Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 21- Sunday, September 2, 2012- Barkley Sound- More Fishing, Less Catching.

Day 21- Sunday, September 2, 2012- Barkley Sound- More Fishing, Less Catching.
After check of the forecast this morning, I informed the crew that the wind is supposed to blow 25-35 knots starting this afternoon for the next four days.  Being we need to be back to Dolphin Cove (Orcas Island) in a week, Val and I decide we need to head to Barkley Sound today.  We hate to spend such a little bit of time here in the Tofino area but we’ll be back again, I’m sure.  Here are a few pictures of Tofino.

Weigh West Marina, Tofino.  Our shore power chord...finally.

We rig up our rods in advance and then set out for Barkley Sound with three fishing spots our guide friends suggest we try along the way.  The ocean was flat…about a 5’ long swell with no wind waves.  It’s the nicest we’ve ever had out here.  We fished all day and the wind never came up.  It was a gorgeous day.  The wind never came up at all.
Tanner and Connor enjoying peanut butter sandwhiches while Val and I fish.
We couldn’t keep the rock fish off our lines and couldn’t get the salmon or halibut to bite.  More fish but not the ones we want.  Val is really applying the pressure to find those fish!
Late in the afternoon, we finished our run into Barkley Sound.  It felt like coming home as we spent a month here last year (only the fishing was great then.)  We went to one of our favorite anchorages by Turret Island in the Broken Islands Group and the hook bit hard on first try.  Our position is 48 53'57.80N, 125 20'47.70W.  Plug it into Google Earth and find us if you can.  We now have 866 miles on our trip meter.

Val made some halibut and shrimp for dinner.  Connor worked on his Spanish.  I showered.  As you can see, Val snuck off a picture of me in the big bathroom.

It’s pretty “alone” out here but nothing like earlier in the trip.  We saw a lot more boats today, in fact, I’d say we saw more boats today than all the boats we’ve seen combined since we left Port Hardy.
The sunsets here are amazing.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend.

Day 20- Saturday, September 1, 2012- Tofino

Day 20- Saturday, September 1, 2012- Tofino

I woke up and immediately started thinking about my laptop in Ahousat but we had also come this far and wanted to take in all that Shelter Inlet had to offer so we compromised that I would wait until about 2PM and then we were going back to Ahousat.
We pulled the shrimp trap on the way out and had another 35 shrimp, although they weren’t the big prawns but they weren’t the little cocktail shrimp either.  Later, we ate all 35 and they were sweet and delicious and made a nice side dish to our halibut.
Then it was on to the Megin River just a mile or so down the inlet.  We anchored in the delta and explored by dinghy.  It was so much fun.  It was a similar to the experience we had yesterday at the Watta River.  We found another cool waterfall.

Connor and Tanner checking things out.

Coming out of the Megin River looking at Dakota Roamer on the hook.
I liked this "flower pot."

This Shelter Inlet is a special place but it was 2PM and time to rescue my computer, Lord willing.
Back at Ahousat, as we were coasting into the dock, Val exclaimed, “I see your computer…it’s in the phone booth!” Wow!  No one found my computer in the public phone booth!  Thank you, Lord!  There were many very warm and friendly First Nations people here and finding my computer left me with a warm feeling about this place.  The store owner thought that if someone had found it, they would have brought it to him.  Nice.
Armed with hot dogs and fresh buns from Ahousat (they got their bread in), we continued another dozen miles or so out to the beaches of Vargas Island where we were able to set the hook in the sand and take the dinghy to shore.  The waves crashing into the beach seemed so small until we’re in the dinghy trying to figure out how to make our landing without rolling us all.  We barely managed but within minutes had our fire going and hot dogs roasting.  Val and the pups snoozed while Connor and I took a turn prepping supper.  When Val cooks, we get meals like Neptune’s Feast.  When Connor and I cook, it’s hot dogs.

The dog days of summer.

Lucky napping by the fire.
We all love exploring the wonderful beaches out here and we found a little porpoise that looked like something had taken a chomp out of it.  Interesting.
It was getting close to the point where I wanted to get the boat secured for the night and, checking the forecast, I wasn’t comfortable with any of the anchorages we were considering so we just decided to head into Tofino, only about an eight mile run.  Our boat cruises at 25 knots (about 30mph) and it really gives us a lot of options as we can cover a lot of ground (er, water) quickly.
I was surprised how shallow and flat the water around Tofino is…it’s kind of like a big river delta.  I’m used to seeing hundreds of feet on the depth sounder and get a little freaked out when we’re on plane at 25 knots in twenty feet of water.  As you can see below, there’s good reason to be.
They made the most of it though.  (Not quite my idea of a beach picnic.)  Plenty of time to rest before high tide.
All of the public docks were jammed with fishing boats and we ended up at the very nice Weigh West Marina with power and water, cell service, and Internet…all in our boat…oh my, what luxuries.  The hot dogs just didn’t cut it so we meandered up to the pub overlooking the marina and had some cold drinks and hot wings.  As nice as it is to have these things, we all decided we’d still rather be in the wilderness.  As you know by now, I’d take an anchorage over a marina most of the time.

As you can see, Connor caught a nice Coho earlier in the day so Val and I portioned him up and vacuum packed him. 
We checked our e-mails and even had a chance to look at some Facebook and other “for fun” websites.  Wow.  We have really been out of communications with the outside world.

The forecast is calling for gale force winds for three days and it’s supposed to hit tomorrow.  I give the family the option of staying in Tofino to wait it out or make the run for Barkley Sound in the morning.  It’s a split vote.  The captain has to decide but will wait for tomorrow’s updated forecast.  For now, it’s bedtime.  Sleep tight.

Day 19- Friday, August 31, 2012- Shelter Inlet- Something's Missing!

Day 19- Shelter Inlet-  Something’s Missing!
We left our cozy little anchorage in Hootla Kootla and went on the outside waters for the short sixteen mile run to Ahousat as I desperately needed to make some calls and check my e-mails and we heard that they had a pay phone there.  In fact they did.  The Ahousat General Store actually had a pretty nice selection of basics…my measurement is if they have more than one flavor of Pringles.  Unfortunately, I kind of got sick of making bread and the store had run out but Val did get some other basic necessities.

After the store owner and I got our wires crossed and crossed about the Internet, I finally understood that he didn’t have WiFi for my laptop but I could use his computer and his dial up connection.  It’s been years since I’ve used a dial up connection.  Wow!  Every e-mail took about 3 minutes to load…arghhh!  But, I read the ones I needed to.  I paid him for the groceries Val bought, thanked him for the use of his computer and sent Connor to the boat to get him a bag of jerky for his kindness.  I took my laptop and headed for the phone booth.  This (or others like it) is where I spent many hours the last three weeks.  Notice my laptop computer tucked in the corner in it’s case.
One of my colleagues informed me during one of those calls that Monday was a holiday.  I was stunned that it was going to be Labor Day.  I informed Val and Connor and we all laughed that we been so far removed from any kind of schedule or calendar that we didn’t even know it was a holiday weekend.  That’s one of the great blessings of boating.

Well, we topped off the water tank (80 gallons), had basic groceries, communications were adequately up to date, and we were ready for a long holiday weekend.  We sailed north through a very pretty passage and ended up in a place called Shelter Inlet way up in the very tip where there was just the most amazing anchorage with lots of fun things to do.
Connor launched the dinghy and the kayak and we all took off to explore the Watta River.  Connor was towed in the kayak by the rest of us in the dinghy.  It was stunning.  The water was so crystal clear and the current was flowing hard.  The mountains were sky high with sheer, rock cliffs.  It was like Yellowstone on the water.  The pictures just don’t even come close to doing it justice.  We went as far as we could and we knew the tide was dropping so I gave the crew 30 minutes to hike as far as we could and then get back to the dinghy before we were stranded waiting for the next high tide.

Thirty five minutes we got back to the dinghy and the tide had dropped the river a good foot.  We banged all the way down the river and left a lot of gel coat on the Watta River rocks.  The dogs had to walk and Connor went solo in the kayak leaving me to pull my bride over the rocks.  We made it but another 15 minutes and we’d have been in a real jam.
We explored the cove together and found some little waterfalls, lots of different kinds of birds, but, most amazing of all was just the grandeur of God’s amazing creation here.

Back on the boat, Val started making a feast fit for Neptune.  I’ll let the pictures tell the story.  It was amazing!  We are eating very, very well!

I thought some of you might like to see inside the boat.  Now, you have to remember that life on board a 33’ footer with three people and two dogs is a bit cramped.  Everything has a purpose or two or three.  Our dinette for example, also serves as forward facing seats during transits and a dinette for meals and also makes into a bed, if we need a third berth.  So, there you have three uses or purpose for the dinette.  The head is one room that also serves as shower.  You can do your toilet duties while taking a shower….nice.  The galley has a small fridge, a two burner stove, a convection/microwave oven, and a one bowl sink.  We also have a chest freezer in the fish hold compartment under the back deck as well as a cooler where we keep our beverages and ice.  We have a hot water heater that is heated by the engines or the genset so we always have hot water.  The diesel furnace keeps us warm and dry on cold or rainy days.  We use it as a dryer and turn it up and open all the windows…it’ll cook us right out of here but only burns about a cup of fuel an hour…I love it.  Connor has his own berth as do Val and I.  In fact, our bed is almost as big as a king size bed and a portion of it is removable during the day to make it a nice dressing room as well.  With the inverter and the genset we also have 110 power any time we need it.  Val likes her hair dryer, curling iron, and oven.  All in all, it is really remarkably comfortable for it size.
Our chest freezer fits perfectly one of the fish holds.

Dinnette seat also faces forward and also makes into a bed.

Connor's Berth/Classroom

Well, after Val’s amazing meal, I went to get my computer to blog and realized it was not on the boat!  Oh crap!  I left it in Ahousat in the phone booth!  Oh no!  I have done some pretty stupid things on this trip (that you’ll never know about) but this one was close to the top.  I can’t even tell you how much my laptop means to me.  I didn’t sleep very good thinking about it every moment I woke up.  With no cell signal, I couldn’t call the store to have them find it.  I had resigned myself to the fact that it was likely gone.  At least I had it all secured and I still had my smart phone.
We had to cruise very close to Ahousat the next day anyway so I was just praying, literally, that someone would have brought it to the store as lost and found.  Praying!

That’s the Friday update but I didn’t write this on Friday because my laptop is missing!  Continued on next entry…