Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friday, 27July2012: Egmont to Princess Louisa Inlet

Weather:  Partly cloudy and nice.  Winds:  0 building to 20 up-channel.  Seas:  <1ft.

Awesome sailing day!  One of the best we've had period!

Departed Egmont around 0900 with no wind motoring.  Rounding the corner out of Sechelt Inlet, we entered Prince of Wales Reach at slack tide and the winds started to pick up.  We raised the spinnaker and killed the engine, making 4kts.  The wind continued to build and by noon, we were making 8-9kts and the spinnaker was seeing 10kts with gusts to 12kts apparent.  Since the spinnaker was supposed to be a .75oz, light wind spinnaker, I had no idea how much it could take, so I blanketed it with the genoa and brought it down.  On the genoa only, we were still making 6kts!  Raised the screacher for a double, wing-on-wing headsail run and we were back up to 8-9kts!

Blasting up this fiord was truly special.  We were keeping pace with the powerboats around us and making smooth gybes as the fiord turned a corner.  We were vikings!  Track Charleson was I!

The miles were clicking by fast.  The question became:  When was slack water at Malibu Rapids, the narrow entrance into Princess Louisa Inlet and renown for its dangerous currents?  Kelly hit the books and found a reference, a time adjustment from another location.  It appeared slack was around 1430.  A quick time/distance/velocity calculation...we might arrive perfectly.  Luck, something about being lucky rather than good....

Rounding the corner exiting Princess Royal Reach into the Queens Reach, we had to actually slow down as we would arrive too early.  So, the screacher was furled and Strider slowed to 5kts on the genoa alone, making Malibu Rapids easily.

Transit was uneventful, following the securite protocol, once again, emphasizing the 25ft beam.  Once vessel on the other side responded and let us know transit was less than 5min.  Actually, it probably was only a couple minutes.

Remember in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy steps out of the black and white house into the color land of Oz?  Passing through the rapids and into Princess Louisa was something like that.  From wind, chop, grey, wide water to calm, flat, clear water with tree covered cliffs and waterfalls all around.
Entering Princess Louisa Inlet

About 5 miles long and .5 miles wide, mostly a preserve bought by The Princess Louisa Society (we are now members) and a BC Provincial Park.  After the sailing blast, it was peaceful!  Not wanting to make any noise, we tried to sail, but the winds only teased us.  We motored.  About 15min into the inlet, Kelly spotted a motorized dinghy heading towards us.  "Is that RT?  Looks like their dinghy and there is a black dog on the bow."  Sure enough!

He had arrived about 45min ahead of us, having spent the night in Deserted Bay, at the juncture of Princess Royal Reach and Queens Reach.  He had not gone into Pender Harbour, but had arrived at the turn into Sechelt Inlet and thought it was too early to stop and pressed on.  He had left us a cell phone message, but we had not looked while there was coverage.  After all, who'd of thought?  Anyway, happy reunion!

RT secured the dink and climbed aboard.  He had a Macdonald Island mooring buoy so we took a tour of the inlet, motoring up to Chatterbox Falls, through the anchored boats at the foot of the falls and viewing all the boats (and their generators) on the dock.

 Several Waterfalls on the Cliff Face Converge to Form Chatterbox Falls

We continued the tour, getting up close to the cliffs and falls and found a small, quiet, private nook with a couple anchor bolts in the cliff and surrounded by at least 3 waterfalls.  This is the spot!  There was a discussion regarding moving there today, but we thought the mooring buoy would be nice for the night and we could see a different section of the inlet.  Also, there was a floating dock at there making for an easy trip for a walk about.

There were several boats from Gig Harbor and RT knew a couple who came by during their evening dinghy "chardonnay cruise."  Lovely idea that!

Thursday, 26July2012: Secret Cove to Egmont/Bathgate

Weather:  Sunny and warm.  Winds:  Initially S, light to calm.  Seas:  Flat.

A relaxed start, not too early, not too late!  Woke to a sunny day and unlike Captain's Mast, no raccoon tracks on the boat!  The plan was to head north, go through Agamemnon Channel and rendevous at Egmont.

In an effort to sail, headed out into Malaspina Strait, keeping the wind on a broad reach.  Missed the turn point into Agamemnon Channel while down below pumping the holding tank (legal in open Canadian waters).  Subsequently, ended up way behind Captain's Mast.  Not normally significant, but this is an area of limited communications, it became significant.

As noted, the plan was to rendevous at Egmont.  Last we had seen of C-Mast was off Francis Peninsula, looking like RT was headed into Pender Harbour.  A bit unusual, but thought maybe he was just checking it out as the trip to Egmont was not a long one.

We entered Agamemnon Channel with the current and were spell bound by the cliffs on each side.  Tried to sail, but the winds proved finicky, so we motored in vicinity of a couple other sailboats and made our way to Egmont, arriving around 1100.

At Egmont, found a spot to anchor, just east of the marina and settled down to wait for C-Mast.  The day grew hot and we waited.  No RT.  WTF?  Maybe he had a boat problem and went into a marina in Pender Harbour.  No cell service here.  Went ashore and tried the pay phone.  No luck his cell.  Called Merry Margret, had she heard from him?  No answer.  Went back to Strider and waited.

Late afternoon, still no RT.  Went back ashore and repeated the above.  Got a hold of MM and she had not heard from RT.  There was concern, "He never deviates from the plan."  Since she was arriving in Princess Louisa Inlet in two days, reassured her we, at least, would be there.

Spoke to some of the locals who stated there were no good anchorages there and they recommended the municipal pier.  Municipal pier?  The guide book makes no mention....  They pointed it out, the long one with no one on it.  We moved.  I think it was 50cents/foot.  Cheap.  Local harbor master came down to ensure we had paid.  Spoke to a couple with two kids from California owning their grandmother's cabin on the east side of marina.  The gentleman had been coming here for the summer since he was a kid.  Got a couple fishing tips from him along with a hint of a double waterfall in the area....

Had a pleasant evening after it cooled off and quit worrying about RT.