Monday, July 23, 2012

True North Summary July 16 - July 22

Here's the latest news from True North, about to depart Shawl Bay for Cullen Harbor.  Anne has updated the Google Map of our route. You can see that at:

True North Summary July 16 - July 22

Monday, July 16: Claydon Bay, on the B.C. mainland was recommended by a couple of boaters as a pretty and protected anchorage NW of Grappler Sound, framed by Mt. Emily and not far from Sullivan Bay. We made it there easily and anchored between a couple of yachts and near another that had been in Sullivan Bay. We put out the crab pot, to no avail, but were so busy we didn't try to find any reasonable shore access for a walk, much less a hike. So much for Claydon Bay.

Tuesday, July 17: Turnbull Cove, B.C. mainland, was the destination of this day, bringing us NE of Claydon Bay and towards Mackenzie Sound. There were 14 other boats in spacious Turnbull Cove, including the 4 boats with divers that were rafted together when we were in Joe Cove. We visited with them briefly before leaving to learn they had seen a mama bear and her cub. The cub was on the shore next to our boat around 2100 but we had gone inside for the evening and weren't aware of it. Darn! What a great way to view a bear, from the safety of the cockpit. The mama was at the trailhead. Earlier in the day we had taken the featured hike, a 10 minute trail to freshwater Lake Huaskin, meeting other boaters both ways. It certainly felt good to stretch our legs. Turnbull Cove has had two large landslides since 2005, one mentioned in Wagoner's by a couple of boaters awakened by the thundering noise of rockfall during the night. We've seen many landslides and will not be anchoring too closely to the steep slopes.

Hiking to Huaskin Lake with our bear spray

Wednesday, July 18: On the way out of Turnbull Cove, we detoured to take a look at Mackenzie Sound to the SE. Going through Kenneth Passage proved to be slow-going with the current against us and small whirlpools so that was enough. We bailed on that unplanned leg and continued on to Greenway Sound, tucked into the NW of Broughton Island. Along the way, I drifted with our sailboat outside of the marina at Sullivan Bay long enough for Gregg to take the dinghy in for a few more provisions before heading out for the coming week. Greenway Sound Marina is abandoned and for sale. It now consists of a few low float buildings and docks that are falling apart. Stunning views of snow-capped mountains in the distance made this setting! We had anticipated many boats taking advantage of the docks but only one other sailboat was there with a couple, former B.C. loggers, who've been living the good life on their beautiful sailboat the past five years. We took the dinghy over to a B.C. Forest Service trailhead that leads to Broughton Lake, 20 minutes on a trail and along a logging road. While it felt so good to get a chance to hike, thoughts of bears and cougars kept us alert. Several rounds of loud singing must have worked! A campsite at the trailhead, food properly hung high in a tree, indicated we weren't the only ones thinking of hungry animals.

Thursday-Friday, July 19-20: Belleisle Sound, Kingcome Inlet. What a day! At last we had a gentle wind of 3 to 8 knots astern in wide open Kingcome Inlet where we could unleash our spinnaker. It was beautiful, sailing so gently with the colorful, full sail over turquoise water from the glacial river inflows, full sun and mountain views! The spinnaker is huge and very lightweight which makes it ideal for light wind.

Flying the spinnaker in Kingcome Inlet

Pretty Belleisle Sound is very serene with dramatic, rounded hills – very Big Bay-like except there were no buildings or any other boaters.

Sunset, Bellisle Sound

The horse flies were aggressive on arrival but once the sun went down, they went away. We stayed two nights to enjoy another day in the remote beauty of one of the prettiest anchorages to date. The second day came with predicted scattered showers which brought beautiful mist, constantly moving about so that we were compelled to take even more photos than usual. We kept an eye to shore for bears but none appeared.

360 panorama in Bellisle Sound

Saturday-Sunday, July 21-22: Our departure from lovely Belleisle Sound was exciting! We found our anchor rode fouled and stuck solid at the 260' mark and in 80' of water. We tried to stay positive, hoping that moving the boat about would release the anchor but the inevitability of a worst-case scenario catching up with us sooner or later was also possible. At least it was completely calm, no wind or currents, so we were calm – sort of. After several moves we finally got the good result and saw the bow jerk upward as the anchor rode released, and were soon underway. We hadn't seen another boater since entering Kingcome Inlet! A few hours later with intermittent showers all the way, we were tucked into rustic little Shawl Bay Marina, shortly before potluck appies and happy hour. Of course there were boaters we had seen a week or so earlier, including old salt Bill Proctor from Echo Bay. We stayed over a second night to enjoy a few creature comforts like an Internet connection and turkey dinner on the dock, while taking refuge from the rain outside. The dinghy had 5” of water inside from the rainfall during the night, and our auto-inflator on the Lifesling had inflated! Over the two nights, we really got to know the other very friendly boaters - Pete and Dorene, George and Louise, Jerry and Gail, Ralph and Judy, our generous neighbors on R Time, and lots of others. Following dinner Sunday night an impromptu group of musicians brought out their instruments, at first reluctantly – Gregg with his guitar, Pete on his harmonica, Carol with her washboard, another Carol with a keyboard, and a motley group of singers, except for Louise who has a good singing voice. Unfortunately, the musicians had no tunes in common! It was a fun couple of hours anyway. Monday, we leave for Cullen Harbour, just SW of Broughton Island and with a view west to Queen Charlotte Strait. We'll spend the rest of the week in and around this area before heading to Port Hardy next weekend.

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