Monday, May 30, 2016

Johnstone Strait and Port Neville

While on I-5 (Johnstone Strait) we see a few powerboats, a couple of sailboats, and lots of fishing or commercial boats.

It took a while, but this tug and long barge caught up to us, just at a turbulent area. Looking out the back window, the tug has begun his turn, and it appears the barge he is towing is heading straight for us. 

A fish processing boat in a hurry.

The Roy Christian is really plowing. Maybe he should be called John Deere.

Al wants to explore Yorke Island where there are WWII embattlments. Maybe on our way down.

The strait has been much calmer than we have heard it can be! By the time we get to Port Neville, the sun has come out and it is a lovely day.

Viking Star from the top of the ramp. It's low tide.

The historic homestead built and owned by the Hansen family. This is the store/post office.

An old sign...

...and a new one.

This is a great sign with family pictures and a bit of history. A young family emerges from the cabin nearby and we chat with the couple and their small daughter and pet their golden retriever. The mother tells us she used to live here -- they are visiting. Another look at the sign above and we recognize the young woman in the center photo at the top. This is Hans Hansen's great-granddaughter and great-great-granddaughter!

There is an interesting hill across the inlet. And we have occasion to meet Ron, an interesting fellow who lives at the base of this mountain.
 Chet comes down to the boat to greet us. He is part of a mission group that leases and helps take care of the property. It is a pleasure chatting with him, with him sharing stories of the family and of bears. Al mentions the radio he spied through the window of the store, and Chet offers to open it up and let Al have a closer look. He got to tour the whole building and heard lots more stories.

Hans was quite a man.  Missing one hand, blind in one eye - he spent most his life here, building up this compound.  Just did it.  (that is when he was not rowing to and back from Vancouver - making the trip in 3 days each way!)

The Radio (and more). At one time, this was THE party line for the islands.
There was even a 'phone book' with 100's of 'listings' (call signs).

Boxes use to be more then cardboard

Even the Cheese was delivered in wood boxes!

There are a couple of nesting boxes for purple martins. We enjoy hearing them chirp and sing.

The evening brings more boat traffic. BIG traffic.
Holland America line.

Celebrity line. I think that mountain makes its own weather. Both evenings we were here it was like this, even though the second was a sunny night.

Our first Grizzlies! I look out the back window of the boat and happen to notice some rocks far down on the beach across the inlet. No wait, they're moving! I grab binoculars and Al tries for some photos.  Our zoom doesn't focus the greatest, but it's good enough for a memory.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Sweet Little Anchorage

We set off from the Octopus Islands with our destination 'somewhere in Thurston Bay'. We were early for the slack at Upper Rapids, so we dallied in front of Hole in the Wall -- it's a long 'alleyway' of a channel much like one of the entrance/exits to the Octopus Islands. I am displaying this photo in the 'extra-large' size in hopes that you can spot the sailboat mid of the gap. It may be difficult for you -- I know where to look. It's a pretty picture anyway.

Another large format with specs for boats. Al calls this one 'The On-ramp to I-5'. Those who travel the roads of the west coast know that I-5 is a MAJOR north/south route. Johnstone Strait/Discovery Passage is this for boats. And as we approach, we see boats heading in both directions.
 We WERE just taking our time, but it was three hours from 'anchor up' to 'anchor down'. We had figured it wouldn't take much more than an hour. But it was an enjoyable time rounding Sonora Island and heading into Thurston Bay, through Cameleon Bay at the lower end, and then tucking into Handfield Bay in a 'hook' of islands. We intend to only spend one night, so we get in the dinghy and head to a small island that looks interesting.

This area IS 'the mainland', so we need to 'Be Bear Aware'. I would love to observe bear from the safety and comfort of Viking Star, but I have NO desire to meet a bear up close and personal. A small island where we did not see any activity as we anchored, I think it is reasonably safe to explore.

The sun has a halo, ALL the way round.

The island is basically two big chunks of rock, with this small grass-covered knoll between.
As we head up and over, I begin singing 'The bear went over the mountain....'  
Al asks 'Why did the bear go over the mountain?'  and I sing,
'To see what he could see!'

This is what WE saw -- a shallow, narrow channel of nearly Caribbean-colored water with dark spots that I suspect are seaweed of some sort.


Seashells, everywhere.

That's me!

There was a patch of wild roses just ROARING with bumblebees!

And someone left evidence of a picnic. I don't think it was Yogi.
We brought the container back to the boat for proper disposal.

A man and his boat!
It is a beautiful afternoon! We are protected from the little wind there is and the sun is shining -- the wool shirt is flung!
We ARE living the dream!

Back in the dinghy to explore the other rocks and islands, I look up, and I see an angel looking down.
You YOU see it?
And there's that arc of the halo too -- HEAVENLY day...

Back at the boat, here is an illustration of what many say cruising TRULY is -- fixing your boat in exotic locations.
Good timing -- the rain begins AFTER completion of this task.

The evening guard.

Next morning -- anchor up -- and Al begins laughing and has to come in for the camera. This is the last of 5-6 sea stars that have come up with the chain. Pole dancing???

On the road again! It has rained heavily through the night, and it continues for most of our day.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Leaving Desolation Sound

I think I read somewhere that once you pass through 'the rapids', you have left Desolation Sound. We took the route through Surge Narrows, our destination was the Octopus Islands.

Even though it is considered a 'lesser' rapid than others in the area, we did have some whirlpools. Maybe if we had waited another hour for the true slack it would have been flat. But another powerboat, smaller than us, went through 20 minutes before us and they appeared to have no trouble. Neither did we.

It doesn't LOOK very 'rapid', does it? The pinch point is ahead.

A view of the chart plotter at the point in the above photo.

A couple of people had told us this area was one of their favorite places. We ran into one of them on the dock at Heriot Bay, and they told us that's where they were going to hang out for a few days before heading up Johnstone Strait. Yup, we spotted them in Waiatt Bay when we entered. But that's a BIG bay. We were looking for something a little more cozy. There were already two boats (one that passed through the narrows ahead of us) swinging on anchors in the more western cove in Octopus Island Marine Park. There was only one in the inside cove, a little bit tighter fit there, so a stern tie is more polite.

After a day of rest, we took the dinghy down for a ride. We were told not to miss visiting the settler's cabin, so that was our first stop.

It is now a 'driftwood museum'.

HEY, we wintered in Friday Harbor one season with these folks!

The first listing in the current book is also friends! We hope to meet up with them, somewhere, sometime, this summer.
Another sign for the roll call.

We are tucked in the cove behind it.

Wow. A beautiful day, with no other boats in sight.

Silly heron!
 In all, we were anchored in our spot for 10 days. We had intended to stay only 3 or 4 days, but we were still debating what our next destination would be, and then some winds came up so we just stayed put. We were trying to figure out a way we could go up Bute Inlet, but tides and weather were not going to make it easy. We decided to leave it for another year.

Another day, and a LONG dinghy ride to the head of Waiatt Bay, and we took a little hike to...

Tread lightly!

We're glad we saw the sign, because we hear you have to be part goat to make it to the lake...
(Just to be clear, we did NOT go to Newton Lake!)

A feet picture for Sharon

Small Inlet

Valley of the Stumps. Look closely for Al.

We are always glad to see our dinghy where we left it. We had carried it WELL up the beach, mostly because there wasn't anything to tie it to, and we knew the tide would rise while we were gone. It was  almost floating when we got back. We could stand near the water line and WATCH the tide come in.  Al said we could have just got in and waited 10 minutes and we would have been floating.