Ship Time

Archived Posts

Inside Passage | Ship's Log

Fraser Reach and Graham Reach

Date/Time:Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Location: Horsefly Cove
Weather: Light winds, High overcast, Barometer falling slightly Plan: Hiekish Narrows, Finlayson Channel, Jackson Passage to Mathieson Channel

Coghlan is a good anchorage for a number of reasons–room, proper depth, good holding, etc. But it does get windy. The wind started building about midnight, so I double-checked the anchoring system and made sure everything on deck was secure. The Dinghy was well fendered and double-tied. The anchor alarms and GPS map were left on for frequent reference. I was up a few times to look around, and I was awakened about 4 a.m. by Elsie’s whining; she was worried because the boat was bobbing in a 2-foot chop and waves were splashing against the bow (she sleeps in the forepeak.) I let her come outside while I checked the anchor rode and made sure everything was secure. She relaxed and went back to sleep while I stayed awake on anchor watch. Another long night.

By 0700 hours things were still lively with gusty winds and lumpy seas, but life goes on…After breakfast Elsie got her run on the beach. As we were returning to the boat, two DeHavilland Beaver airplanes flew in, apparently with clients for the other (charter) sailboat in the anchorage.

We were preparing for departure when we heard a distress call on the radio. The s/v Wharf Rat, a beautiful little wooden schooner that we passed the previous day was having engine trouble in Bishop Bay and was being blown toward the rocks by the wind. We did a quick check and determined that we were about 4 hours away. The Canadian Coast Guard put out a marine assistance call that was answered by another power boat only 20 minutes away, so we went about our business. (The Wharf Rat was successfully towed and moored in Bishop Bay.)

The “outflow winds,” as they are called in Canada, were roaring down Douglas Channel and into Wright Sound, the body of water where we would be most exposed. Fortunately, it was a beam reach and we roared along in the wind and spray with a double reef in the main and 95 percent jib. Our hull speed is only 7.3 knots but today we saw 9 knots on the GPS! Though the strong winds continued until mid-afternoon, we spend most of the day in protected waters having a comfortable ride.

We passed a dozen boats today, nearly all sailboats or fishing boats. It seems that all of the power yachts have already left for the season. One of the sailboat skippers hailed us as we passed each other near Butedale and introduced himself. He had heard us check in on the morning ham radio net, knew we were headed his way, and just wanted to say, “Hi.”

Today was also notable for its wildlife: dozens of humpback whales (on one occasion two monsters surfaced together right behind the boat,) a pod of dolphins playing in the bow wake, and a bear on the beach where we took Elsie for her evening walk.

Tonight’s anchorage is much different that last night’s. Horsefly cove is a tiny little hole surrounded by little forested islands and barely enough swinging room for one boat. Though we are anchored deep (90 feet) and our scope is less than ideal, the winds would hardly touch us in here.

If all goes well, we’re about two days from Shearwater, the strategically located resort that supplies “one stop shopping” for most boaters traveling this part of the coast. It looks like this beautiful fall weather will last a little longer.

Inside Passage | Ship's Log

Kumealon Is. to Coghlan Anch.

Date/Time: September 9, 2014 21:15
Location: Coghlan Anchorage just west of Hartley Bay
Weather: Calm night, clear with a little haze, full moon
Plan: To Bishop Hotsprings via Verney Passage to Ursula Channel – weather permitting

We awoke this morning to dense fog that didn’t start lifting until 11:00 am. We took our time with the morning chores and the fog was just starting to lift as we returned from Elsie’s shore excursion.

Outside our anchorage, Grenville Channel remained thick with fog. As we weighed anchor we could hear the fog horn of a south bound ship; it sounded like a train a mile long before it faded into the distance. Funny how being enclosed by fog makes other boats seem sooooo big and the channel seem sooooo small!

Two hours down Grenville Channel the fog lifted and we had a boost from the tidal current. Fog, as it lifts, has its own ever changing beauty as the world changes from black & white to full color.

Since we were making good time with following seas we continued to Coghlan Anchorage at the south end of Grenville Channel. This is a really nice protected anchorage with great beaches at mid to low tide for dog walking. They are covered with clam shells and have areas of nice sandy beach. We could stand quietly on the beach and hear all kinds of squeaks, squirts and clicking chatter from the life around us. Elsie was surprised to squirt on a beach that squirts back. :0)

From the beach we watched the full moon rise over Promise Island giving a pink glow to the wispy clouds around it. (Poor Roger is about to start hitting his head on his coffee cup if I don’t quit now.) G’night all.

Inside Passage | Ship's Log

Prince Rupert to Kumealon Island in Grenville Channel

Date/Time: September 8, 2014
Location: Kumealon Island
Weather: Clear, full moon, strong northerlies subsided at sunset
Plan: Finish length of Grenville Channel and anchor at Coghlan Anchorage by Promise Island. Alternative destination Lowe Inlet.

After a rainy day yesterday in Prince Rupert we woke up to dissipating fog and clear skies today. Elsie got a good walk up to the propane shop where we topped off our tank. Back at the boat we watered up and untied from the dock. The fuel dock was busy so we hovered while we waited our turn. Once we were full of fuel we were on our way again.

A northerly breeze came up out in Chatham Sound so we put up the jib and motorsailed. Despite 2 to 3 foot seas we had a pretty comfortable ride and arrived at Kumealon Island about 5:00 pm. We tucked in behind the island to have a look at the anchorage and then went up Kumealon Inlet to see what it was like. The inlet was pretty with several good dog-walking beaches but we decided to go back and tuck in behind the island where it was more sheltered – and still had good beaches. After dinner we went out for a row to the beach under a beautiful full moon. As we approached our selected beach it was too dark to see much, but we heard some almighty splashing around that made us think something BIG was on the beach looking for food. So, not wanting to off-load Elsie for bait, we diverted to another beach and left whatever it was to itself. Our boat sure looked homey out there under the full moon with the glow of the anchor light and the red lamp in her windows.

Inside Passage | Places | Ship's Log

“Rain Rupert”

Date/Time: Sunday, September 7, 2014
Location: Prince Rupert Rowing & Yacht Club
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, calm
Plan: Depart tomorrow, southbound to Grenville Channel area.

Today Prince Rupert lived up to its nickname. Our reasonably nice morning weather changed to steady drizzle and heavy fog with moderate breezes by mid-afternoon, as a weather front passed through the area. We were happy to be in port.

We made our run to the grocery store and took care of some minor maintenance items, and then after dinner the weather started clearing from the west. The sunset was spectacular, with low crimson clouds and clear skies to the west. We’re hoping for good weather for the trip through Chatham Sound; the following day we will time our passage to get a tidal push through Grenville Channel.

Inside Passage | Places | Ship's Log

Foggy Bay to Prince Rupert

Date/Time: Saturday, September 6, 2014
Location: Foggy Bay to Prince Rupert
Weather: Light winds, Fog
Plan: 2 nights in Prince Rupert to provision; then south via Grenville Channel


Weighing anchor in Foggy Bay

With a forecast of fog dissipating later in the day, we took our time and left foggy Foggy Bay about 1100 hours. We passed two commercial salmon trollers on the way out, then didn’t see another boat until we neared Prince Rupert. Most of the day was spent motoring in one or two mile visibility until we reached Dundas Island where the fog started to clear. A little wind around the north end of Dundas had us motorsailing at over 7 knots, but the bulk of the trip was motoring in a glassy swell with no horizon–a rather monotonous trip.

The afternoon was punctuated by a small visitor–a dragonfly came to rest in the cockpit. He rested while we watched and photographed him (her?) then about 20 minutes later he stretched and groomed himself, then took off for parts unknown. Hopefully, the west wind took him to land, a couple of miles away.


I AM smiling.

The fog cleared in Chatham Sound so we had an easy trip through the shallow passage east of Tugwell Island, then Venn Passage into Prince Rupert Harbor. About 1930 hours we were secure at the PR Yacht Club dock where Elsie could finally have a good walk and we, a good rest.

Dixon Entrance is behind us now, one of three places on the coast where we are exposed to the ocean seas and weather. Now that we have entered Canada, we can stock up on meats, fresh fruits and veggies, items that we have learned not to carry across the borders. We will spend Sunday here, then head south on Monday.

Inside Passage | Ship's Log

Ice House Cove to Foggy Bay

Date/Time: Friday, September 5, 2014
Location: Anchored in Foggy Bay
Weather: Clear, Calm
Plan: Another leg south tomorrow, either Dundas Island or Prince Rupert

We departed Ice House Cove at 0830 this morning under a low overcast with calm winds. Today’s route took us down the channel on the east side of Bold Island, to Twin Islands, past Mary Island light and directly to Foggy Bay entrance. We anchored at 1400 hours.

We saw very little other traffic; it’s surprising how little activity there is on the water once tourist season ends and fishing season is nearly over. A couple of sport fishing boats near Hog Rocks, a cruiser headed toward Kah Shakes Cove, and a half dozen commercial salmon trollers were our only sightings today. There were a couple of whales feeding near Mary Island Light.

Foggy Bay sunset.

Foggy Bay sunset.

Since we anchored early in the afternoon, we loaded the inflatable and explored the upper reaches of Very Inlet. Very Inlet is salt water with narrow passages and a strong tidal current flow, making for interesting boat driving. The area is alive with Eagles, Blue Heron and plenty of marine life.

We’re eating well these days while Barb uses up some of our ship’s stores that we can’t take into Canada. In the evening we took the dinghy from our anchorage to a west-facing beach to watch the sunset.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the weather forecast and tide tables to decide whether to make the long slog into Prince Rupert (55 miles,) or break the trip into two legs with a stay at Brundige Harbor on Dundas Island.


Inside Passage | Ketchikan Yacht Club | Places

The Docktopus

Date/Time: Thursday, September 4, 2014
Location: Ice House Cove
Weather: Light Drizzle, light fog, calm
Plan: Head south to Foggy Bay, relax and prepare for entry into Canada

Today we started our journey.

Just before departure we were visiting with some new friends, Michael and Susanna Sharp (s/v Bluewater) and learned a new term. We were discussing how hard it is to actually tie up loose ends and get underway, and how easy it is to delay departure for just one more day. Michael said it was a normal trait of the “docktopus,” easy to tie up; hard to get away…perfectly descriptive of what all cruisers experience. We hope to see more of Mike and Susanna as they cruise south to their wintering grounds, Port Townsend. Their cruising blog is

So at 1615 hours we escaped the docktopus and headed south. We, like a lot of cruisers, usually make the first day a very short run. There is value in just getting underway, then dropping anchor to finish organizing the boat for the voyage. So tonight we’re at Ice House Cove, a well-protected cove with a convenient mooring buoy just 5 miles south of Ketchikan.

About 1645 hours we were at the south end of the Tongass Narrows when we saw a humpback feeding ahead. A couple of boats had stopped to watch, and so did we. The whale was obviously feeding in the area and changing direction frequently so we waited for a few minutes to see what it would do. The next time the whale surfaced it was only about four boat-lengths ahead and headed right for us! Then it dove and swam under the boat. With the whale safely astern, we headed south, and continued watching the whale feed in the distance.

Tomorrow may be foggy in the morning; our next planned destination is Foggy Bay.


Ketchikan Yacht Club | Maintenance | People

Ready to Get Underway

Date/Time: Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Location: Ketchikan
Weather: Scattered clouds, breezy
Plan: Prepare to leave Ketchikan tomorrow.

The weather outlook is good, and it’s time to head south on our journey to Puget Sound, but loose ends have kept us for a few extra days. Today we completed the vehicle repair and are ready to park the car in its winter storage spot. The mail we’ve been waiting for has arrived, and it’s time to load the last few items and get underway.

Not that the time here has been bad. On the contrary, September seems to be the time for long-distance ocean cruisers to make landfall in Alaska and start working their way south toward Seattle. We’ll be in good company along the way with such characters as world cruisers John and Amanda Neal aboard Mahina Tiare, ocean cruisers from Homer, Alaska, Holland, France, California and Puget Sound, some of our summer acquaintances who spent time in Ketchikan this summer, and ham radio friends whom we’ve known or heard on the air for years. If the weather holds, this is shaping up to be a very interesting and enjoyable voyage.

Tomorrow is Thursday and, although we’re not superstitious, every sailor knows it’s bad luck to start a voyage on a Friday. So tomorrow we begin our voyage, even if our first anchorage is only a few miles down the trail.

Communications | Maintenance | Preparation

Last Minute Details

camaidockedLocation: Ketchikan
Weather: Rain, wind, cool

It’s Labor Day today, and the weather is a reminder that fall is nearly here. The silver salmon have been in the creeks for a few weeks, and deer season is open. It’s also time for us to depart for Puget Sound.

We have just a few items left on our pre-departure list, and should be on our way by mid-week if the weather holds. We expect to keep a leisurely pace, arriving in the Puget Sound area by about the last week in September.

For family and friends who will be following us, this blog is the best way to see where we are and what we’re doing. We will be updating this website daily whenever possible, so keep checking back.

Ketchikan | Maintenance | Preparation

Spring visited us today


Barb tidies up the halyards

Occasionally Ketchikan sees spectacular boating weather, even in winter. Today was one of those days–warmer temperatures and blue skies were too much to pass up today.

We dressed up CAMAI in her sails and removed most of the winter covers so we could take her out for a shakedown cruise. We motored around Pennock Island in calm conditions for about two hours, checking out all of the new equipment installations.

Oh yeah...THIS is why we have a boat!

Oh yeah…THIS is why we have a boat!

The new depth transducer reads flawlessly down to 600 feet, and the Samsung Android tablet works well as a viewing station for the Raymarine display.  The engine runs well, and the drive train is smooth and quiet since we aligned the engine last summer.

We also identified some new items that need attention such as winches, and that persistent engine starting problem (electrical)… so tomorrow it’s back to the old grind.

Today’s Weather Maps


SE AK Weather

Northern BC Weather

Southern BC Weather