterfalls of Princess Louisa Inlet to all grow spectacularly.  Too tired to play bridge, we watched some DVD movies.  Jack and Ruth had never seen most of the romantic comedies we had on the boat so we started the entertainment with ”Saving Grace” and ended the evening with “When Harry Met Sally.”

SATURDAY (July 21, 2012)

The weather was a lot better on Saturday morning.  It didn’t rain at all until 11 AM and after that there were only occasional brief light showers for most of the day.  So after breakfast, Jack and Ruth took the dinghy back to Malibu Camp and borrowed their satellite phone again.  They got through to Kenmore Air and were promised that a seaplane would pick them up either that day at 5:45 PM, or the next day (Sunday) when Kenmore Air was already scheduled to fly into Princess Louisa to drop of Simon and Saul.

So we all proceeded to enjoy another day in beautiful Princess Louisa Inlet.  The captain and first mate went for a long kayak and we were treated to a close encounter with an eagle fighting with a seagull.  The eagle was approaching the seagull nesting area but was met by a vigilant and aggressive patrol.   The eagle took refuge in a tree but the seagulls repeatedly swooped down on him until he finally took refuge deeper in the forest.  It was great fun to watch and listen to the eagle and seagulls squawk at each other.

Jack and Ruth took the tender out again for some exploring and we met them on our way back.  On our kayak we saw a “For Sale” sign for 1782 acres of land in Princess Louisa Inlet, including 4.5 kilometers of oceanfront.   Amazingly, only about 10% of Princess Louisa Inlet is a Canadian Marine Park.  The rest is privately held and although the land would be exceptionally difficult to develop because of all the steep slopes, cliffs, waterfalls and landslides, we all decided that if any of us ever win the lottery, we are going to buy this land and donate it to the Princess Louisa Society so that a hundred years from now, this beautiful inlet will still look as pristine as it does today.

It rained lightly off and on all day but the cloud ceiling looked high enough for flying so we were all hopeful that Jack and Ruth would be able to fly out at 5:45 PM.

Jack & Ruth toured the engine room together to look at all the equipment there, especially the watermaker.  The engine room received the highly coveted Jack & Ruth seal of approval with just a few tips for future improvements.  Then we decided to play some bridge.  I think Jack was more annoyed about having to go back to Malibu Camp and beg for to use their phone service than he was about staying one more night.  Of course if our satellite phone worked that would not have been necessary, you already know the story there!

A private seaplane flew in around five which raised everyone’s spirits again, but almost immediately after the rain picked up, thick clouds started to form and the private seaplane left after a very short visit.  Lowering spirits.  Around 5:45 PM Jack spotted lights in the distance.  Our seaplane was here!

We said our goodbyes and the Captain took Jack & Ruth in the dinghy to meet up with the seaplane.  We truly loved our time with Jack & Ruth.  They are amazing people and we aspire to be such great adventurers when we are in our 80’s.

We especially thank them for helping us analyze the survey (detailed mechanical inspection and appraisal) of the first True Love and strongly encouraging us to visit Princess Louisa Inlet four years ago.

SUNDAY (July 22, 2012)

The “sunshine coast of British Columbia” is NOT living up to it’s name.   We slept in and woke to another rainstorm.   While the Captain made lattes and the First Mate made challah french toast, we both wondered whether Saul and Simon’s seaplane would be able to get through. If not, our “plan B” was to leave Princess Louisa today and hopefully meet up with Saul and Simon somewhere closer to civilization.

As the rain and heavy mist continued throughout the morning, we assumed that Saul and Simon’s seaplane would not be able to make it in.  So we relaxed while slowly enjoying our delicious breakfast.  I added to my blog and then gave it to the Captain for final proofreading.  Then all of a sudden we noticed that a seaplane was taking off.  We were so absorbed in our other tasks that we didn’t see it arrive – right on time at noon.  We weren’t able to contact anyone on the VHF so we quickly started up the dinghy and the Captain went to pick up our next guests.

Saul and Simon were so lucky.  Within an hour of their arrival another storm set in and it was rainy and misty for most of the rest of the day.  Fortunately, there were a few short breaks in the weather so were able to take the dinghy out explore Chatterbox Falls and rest of the inlet.  All of the rain made the 30+ waterfalls of Princess Louisa Inlet run even stronger giving the inlet a look similar to the mystical elf village named Rivendale in the movie “Lord of the Rings.”

MONDAY  (July 23, 2012)

Unfortunately, we woke to mist and rain again.  Saul slept through most of our preparations to leave, but with Simon on board we had all of the help we needed to retrieve and stow the two kayaks and the dinghy.  As we approached Malibu Rapids at the entrance to the inlet, we say two big juvenile eagles – they were as big as adult bald eagles but lacked their heads and tails were still brown, not white.  We now are heading out of Jervis inlet, driving the boat from the lower (interior) helm, where we are warm and dry, drinking tea and hot chocolate.  Our next stop is Lund, the last town with a grocery store before Desolation Sound.  At Lund we plan to buy some groceries and hopefully access the internet so that I can post this blog.  Our goal is to reach an anchorage in Desolation Sound by 7PM tonight, so we have plenty of time to anchor and make sure all is well before sunset (at 9:05 PM).

Yours very Truly,

The Captain and First Mate of the True Love

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