2016 Cruise to the Broughtons Part 3 (July 17-23)

We were heading into our last week aboard the Gyrfalcon.

July 17 (Day 17: East of Eden to Pierre’s at Echo Bay to Simoom Sound)

We spent a leisurely morning in East of Eden, then headed up Fife Passage.  We stopped in Deep Bay (loop in drawing above) to check it out.  Our impression was that it wasn’t as pretty as some of the other locations we had seen.  We headed over towards Echo Bay, and waited for the plane to arrive that was bringing the guests for week 3.  The guests (Jerry and Sue, and Wolfgang and Olga) were arriving on the same plane.  Peter took the GFB in to pick up the guests, and I stayed on the Gyrfalcon.

Our guests got some great photos of their flight over from Pt Hardy.

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Flying over the Broughtons

Gyrfalcon from the air



At the seaplane dock at Pierre’s

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Peter heading in from the Gyrfalcon

After everyone was settled, we headed back to Simoom Sound to our favorite anchorage.

Did we mention gummy bears?  Wolfgang and Olga brought GUMMY BEARS from Germany!  As Jessica knows, I’m (this is Nancy) a Dr. Pepper and granola bar person when coming up to a stressful moment on the boat.  However–gummy bears have an instant sugar rush–thus surpassing granola bars.  I might be hooked!


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Once again in Simoom Sound

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Peter and Nancy kayaking

And a rainbow

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Relaxing on the fantail and enjoying the sights

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Jerry took some nice Rufous Hummingbird photos

And then dinner after a beautiful day.  One new addition to the boat is a table cover (with nonskid on the back) to stop computers, drinks, etc from sliding off the table when underway.

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Table set for dinner

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July 18 (Day 18: Simoom Sound to Carriden Bay)

We spent the morning looking at wildlife.

160718_IMG_1813_SX710 HS.JPG160718_IMG_1808_SX710 HS.JPGThere were about 30 Pacific white-sided dolphins fishing along the shore of MacIntosh Bay.  We drifted around in the GFB and watched them for about an hour.

Olga and Wolfgang went kayaking.

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About 1130, we got the kayaks up and got underway back to Carriden Bay.

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Fish farm near the entrance to Simoom Sound

We knew that we’d need to start back the next day, and the trip to Carriden Bay gave the guests some great vistas.  We also took a trip to Sullivan Bay for a few more provisions and to put gas in the GFB.


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We visited Slim on the MV Deerleap, who was in the next bay, who told us where we might find some shrimp, so Peter and Wolfgang put out traps.

July 19 (Day 19:  Carriden Bay to Lagoon Cove)

Peter and Wolfgang checked the shrimp pot in the morning–4 prawn total.  Good enough maybe for an appetizer.

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That morning, we headed out at about 1100.

Like other guests before him, Wolfgang had a favorite location–right in the pilot house, to the port or starboard side of the captain, always standing.  It was great to have him aboard–he has thought a great deal about systems, and gave us some really good ideas to mull over.  He and Olga had traveled all over the world in a sailboat with 2 young kids, so he was definitely knowledgeable.

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We needed to be close enough to Seymour Narrows in order to arrive at slack tide, just like on the trip up.  We traveled out Wells Passage, west of Polkinghorne Islets, through Salmon Channel.  We entered Spring Passage between Sedge and House Islets, and then went through Night Inlet and into Lagoon Cove.  We anchored about in the middle.  It was a quiet and pleasant anchorage.  Wolfgang and Peter put out the crab pots.

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July 20 (Day 20:  Lagoon Cove to Campbell River Fisherman’s Wharf, Dock C)

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Morning in Lagoon Cove

In the morning, Peter and Wolfgang checked the crab pots:  success!  We would not go hungry after all.  At about 0900, we started the mains and aux, weighed anchor, and left Lagoon Cove.  We retraced our steps, heading through Chatham Channel, and down Johnstone and Discovery Passages through Seymour Narrows.  Here are some images of the day.  I also made a YouTube video for the day–see link at end of the this day’s photos.

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Some land for sale near Lagoon Cove

We were a little early for Chatham Channel, so we checked out some of the small harbors near the westernmost part of the Channel.  When it was time, Peter took us through Chatham Channel.  It’s a narrow passage, and since there’s a strong current much of the day in one direction or another, the only good time to go through is near slack current.  We called ahead and let boats going the other way know we were coming, and headed back through.

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There’s Wolfgang in his favorite location, with Peter at the helm and Olga and me watching.

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Along Chatham Channel

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Sue checking out the Channel, and wondering how close we’re going to get to shore.

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Lots of kelp beds along the Channel

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A sailboat headed the other direction

We were soon out in Johnstone Strait.

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The weather is always interesting in Johnstone Strait

It was crab cleaning time.  Jerry and Olga were the most intense crab pickers.  We have a new cleaver, which helped prep the crabs for picking.

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Competitive Crab Picking

We got to Seymour Narrows a bit early, so we wandered around Plumper Bay, and Peter made some lunch.

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Tomato soup–a perfect lunch.


The Narrows were, again, uneventful.  We continued south.

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House north of Campbell River

Here’s the YouTube video, mostly using time lapse, from Lagoon Cove, through Chatham Channel, down Johnstone Strait, and to the dock at Campbell River.

We needed to refill the fresh water, so we got a slip at Fisherman’s Wharf in Campbell River, at the land side of Dock C.


It was a great location to dock–just what we needed.  We had had a long day–we were finally docked in our berth at 2000.  The entrance was a little tricky because of the shallow spots everywhere (and the tide was a bit low), but I’m getting the hang of docking, at least in protected calm waters.

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July 21 (Day 21:  Campbell River Fisherman’s Wharf to Clam Bay)

We had a schedule to keep, because our guests had planes to catch from Seattle.  In 2 days, we needed to be a day away from our home dock, so we decided to stop in Clam Bay.  We have often stayed there.  It’s a large shallow bay, often with many boats anchored close in, but there’s always lots of room to anchor in the deeper areas.  Whenever we’ve anchored there, it’s always been very calm.

We left the dock at 0630, because we wanted to leave at high tide, due to the shallow spots right outside of the harbor.  It was a long trip down the Strait of Georgia.

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It wasn’t until 1730 that we were off Porlier Pass (one of the several passes that one can transit to get from the Strait of Georgia to the protected areas inside of a row of islands.  We arrived at Porlier Pass a while before slack current, and waited with tugs pulling a fuel barge and a wood chip barge until the timing was right for a crossing.


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At last, anchored in Clam Bay.

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Clam Bay

July 22 (Day 22: Clam Bay to Reid Harbor)

It was another early morning at Clam Bay.  Our goal was to get to Roche Harbor or Friday Harbor, clear customs, and anchor at Reid Harbor.  We weighed anchor at 0814, and headed south through the Gulf Islands.

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Sue, Peter, and Wolfgang in the pilothouse

Going to Friday Harbor would be out of the way, so Peter strongly suggested Roche Harbor.  The difference is that to get to Roche Harbor Customs Dock, one has to weave through lots of anchored boats, and usually wait for a spot before there’s room to tie up.  On the other hand, Friday Harbor is less busy and it’s a clear shot to the dock from the entrance to the harbor.  Peter thinks its good for me to have a stretch goal, so we went to Roche.  Just as we expected, there were lots of anchored and moored boats, and a full Customs Dock.

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Roche Harbor

So I maneuvered to a place near the dock, and waited for a bit until someone left.  That left us with about 130 ft of dock.  Which sounds like a lot, unless you’re a fairly new captain who’s never docked in tight quarters.  Did I mention there was also a breeze?

Well, it may be luck or it may be a modicum of skill, but I nailed it.  I was pretty happy with my docking.

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Customs was a bit difficult because of multinational visitors.  However, Olga and Wolfgang had proper documentation, so after a bit of discussion, we were allowed back in the country.  Coincidentally, Rick Etsell happened to be on the dock working on Malibu.  We were back in the US–time to take down the Canadian courtesy flag.


After Customs, we headed to Reid Harbor, and anchored.

Here’s a map of Stuart Island (where Reid Harbor is located) so you can get your bearings.

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A shore party went in for a stroll up the hill.

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Madrona trees

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Closeup of the beautiful Madrona bark

Jerry and Sue at the top of the hill.

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Looking down at Reid Harbor

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We see this osprey every year on the exact same tree.

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About the best place in the world for Adirondack chairs

Wolfgang had posited that we could adjust steering in the lazarette so that the autopilot didn’t over-steer (our rudder was one degree off–when the rudder indicator was 0, it would steer off course by 1 degree).  Peter and Wolfgang and I worked on it, and he was right.  All we had to do was loosen a tie rod slightly, then re-tighten it.  Here’s a photo of the adjustment screw.

160722_SAM_3489.JPG Here’s a photo of Reid Harbor at night.

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July 23 (Day 23:  Reid Harbor to Ewing St Moorings)

We got underway at 0900, and headed north of Speiden Island.

Here are some photos that show how far we’ve come since last year in our anchoring.  In the past, Peter would use some rebar to get the anchor set right.  For whatever reason, it always ends up cattywampus against the hull; hence the need for rebar (if anyone knows a way to make it come up right most of the time, let us know).  Anyway, last year, he and the guys at LUBR designed a gizmo to better turn the chain, and it works.  So here are some images of the the anchor and the old and new way of twisting the chain.


The big glob in the middle of the photo is the mud-covered anchor


Old method


New method

Peter and Wolfgang raised the anchor, and we were on our way.160723_SAM_3499.JPG


We had a choppy crossing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (everyone should read the book:  Who in hell is Wanda Fuca?, by GM Ford, a mystery novel set in Seattle).


When we were off of Port Wilson, we saw a submarine escorted by two large ships and by young men with guns in several Zodiacs, humpback whales, and a large cargo ship, all in the same space.  It was an odd sight.

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Submarine between escorting ships

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Cargo ship and whales

Later, as we approached Seattle, we passed Summer Wind.  Summer Wind is the sister ship of the Gyrfalcon, built to the same specs one year earlier in Astoria rather than in Seattle.  Both ships were in the US Coast and Geodetic Survey from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, surveying the coast of Alaska.



We also saw the usual Puget Sound summer traffic–pleasure boats, cruise ships, and ferries.

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Cruise ship headed north

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Washington State Ferry

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Under the railroad bridge, approaching the locks.  We can go under the bridge–it was open for other boats.

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Approaching the locks

Walking forward along the wall

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Jerry and Peter on the stern line

It was interesting–the lock folks mistook us for the Summer Wind as we entered, even though both boats have undergone several modifications over the years.  The locking through was fairly smooth (large locks, port side tie).

Here’s a YouTube video of our trip through the locks.  And then–you won’t believe what happened when we came into our slip!

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3 Responses to 2016 Cruise to the Broughtons Part 3 (July 17-23)

  1. Joan Everds says:

    What an exciting voyage! And I bet Peter’s tomato soup was delicious…we’re still using his recipe for risotto. Looks like several ports had interesting photo ops.

  2. Bob Wheeler says:

    I have never seen such consistent flat water.

  3. guillemot30 says:

    Amazing what speeding up replay does to dampen waves. But actually, you’re right–it was mostly very calm, and much calmer than the trip up.

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