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Monday, February 28, 2011

2010 Vancouver Island Circumnavigation (part 2)

This is part 2 of 4 parts describing our circumnavigation around Vancouver Island in May and June of 2010 aboard the Catalina 42, Jah Mon.

May 31, 2010:  (Monday)  Dixie Cove to Rugged Cove and then to Hankin Cove

Chris showing the path through the rock on the
Inside Passage between Kyuquot Sound and Esperanza Inlet.

Fueling, fog, local knowledge, new anchorage

Woke to rain again… hmmm, there seems to a bad pattern developing.  Breakfast was fresh baked oatmeal muffins with peanut butter, freezer strawberry jam and butter.  We will do that again.

The plan is to armor up with rain gear at 10:30, pull up the hook and drive the 6 miles down to the S entrance of Kyuqout (KY) Sound and explore the best white sand beach in BC, according to the cruising guides.  After we hike around a bit the thought was to go to Fair Harbor looking for fuel (down about 18 gallons with about 40+ in reserve) and also to check if there is any wifi hookups.  Atkins Cove beckons in the north bit of KY Sound so maybe that will be our destination.   All the coves in here are within an hour from Dixie Cove.
Kyuquot Sound Anchorages

The dashed line shows a proposed Jah Mon run to the white sandy beaches of BC.  There is one trail to both sides of Rugged Pt.   The white dots show overnight possibilities in Kyuquot Sound.  The yellow is ‘Blue Lips Cove’ and is our probable jumping off point to points south.

We ended up leaving Dixie Cove in minimal mist, saying goodbye to our own backyard sea otter who hangs about in that inner cove.  We picked up the crabpot and found only starfish.  We then motored in no wind towards Rugged Pt. and increasingly lower fog.  A U-turn was done at 12:30, 3nm from Rugged Pt. and we still had no weather radio.  This is very odd and a bit disturbing since we will need to listen for a good weather window soon when we head down to the north end of Nootka Island.

The next port was at Fair Harbour where we were able to get fuel, 78.6 liters which we converted to 20.6 gallons and represents the run all the way through Quatsino Sound and the long run down around Brooks Peninsula.  Our grand total of fuel consumption is now 57 gallons for 585 nm on the odometer.  Keep in mind some of that is sailing (70 miles) and some is dink miles fishing and crabbing.

Jah Mon getting fuel and water at Fair Harbor.

We talked with a couple working guys on the Public Wharf dock who live in Campbell River and come out here on a 7 day / 7day rotation to work the fish farms here.  They are raising black cod and say there are no salmon farms out here in Kyuquot Sound.  The fuel dock is right next to it and the store only had candy bars and potato chips.  There is no cell coverage anywhere in here or any detectable wifi signals.  Heck, our VHF weather radios are not getting anything either.  We must be at the end of civilization as we know it.

The road to Port McNeil is 2.5 hours, to Port Hardy is 3.5 hours, and to Campbell River it is 4.5 hours with 1.5 hours of gravel as of 2010.

Our final stop of the day is in Hankin Cove.  Showers on board were welcome once again.  It is and has been raining for most of the day and a low cloud cover limited visibility to 3 miles at one point.
Our path into a VERY nice spot.  Good crabbing in the deeper bits.
Jah Mon in the rain in Hankin Cove.  360d of protection.

It is very snug in here and we found one crab pot deployed so will think about putting our own out.  On inspection of the other pot it was determined to be FULL of crab so ours was deployed at 18:00 hours.  A light rain to no rain and cloud cover finished the day outside while we turned to the interior of the boat called The Cave.

The furnace is finally cycling at a 4-5 degree swing which makes the outside 53F seem to be no issue.  We are keeping it between 65 and 71F. 

A note about CF’s new clothes… The REI travel pants are pretty darn good windbreakers but have no insulation so a layer of long johns would be better than bare legs.  Blue jeans are warmer when dry but cooler when damp so have not been worn since the travel pants came out to play .  The travel shirts are also pretty nice but the combination looks pretty out of place in the outposts of civilization on Vancouver’s West Coast.  Like a smarty pants yachtie came ashore, but no one has laughed out loud yet…  That is not the case if one is encased in foul weather gear, like we have been the last 3 days.
Count Ferrari modeling the travel pants and showing all
the floats found at Rugged Point.

CF took a come from behind win in crib with a 24 count hand crib.  We watched The Kingdom with Jamie Foxx.  A good piece of docudrama about the oil employee bombing in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, which we can rate 3 star but has slow bits and is hard to understand in parts.  The shooting bit was thousands of rounds expended so brace for that short excursion into Hollywood.

June 1, 2010:  (Tuesday)   14.5 nm Hankin Cove to Rugged Point to Blue Lips Cove ( or Petroglyph Cove) in Amai Inlet in Kyuquot (Ky-u-kit) Sound

Exploring on land, meeting fellow boaters, getting the weather report, free fish

Some of the logs washed ashore at Rugged Point on the
weather side!
Rain greeted the AM in light doses with the clouds at around 500’ and no wind.  The plan, after breakfast of scrambled eggs with peppers, onions and cheese along with fruit, is to pick up the crab pot on the way out and cruise down to Rugged Point again to try and get in a walk on those white sand beaches.  We were denied yesterday due to fog and rain but will try again today.  

The shelter at Rugged Point.

The weather was pretty light, with a bit of rain, as the anchor went down off Rugged Point in 25’ of water.  We took the motor and fuel out of the dink and pumped up the bladders to stiffen the entire 10’ inflatable.  We then rowed into the sandy shallow beach with thoughts of keeping our feet dry as we hopped out.  Hmmm…. One wet foot for CF.

We met a solo kayak traveler, Lyle (65 yrs young), who had put in at Esperanza Inlet and had been out for 3-4 days and just finished an 18 mile paddle out in the Pacific to end up at Rugged Point.  There was a shelter with picnic table, a fire grate, a nice spot to tent so all was pretty right in his world. 

CB and CF went out for a trail hike to the other side of the peninsula to discover 20-25k winds and pelting rain.  Pretty amazing weather shift in a quarter mile!  But we had been walking through an old growth area that really blocked the winds.  There was an additional trail up and over a ridge that sported old bits of line tied together to assist the climbing and descending up and down the rocky cliff.

The weather radio finally worked out there.  We listened to a cycle of it and found out we were trapped by weather until Thursday.  Good to know what is coming.  Gale warnings were forecast for Wednesday.  It seemed advisable to just wait it out.

Count Ferrari rowing over for a beer for fish exchange.
On returning to the boat, CF hailed Secundo, a fishing troller to say hello.   Mike offered a bit of fish and CF offered a trade and Mike said ‘one beer’.  DONE!  The trade resulted 2 lbs+ of halibut for one Kokanee beer.  Everyone is happy.   

Motoring back in to Blue Lips Cove the wind hooted up a bit and the rain started in earnest.   The entry into this bullet proof anchorage is only 50’ wide but plenty deep.  It opens out to a 30-35 acre lagoon with high rock walls or forest all the way around.

 Dinner was baked breaded halibut (caught that day) and Waldorf salad.  Yummy again.

The movie selected was Windtalkers with Nick Cage.  3 stars but violent with lots of bullets once again.

The rain did not let up ALL night and the odd puff came into the anchorage and moved us around a bit.

June 2, 2010:  (Wednesday)  __nm Blue Lips Cove to Fair Harbour to Dixie Cove

Reprovisioning, Wildlife encounter with a humpback whale, Hide from rain

Entering 'Blue Lips Cove'.  It doesn't look narrow in the photo
but it FELT narrow, driving right down the center with lots
of water.
“Whoops”…. Is the verbal equivalent outburst CF made when we could not light the stove for the morning coffee!   It seems the kitchen propane had emptied itself with this gourmet cooking.  The BBQ propane tank was put into service, in the pouring rain, and even though it doesn’t fit the space well it was able to bake our oatmeal muffins and get our coffee made easily. 

We are heading back to Fair Harbour for supplies… propane, diesel for the furnace tank, water and ice if they have it.  Departure for this very wet adventure is at 10:00.

As we motored through the 2 mile visibility fog and mist we made the entrance to Fair Harbour peering through the mist shrouded dodger windows.  At the second light a dark apparition came out of the sea with white foam all around it like a volcano coming up.  Turned out to be humpback whale!  According to a lodge owner we met on the dock, the humpbacks blow air around a school of fish and then go below them, open their huge mouths and come straight up under them using their mouth like a net.  They close it as they breach or spy hop and let the water run out of the net in the bottom of the mouth.  We were able see this vertical ascent one time.  Very cool!

We took on water (nearly 50 gallons), ice, propane (9 liters) and diesel for the furnace tank (14 liters = 3.7 gallons).  This was a good sign as we have been using the furnace daily for 4-5 hours each day and this represents an 11 day consumption.  The furnace is one of the lovely bits of the boat gear as it is too cold outside without lots of layers.  Mostly 48-54 or so daily and colder at night.

We motored on in to Dixie Cove again, hooked up and read the weather report we were given at Fair Harbour from the web.  No love on the weather scene.  Thursday had winds 20-30 and then 25-35k.  We will try a peek out on Friday and spend a full day in Dixie.  One of the top all time anchorages ever.

Count Ferrari getting ashore in Dixie Cove.  No mean feat.
There is a LOT of underbrush and NO trails.
CF rowed the circumference of the inner cove after going ashore to attempt a scaling of the very sheer rock face on the edge of the cove.  He was able to get about ¼ of the way up the hill through very rough going and underbrush.  A hatchet or machete would be required for going off the beach in this Marine Park as there are NO trails.  There was about 2 hours of sunshine and no rain which was very lifting to our spirits.

There are a few oysters, not worth harvesting, and we set our crab pot in the outer cove this time, maybe we will get lucky.

Dinner was fish tacos using the halibut as a 2nd meal from Secundo.  Mmmmm!  The movie was The Hunted with Tommy Lee Jones.  Rating it a 2+ but with quite a bit of violence.  We are thinking maybe some sort of chick flick next instead of all this hardness we have had in recent movies.
June 3, 2010:  (Thursday)  Dixie Cove

Sheltering from wind, kayaking, preparing for AM departure

Woke to rain, just as we have every day here in Kyuquot Sound.  Heavy rain!  Breakfast of caramelized apple and walnut pancakes took the pain out of the wet.  Lanyards were rigged for both of our multitools (2 hours). 

Sun breaks for 10-20 minutes with lots of heavy showers between the sun breaks makes it tough to get outside but that is where CF is going with full foul weather gear armor.  Mp3 is fully charged and will be a first to paddle and listen to a book.  The trick is to get in the boat dry and then have the rain shed off.  No worries, the paddle only involved 2-3 minutes of sprinkle although it dumped as CF lashed down the kayak on the deck and also hoisted and lashed down the dink.

CB is immersed in a Lee Child book, Bad Luck and Trouble, with Jack Reacher kicking butt, CF is going to listen to a different Reacher book, The Enemy.

The white is the row in the dink and the green is the kayak route.

Leaving inner Dixie Cove in Kyuquot Sound.
CF counted 5 sea otters during his paddle with one in the outer harbour and 4 in the inner.  The water running into the Sound from the hills is astounding but then it has been deluging on a regular basis.  There is a fresh water film over most of the Cove.  The clarity of the water is amazing.

Dinner is to be a boxed soup with the last of our fresh halibut.  It should be good as CB is cutting up garlic and onions as a prelude.

The weather in Dixie Cove is totally serene.  No wind, just mirror water unless it is raining.

June 4, 2010:  26.2nm Kyuquot Sound to Esperanza Inlet

Start early, move down island, leaving the most remote bit of Vancouver Island (we think)

The plan is for an early start, say at 7:00 AM.  We are both ready to get out of Kyuquot because we feel trapped here with no weather radio to let us know when we can leave and go the 30 miles to the next bit of water.  We will head out on the red line and check the weather when we poke our nose out.  The only forecast we have will be 2 days old and is “Winds southeast 20k veering to southwest 10-20 in the afternoon”

SE winds will be right on our nose and could be rough with a 4 meter swell left over and wind chop on top of that.  YUCK!

The chart below shows our hoped for path as the route next to the island is always more scenic than the one offshore.  The offshore path has no rocks to sink us.  Always a trade off!

Note how the yellow line (our path) goes inside the rocks as you emerge from Kyuquot Sound.
It is a bit daunting to go there but MUCH smoother than dealing with the rollers in the Pacific.

We awoke to a fog hanging 100’ off the water and no wind or rain.  The lack of rain was a good sign.  We got the hook out of the mud @06:50 and pulled the crab pot up soon after with only a starfish which was tossed back.

Jah Mon got the last of the ebb to assist in our run out to the Pacific along with blue skies and hard shadows from the sun.  It was a good day to go.  The weather channel came back as soon as we got out of Kyuquot Sound.

Heading for Rugged Point (center left) in the AM.
We took the left turn at Rugged Point (the yellow circle) and threaded our way into the ‘Inside Passage’ dodging rocks and surf and staying out of the swell.  That breaking surf was pretty exciting but we had heard it was a good way to go down the coast.

We actually had a NE wind for about 20 minutes and used our headsail for some steadying but then the wind went away and we kept on motoring.  Out into the ocean where the swell grew until we entered into Esperanza Inlet.  The largest swell might have been around 15’ but was rounded unless it was smashing into any of the million rocks out here.  It was a rock and roll passage done with the motor at 5-8k depending on whether we were going up a swell or down one.
Chris catching some rays leaving Kyuquot Sound.

We turned away from our plan to explore Nuchatlitz Inlet and went to Queen Cove instead, a bit to the north and inside Esperanza Inlet.  The hook was put down early at 11:30 in full sun with a building wind out of the SE.  The plan was altered so we wouldn’t have to expose ourselves to the Pacific right away, as the weather predictor mentioned there were 3 days of high winds coming.  We had been trapped in Kyuquot and wanted to get on with the journey.
It is hard to capture rocks and waves on a camera.  Suffice to say
it was good to leave this North Channel safely behind us!
Queen Cove, north side of entrance to Esperanza Inlet.

The North Channel we took had rocks EVERYWHERE along with the odd 15’ swell and had our puckerstrings a bit tightened up but we made it through and were glad it was behind us.

Queen Cove had 3 houses that looked like very nice summer places, a road was being built and we could hear the machines grinding away.  We had a road builder stop by in his boat to give us a courtesy of letting us know there was to be blasting on the road but we were not in the danger zone.  It is a beautiful bay that will require some exploration by kayak.  There is a river to explore too but the order of the day was to take showers and then lunch and then take a nap.

We had a bit of a paddle up the river and then to check out the wrecked fishing boat and then back to Jah Mon for dinner of left over soup which was perfect.  The wind fell away to nothing for the night after hooting for a bit in the PM.


Kayaking up a river in Queen Cove.

June 5, 2010:  Saturday  15.5 nm Queen Cove to Zeballos

Kayak and see new road and ruins, sail for 10 miles DDW with headsail at 5-6kts., arrive in a town!, a good dinner with too much(?) local knowledge.
Queen Cove, good hiking/kayaking.  Zeballos, good dock, town and crows. Tahsis, good laundry/motel.
This logging road in the middle of nowhere that went to the
trees from the water, was the best hiking we had found so
far on the outside of Vancouver Island.

We took another kayak to see the new logging road and enjoyed walking a couple of miles on a pretty darn fine road that was 25’ wide.  The little abandoned First Nation village of Queen’s Cove was checked out too.

The village was abandoned and rotting away.  

The anchor came up at 12:50 and we actually sailed for about 10 of the 15 miles downwind with the headsail at 5-6k!  Very nice and serene.  We tied up at 15:59 in Zeballos, where we heard there was good water for the boat.

A walk about town and try and register with the Wharfinger was half good.  We found a spot to eat but couldn’t register the boat or get a key to the shower.  We could and did unload a couple of bags of garbage including some bad box wine that JP was swilling.

The excellent public wharf at Zeballos.  Watch out for crows
in the cabin!
On our return from the walk we noticed a murder of crows inside Jah Mon going after cookies and garbage!  There were about 15 total with 4 on top of the bimini, 5-9 in the cockpit and 4 below with one trapped in the master suite after we got below!  He was shown the door and told to be gone… He only left a few traces but his buddies took some cleaning up after.  We put the wood hatch boards in when we went out to dinner which is the first time we used them so far.  This town must be where Hitchcock got the idea for the movie The Birds!  The Countess says that must be a good luck sign.

Walking the street in Zeballos.
The word on Zeballos in all the cruising guides is go and see it!  It was a gold digging town and still is a bit with lead on the side according to Linda (Very Talkative) who is the good cook and proprietor of ‘The Other Place’ which is a motel, minimal store, and cafĂ©.  We went looking about as we tried to register with the wharfinger to find no one home.  ‘The Other Place’ was open and we found out the “cheapskate” special was beef stew with mashed potato and gravy for $10.  We took our computers up there and Chris was able to get on but my own computer said no freaking way.  So no leisure log was sent.  Maybe in Tahsis.

The Brave One with Jody Foster was our evening selection and it would barely rate a 2 star.  No wind or current with a bit of rain.  Sleep time at 20:00 with the prawn boat running it’s freezer motor all night at a gentle hum.

June 6, 2010:  Sunday  15.4 nm Zeballos to Tahsis

Leave one town,see way cool wildlife, arrive in a larger town, get showers, lunch and laundry service

We departed Zeballos at 9:30 after getting some wonderful water off the public wharf and having a great night’s sleep.  We motored south in no wind and overcast skies the 15 miles to Tahsis, through the Tahsis narrows (not an issue with current).  En route we saw a Momma bear and her very small cub who was able to run under Momma at full speed.  Very cute!  Lots of sea otters around, say 1 every couple of miles.  Not as many eagles as on the coast but who knows???
Our favorite motel/laundry/showers/dock for $50.

The Marina in Tahsis had one spot left for our size vessel but the dock space is pretty limited but decent.  It is part of the motel/pub/restaurant which was being opened today for the season.  We got showers in a room (so no limit on hot water), laundry service, and moorage for $50 for all!  That seems a good deal to us when just moorage in Ganges, SaltSpring Island is $70 this season.

Lunch and internet for CB, not any internet for CF at Ulla’s Place.  It was good lunch and we are going back for breakfast tomorrow before taking off south.

Back to the boat after showers in a motel room with all the hot water we wanted, a game of crib which gave CB a ‘W’ to tie CF with 3 ‘Ws’ apiece.  Our laundry was folded and waiting behind the counter even if there was no one else in sight at the motel/bar/restaurant.  Dinner was boiled fresh frozen shrimp cocktails from Quatsino Sound and a salad.

Lethal Weapon 4 was the evening entertainment and we gave it 3+ stars with Mel, Danny, Joe Pesci and Chris Rock doing a bunch of blowing things up and yelling at each other.  There was no wind so it was another quiet night.

June 7, 2010  Monday  13.6 nm Tahsis to Bodega Cove on top of Kendrick Inlet, Nootka Sound.

Provisioning, wildlife sights, another empty gorgeous cove, sun and kayaking

Hotel dock with Jah Mon's mast sticking up.
Breakfast was at Ulla’s Place and was excellent basic bacon, hash and eggs.  The owner even gave us a ride to town, about 2 miles away and waited for us after we did our shopping at the little store that had most of what we wanted on our list!  $62 lighter for 3 bags of groceries we got back to the boat by 9:30, bought a bag of ice from the hotel for $2.

The last slip was for us!  This is the hotel dock.
Not a lot of room for larger boats.
On the ride to town we discovered we had missed (couldn’t see it on the way in) Westview Marina which was closer to town and looked quite nice with a latte hut and good docks and much better protection than the hotel marina we were in.  No worries though as the rates and service we got were excellent.

Tahsis Narrows to Bodega Bay.  Lots of wildlife!

We departed at 10:15 with the sun peeking out from time to time.  The motoring south in the mirror water was totally easy with each of us taking turns at the helm every 45 minutes for a 2.5 hour run.  We saw two rafts of sea otters with about 20 otters in each one, 2 bears in different spots and only one boat, a prawn boat that wouldn’t sell us more prawns.  It might be illegal for them to do that.
Motoring south out of Tahsis.
We motor straight south down this fjord at 6k with hills going nearly 2000 feet on both sides.  It was going straight down a canyon for us and very easy for Otto (our autopilot) to steer.  There was snow up on the higher bits and logging shows all along as there have been everywhere out here on the west side of Vancouver Island.

One of the top 5 anchorages again.  Total protection and
gorgeous with lots of sea otters and bears.  Bodega Bay.
Princesa Channel was a right turn for us and had some rocks where we slowed down to feel our way through.  Then north a bit to Bodega Cove which Scooter’s Bayliner Bodega 40 was named after.  The entry had a shallow that goes to 6.5’ in low water but had 12’ when we crossed over very slowly (1.5k) into the inner cove.

Shortly after putting down our anchor there were about 20 more sea otters swimming around us, basically 20-40’ away.  We set the crab pot at the entry of the outer cove, as the Dreamspeaker Cruising Guide,  our main anchorage guide book,  had mentioned Dungeness crab were around here, which is the only reference to crab so far in his book.  It was worth a shot.  We got nothing,  so it goes.

Bodega Bay is the bottom red dot.  We are leaving Tahsis Inlet and going into Nootka Sound.  This is one of
the top 5 anchorages for the trip!  The day's journey saw 4 bears and maybe 60 sea otters.

You can see how shallow the water is with this larger photo.  We were in our kayaks in less than 1' of water and got
as close as we dared.  There was a mother bear and a baby bear messing about on the shore.  It was very cool.
We then got out the kayaks and headed to the head of the cove which was a big grassy field with a bear on it.  CF was paddling in looking for the bear and was about 15’ off the shore in one foot of water when the bear came up from the tall grass about 40 feet away!  CF turned around and paddled to deeper water!  It appeared to be an immature smaller black bear but still bigger than us.  Later we saw another larger bear and what we thought was the first bear both in the field.  Pretty exciting for us, paddling around in the sun exploring unknown anchorages all by ourselves.
Bodega Bay close up.  Tight going in but NICE!

Dinner was the best meal so far, somehow!  BBQ halibut (frozen) which we had caught last summer in Port Renfrew, with brown rice and coleslaw.  The movie was Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.  Odd film about WWII cattle rearing down under that seemed to finish and then keep going a few times.  2 stars and maybe a bit more because of Nicole and her role.

June 8, 2010:  Tuesday   9.6 nm Bodega Cove to Critter Cove, Nootka Sound

Empty crab pot, very tight access to anchorage over a rock, no one home

Bodega Bay to Critter Cove.  There are some very nice sport fish camps along this Tlupana Inlet.
We decided we like the sun.  It was wall to wall blue in the AM with 57F in the cabin, tied for our warmest ever but this time no fog or rain!

CB puts on short pants for the entire day, which is a first for the trip.  The wind built a bit, but the grueling 9.5nm trip was uneventful until we got to Critter Cove.

The chart and the cruising guide told us there was a rock 6.5’ at low water (0 feet) and since Jah Mon needs 7’ to float we were happy to have a higher tide at 8’ when we entered the VERY NARROW channel to the Hole in the Wall anchorage.
The entrance to Critter Cove with a rock at low tide at 6.5'
We found a couple of floating houses in there but the people on the nice one (Hole in the Wall) took off while we were having lunch so we didn’t get any local knowledge about fishing.  After short naps we went to the Critter Cove Marina for showers and again found no one at home in spite of the 53 room resort!!  The showers were open but the hot water was not on so CF got a cold shower for $2!  A shower is a good thing even if it was cold.

Again we are alone in our totally protected anchorage and the wind is laying down to nothing once more.  Dinner is fish tacos with left over beans and halibut.

There is a large (30 room?) fish camp with a store but we could
find no one around to even sell us a T-shirt.

June 9, 2010:  40.1 nm Critter Cove, Nootka Sound to Ramsey Hot Springs in Hot Springs Cove, West Clayoquot Sound

Fog, flat water, no wind, decision, out and about, WTF where are we going?, hot springs… ahhhh!
Out of Nootka Sound and around Estevan Point.  Yet another big deal!  One messes with the Pacific Ocean on these
little crossings.  It doesn't look like much on this chart but it is a 8 hour deal if it is flat.  It was foggy and windy for us.
Jah Mon left Bligh Island to starboard doing some sight seeing of various fishing huts and fish farms.  The no wind weather was supposed to hold for a day, resuming the 30-35k winds from NW the next day.  The decision was made to head out to the Pacific and around Estevan Point.  We zoomed the first half at 7+k on the GPS and then after the Estevan light house we dropped to 5.8k or so.  The swell was low at less than a meter but we found some wind chop at 10k on the nose after the light house.  That balancing the old body upright while moving the boat offshore must be tiring since we were both bushed on arrival.

                                                                                     CB getting a good hot massage from the falls.

Chris enjoying the hot springs shower.  Almost too hot!
MUCH better to spend the night and go in after the day
trippers leave on the fast tour boats out of Tofino.
The approach to Hot Springs Cove was straight forward once we got there but the radar was standing by when we were further out, as we didn’t see land until we were 4 miles away.  The clouds lifted for us to discover a large First Nation settlement on the W. shore, a huge public dock for the head (tourist) boats, and a hotel boat made out of an 80’ workboat with a fan tail salon built on. 

Only one boat on the Park's dock for the night.  Lots of room
for the tour boats coming in during the day.  The crowds leave
at 5:30 PM and no one else is there!
The blue hotel boat provides food, dinks to shore and a bed so one can avoid the crowds that come in each day.  The trick is to wait out the tour boat crowds and go in by yourself at the end of the day.  Our first time in found some campers there too but there were only 7 of us and room for maybe 12.  There were 6 head boats that could each carry 12 or so paying clients at about $120 each.  The best guess is a total of 30-40 clients per day is what we were seeing at this start of season.  The tour boats stagger themselves at about 30 minute intervals and can run up either side of Flores Island from Tofino in about 1.5-2 hours each way.  Mercury outboards were the order of the day.  All the go fast tour boats are running them.

There is 1.5 miles of this wood walkway.  There are maybe
200 boat names carved into the boards along the path.
Arrival was at 16:30, with a quick PB&J and then a one hour nap.  Up and in at 6:30 after all the boats were gone to walk out to the hot springs.  There was a young couple in the lowest pool when we arrived and then 3 other campers came in while we were soaking and getting massaged by the mineral water that was on the edge of too hot.
Changing covered area just above the pools and showers
that make up the Hot Springs.

Back to boat for dinner and a movie… Red Dawn, with Patrick Swayze  which earned out lowest movie rating so far.  Charley Sheen must have been making his first flick as we didn’t recognize him.

June 10, 2010:   Hot Springs Cove, West Clayoquot Sound

Another cruiser is met.
Designing graphics, tool packing, doing the deed, hot springs…ahhhhhh!

Our first personal contact with another cruiser on the outside of Vancouver Island  happened this AM as a Northsea 26 power boat with Jim (62 years young and solo cruising) came in from the north through the 30k silliness he had to endure following us a day later.  He had come around Cape Scott 3 weeks after us and was moving quite a bit faster in a slower boat, doing it in a month or so.  We are in our 6th week at this point.

Count Ferrari looking at his newly carved handiwork.
One of the fun bits for this experience is the 1.5 mile boardwalk, 45’ wide through the entire way in rain forest spectacular beauty.  Draping 12” moss, cedar trees 8-10’ in diameter, little white flowers, ferns and nurse logs everywhere made this a spectacular walk.

CF didn’t see much of it on his first walk out since he was looking down intently, appreciating the artwork on the full 2x8 boards carved with vessel names.  Some were done with NC routers at home, like the 24 boat cruise from RVYC in 2000 but there was plenty (80%) of space for new signs.  Jah Mon now has a sign there.  FYI,  Don’t get fancy with the graphics and soft wood with a 1’ chisel and a 2 lb. ballpein.
Filled with moss to enhance the graphics.  Circ. '10 is what
it is supposed to say in the middle.

On the second walk out CF packed a bag of tools, beer and what he thought was ice tea but had been filled up with OJ and rum by JP.  Cocktail hour came early as that was all he had to drink while working the 4 hours to leave a boat sign.  There were many signs with moss growing in them and looked very nice so CF transplanted mosses to his own art work.
One of the 3 pools for relaxing in the warm waters.
The lower pool that looks out to the Pacific Ocean.

There is full time seasonal ranger for the park living there and installing new boards as needed.  His name was Aram and was exactly the character “Chris”, on ‘Northern Exposures’.  He looked and had mannerisms and a voice just like him.  When he was informed on which board had been selected for Jah Mon he was pleased as he had installed that particular board.  The boardwalk was installed in 1995 and has had a LOT of feet walking over it.  Several boats had multiple year carvings.
The forest is FULL of large trees which makes for a wonderful

The second time out we had the whole thing to ourselves for as long as we wanted to hang out.  The old bodies said it felt REAL GOOD.  We did meet two other dudes on our way out who were staying on the hotel boat near where we were anchored.

We were too pooped to even watch a movie after dinner.  The wind, which had the boat sailing all around on it’s anchor during the day (20-30k puffs) subsided with the evening to a peaceful mirror like sheen we have seen most nights.

June 11, 2010  15.6 nm Hot Springs Cove to Bacchante Bay, at the very head of Shelter Inlet above Flores Island

Tourist boats running by, fishing for food, dinking the river, crab louie dinner

Departure from Hot Springs meant lifting the crab pot and discovering two large Dungeness crab.  CB threatened to expose CF to crab louie and then went ahead and did it to the delight of both! 

Bacchante Bay anchorage.  No one around!
Arrival in Bacchante Bay was around 12:30 with exploration as the action theme for the day.  The crab pot was deployed with left over bait.

The fishing was easy for CF in L’il Mon.  A small fish hit nearly every trip to the bottom using big shiny lead weight with a huge treble hook, but finally, at the entrance to the Bay, a large rock fish was caught.  It was for dinner soon and the carcass to be used as crab bait to update the pot.

Crab Louie for a snack!
L’il Mon with CB and CF went up the river on a falling tide and had to pole and paddle much of it to get to the rapids which required portage if we were to continue.  No bears sighted here even though the large grass meadow is right here on the river delta.  Only the odd sea otter and the sound of an eagle for wildlife.

The crab louie for dinner was excellent with about a cup of crab each (one crab each).  The movie for the night was The Count of Monte Cristo, with Jim Calviezel, Richard Harris, and Dagmara Domincykx (sp?).  We rate it the best movie of the trip, with a 3+ rating.

June 12, 2010:    15.9 nm Bacchante Bay to the head of Matilda Inlet, E. Flores Island

An 8 crab harvest, leisurely departure, sun!, ice cream

Motoring south, again, Jah Mon entered Sulphur Pass and elected to take the East passage which had a bit of rock anticipation and was a successful journey that took about 15 minutes to transit.

Matilda Bay.  Don't go too deep as it shallows quickly.
A good anchorage just south of Ahousat.
Next stop was the head of Matilda Inlet.  We had run past Ahousat which was a marina, general store, and fuel dock and was only a ½ mile dinghy run after we anchored in 22 ft. of water.  The store had a little bit of everything and our list was short.  Lettuce, tomato, green onion, and ice cream sandwiches.  All there but it was a pretty used up place that served a population of 1500 according to the owner.  We even saw a concrete truck rusting by the inlet but no sign of any roads.
Ahousat General Store.  A good selection with fuel.
There was a large First Nation enclave in the bay near us and some type of party was going on with lots of food being brought in by a shuttle boat from that town.
Hot Spring Cove on the left to Bacchante Bay in the upper right to Matilda Bay near Ahousat on the bottom.
We saw another yacht on the run toward Ahousat.  A rare sight but soon to be more common as we near Tofino.

Dinner was fish (caught the previous day) tacos and then evening movie was the DVD Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage.  We rated it 2.5 stars out of 4.  Great music but the end was just a bit brutal and not uplifting at all.

June 13, 2010:  Sunday, 19.9 nm Matilda Inlet, Flores Island to God’s Pocket II, Meares Island

Breakfast to die for, 11k sailing down wind, GPS vs paper charts, and a windy anchorage with other boats.

Big wind as we go around Vargas Island.  30-40k!  Good charts needed in these waters!  Very shallow.

Arising around 07:00 with coffee and CB crab omelettes.  CF mentioned doing dishes for this ambrosia was an honor!  We hoisted the dink on board and headed out in very calm conditions at 10:00 hours.  We motored south and after 7.7 miles we turned off the motor and sailed with only the 115% headsail, going ddw (dead down wind), with 11k registering regularly on the GPS.

Please NOTE:  The dark green is very shallow.  The path in only had 9'  and was NARROW.  We even ran into the mud 5 times a mere 15' off the public wharf trying to get to the dock!  The 7' draft was not helping then.  It seems there was a
mud hump, not a bad event.  The wharfinger was watching the entire time.

As we got in sight of Tofino, the wind had built to over 30k on the beam, and it was nice when we were able to turn downwind.  We negotiated the MANY rocks and shallows by taking the paper chart over the GPS whenever there was a conflict and there were many of those in this twisty narrow channel.
The war between the paper charts and the GPS plotter about which was correct was a stressful situation since the GPS didn’t show the red buoy we were looking at.  The paper charts were not in detail enough but we went with it as the tie breaker.  Apparently the red cans are left to port in here because of where the main entry to Tofino is but it was a bit confusing in the 35k of wind, sailing at 9+k with just the little headsail.
The GPS would show different features as one zoomed in and out adding to the issues.  CB was naviguessing as CF did the sailing and we made the turn and didn’t hit the rocks like MANY ahead of have, according to a couple retired fish dudes on the dock.

We turned north around the tip of Mearse Island and eventually arrived in God’s Pocket Cove which had a large oyster farm and two power yachts waiting, already anchored. This was a first for us, encountering someone else in an anchorage.  We were forced to take a less protected anchor spot. 

Jah Mon then sailed around on the hook as the wind came in from the north or the south (alternating randomly) with velocities a bit over 20k as it snaked off the hill in front of us.  We are hoping it will lay down tonight but the forecast is for 20-25 this evening.  It finally laid down at 19:00 to a placid mill pond for good snoozing.
Looking down hill from Tofino at the wharfinger's office
with Jah Mon's mast in behind it.  Note the wind on the flag!
It seemed to blow all the time at 20+k  Sometimes to 30!

Dinner is to be leftovers with soup, beans, fish, and ???   It turned out to be great. The movie was Strip Tease with Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds.  A good movie until the end which was a bit hokey.  Rating 2.4 stars out of 4.

June 13, 2010:  Monday  6 nm God’s Pocket to Tofino

We are hoping to transit to Barclay Sound in the next couple of days after doing laundry, getting fueled up on the big boat and the dink and getting a few new food stuffs like ice, cookies, bread and sausages.

The weather report is suggesting we might be there a day or two with big winds forecast.  We might be able to sneak out early in the day before the wind builds.  We shall see.
Good shopping for all things in Tofino.  This is a very fine
First Nation art shop.

Awake at 06:00 and moving at 06:15 with arrival in Tofino at 07:15, fueled up (144 liters of diesel) at Method Marine.  There was lots of wind already, at this early hour, and tons of current.  It was an interesting docking but we made it.  We are 780 miles of journey so far and forecast getting close to 1,000 when all is said and done.  So far only 88 miles of sailing with all the rest of the miles from Mr. Yanmar who has treated us very fine.

We were able to get the last open spot big enough for us at the public wharf, with the wharfinger putting us in a commercial dock which was the only spot open.  As we tried to get in we ran into the mud on the bottom and stopped 4-5 times by our 7’ keel trying to get into the marina.  The tide was low/low at -.3 so it was not unexpected as the main channel was only 10-12’.  Fortunately we were able to back off the mud each time and maneuver around the unseen underwater mud mound and get to the dock finally.

The rate is $33 a night (with power) and there is a very nice shower (1) and laundry (1 washer and one dryer) at the port office.  We had breakfast at The Schooner and it was excellent if a bit spendy… with tip it was $43 for the two of us and maybe the best breakfast I have ever had.  It included a fresh fruit portion that had a Thistleis Gooseberry.  The fruit, served with it’s dried leaves, was a yellow thing that appeared to be a yellow cherry tomato but was amazingly sweet.  Apparently, they are grown in South America, according to the chef, but I will endeavor to start cultivation of these for myself once back at the Griffin Hill estate.

The town of Tofino is a huge immersion back into the population.  There is supposed to be 1,900 population year round but swelling to 20,000 for the season.

There is plenty of natural beauty here in this town.  Apparently there is surfing on the Pacific side and other outdoor activities like the boat run up to the Hot Springs for a day's outing.  There are lots of young people around doing tourist support and swelling the population for the summer.

There looks like a single day weather lay down for tomorrow AM so we will depart around 05:00 for the run down to the Broken Group in Barclay Sound.  A trip of 33 nm or so.  We hope to be in there before the winds come up to the 20-35 later in the day.  Otherwise we would be hanging here until Friday, which is 4 days away.   If we can get to the Barclay Sound we can then depart from there on Friday for our trip back up the Straits of Juan de Fuca, homeward bound.  The run from Bamfield to Sooke is 92 nm with a possible hidey hole, 45nm in, at Port San Juan (Port Renfrew) where we charter fish out of every year.

It is likely we will be out of cellular service again soon.  It has been calculated we will need about 8 transit days from Bamfield to Friday Harbor.  We shall see.  It is still an adventure with the wind howling through the rigging here at the dock today in Tofino.  It should lay down if we get lucky!

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