Sunday, 19 June 2016

North to Northern Vancouver Island

Kayaking near Crease Island (Village Channel)
We left Heriot Bay to catch slack at Surge Narrows (more correctly, Beazley Passage), on our way to Waiatt Bay/Octopus Islands. Just as we began to negotiate the rock-strewn entrance to Waiatt Bay, we were hit with a mega rain squall -- a "pissqually", in our terms -- little wind but visibility cut to a couple hundred metres. Happily, only a few boats anchored in the large bay (as opposed to typically 60 or so in August), so easy anchoring in the rain.

We planned to go through Okisollo Rapids then up Johnstone Strait, but slack in these rapids the next couple days would have us have to get up at 4:30ish am. So, next day we opted to catch the later slack and go only a few miles over to Owen Bay. Time enough to put the crab trap down; a few hours later we caught two crabs: a good-sized Dungeness and a Rock Crab.

Weather forecasts for Johnstone Strait for the following day were remarkably favourable: little wind, changing to SouthEasterly 10-20knots. (This in contrast to the usual strong NorthWesterlys.) Up early next day -- but NOT 430am! -- we had a calm, comfortable trip up (down?) Johnstone Strait, managing even a 90-minute downwind sail before turning up Havannah Channel. we were now entering the region referred to by cruisers as "The Broughtons".

Checked out anchorage at Matilpi, but it already had three boats (including a small powerboat who felt oddly necessary to put out two anchors, a stern tie, and an anchor marker), so we headed back over to Burial Cove, for a mostly calm night (except for a 15-minute squall with 25-knot winds). Dinner was a wonderful crab and steak combo.

Next day, we headed through Chatham Channel, then Clio Channel (where one finds "Bone's Bay", "Sambo Point" and "Negro Rock" -- apparently named in 1876 after a troupe of amateur performers), and finally "Beware Passage". Beware Passage was nerve wracking the first time we did it in 2002, but after many times through it, we find this tricky route pretty straightforward. However, careful piloting and vigilance is required.

"Negro" Rock (Clio Channel)... named in 1876

We spent the next five nights in the Indian Group of islands; first two nights at Mound Island, then three nights at Crease Island. Weather was mostly pleasant, and managed several kayak trips. We heard a pack of wolves howling on Crease Island, and even saw one of them doing so on shore while we were kayaking. While at Crease, we heard on the morning Great Northern Boaters (HAM) Net that SV Carousel was heading over to Crease Island "to meet these Pelagia folks"... and so they did. We had some enjoyable dinners aboard with David and Gillian (later joined by Elizabeth and David from SV Demelza -- yes, there were "3 Davids" at one dinner, but we're not tenors). Our HAM SSB radio has definitely made our cruising more sociable!

Pictograph next to the "Chief's Bathtub", Village Channel

Anchorage at Crease Island

We headed over to Sointula ("Place of Harmony") on Malcolm Island, where we joined SV Carousel at the excellent public docks.

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