Acrux Log

June 14-July 2, 2004

Seattle to Ketchikan; 645 nautical miles

by Ray R. Collins, master

Previous logbook: Shakedown  Cruise

Monday, June 14.  Warm & sunny-cloudy.  Seattle to Port Townsend.  Winds variable to 15.

We had a bunch of little chores to do, and by the time we'd fueled and watered the boat, gotten the outboard delivered, gone to the West Marine store to trade in the bad grease gun (no questions asked!) and settled the final payment agreement with PMC it was 3 pm.  We motored out of the marina and headed down Puget Sound.  By early evening we were approaching Port Townsend.  We weren't quite sure where a good place to anchor was, so we kept a good eye open for other anchored boats.  Sure enough there were several boats anchored out from town, so we anchored near them.  The wind was steady at around 12-15 from the west, so I was a little nervious about the anchor dragging but it held fine all night.

Tuesday, June 15.  Warm & sunny.  Port Townsend to Friday Harbor.  Winds variable to 15.

We sailed right off the hook (anchor).  Due to the wind I was unable to pull the anchor in by hand (which was my habit, though the anchor and chain weighed well over 100 pounds).  But it came in just fine by running the anchor rode to the winch on the boom and pulling it up that way.

It was a beautiful sunny day with winds of 12-15 knots of west wind blowing.  We pulled up the sails and, in a series of long tacks made it as far as Smith Island (about 2/3 of the way to San Juan Island) before the wind got too faint to give us steerage way.  So we motored the rest of the way to Friday harbor.

The anchorage area was a little crowded, but we found a spot to anchor and by 6 pm we had the anchor down.  We launched the dingy and went ashore for the first time since we'd left Seattle (big deal?).  We rowed over to the end of the dock, tied up the dingy to the crosswalk going the the floating breakwater.  Then we walked up to the grocery store where we spend $20 on chicken and a few other sundries.  We stopped at the harbor master's office for a few phone calls.  Then we went straight back to the boat and made a delicious dinner before heading to bed.

Wednesday, June 16.  Hot & sunny.  Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor.  Winds variable to 10.

We weren't up very early, but got under way promptly.  It was a short trip around San Juan Island to Roche Harbor.  They allowed us to tie up to the end of the dock for a few hours for free, and we went up to the store at the head of the dock to mail some letters.  We also bought $2.50 in ice cream candies and called Jim and Sue (friends of my Mom & Dad's).  Jim headed over to the boat to get us; Sue was out.  While we were waiting Katy went up to take a shower ($3 for a long one).  Jim showed up shortly, and we went inside the boat and talked while we waited for Katy to finish her shower.

Jim took us out to their house, a very nice log cabin right on the shore.  Heated with only wood and equiped with an incinerator toilet, it was a very nice place.  After having a nice chat with both of them, Jim volunteered to give us a tour of the island, and Sue volunteered to make us dinner.  This sounded great to us, so we headed out for a great tour of the island.  When we got back Jim started the barbeque and we talked while he cooked the pork.  We ate inside, and then Sue took us back to the boat.  What great hospitality!

We motored out into the bay a little ways and anchored for the night.

Thursday, June 17.  Warm & sunny.  Roche Harbor to Old House Bay (on the Strait of Georgia).  Winds NW 0-12-0.

I got up shortly after 0715 and immediately hoisted the anchor.  Although it was completely calm in Roche Harbor there was a good NW wind blowing out in Spieder Channel.  the direction was just barely useable, and since we needed to make good time we motor sailed.

It was only an hour's passage to Bedwell Harbor.  When we arrived we called Poet Cove (the marina) on the radio and they directed us to the Customs dock.  We tied up, cleaned up ship a bit and then found we had to call in our information.  So I gathered up driver's licenses, birth certificates and the boat registration and went up the dock to the Customs phone.  It was an easy and simple proceedure; answer a few questions about who and what was on board and our destination and we were cleared into Canada with report #20041690293.

From Bedwell Harbor we went up Swanson Channel, Captain Passage, and Trimcomali (don't ask me to pronounce it!) Channel.

We left Bedwell flying the jib and the mizzen, had to take down the jib before we got to Captain Passage (to close into the wind) and the wind died away completely abou the time we got to Trimcomali Channel.

In the early afternoon (lunch of peanut butter and jam), after we lost the wind, I got out the GPS to see how fast we were going.  At 2375 rpm we were doing 9.0 mph.  A little later the tide went against us and we slowed down to 7.5 (which is still 1.5 better than I could average last summer).

We went through the narrow Dodd Narrows, down the Northumberland Channel past the really neat cliffs on Gabriola Island and out into the Straight of Georgia.

The rest of the day was spent motoring up the strait.  We'd decided on Lasqueti Island for our destination for the day.  We pulled into Old House Bay around 2000 and dropped anchor in the narrow end of the bay.  There were some vultures with red heads along the edge of the bay and after a scrumptious dinner of stuffed peppers we put the raft in the water and went to investigate.  Turned out to be a dead seal.  We paddled around a little, made sure there weren't any rocks within reach of the anchor rode (it was a very narrow little bay, so we were anchored rather close to shore).  Bed at dark (2030).

Friday, June 18.  Hot & sunny.  Old House Bay to Discovery Channel.  Winds WNW 0 to 5.

Up at 0730, we got under way immediately.  Breakfast, made while under way, was fried potatoes with onions & peppers.  It was a hot day, motoring several miles off the coast of Vancouver Island.  Late in the afternoon I took a shower on deck with the Sun Shower.  It worked very well hoisted up a stay; the only difficulty I had was turning the hose on and off with soapy hands.  Late in the afternoon we entered Discovery Channel, and soon we'd arrived at Seymore Narrows.  The tidal current were against us so we had to wait, but only for a little while.  We waited in an eddy, occasionally using the motor to keep us in the eddy.  While we were waiting 3 cruise ships came through.  Then the fishing boat that was waiting behind us powered up, so we figued it was ok to go and headed through (we didn't know when slack tide was; our tide book didn't cover this area--we'd figured we would just arrive and wait until it was slack tide...and we really lucked out with our timing!)  There was still a slight current against us when we entered the narrows, but it died by the middle and soon we were out the other end.

After clearing the narrows we didn't go very much further, stopping in a cove a few miles up Discovery Channel.  Bean soup for dinner, cooked in the pressure cooker.  Too much water, and cooking for an hour is too long.  Try enough water to just cover the beans and not much (1/2 inch?) more, and only cook for 1/2 hour.

Saturday, June 19.   Sunny & somewhat cooler.   Discovery Channel to .  Winds NW-W 0 to 5.

We spent the entire day going down the channels alongside Vancouver Island.

I had gotten up fairly early and got under way in the calm peace of trhe early morning sun.  We had breakfast while under way, and didn't stop until late evening.  The entire day was spent motoring along the north shore of Vancouver Island.

We anchored for the evening in a bay that was occupied by enormous rafts and stacks of logs. 

Just before bedtime some very large fish (3' long) swam by the boat.  No idea what kind they were; looke a little bit like a catfish.

Sunday, June 20.  Sunny & somewhat cooler.   to .  Winds variable to 15.

After a short motor we arrived in Port Hardy.  We called the harbormaster, who directed us to a slip inside the small marina.  I was nervious about manouvering in the small slip area, but managed without bumping anyone with my wide boat.

We spent several hours in Port Hardy; Katy took a shower, Frankie, Richie and I walked half a mile down to the grocery store and spent $8 on bread and hot dogs.  We also bought charts of the Queen Charlotte Islands, since we were hoping to sail up through them.

When we were ready to go to the fuel dock there was someone there, so we had to wait until they were done.  Finally they were finished and we motored over and got more fuel.

It was late afternoon when we fianlly left, but only a little ways to where we planned to spend the night.  We anchored in the midst of 6 fishing boats, who we suspect were waiting for a fish opening.

After anchoring we launched the dingy and loaded it with dinner stuff.  We went to the very nice beach, gathered up firewood and made a nice fire.  Unfortunately the rocks were exploding ones, and after awhile we gave up and moved the fire into an old stump to get away from them.  This worked very well, and we cooked out hot dogs, and had a scrumptious dinner of hot dogs, potatoe salad with marshmellows for desert.

We'd stripped all Richie's clothes off and let him run around without anything on.  He had a blast playing in the water's edge, running and splashing and throwing rocks.

We headed back to the boat when it started to get dark.

Monday, June 21.  Cool and foggy-cloudy.   Open Ocean.  Winds NW to 15.

We were headed for an overnight passage to the Queen Charlotte islands, so we slept in.  But we were under way by 10, with Frankie taking the first shift.  It was foggy for her, but by the time I took over at 1300 it was starting to lift.  Katy took over at 1700, and Frankie again at 2100.

Tuesday, June 22.  Cool & cloudy to sunny & warm.  Ocean to Queen Charlotte Islands.  Winds from 20 to variable.

I took over at 0100, and the weather had deteriorated somewhat, blowing a 15-20 knot headwind.  We were pounding pretty good, which made everyone seasick.  I didn't actually throw up, but everyone else did.  At 5 am Katy got up to take her shift, but wasn't feeling good enough so I got a half hour break and then took over again.  I was getting pretty groggy by 0830, so I got Frankie up.  She managed to steer long enough for me to get a half hour nap before she needed me to take over again.  By 1100 the wind was way down, and the sun was out--and the Queen Charlotte Islands were in sight.

I wanted a good place that was well out of any waves to anchor, so we could get a good sleep so I went a little farther than strictly necessary.  The cove we anchored in was very quiet and peaceful, so I was successful.  After getting the anchor down around 1300 we took the rest of the day off.

Wednesday, June 23.  Warm & sunny.   to Hot Spring Island.  Winds variable to 15.

I was up fairly early.  It was a gorgeous morning with birds singing, deer grazing on the beach and sunny blue skies.  The wind was just right to sail right off the hook, so I pulled up the jib, pulled in the anchor and headed down the bay.  The mainsail added a little speed and soon we were out in the sound.

The wind did not continue, but we did get about 10 miles out of it before it died away.  We continued motoring north, right into a pod of whales!  They were feeding on 6" fish who were so numberous they nearly made the water white with their frentic jumping.  We took pictures of the whales feeding (Katy was ecstatic!) as we motored slowly foreward (for those of you who are really picky, we didn't alter course and let the whales come past us).

We arrived at Hot Springs Island about 1500.  We made a slow pass, trying to figure out where to anchor--and whether to anchor.  I was uncertain about it because there were a lot of people there (we counted 15), and we didn't have a cruising permit for this area (which I wasn't sure was important, but I didn't want to get in trouble either!).

We finally found a good place to anchor and I paddled ashore to ask the Haida Watchmen if it was ok to visit.  I beached the dingy, and found a hot springs pool made by a rock-walled area.  From there a neat shell-lined path led to the main hot spring, and the Watchmen house.  They were incredibly nice and said there were just a few rules to follow which they would explain when we came back to sign in.

The wind was picking up a bit from the SW by the time I got back to the boat, so we rushed to get ashore before the wind got too strong.  We signed in, were told to shower before using the pools, not put our heads underwater in the pools, stay on the marked trails and where the 4 pools were.  We showered and then checked out the biggest pool.  It turned out to be a little hot (the thermometer said 110 F) so after a few minutes we voted to try the cliff pool, which we had walked by but hadn't seen (it was on a fork in the trail we didn't explore).  The cliff pool turned out to be ideal for us, for not only was it a bit cooler but we had a good view of the boat.  With the wind continuing to increase that was critical!

Within an hour we were nicely roasted and the wind was making us nervous (every few minutes one of us would say "has the boat shifted?"), so we decided to leave.  I headed on down to the beach to make sure the raft was ok, Frankie went and fetched our clothes and Katy brought Ritchie down. While I was waiting for them I took a quick dip in the ocean, just to check it out (of course then I went back up and took a dip in the beach hot spring to warm back up again!)

The waves were about 2' and curling onto the beach, so it was interesting getting the boat launched.  We all got wet, nearly to the waist.  Lucky thing we still had our bathing suits on!  When we got back to the boat it was even more exciting; the waves were making the boat go up and down enough so the first step on the sugar scoup was popping in and out of the water.  I boarded the boat, taking Ritchie with me.  I got the motor started, just in case the anchor let go at the last instant (we really shouldn't have stayed so long!) and then went back and helped Frankie and Katy onto the boat before pulling the dingy aboard.

It took all three of us to get the anchor aboard; I pulled it in as Frankie drove the boat and Katy helped direct Frankie.  Once the anchor was aboard we went around the end of the island to see if the other shore was protected, but it wasn't.  The next island over had a nice bay in it so we went over there to check it out, and it turned out to be perfect.  We anchored there, made a quick dinner and then really luxurious by watching another movie before bed.

Thursday, June 24.  Warm & sunny.  Hot Spring Island to Skidegate Inlet.  Winds variable 0 to 5.

We didn't get up very early, but once up we hurried to get under way so we could visit the hot springs again before we left.  We motored across the channel to Hot Springs Island, and then took the dingy ashore (hauling the dingy well up the shore, as usual).  We had been told of a trail through the woods, but didn't see it so we walked around the west end of the island to the hot springs.  After signing in again (and taking pictures of the deer that was grazing on the lawn!) we showered and spent a very relaxing hour at the pool. 

After our swim we hiked back through the woods.  Today wasn't an adventure getting back to the boat, other than keeping our footing on the slippery rocks (the tide was well out by now).  It was around 1300 by the time we finally got under way, and we had a long way to go to get to Skidegate Inlet.  So we hurried it along a tiny bit, running the engine at 2450 rpm instead of 2350.  There was less wildlife today; we did see some whales spout in the distance but nothing very close.

It was late evening when we arrived off Skidegate Inlet.  There is a HUGE spit that runs north from the south shore of the inlet (10-15 miles!).  It was near high tide and we didn't want to spend a lot of time going up and around the end of the spit, so I rigged up the depth finder and we used it to very slowly approach and cross the spit.  The least depth was 2.5 fathoms (15'), so it was a comefortable crossing.  Then we hurried across the bay to a small inlet where we anchored for the night.

Friday, June 25.  Cool & cloudy.  Skidegate Inlet to Edith Harbor.  Winds SE to 15.

We had ment to get an early start, but we didn't get out of bed very early, it was time to change the oil, and we needed fuel.  Oil all changed & logged; but fuel turned out to be another problem.  We went to where the Coastal Pilot said there was a fuel station, and sure enough there was--but it said CLOSED.  We decided to try out Queen Charlotte City to see if there was fuel there, and when we arrived there was a fuel truck up on the warf fueling a fishing boat.  I called up to him and asked if he could fill us too and he said sure.  So we waited until the fishing boat was done and then tied up to the edge of the warf.  I climbed the 25' ladder to made sure he could either take a credit card of US cash, since we'd never changed any money.  He said a credit was fine, so we fueled from his truck.  Still have problems with overflow *sigh*.  We were finally under way by 11, headed across Dixon Entrance.  We weren't very sure we would make it, and so we ran the engine pretty fast (2750 rpm) all day.  The wind was from just the right direction, so we also had the sails up most of the day.

The water was very shallow well out from the Queen Charlotte Islands, so we headed well out from shore, following the buoys that marked the channel.  It was

called mom

Saturday, June 26.  Cool & cloudy, showers.  Edith Harbor to Tamgas Harbor (Alaska).  Winds SW to 5.

We didn't go terribly far today; only about 30 miles.  The wind was light and variable most of the day.

Sunday, June 27.  Cool & rainy.  Tamgas to Ketchikan.  Winds SE to 8.

We didn't get up very early, and were slow at getting started so it was noon by the time we hoisted anchor.  Frankie pulled it in for the first time, using the winch on the main mast.

We arrived in Ketchikan around 3 pm, called the harbormaster who directed us to a double slip that we could use.  He also gave us the number to call to reach customs, so Frankie used the cell phone to call and the customs offical said she'd be down in 15 minutes.  We tidied up the boat while we were waiting, and sure enough she showed up 15 minutes later.

It was a simple process to clear customs, and within 10 minutes we were cleared in.  We decided to walk downtown to see the Ryndam, but after the 2 mile walk it was just pulling out.  So we decided to go out to dinner.

After dinner we walked by the movie theater to see what was playing.  Nothing very interesting so went to a video store and rented a couple of movies.  We watched the movie on the computer, and then went to bed.

Monday, June 28.  Cool.  In Ketchikan.

We spent the day doing laundry and chores.  I tried to get onto the internet, but couldn't make my computer connect to the network at the internet cafe, so wasn't able to download my email.

Tuesday, June 29.  Cool with showers.  In Ketchikan.

Took the day completely off, and spent it reading.

Wednesday, June 30.  Cool with occasional showers.  In Ketchikan.

Having been so unproductive on Tuesday, we worked very hard on the boat today.  Katy watched Richie; Frankie did the dishes (which we'd procrastinated on doing for far too long) and finished putting away all the clothes and other stuff we (still) hadn't put away. I fixed the lock on the stove so it was level when locked, connected the inverter into the 110 volt power bus so our 110 volt outlets work, connected the marine radio to the mast head antenna (the antenna came with a coax cable that was 10 feet short, so it had been left dangling in the heat--I'd gotten all the parts, but never put it together--I drilled the holes needed and ran the coax down the edge of the bunk, through the closet and to the radio), sorted out my tools, fixed (hopefully) a leak in the main cabin heater, and sorted through the charts, storing the unneeded charts in the aft port outrigger.  We also put away the diapers, storing some of them below the stove and some of them in the forward starboard outrigger.

I'd also dug out the EPIRB (emergency beacon) and did a short test of it to verify operation.  It worked fine; I put it in the locker beside the stove with our other emergency gear.

By the end of the day our boat was looking pretty good, so we celebrated by going out to dinner.  We caught the bus into town, and after a scrumptious dinner at the Pioneer Cafe we walked back the 2 miles to the boat.  We stopped by the video store and dropped off the movie from the night before, and picked up a new movie to entertain us for the evening.  After the movie we went to bed.

Thursday, July 1.  Warmer and partly sunny.  In Ketchikan.

I went up to the harbormaster's office for several hours, and managed to connect to the internet.  They have a table set outside their office, with a phone line connection in the wall. I set up the computer to dial AT&T, enter the credit card number and then call my service provided.  It took a little fiddling around, but I finally got it to work.  I downloaded/uploaded email, downloaded my scientific journals so I could read them later.  I also uploaded this logbook so friends could keep up with our progress.

It was 1 pm by the time I was done.  Frankie, Katy and Richie showed up and Katy offered to buy lunch at the mall so we walked down there and hung out for an hour or so eatting lunch, etc.

In the late evening I got the dingy motor out and mounted on the dingy so we could take it over to check out the airport.  It took about half an hour to put-put-put over to the airport.  We tied up to the small dock there and walked up to the terminal.  We asked the lady at the Alaska Airline about checking in and doing the bags and stuff, and she said we could go ahead and check in and get a boarding pass then, so all Katy would have to do is check her luggage in the morning.  So we did.

On the way back we went straight across the channel and then down.  This let us go by their HUGE dry dock (it had a full-sized ferry in it, as well as a couple other boats!)  Just off the dry dock there was a couple guys fishing.  They had a halibut on the line, so we stayed around until they landed it.

By the time we got back it was pretty dark (10:30), so we tied up the dingy and headed to bed.  Or tried--Richie had other ideas.  It was midnight by the time he finally settled down enough to fall asleep.

Friday, July 2.  Cooler and rainy.  In Ketchikan.

Katy's plane was very early in the morning, and Frankie took her over to the airport in the dingy while I stayed on the boat with Richie, who slept through it all.  When Frankie got back she came back to bed and we slept in.  Then we were pretty lazy for the rest of the day, reading and napping and watching a movie all day.

Next logbook: Ketchikan to Sitka.

by Ray R. Collins
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