Monday, 11 June 2018

Around Cape Caution to the North Coast (finally!)

West Beach, Hakai

After 5 nights, Michelle returned to Pelagia. A tiring trip, but worth it. Her brother in New York doing well (and back at home).

We headed out towards, stopping at beautiful Miles Inlet, 8 nm southeast of Cape Caution. Next day, we had a relatively smooth crossing around the cape, stopping at Fury Cove (Rivers Inlet). Fury was surprisingly busy (especially with large American power boats, who seemed to be constantly cleaning fish; they were back out fishing the next day... how much salmon does one need to take?).

Next day, we motored up to Pruth Bay in Hakai, we we rejoined friends on SV Carousel. We had a wonderful sunny walk to West Beach and then to North Beach. We had forgotten how beautiful it is up here!

Michelle on North Beach (Hakai)

Plan is to head up to Codville Lagoon today.

Happy to finally be back on B.C.'s North coast.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Broughton Strait hiatus...

Rough Bay, Sointula (Malcolm Island)
After Cracroft Inlet, where we were somewhat pinned down by 20-27 knot winds in the anchorage for an extra day, we had an easy trip to Sointula. Sointula is always a favourite of ours.

We had traveled with SV Carousel since Vancouver, but after two nights in Sointula, they moved over to Port McNeil to provision. We elected to rest another day in Sointula. (SV Carousel is now north of Cape Caution. We hope to catch up with them later.)

Midday on the third day in Sointula, we got word that Michelle's brother in New York was in intensive care and in serious condition.* After hours of arranging on the internet, we got Michelle flights from the Port Hardy airport (half way between McNeil and Hardy) to Vancouver, then another flight to New York. (Of course, we had left our passports home in Whistler, so Michelle had to detour for a night home to Whistler... learned a lesson there!)

We headed over to Port McNeil for Michelle to get her flight. David spent two nights in Port McNeil (doing non-perishable provisioning), but is currently back in Sointula. Pelagia will return to Port McNeil on Wednesday; Michelle returns to Pelagia Thursday morning. We expect to head out Northwards on Friday.

*UPDATE June 5th: Brother Jim now out of ICU and expected to return home in 1-2 days.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Grizzly viewing...

Grizzly bear on the shore next to our anchored boat

While at anchor in Cracroft Inlet (Broughtons), this grizzly bear made regular appearances on the shore beside us.

Seemed to enjoy his/her bath...

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

In Desolation...

Michelle kayaking in Prideaux Haven (Desolation Sound)

Pelagia's Summer cruise has begun. We are now in the Desolation Sound area for 4-6 days. Days are sunny and warm (mid 20s) and anchorages empty... wonderful!

Water (ocean) temperatures up to 20.5 degrees C -- warm enough for us to swim.

Looking like big Westerlies in Johnstone Strait (reaching gale force) are due to switch to SE on the weekend. Likely we'll aim for then.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Canadian nautical charts: C-MAP and/or Navionics NOT always up-to-date

More than a year after chart update available, Navionics and C-MAP charts still missing CHS Coward's Cove data

In preparation for our cruise to Haida Gwaii this Summer, we are updating our Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) charts. We are also comparing them to the C-MAP and Navionics commercial charts we use on our chartplotter (C-MAP) and occasionally on our Android (Navionics).

We are finding the commercial charts do not include all updates provided by CHS. [A CHS chart subscription allows regular updating (at least monthly) for 24 months.] For example, CHS chart #3980 was revised in January 2017, with substantial additional survey information for the Kitasu Bay area (Swindle Island/Laredo Sound). As of May 2018, neither C-MAP nor Navionics included this information.

The charts above show the Navionics, C-MAP and CHS chart information (at a display zoom showing the maximum information available*) for "Coward's Cove" (unofficial name) at the northern portion of Kitasu Bay. It is a good anchorage after passing through Meyer's Passage; we anchored here in 2007 when no CHS survey information was available. Although still sparsely surveyed, the current CHS chart now provides enough information to make one feel comfortable entering the cove. (Kevin Monahan of Shipwright Productions produced a chartlet including Coward's Cove in the 1990s.) Neither C-MAP nor Navionics provides any information on depths or hazards in this cove.

Cann Inlet is close by (to the east of) Coward's Cove. The outer half of this inlet is well-surveyed in the 2017 CHS chart (the inner half remains "unsurveyed").  As with Coward's Cove, neither C-MAP nor Navionics show the detailed depth and hazards information provided by the CHS chart (indeed, they show essentially no information).

More than a year after chart update available, Navionics and C-MAP charts still missing CHS Cann Inlet data

C-MAP and Navionics charts covering the British Columbia coast are much less expensive that the equivalent set of CHS raster charts. (Indeed, Navionics and C-MAP charts for iPad and Android are inexpensive.)  However, as the above demonstrates, these commercial charts do not necessarily keep up-to-date with CHS charts and surveys.

Our boat Pelagia's safety (and ours) is worth paying the higher price of official CHS charts.

In practice, we use the C-MAP charts on our cockpit chartplotter, but double check these with updated CHS raster charts (which we often run simultaneously on Android at the helm).

* Navionics (and to a lesser extent, C-MAP) offers chart views with additional depth information ("Sonar Charts"). In many cases, this increased "detail" appears to simply be an interpolation between surveyed depths (i.e., not real depth data). In places with sparse depth surveys, these interpolations are at best, guesses. In other cases, the increased detail may derive from community-derived (crowd-sourced) depth information. It is not made clear where the data comes from. In the latter case, there is no accounting for variables such as tide level, location of depth transducer on hull, accuracy/inaccuracy of transducer calibration, or errors due to sea bed (e.g., weed or kelp giving erroneous readings). The internet has numerous examples of problems (for example: 1, 2, 3, 4) with these crowd-sourced Navionics Sonar Charts. I wouldn't touch them.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Pelagia's Summer 2018 cruising plans...

"Plans" are to head North to Haida Gwaii. We've made our Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve booking (July), and plan to leave Vancouver May 20th with SV Carousel.

We were last up in Haida Gwaii during the Summer of 2011 (and before that, 2002). Looking forward to returning North.

Of course, sailing plans are written in the sand at low tide....

Friday, 30 March 2018

Detailed description of British Columbia marine weather (Free download)

Environment Canada, Canada's national weather forecaster, provides this detailed, highly informative guide to weather patterns on the B.C. coast, including helpful tips for mariners.

Sample page covering Kelsey Bay (Johnstone Strait) winds

It has been "archived", so not all that easy to search for; here is the direct link to the pdf file (click to download):

IF the above link is broken, use this link to download: