Johnstone Strait is calm?  Crazy but true!

We said goodbye to Greg and Carolyn at April Point and then we had a few days to explore on our own before Robert and Sharon flew in to meet us at Dent Island.

After reprovisioning at the little local grocery store the night before, we woke slowly and were having a hard time motivating to leave, but the Captain checked the latest weather forecast:  the next two days were supposed to be calm in Johnstone Strait, the morning fog was clearing and we still had two hours left before the strong tide in Johnstone Strait would turn against us.

So we left the dock as quickly as we could and headed out to explore the strait in the unusually calm weather.  We have traversed Johnstone Strait only twice, because Gale Force winds blow through there almost constantly, and when we do attempt the passage, we have always cruised through as fast as we can without stopping or lingering because the strong winds can return quickly, generate large waves and make your time there very unpleasant.  This was a fun change.

The first night we anchored in Otter Bay, near Chatham Point.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was calm and a good place from which to venture out into Johnstone Strait and try our luck at some fishing in the salmon-rich waters.  Sadly, our pitiful fishing continues.  It took us an extremely long time to gather all of our gear for the first time this year.  Once out, we tangled our lines and the fish took our bait, twice.  Oh well.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t clear and it was rainy and foggy the next morning.  This year’s unusually cool and wet summer weather was beginning to get to me.  Around 1 pm, after the fog finally cleared enough to resume our exploration of the still calm Johnstone Strait, we heard on the VHF radio about an orca nearby at Ripple Point (which we had been told was also a good place to fish directly from our boat rather than from the dinghy).

At Ripple Point we didn’t see any orcas so we decided to fish.  Within a minute of baiting our lure and dropping it in the water Jim heard the deep exhale of an orca less than 30 feet away. So much for fishing!  We grabbed the camera and enjoyed some quality orca time.  This orca was a loner and looked like it had an injured fin.  I emailed the photos to the local authorities so that they can help if that’s possible.  They replied right away, identifying the orca as “T-002C”.  He became separated from his family about a month ago and is now traveling with a new pod.  The problem with his fin is because he has scoliosis of the spine.

After our orca time we set of it for our next anchorage at Thurston Bay.  We had been here many years before with our first  boat.  It’s an awesome kayaking area with a very lovely sunset view, as you can see from the photo at the top of this blog.  It also has the beautiful little island below. The next morning we woke to sunshine.  What a nice change!  But I still got a fun photo of some light fog lifting near shore.

It finally felt like summer had arrived and our cruise to Dent Island for our rendezvous with Robert and Sharon DeWolf was fantastic.

After a quick tour and lunch at Dent we all decided that we should go up Bute Inlet again.  It was a perfectly sunny, calm cruise going in and we decided to try anchoring at the very end of the inlet this time because of the calm winds.  Although Robert is a kayaking Jedi Master, he has never kayaked Bute Inlet and we knew both he and Sharon would be blown away by the beautiful mountains and glaciers of this Canadian fjord.  They were.

The next morning was a bit windier, but Robert and I went out for a kayak while Jim and Sharon explored using the tender.  Our calm time ended shortly after that and the wind really kicked up.  Time to leave.  The cruise back was less relaxing, but manageable.   Robert took the helm for a while doing a great job searching for logs hidden in the waves.

The timing was right for another eagle show at Arran Rapids and we weren’t disappointed. Once again we anchored at Octopus Islands after going through the tidal rapids at “Hole In The Wall.”  Robert had been through here on kayaks before and really enjoyed the return on the True Love.  Seeing all this was a first for Sharon and she loved the beauty we were all sharing together.

Sharon has been so important in helping the Captain stay strong and healthy.  She is a chiropractor and a natural healer and we were so glad to thank her by sharing this beautiful place and nurturing her a bit with good food and conversation.

We anchored at Octopus Islands around 7 after a long but amazing day, enjoyed a great meal and then Robert suggested we all watch a DVD.  He picked out Rear Window from our selection on board. It’s such a great movie and it was a kick watching it together.

The next morning during breakfast I noticed two local tour boats going by so we turned on VHF channel 7 and heard the tour boats say to each other that 2 orcas were nearby. We quickly finished our breakfast, deployed the tender, and motored south about 20 minutes to the other side of Surge Narrows where we found the 2 orcas (including one that was very large) and 4 tour boats.  It was sunny and warm, the orcas were playing and I even put my feet in the water which was a first this trip.

When we got back Robert and I got a final kayak in before we headed back to Dent to get them to the seaplane for their flight back to Seattle. 

The tidal rapids near Dent Island were very strong as we approached and for a short time we were barely able to make headway through the swirling, churning waters and whirlpools between Big Bay and Jimmy Judd Island (aka Eagle Island).  At one point the water had 20 foot elevation changes in the current.  Alas, no photos we were all too enthralled.

 Last night Jim and I did some ceremonial eating at Dent’s very nice restaurant.

Today we begin our journey home.  Who knows what adventures we will experience over the next week. Maybe we will even catch a fish?

The Captain and First Mate of the True Love.

Triumphant Return to Bute Inlett

After our wonderful time in PLI, we made our way north to the Cambell River area that is north of Desolation Sound.  First we made a reprovisioning stop near Powell River follow d by a bakery stop in Lund.

One of our favorite anchorages is in the Octopus Islands and it didn’t disappoint.  We spent two meditative nature days enjoying the quiet peaceful area.  Practicing with the new zoom lens, I got a couple of good photos.  We saw Eagles, herons and otters, and raccoons foraging at low tide.

Jim’s high school debate partner Greg Call and his wife Carolyn joined us next for a Bute Inlet adventure.  They flew in to Dent Island where we enjoyed a yummy dinner.  The next day we headed out to conquer Bute Inlet:  a 40 mile long inlet into British Columbia’s Coastal Mountains, including 13,000 feet tall Mt. Waddington, BC’s tallest mountain.

The weather was beautiful and we finally took down the plastic windows that protect the front & sides of the upper helm and take down the convertible top so that we could thoroughly enjoy the sunshine and stunning views of glacier-covered mountains.  It was a lovely cruise and we ate delicious pastrami (supplied by our earlier guest Peter Glick) sandwiches along the way.  As those of you who have read our True Love Adventures over the past years know, we did not have success on our first Bute Inlet Adventure five years ago.  In 2011, we tried to anchor at the head of the inlet but the winds were crazy coming off the mountains, our anchor wasn’t holding, but when we tried to raise the anchor it got stuck on something.  No matter what we did, we couldn’t bring the anchor up so we eventually had to cut it away, leaving it in over 100 feet of glacier-fed water.

This year we discovered a new anchorage, just east of Bear Bay, in a little unnamed cove that was protected from the strong NW winds.  Since it had no name on the map we named it Spady & Call cove.  After anchoring, the Captain and his former high school debate partner headed out to try to ascertain the depths around us and where we should shore tie.The glacier water confused the depth sounder on the tender so in the spirit of Captain Vancouver they used a pole instead.  After a perfect shore tie we settled down with some cocktails and I made a yummy dinner.  We had to eat inside to escape some fierce biting flies, but they magically disappeared later that evening when the men had to tow away a large, menacing drift wood tree, and the flies didn’t return the following morning.

And what an amazing morning it was!  The perfect mornings sunshine and calm winds gave everyone great views of the glaciers as we cruised the shoreline at the head of Bute Inlet and then headed back to civilization.  It was so nice that I even got to do my yoga on the bow for the first time this trip.  As we approached Arran Rapids just east of Big Bay we were treated to a crazy eagle frenzy.  The rapids were running at 9 knots, churning up the water so much that hundreds of small fish were killed and floating on the surface.  Voila, bird food.  We stayed and watched at least 30 eagles swoop over the water and catch fish in their talons.  Although the original consensus was that there was at least 30 eagles, as the day went on and we reconsidered our memories, we all agreed that it must have been at least 50 eagles.  😉

I took tons of photos with my new telephoto lens.  Here are some of the best.

After our “eagle extravaganza” we headed back to the Octopus Islands where we anchored for the night.  Thunderstorms in the distance provided the backdrop as we enjoyed a great evening of heated, but intelligent political conversation, good cocktails, steak and tasty wine that Greg & Carolyn had brought with them.

The evening brought in some beautiful fog and an almost full moon.

When we woke the fog was even more beautiful as it slowly dissolved away.

After a hardy breakfast we cruised south and east to the April Point Resort across the channel from Campbell River where Greg and Carol had a reservation on the 5:30 seaplane back to Seattle. 

It truly was a fabulous few days and we look forward to the next time Greg & Carolyn can join us for another summer cruise on the True Love.

Our Favorite Place

As many of you know, Princess Louisa Inlet is one of our favorite places in the world. The trip in was pretty cloudy, but calm. The big mountains were cloud covered but the shoreline was glowing with colorful moss and liken.  The shoreline was like natures art gallery.

 We spotted two eagles, including a juvenile finishing his final color change.

We decided to stop about 5 miles outside of the inlet for the night in a new spot.  It proved a perfect anchorage and we were met by an heron, seal, and raven.  We ended our day with some nice kayaking before the evening rain began. 

The La Niña theme continues and the weather was less than awesome.  But, as we suspected, that means waterfall abundance.  Chatterbox falls was very full.  Our favorite spot was available and as we anchored and did our successful shore tie, a glowing rainbow appeared in the gray sky.

Unlike all our other visits, the water was too cold too swim: only 65 degrees instead of 75.

We love sharing this magical place with friends and this year we were joined by Barbara and Richard Wortley.  We measure all yucky weather against the time when Jack and Ruth Halsell joined us a couple of years ago.  This was not anything less ke the extreme of “Jack and Ruth weather” (a unrelenting, soaking rain lasting 3 days).

They landed and we shared two very special days surrounded by the beauty of the ever changing views, clouds and waterfalls.    

Of course we shared yummy meals and great scotch too. 

When the weather cleared we kayaked and took the tender on an adventure out of the inlet ending with an ice cream stop and tour of Malibu Camp, a “Young Life” Christian camp at the entrance to the inlet.  Richard got an amazing photo of a hummingbird with his phone as we toured part of the camp.

 Richard got this amazing photo of a hummingbird with his phone.  The hummingbird showed no interest in Richard what so ever.
Although it was cloudy on Monday, their seaplane arrived on time and they headed home with no drama. 

Black Bear in Princess Louisa!

The sun broke out and we enjoyed a lovely, long kayak complete with our first ever bear sighting in PLI.  He was sleeping behind this extremely beautiful cedar root burl.  Jim just missed seeing the bear as he woke up with a start and quickly scampered away on an animal trail.  

A La Niña Summer Cruise

This year we chose to leave for our annual northern cruise before July 4th.  Peter Glick and Gail Luxenburg boarded on July 1 as we road the outgoing tide north to Port Townsend.  

We had our first challenge before preparing dinner.  The Captain spotted water dripping from the ceiling entering our stateroom below the kitchen sink.  After investigating and discussing taking the faucet apart, the Captain discovered that the faucet head was loose causing the water to leak down the hose. It just needed to be tightened, crisis adverted. 

The weather report was constantly shifting.  When we went to sleep the forecast was for light winds the next afternoon and heavy winds in the early morning.   In the afternoon we hoped to visit Lois and George at Guemes Island (near Anacortes), but the weather prediction was for high winds so we decided to head to Friday Harbor, where we found a lovely anchorage behind Bowen Island where we were greated by an eagle.The crossing of the dreaded Strait of Juan de Fuca was a bit bumpy and foggy in the distance, but not bad.  Gail, who was concerned about rough seas did not have any problem.  Unfortunately there were no Orca or whale sightings on this crossing.

Our afternoon was spent relaxing while Gail and Peter went kayaking.  

Sunday we enjoyed a lazy morning, raised anchor and headed into Friday Harbor to top off the diesel, drop off our guests and head off to Canada.

We were concerned about crossing Haro Strait given the high wind warnings, but once again the forecasters were wrong.  Obviously, the weather forecasters are having trouble shifting to the La Niña model.  The windy forecast never changed, but we ignored it and anchored at our favorite spot just outside of Montage Harbour.  It took all our effort to stay awake for sunset, but our fortitude was rewarded.  The next day we enjoyed a lovely kayak before heading north to Naniamo.

Naniamo is our perfect stop for provisioning before heading north.  The weather was mixed, but lovely.  We enjoyed our annual Greek dinner at Teverna and brought home plenty of leftovers. It didn’t feel like July, but early spring or fall. 

Yesterday, we took advantage of the sunny, relatively calm morning to cross Georgia Strait to Egmont.  On the way we enjoyed a yummy caprese on char roll-up (sans bread, saving calories for the bakery).  Once again the crossing was a little ruffer than we prefer, but absolutely acceptable.  Once tied up to the Back Eddy docks we went for a walk to the bakery in the woods.  We love this spot, but the docks are in serious need of repair.

Skookumchuck Rapids at XL

Last night and today the rapids are at XL.  We have seen them before, but never this intense.  After dinner we took the tender down to the spot.  The current was crazy and even with our 40hp ourboard engine, it felt risky keeping above the rapids.  Because the Rapids drop below us, it was hard thphotograph from the tender.

Our day ended with a dramatic and unusual sunset. Breakfast at Westcoast Wilderness Resort

As promised the weather has shifted to drizzle and cloudy.  The tide changes this afternoon so we slept in and walked up the hill to the upscale alternative to the Back Eddy Resort, the Westcoast Wilderness Resort.  It’s lovely and serves breakfast.  This photo looks down at the True Love on the dock.  We are the inside boat.

Last year we didn’t get to visit PLI.  Our visit this year will be short on sun, but full  waterfall abundance and as usuall no connectivity.  A week of the grid.

The True Love Adventure Continues . . .

The Captain & First Mate of the True Love