After leaving Powell River we took a short cruise to nearby Lund. Lund is a sweet little harbor town with a decent little grocery, a lovely little art gallery, a super yummy bakery, homemade ice cream and a booth that sells batik wraps. We enjoyed all of them and the ice cream was particularly yummy on the hot afternoon.
After Lund we crossed over to the very close Copeland Islands and anchored in a new spot. It wasn’t our best gunk hole anchoring. Although we shore tied, the winds came from an unexpected direction in the middle of the night and blew us further than we expected in our little bay. When we woke up we were much closer (about 15 feet) to the shallow side and the big rocks there than we thought possible. But, no harm, no foul.
After dark we also had a strange experience when a little aluminum boat came in really late to our bay and seemed to run into the shallow rock. When we called out to them and shined our spot light on them they initially didn’t respond. But then said, “we are fine, we are locals.” I guess the locals here don’t worry about hitting local rocks. We went to sleep only to find them in a different spot behind us in the morning after we woke to find our boat blown to the other side of the bay. We did discuss our mistaken assumptions and will learn. Our shore tie was just too far from the boat and our anchor chain was also too long for the depth where we anchored. But anchoring, especially in gunk holes, is an art.
We left early with plans to head directly to Octopus Islands, but decided to investigate a new inlet: Van Donop. It’s an area where we often see whales and we did again this time. After hanging out with a pair (maybe even the same pair we saw with Erica) we decided to give Donop Inlet an exploration. We liked what we saw, so we dropped anchor to spend the night. The inlet is long and narrow, opening to a huge bay where you could easily anchor 100 boats. We were one of only 20 boats and our anchorage was at the head of a smaller side inlet. That afternoon we enjoyed a fun kayak and I did a lovely long yoga session on the bow of the boat. Van Donop was a great discovery and we will be back.
We left Van Donop early the next morning so we could travel through the Hole-In-The-Wall tidal rapids near slack tide, arriving at our usual Octopus anchorage by late morning. We returned to our favorite great little gunk hole just outside the main bay where we can enjoy the marine park in relative seclusion. Octopus Islands Marine park is made up of one big bay, but also a lot of little islands with nooks and crannies surrounded by super calm water for fun kayaking, especially at low tide. Usually, the air is clear but this year there is a hazy marine fog, mixed with smoke from the Okanogan forest fires in south eastern British Columbia. Last night the “strawberry moon” was hard to see because of their smokey skies. But I still got a picture. The Octopus Islands are not surrounded by dramatic, glaciated mountains, but the kayaking there is hard to beat. When the tide is low the otters, raccoons, herons and tidal sea creatures are abundant. We were able to get a couple of long fun kayaks trips in, but we ran into an unusual problem: wasps. We have never had a bug problem at Octopus Islands before, but the air was still, the temperature was hot and the wasps were abundant. We talked to some other passing kayakers and they had no problems. So there must have been a big wasp nest nearby our favorite anchorage, just bad luck. After our kayak this morning, we decided to head out a day early towards Erasmus Island (near Blind Channel) during the slack tidal currents late this afternoon instead of leaving early tomorrow morning. It was the right choice.
This “Crawford Anchorage” on the inside of Erasmus Island is another little magic spot we have discovered. As we cruised in, a seal and two eagles welcomed us. The air was cooler and cleaner than at Octopus Islands and after anchoring we lit the Sabbath candles, gave thanks for all our blessings and settled into a yummy dinner of ramen curry soup. And no wasps! The extra bonus is that we can get tonight’s Mariners game on our satelite TV. Tomorrow we will do our usual kayaking, then take the tender to the Blind Channel Resort where we will do a little hike and maybe even try some fishing.
This area of the cruise allows for intermittent connectivity. Of course that is both good and bad. The good, we get to check in with everyone. The bad, we get to check in with everyone. But it’s good practice for re-entry next week when we leave the True Love at Toba Inlet for a week and head home for family visits and a few work meetings.
We also have been continuing to do more of our video chess class. Last night’s class featured games and strategies from 4 great chess masters and world champions. Watching their mastery, creativity and wild play was stunning. In one game the teacher suggested we just watch the moves like a fun chess movie because the moves were too difficult to explain. The eventual winner first sacrificed his queen, a rook and a bishop BEFORE taking the opponents queen, cornering his king and then checkmating him with a knight. Don’t try to understand it or copy it, just enjoy it!
Whenever we visit Blind Channel we must do the walk to the giant cedar and this year was no exception except the Captain could do it without using hiking poles. Hurray! The massive cedar continues to look big and strong. After our lunch at their little outdoor cafe (salmon tacos and a burger with beer and wine) we provisioned and headed back to the True Love. Our magical little anchorage at Erasmus, like the one at the Octopus Islands, does not have big majestic views like PLI, but it is perfectly peaceful. Yesterday we did a kayak around island at low tide and spied some really pretty tidal pool stuff. Including these very strange hanging mullusk things. I won’t say what they look like, but I know what you are thinking. We think they eventually turn into the big white snails on the rocks. We don’t have internet so we don’t know. Jim even spotted a nearby porpoise but I wasn’t able to get a picture.
After our kayak we decided to fish from the True Love and not the tender. Nobody seems to be catching up here, but we fished, enjoyed the afternoon and listened to audio books. As fishing and not catching goes it was very very nice. After just hanging the fishing pole 🎣 over the side I decided to try some casting. At first I was awful, but I found it really fun and got much better as the afternoon went on thanks to the helpful tips from the Captain who has some stored knowledge from fishing as a kid. I didn’t catch anything that way either, but at least I was active and learning something new. Thankfully I had defrosted a steak for dinner and we enjoyed the fresh lettuce we purchased at the Blind Channel marina.
Today we woke up and had to do some work on the boat. The generator has been smoking a bit, so we wanted to check the oil and fluids. The oil was fine. The cooling fluid seemed a bit low so we put more in. Now there is a possibility it wasn’t low and that is what it should look like when it is cool. We will find out after we run the generator. Other than the fluid it all looks good. I think it has been smoking because we are using it a lot. It’s needed to charge the batteries and run the water maker as well as other stuff on the boat.
We also needed to change the filters in the water maker. It is supposed to warn us when the filters are getting to their end, but we were getting a little smell from the water in our shower last night, so we decided to change them this morning before turning on the generator when the engine room is cool. The True Love has a relatively small engine room and moving around it to work is a challenge. You have to do everything while sitting, squatting or crawling. That is easier for the First Mate than the Captain. But we changed the series of filters. They definitely needed to be changed.
All our work was done before breakfast, so we are now celebrating with a cinnamon roll, lattes and our usual healthy elixir. After breakfast it’s time to head to Toba Inlet, our next destination.
On our way to Toba we passed through Dent area and Big Bay. The rapids were fun and we passed a huge sea lion fishing. He of course was catching!
On our way past Raza Island, we spied two humpback whales (affectionately known as “humpies.”) One was breaching in the distance but the other wasn’t moving much at all. We could see it breathing, but we grew concerned that it was not doing well. It didn’t seem in distress, and it was breathing regularly. A stick rested on its head and at one point it moved its huge flipper gently. So we used the VHF radio to contact one of the tourist-carrying commercial whale boats to ask if this was normal. Turns out, it is. Humpbacks often just sleep on the surface, which doesn’t seem like a very safe behavior when humans are boating nearby. The marina manager at Toba Inlet told us later that humpies often play with sticks like dogs do and will play and sleep with it for quite a while.
The Toba Inlet marina has power, plenty of water, a lovely sitting area, hiking trails and a beautiful view of Toba Inlet.
After we docked at the Toba Inlet Wilderness Resort, we tied up, plugged in and washed the boat with the abundant fresh water. It was time for a refreshing swim. The water temperature is not as warn as nearby Pendrell Sound (80 degrees) but it was a perfectly refreshing 71 degrees for a jump off the dock on a hot afternoon.
Yesterday we took the hike to the waterfall that brings the abundant water to Toba. Then we went out to explore Toba Inlet in the tender. The Captain loves his tender and thinks it can do anything. Unfortunately, we didn’t talk to the locals to learn about the late afternoon winds that blow up the inlet. The Captain and the first mate had also not agreed to a trip plan before leaving. The First Mate was thinking short trip to a beautiful waterfall slowly meandering the shore looking for wildlife. The Captain was thinking long trip to the end of the inlet full throttle through the middle of the inlet. A conflict ensued as we bounced at high speed through the middle of the channel. But we stopped, did some meditating and learned an important lesson: trip plans are important even for tender adventures. Another couple on a tender told us they saw a mom and bear cub, but they had left the beach before we got there. After seeing the waterfall and exploring some nooks and gunk holes for possible future anchorages we tried to go further up the inlet. Unfortunately, it just got too windy and bumpy. Too much for the us to comfortably explore further in the tender. But, as usual we persevered and made it back just fine although it was an uncomfortable ride most of the way back, and we were definitely shaken but not stirred.
Toba seems to be a perfect place to leave the True Love for a week. It’s well protected and will have good people watching over it. The Kenmore seaplane picks us up at 1PM and touchdown back in Seattle should be about 3:30. Less than 3 hours versus 4 long days if we instead tried to bring the boat with us back to Seattle. We are looking forward to the stunning views from the seaplane as it flies us back home.
Before flying home, Fawn tried an inflatable paddle board and really liked it!
Our goal is to do reentry as smoothly and peacefully as possible, trying not to create too many ripples in the pond so that Jasmine and everyone else who has been keeping things running smoothly at the family business can continue to do so.
Our first night back we went straight to the Dick’s Drive-In in Edmonds to watch the first of a series of “Infinity” Concerts featuring the special infinity trailer that Saul and his team built earlier this year. It was a bit like traveling by seaplane through a black hole to an alternative universe, boating to burgers so to speak, but the event was a huge success and it wonderful to see everyone, including Jim’s Aunt Bertie who is in Seattle visiting everyone for the first time in many years.
Now we will be signing off for a week until we fly back to the True Love for the remainder of our 2018 adventure.
The Captain and the First Mate of the True Love