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.
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!
And a rainbow
Relaxing on the fantail and enjoying the sights
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.
July 18 (Day 18: Simoom Sound to Carriden Bay)
We spent the morning looking at wildlife.
There 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.
About 1130, we got the kayaks up and got underway back to Carriden Bay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 20 (Day 20: Lagoon Cove to Campbell River Fisherman’s Wharf, Dock C)
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.
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.
We were soon out 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.
We got to Seymour Narrows a bit early, so we wandered around Plumper Bay, and Peter made some lunch.
The Narrows were, again, uneventful. We continued south.
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.
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.
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.
At last, anchored in 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.
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.
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.
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.
A shore party went in for a stroll up the hill.
Jerry and Sue at the top of the hill.
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.
Here’s a photo of Reid Harbor at night.
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.
Peter and Wolfgang raised the anchor, and we were on our way.
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.
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.
Walking forward along the wall
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!