July 9 (Day 9: Day at Pierre’s Echo Bay)
Our guests for the first week were gone. This is was our day by ourselves at Echo Bay. We did laundry, cleaning, projects, etc. All in all a good day.
One thing about our guests: they’re always generous with clothing donations. After guests leave, we invariably find drawers with unclaimed clothes, which we end up mailing or giving back when we return to Seattle. Bounty for the first week:
That evening at Pierre’s, there was a potluck pig roast in the main hall (as there is most Saturdays during the summers), so we took our plate of appetizers, and had a fun time socializing.
July 10 (Day 10: Pierre’s at Echo Bay to Simoom Sound)
Our guests for week 2 were our friends David and Susan from Portland, and their friends George and Patty, also from Portland and fellow Classic Yacht Association members. They came in on a Grumman Goose.
The guests arrived sometime around 1100, and after all were settled, we left Pierre’s and made our way back over to Simoom Sound.
We really liked it there the last week, and thought that the location made for a gentle introduction to the Broughtons. Simoom Sound was just as impressive as the last visit a week ago–we ended up staying there 2 days.
We saw bears while kayaking, eagles on the shore and on the island, and porpoises.
David gave us a great mouse cheese cutting board that he had made–complete with a mouse cheese knife. Perfect for us two veterinary pathologists!
July 11 (Day 11: Anchored in Simoom Sound)
This was a fun day of relaxing, kayaking, sightseeing, exploring, and fishing. We started the morning off by heading for the end of the sound in the GFB.
Afterwards, several of us kayaked around the islands and bays. George had not been on our boat previously, and enjoyed seeing the massive rudder and stern.
After kayaking, there was an engine room tour by Chief Engineer Peter.
George had a new camera, so he practiced taking landscape photos. Some of them were quite good. The only problem was that the date wasn’t set correctly in the camera. I think I have most of the photos on the correct days, but I might have misfiled some of them.
We had an eagle and a bunch of mergansers for company.
For dinner, we had something that has become a ritual when Susan is aboard: Dueling Risotto Chefs. I’m not saying that Peter and Susan are competitive–but see for yourself. In any case, Dueling Risotto Chefs is a spectator sport.
The dinner was fantastic…great risotto and wonderful company.
July 12 (Day 12: Simoom Sound to Carriden Bay)
We kayaked and fished a bit on the morning of July 12th.
George tried the beached whale approach to disembarking from a kayak.
Then we brought all of the gear aboard, and had GFB tiedown lessons on the cabin roof.
We weighed anchor and left Simoom Sound around 1100 on July 12th. Two photo ops when we leave an anchorage: the grimaces on the person moving the shuttle, and the rear ends of folks looking over the side to see if the anchor is in its correct spot. Here are a few of the photos from this time:
The scenery from Simoom Sound to Carriden Bay was beautiful.
We motored to the area around Sullivan Bay Marina. Some of the gang went ashore in the GFB, but I (Nancy) stayed on the Gyrfalcon and just drifted around. The reason for the trip was reprovisioning. Sullivan Bay has a pretty good store, so we were able to pick up the things we needed.
It was a great day for wildlife: A river otter by the fish farm coming out of Simoom Sound, Pacific white sided dolphins in Sutlej Channel, harlequin ducks and sea otters on the rocks SW of Kinnaird Island. We anchored in the middle of Carriden Bay, and relaxed.
Peter. David and George put out the prawn traps across the channel. We had a good harvest.
The rock formations around Carriden Bay were fantastic–it was a fun shoreline to explore.
July 13th (Day 13: Anchored in Carriden Bay)
We kayaked, fished, and generally had a relaxing time during our day in Carriden Bay. I (Nancy) kayaked out to Kinnaird Island to see the sea otters. While I was out in Grappler Sound, the wind picked up and there were 1-2 ft waves all of a sudden. It was a bit freaky being out of sight of the Gyrfalcon and out of sight of any other boat, with waves breaking over the bow of the kayak. I ended up tacking back to minimize the waves hitting the kayak broadside. All was fine in the end, but I was glad when I was back in the protected bay.
Peter, David, and George did both crabbing and shrimping.
We also had enough time for projects. David was interested in the plumbing project (house filters that we mentioned earlier in the blog about the first week). The fishing table was a good workbench for making a board to hold the filters. David, who is quite the woodworker, used our rudimentary shop to make a handle so that the filter assembly was easy to handle. George was his assistant/supervisor.
And after the first coat of varnish (the wood slats are just support, not part of the final piece):
Remember that we mentioned that Patty’s favorite place to stay was right in the passageway at the end of the galley, so no one could get by? Both George and Susan apparently agreed that it was a great location, and took up residence, while David created a concoction from leftovers for lunch.
Later in the afternoon, most of us relaxed while Chef/Engineer Peter got dinner ready.
This time it was David observing from Patty’s favorite spot. Note the new industrial fire suppression blanket between the joists.
Did we tell you that we have a dance floor on the Gyrfalcon? Nightly dancing at 5 pm
July 14th (Day 14: Carriden Bay to Waddington Cove)
Here are a few photos of how we load the kayaks and GFB up on the roof. Peter is the crane operator, and I hook the boats to the harnesses. First the kayaks go up. I’ve learned that it’s best to wear a hat.
The kayaks go up first, one at a time.
The Go-Fast-Boat goes up next. I use to think the boat tilted a lot when the GFB is raised, but last week I saw a fishing boat offloading nets at Fisherman’s Terminal, and the tilt was quite amazing.
We started the mains and weighed anchor about 1000. George seems to have found his calling on Chain Management.
This was our first foray into the less protected waters of Queen Charlotte Strait. The weather started out very calm as we headed down Wells Passage.
George took the wheel–do you think he looks happy?
The wind and waves picked up when we were west of Percy Island, and we decided to tuck in behind the Polkinghorne Islands to minimize the rocking of the boat. By the time we got south of Percy Island, the fog became fairly dense as well, so we navigated carefully, looking at the charts and looking out for logs and other boats. South of Polkinghorne Islands, we saw a humpback whale in Nowell Channel! First sighting of a large cetacean on the trip. Because of the waves and the lack of visibility in Queen Charlotte Sound, we turned back east at Trainer Passage, which is south of Eden Island and north of Crib Island. The scenery was beautiful. Lots of small islands and pretty bays. After passing north of Crib Island, we turned south into Spiller Passage between Morrow and Hudson Islands on the west, and Mars Island on the east. Spiller Passage opens up to Arrow Passage. We turned east and headed around the top of Bonwick Island to Waddington Cove. The weather forecast was for gusty winds, and we heard that this cove was well protected.
The entry into the cove was very narrow, but opened up into a nice cove. We anchored in the middle. We didn’t have much company at first, but as the day went on, a number of boats joined us.
July 15 (Day 15: Waddington Cove to Alert Bay)
We got started early in the morning (generator on at 0730 and mains at 0745).
We headed down Retreat Passage (basically circumnavigating Bonwick Island).
On the way, we checked out Carrie Bay and Grebe Cove as potential future anchorages in a blow from the west. There were lots of logs in the water, so we kept watch carefully.
We also saw a First Nations settlement on the east side (Health Bay Reservation on Gilford Island), and saw some working and pleasure vessels.
We then turned west through Spring Passage. By 0900, we were north of the House Islet, just starting to enter Queen Charlotte Strait. From there, it was a fairly quick trip down to Alert Bay, on Cormorant Island, where we anchored in the northwest corner. We were back in civilization, after several days with no cell phone coverage. As we were coming in to Alert Bay, we saw a very large cruise ship making its way up the inside passage (a sure indication that there will be cell towers nearby). We took the GFB into town and wandered around.
Some of the boats in the harbor make the Gyrfalcon look in top shape!
There were interesting totem poles at the ‘Namgis Burial Ground (generations of Kwakwaka’wakw Chiefs and family leaders).
At the old harbor, a young girl braved the cold water to go swimming.
We returned to the boat for our last evening with our Portland guests.
July 16 (Day 16: Alert Bay to East of Eden)
On July 16th, our second set of guests were set to return home. They had scheduled a float plane to take them to Port Hardy, where they had left their car. The float plane was a no-show, so they decided to wait for the ferry. It took us awhile, but we all finally realized that the ferry they were waiting for was going to the same place that we were traveling to in the GFB for reprovisioning–Port McNeill (a relatively big town on Vancouver Island). We could reprovision for week 3, and the Wisdoms and Bealls could get where they needed to go. It was about 6 nautical miles from Alert Bay to Port McNeill, and was fairly pleasant in the GFB. From the dock in Port McNeill, Peter and I walked to a grocery and liquor store, and David, Susan, George, and Patty took a taxi from Port McNeill to Port Hardy (about 20 miles).
Some photos taken as the Portlanders made their way back south.
After our guests were set, Peter and I wandered around Port McNeill, stocking up on wine and food (in that order). We took the GFB back to the Gyrfalcon, and decided to head out to an anchorage closer to Pierre’s, where the next guests were flying in the following day. The wildlife was good–we saw Pacific white-sided dolphns, red-necked phalaropes, Dall’s porpoises, red-necked Grebes, sea lions, parasitic jaegers, and Bonaparte’s Gulls.
We headed up north, past Bonwick and Mars Islands, and into Fife Sound north of Eden Island. Just south of the northwest end of Eden Island, there is an anchorage called East of Eden. It was a great location–beautiful scenery, very few boats, and quiet. We had bought a hummingbird feeder in Port McNeill, and put it out to see if we might attract a few. It turns out we were in a perfect location for Rufous hummingbirds.
We spent a quiet night, and got up the next day to head towards Pierre’s.