We're off! Our plans to depart from Seattle were delayed somewhat because of electronics. The navigation computer failed at the last minute, and so we expected a new laptop to arrive on Saturday the 15th, but Airborne didn't come through as expected, so we had to wait until Monday the 17th. In addition, I needed some additional time to get the e-mail connection working with the satellite. The last-minute work was completed early Monday afternoon, and so we were able to leave Sound Rigging on Lake Union at 14:30.
Meet Guy and Tracey
Guy and Tracey Marchi, from Victoria British Columbia, have bravely
signed on as crew for the entire trip up to Juneau. You can see their
smiling faces in the photograph above, as we fueled Andanté just east
of the Fremont Bridge.
Guy and Tracey are wonderful crew members. Over the next several years they are planning to purchase their own sailboat and cruise the Caribbean. In the interim Andanté will be their home for the next six weeks. They have proven to be eager learners, great crew with initiative, and wonderful people. Tracey is a flight attendant for Canadian Air, and Guy is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the most musical instruments (not at one time). In fact, Guy demonstrated his proficiency in a live television broadcast from Tokyo. The show was titled The World's Amazing People, and was viewed by 24 million who watched Guy play 186 instruments. He said he slept well after the performance. Guy did not bring any instruments on board, but did bring a fishing rod, which I managed to deposit overboard. But more about that later ...
Flat Seas, but no wind
So far we've hand incredibly flat seas, but alas, no wind. So we've mostly been motoring.
This evening we made Port Townsend, arriving around 22:00--in the dark, in perfect calm, gliding on flat black water as the lights of Port Townsend cast a warm glow against the low overcast clouds.
We departed Port Townsend without any wind, and motored across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Cattle Pass. In Friday Harbor, Todd Rickard, from Sound Rigging, flew up from Seattle to do the final installation and testing of our water maker. We now have the ability to convert salt water into fresh at the rate of 18 gallons each hour. (Thanks Todd!) We left Friday Harbor during a beautiful afternoon and anchored at Jones Island—a state park just a short distance north. Broke out the BBQ, and grilled steak fillets on the deck.
Wednesday 5/19 - we crossed over the US / Canada boundary, and pushed forward towards Dodd Narrows—a 100 yard wide opening south of Nanaimo where the current can flow at eight knots, which was predicted for 16:30 that day. Our timing through the narrows was perfect: we passed through at 14:20 with a slight two knot current boost from the stern--less than 30 minutes after slack. Safely in Nanaimo we called Canadian Customs on an 800 number to clear. Providing them with Andanté's US Coast Guard registration number, they can call up a record of the vessel, owner, crew, etc. The process only required about five minutes.
Some time on Wednesday water found its way into my IBM ThinkPad keyboard, disabling about 15 critical keys and rendering the keyboard inoperable. So I found a Radio Shack in Nanaimo, and was able to obtain an external keyboard which fixed the problem. Also purchased a Canadian license for salt water fishing and crabbing. Starting out around 10:30, we made our way east towards Pender Harbor on the BC mainland coast, where we found a peaceful, quiet anchorage in Garden Bay. Tracey prepared chili for dinner, which we enjoyed in the cockpit as dusk set around us, and enveloped in perfect quiet.
We raise anchor at 7:48 and head north between Texada and Nelson Islands accompanied by overcast skies, heading for Desolation Sound. Once there we turned south in Malaspina Inlet. (Oyster fans will know this name well, and the shores are lined with several aquaculture facilities dedicated to growing Malaspina oysters.) We found a secure anchorage in Grace Harbor, and dropped anchor as eagles glided gracefully and silently just overhead.
That evening, Guy climbed into the dinghy with fishing gear in hand to try his luck, which turned out to be quite good: he landed a four pound ling cod, which we baked in the oven for dinner. A first for me: from sea to oven in less than 30 minutes. After dinner, as Guy and I brought the dinghy outboard engine back on deck, I managed to bump his casting rod over the stern. Trying, desperately, feebly, humbly to retrieve it as gravity pulled it into the deep, I lunged. I wasn't able to grab the rod, but was quite successful in plunging overboard. Not content to have victory snatched away, I donned my scuba gear and headed toward the deep, which turned out to be quite shallow (only about 30 feet). In the fading light I wasn't able to successfully locate my target. But I did see starfish as large as 4-1/2 feet across, as well as many crabs, and lots of junk from other boats--everything except our rod.
Today, timing is important, because we are passing through both the Yuculta Rapids and Dent rapids. Our planning during the previous evening informed us that we needed to arrive at Yuculta Rapids around 10:30, which we did, and subsequently passed through unscathed. Because of our timing, we also easily passed through Dent Rapids without a hitch.
This morning we passed through two more sets of rapids: Greene Point and Whirlpool Rapids. These were both much smaller than the previous day, and a lot less threatening. Between the two rapids, we spotted a black bear on the shore, foraging for something to eat. We approached slowly to take a closer look. He was a young bear, perhaps 2-3 years old, who was already accustomed to civilization. As he spotted our boat approaching, he hardly gave us a second glance.
We've had these northern waterways around Johnstone Strait almost exclusively to ourselves, and have enjoyed clear sunny skies over the last several days. We are all amazed how busy we are: from 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 or midnight. planning currents, tides, rapids, cleaning, repairing, and, mostly, enjoying the spectacular scenery. We are now entering geography with snow-capped mountains all around us.
(I am discovering that I can't lock on satellites when we are in close proximity to mountains ... and we're very much in close proximity to lots of mountains. So my e-mail contact is more sporadic than I anticipated.)
Sent from: 50º 28.69N, 126º 00.90W
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