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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5/13 The old Cannery

Today we motored to Shearwater/Bella Bella. A completely uneventful day. No wild life, nor marine life, 2 boats seen. A USCG cutter and a ferry/cruise ship. Last time we were in Shearwater it was July and the place was hopping. Today two other cruise boats here and there isnt even a wharffinger. In fact the whole wharfinger houseboat is gone. There was though still an eagle that one of the local feeds every night. He came swooping in for tuna. The giant bird sees him in his white overalls, lights in a tree, then when the food is placed on the picnic table he swoops down and off he goes.


Day before yesterday was a long day. We made it around Cape Caution. Long day but we were able to sail. Yea! Still no sea mammals sighted. We anchored at a place called Goose Neck Bay, the sight of an old cannery. There was one other sailboat there when we arrived. A bit after we got settled a man from the old cannery came out, Mark, and introduced himself and invited us in to see the cannery. We were so tired we just couldn't do it. 10 hours around Cape C and we were tuckered out.


The next morning though we were all dressed in our warm clothes and ready to head out when we heard the weather, 30mph in the strait. We decided to stay put. A bit later in the morning, while the second batch of home made bread of the trip was rising the fellow on the only other boat in the bay rowed over and offered us some fresh crab. Nice older fellow. On his way solo "north." He gave us three crab which I quickly dispatched and plunged into a cooking pot. So spent the day baking bread and cookies and cleaning,cooking and cracking 3 big dungeoness crab.



In the afternoon after a few chores we took a dingy ride around the bay. There were bald eagles, some sort of osprey or golden eagle and a sea lion that followed us around the bay for a bit. Never too close but right off our tail. Once round the bay we stopped at the cannery and were met by Dave. Turns out he was the original instigator for getting a group of 20 Burnaby firemen to all go in on the old delapitated cannery. They have spent the last 7 years rebuilding walkways and dock areas and are now working on a caretakers loft.



Dave gave us a great tour of the place. Lots of history and info. When the canneries closed usually what they did was just pack up the men and lock the doors and go. Everything else stayed right where it was sitting. The firemen have done a bunch of rebuilding and shoring up and such but for the most part it is exactly as they found it. Complete with cook house, old chairs and couches, a pool table and shuffle board, a laundry room and dozens of cabins and dormitory rooms. He said the place is basically just for the firemen and their families. They come every year for work parties and then they come in the summer with kids and parents and all.

He was a wealth of information and it is just too bad we didn't have more time to pick his brain for local attractions. He did tell us about the big ol grizzly bear that was joined one spring by a sow who left her two year old cubs across a creek. And about a place nearby where there is an old fish camp complete with ancient native skeletons laying out on slabs amidst the boulders. Sounds cool though sort of creepy. He said there are places all over the coast where there are old native sites that are not in the books;pictographs and burial sights and middens and entire abandoned camps. We will keep our eyes open but we could spend a whole summer in the area and not stumble on the stuff this guy knows about. Nice folks all around and we wish the Burnaby firemen much luck and long summer days to enjoy.



5/10/10 First black bear of the trip.


Traveled well up Johnstone Strait till a turn off towards Port Harvey. Was a long day, more than 9 hours on the water. The strait was fine for a long time but about 2 started kicking p. By the time we pulled off to Boughey Bay off the Port Harvey cut off it was blowing 25. Immediately after pulling off the strait it got quiet. A 3 1/2 mile trip inland to secluded silent Boughey Bay. I had begun my bear watch earlier in the day sure that we were in bear country. As we pulled into Boughey I was at the bow getting ready to anchor and I saw a black spot. One of hundreds I had checked out that day. Then it moved. A nice, fat, lumbering black bear. He didn't seem to pay us any mind even when we pulled the anchor in to reset. This morning at 6am as we took off he was there again but more conservative in his sleepiness, He lumbered off as soon as Bill got on deck.
This morning we are off to the North through Blackfish Ssound. Going first past Robson Bight were the whales rub their bellies. We wont get close enough to see any belly rubs but maybe we may see some in transit nearby.



5/9/10 Miss my mom!


Happy Mothers Day. The first mothers day in my life away from my mom. I cant even really think about it too much or I start to cry. Better not to go there now. I did send a card from Friday Harbor and it should have gotten there in plenty of time.



After leaving Nanaimo relatively late we headed north along the east coast of Vancouver Island (the west side of the straits of Georgia. We didn't leave Nanaimo until after 11 so we didn't make it too far. We motored to Hornby Island and stayed at the same big bay we stayed on last time we came through here. Last time we ran into a pod of orcas right off the anchorage, no such luck this time. Also last time we were there the bay was full. Many many boats, lots of people playing on the beach and in the water. We took a short walk towards the campground and found a small town with a summer market that was bustling. This year there was only one other boat and we didn't even get close to them. We anchored using our new anchor. Yea! and had a good rest, The next morning we were up early and there was no wind so we decided to work on our main sail reef. We barely got the sail on before we left and we hadn't had a chance to make adjustments to the new reefs.


We left and headed north again with our eyes on Campbell River. We have never been along this eastern coast so it was all new. The weather was warm and sunny and we just put putted along. Just past Campbell River is Seymour Narrows of the famous now blown up Ripple Rock. The tides are pretty heavy duty and we just missed being able to get through. We should have done our sail work later. Oh well. We stayed the night at April Point Cove surrounded by a scattering of houses and a couple of fishing lodges and such. When i first dropped the anchor it didn't set so I brought it up. When it was within sight I noticed the shackle' was twisted oddly so I called Bill up and went to the helm. What I didn't see but Bill saw was we also had a cable across our anchor. Oops! We didn't see the cable sign at all until later. Even then it showed it in an odd place. Well no one came out to kick our ass and the RCMP didn't show up so we apparently didn't sever anything but it reminds us to be more careful. Even the books didn't show the cable run.


This morning we were up and headed to the narrows at 730. The narrows didn't amount to much and we saw only one other boat. It is so early in the season. Now we are nearly half way up Johnstone Strait the notorious "high wind area." There is little wind and no waves to speak of. I even managed to clean the whole boat and take a hand at the helm for an hour or so. Also got a chance to go through the book on our chart plotter. Frankly charts seem better.



5/7/10 anchors away! (literally)



Haven't written since leaving Pt T. From there we motored to Friday Harbor where we waited out a blow. We ended up spending two nights while the wind blew to 35 0r 40. Nothing really of mention at Fr H except I made it to an AA meeting, The 514 &389. Lovely meeting where they used a pack of cards, 52 AA big book questions. it was interesting and there was good sobriety in the room. I have managed to spend a half hour or so each day that we are underway reading grapevine and contemplating recovery.


After froday harbor we headed to BC where we cleared customs in Sydney then moved on to Montague Harbor for the night. We have been there before but both times later in the season. The place was essentially deserted. We were planning on going farther but the rain was imminent and we hadn't used our new Rocna anchor yet so we decided to anchor at Montague in the daylight for our first anchoring of the trip. The Rocna preformed startelingly well. I was at the winch and let out the chain. When we had about 125ft of chain out we backed up. Sowly. The chain tightened and then we snapped around hooked and set.!!


From Montague we headed through Discovery Passage at 5am headed for somewhere North. It had already been a long day when about 1pm we lost the new anchor. Yep, the winds were 15-20 and the waves were steep. Tide was changing we were burying the bow of the boat over and over. Stuff shaking loose. I was watching as the anchor plowed through the waves thinking that it was scooping too deep and wondering if we had it secured well enough. The next instant,it was just gone. Gone, gone, gone. Off the bow roller and traveling fast dow 400plus feet. It was startleing. This was a brand new 88# anchor. We installed it right before we left. We used the seizing wire from the old anchor with every intention of replacing it with new. Expensive mistake and frankly a little embarassing. The wire had worked loose on the shackle and off it went. An expensive mistake, lesson learned.



We had been hoping for a long day to put some miles behind us, aiming for Comox when we detoured to Nanimo hoping we could find an anchor. Any anchor. We stayed at the boat basin at 57$ a night that we wernt planning on spending. There was a marine store a 5 minute walk into town and amazingly they had Rocnas. But not one large enough for our boat. But after a telephone call there was one on its way to arrive friday morning. We decided two nights was worth having a decent anchor for the rest of the trip and so stayed another night. We kept busy with projects, Bill put our new locks on and I worked on a second set of sheets for our bed.


This mornig bright an early we were at the marine store shelling out $1000.00 we hadnt counted on spending. Aproximatly $1200.00 unplanned dollars spent in Nanimo. Oh well, an expensive lesson. The new anchor is chained and tied and wired and.....and we are motoring ever northward towards Campbell river. The weather is actually quite nice, blue sky and not as cold.
A little behind our predeicted schedule. I miss my dog immensly and I keep thinking maybe I am home sick. If one can be such just a few days from home. Maybe anticipatory homesickness? later.
'

5/2/2010 We did it!

Well everyone its official. We are full time cruisers! 5years almost to the day from when we bought Island Bound we left our home slip at Shilshole headed north. Mom met us for breakfast as did my dear friend Barbara. When we got back to the boat it only took a few minutes and a load of hugs and goodbyes with friends before we threw off the lines for the last time. At the last minute we added a new crew member a small teddy bear that belonged to my brother. I know he would be thrilled with this trip. The little bear has found a lovely spot in the salon with a view up into the cockpit. (I'll take good care of him mom.)


Our first day out was uneventful. The weather was grey and overcast breaking to sun part way and turning into a lovely sunny spring day in Pt Townsend by the time we docked at 2. The only problem we had was a slight leak at a deisel tank connection that was quickly solved with a couple of hose clamps. We met an old friend in the evening and picked up a couple of folding bikes we had recently purchased on craigs list from a seller in PT. Jum picked them up and ferried them to us at the marina in his motorcycle with side car. We took a quick ride to test them out. They need a little TLC and it felt a bit like Homer Simpson riding a clown bike but a few seat and handle bar adjustments and well, it was soon like riding a bike!


After breakfast with Jim we took off across the straits where right now the weather is better than forcast. We arnt sure where we will stop...going to go with the flow for a few days. We wont bore you with the day to day but will be posting on our blog whenever we have anything of interest to share. You can reach us there at ........



svislandbound.blogspot.com


Or via our emails which we will be catching up with in bits and spurts along the way.


Bill endlessbull@gmail.com


Kat sailingkat@gmail.com


or through face book at ...BillandKat Russell.......

Monday, May 17, 2010

5/17 Almost to Alaska

We have been out 17 days and are now poised to enter AK in two days sail. The last couple of days have been hard drives trying to get northward before some bad weather comes in. The trip has been mostly just getting used to being underway again. We have been working so hard the last year or so that we have been on the water very little. So mostly just getting used to a routine again. Early mornings, some long days, listen to the weather, plan a route, take a break and do a project or two, try to remember exactly how I managed to make bread while underway, tired eyes from looking out to the horizon.

We have seen very little marine or wildlife. A pod of dolphins took an early morning look see as we motored out of Ocean Falls at 6am, a black bear at a secluded anchorage, a few bald eagles. and a boat that stopped us to tell us they had just seen two pods right behind us with a new baby in tow...~sigh~ but no show for us. We have beat the humpback and gray whales north and the Orcas are always hit and miss. I am holding out hopes for some sightings soon and for being in the middle of the whale freeway when we head south again. We are in prime Grizzly territory now and will keep a watch out during low tides to see if we can spot one on the beach.

The whales don't come this far north this early because......IT IS COLD! I cant complain really, we have had exceptional weather. No days of rain in fact we have only been in a few drops a couple of times. But in spite of the dryness it is still early May at the 54th parallel. Long johns and gloves and hats and a full thermos. We came to Prince Rupert mostly for a chance to make some arrangements to have some parts for our heater shipped ahead of us to Ketchikan. We have a hydronic hot water and heater unit that decided to go south as we moved north. Luckily Bill was able to jerry rig it a bit but it wont last long like this. So we will make some calls and some emails and see if we can get parts sent ahead asap. Otherwise it could be a looong cold trip.

By the way, if you have never looked Alaska is a huge place. By boat it grows to gargantuan proportions. Honestly, we knew we were coming but were so busy getting ready we saved most of our planning till underway. We move about 6knots an hour which means it takes us ten hours to go 60 nautical miles. Alaska is huge. Even with a may departure we will be hard pressed to see half of what we hoped to see. And what is the fun if you are just pushing, pushing pushing. We like to go a day, stay a day...or two, go a day etc. So my job is to go through the books and narrow down our plans so we can experience Alaska but enjoy the trip too. Seriously, Google AK and look at a map, now divide it into 60mile pieces...... Ketchikan is way down here, Juneau is way up there, Skagway is way the heck up there and Glacier Bay is way over there and Sitka, well who the heck put it way over there? For clarity superimpose AK over say the trip we have taken so far -Seattle through Prince Rupert- lots of miles to go! Most cruisers stay through August and we have to be back to Washington and headed south in August. The only way really is to stay longer times in fewer places and enjoy the experience instead of wearing ourselves out trying to see everything.

So, wish us luck in finding parts for our heater, or send us some sweaters care of Island Bound, wilds of Alaska! Love you all, Kat (and Bill)