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Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

Prince Rupert to Port McNeill:

We have been eating, drinking and dreaming weather for the last 6 weeks! Weather on the Sirus weather, 2 different internet sites and 2 different apps and the trusty VHF weather reporter that wakes me up in the morning and put me to bed at night! This time though, we were a little concerned because of the conflicting predictions from a few of these sources. Never the less, the Captain made the right decisions.

We left Prince Rupert early to try and have favourable currents but to no avail. In showery conditions we were slowed by 1-2 knots of current against us. When the clouds lifted later in the morning, the stunning coastline of Grenville Channel was revealed. Forested mountains with waterfalls cascading down everywhere, fed by the recent rain.

After covering 58Nm to get halfway down the channel, we entered Lowe Inlet and anchored in Nettle Basin just in front of Verney Falls. Here we were treated to salmon leaping to get up the waterfall and to our great excitement a bear appeared and caught to salmon as they made their way up the falls before he wandered back into the woods. A wannabe superyacht arrived not long after just in time to get their noisy jet skis out to make sure no bear will show his face again. How considerate.

At least we managed to get some great shots with the drone of the bay, falls and the lagoon beyond.

The next morning saw us up anchor early to get down channel with the ebb tide, doing 9+ knots. The thick morning fog made it almost impossible to see the boats in front of us. With the help of our night vision camera and the radar, me managed to get through the fog.

Talos leaving Nettles Basin

Talos leaving Nettles Basin

Upon exiting the channel, we noticed 2 whales bubble feeding along the shore. With great care Johann slowly inched closer until we were less than 50 meters from them and then followed them for about one hour as they slowly made their way along the shoreline, feeding as they went. Getting that close to them for that long was one of our best experiences ever with whales!

It was such a wonderful experience and the pictures came out absolutely brilliant, that I have granted the whale bubblefeeding a seperate blog in order to do justice to the pictures. Here is a teaser, but the rest will be in the next blog. Watch this space!

Whales bubble feeding

Whales bubble feeding

After this wonderful treat, we continued on to Khutze inlet with its large salmon river emptying at the head of the inlet. We anchored in 24 meters, at high tide, near the river mouth in a safe enough spot according to the books and charts. The high tide made it possible to get up the river quite far. So we launched the tender immediately to get going before the tide is much lower. As we headed to the river mouth, the sounder on the tender showed a sand spit with water depth of  ONE meter about 20 meters off our starboard side. So back to the boat, start motors, up anchor and re-anchored 50 meters further away. The tide was falling fast, only allowing us to get about 500 meters up stream. The wildlife around us was stunning. About 100 harbour seals (skins nearly splitting open from the fat they have built up gorging on the salmon), Bald Eagles everywhere, masses of gulls but no bears on that trip. (It reminds me of someone saying, Bears are everywhere around Alaska and Canada… they might just not be there at that moment you were looking)

That night we were kept awake by the huge colony of noisy seals, hauled out on the now dry sand spit close by. The next morning on a rising tide, we again went upriver.

This time we were fortunate to see a grizzly sow with 2 second year cubs and later a black bear sow with 2 first year cubs. Feeling very happy with our bear sightings so close to the tender, we left Khutze with fond memories.

Scolamanzi in Khutze inlet

Scolamanzi in Khutze inlet

Our next anchorage was about 6 hours away. Along the way we stopped at Klemtu, a small native village, which happened to have good cell phone reception. Getting connected is always a treat and emails the best of all (oh…this is Johann speaking …for me the best would be to get WhatsApp and Facebook – my emails normally means bills to be paid – not news.) From Klemtu we crossed a calm Finlayson Channel and then passed through Jackson Passage and the very narrow Jackson Narrows just on dusk. Having dodged logs most of the day, we were happy to drop anchor in the aptly named Rescue Cove just before dark.

After a quiet night we left at 0630 to get down Mathieson Channel to be at Percival Narrows at slack water. This would be our 4th crossing of Percival and fortunately this time the seas outside in Queen Charlotte Sound was only a low SW swell making rounding Rob Point into Seaforth Channel a breeze.

We passed Bella Bella, an uninspiring first nations village, and then threaded our way through a myriad of small islands and rocks to the very narrow Spitfire Pass leading to the picturesque Spider Islands. Early the next morning we continued thru the islands to briefly anchor at Pruth Bay for lunch. While there, we hooked into the Wi-Fi of the local resort to check emails. After lunch we continue south along Fitz Hugh Sound to Rivers Inlet. Here we anchored in the beautiful Fury Cove. This is a popular anchorage for boats planning to round Cape Caution the next day. For the first time we were in the company of 6 other yachts in the same bay. It happens to be the last weekend before the beginning of the new American school year with lots of boats heading south.

This rounding entails leaving protected waters and be exposed to what the Gulf of Alaska dishes up. Fortunately, the captain picked our window perfectly and had a smooth pleasant trip from Queen Charlotte Sound into Queen Charlotte Strait. The weather outlook remained favourable for the next few days so we decided to cross over to Port McNeill on the north western coast of Vancouver Island to restock before we head to the remote Broughton’s for the next week or so.

Craig and South-West side of Prince of Wales Island

Craig and South-West side of Prince of Wales Island

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