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Florence Cove, BC to Bull Harbor, BC

Friday, June 4 - A 6:30 am departure got us through Yuculta Rapids and to Gillard Passage at 7:30 am, and on to Dent Rapids right at 8:30 at slack.
Picture of Codero Channel

Manali and a ketch, motoring past Dent Rapids in Codero Channel.

A pair of porpoises and a sea lion greeted us leaving Hole-In-The-Wall and I was surrounded by a pod of frolicking porpoises after passing the Dent Islands. Again, this was my private show, and it lasted for around 15 minutes. I took pictures and John and Barbara later said they could even see them splashing from a quarter of a mile away.

The run down Nodales Channel and out Johnstone Strait was easy. I even got the mainsail up for a nice push. I had planned to stop at Billygoat Bay in Helmckens Island, but it was such a fine run I kept going to the bay at Tuna Point, where John said they were headed for the night. They had continued on however to Port Harvey, some 12 miles further. I talked to him later on VHF. We agreed to meet at Alert Bay, where it was to be dinner out on me this time.
50 miles - 8.5 hours - Heavy rain

Saturday, June 5 - I awoke at midnight to howling wind and a lot of motion, it was pitch black outside and the howling grew. By 1:30 am my spotlight showed I was engulfed in whitecaps with wind waves up to deck level. Gale force winds were coming from the west, not the south as forecast, and I was completely exposed to them. I was definitely dragging to the east. The depth sounder showed 20 feet instead of the 30 feet I had anchored in. As near as I could tell from the rock wall, I had stopped dragging, however, so I decided to wait and watch. By 3 am, the wind slackened, and I was able to doze off a few times, but it was a terrifying experience and I felt quite shaken in the morning. At daylight, I found myself 50 yards further to the east than I had been at dusk. Hauling up the anchor at 7 am, a football sized rock came up in the flukes. This was to be my last night with the Danforth anchor for the trip.

Johnson Strait
Johnson Strait

There was just enough breeze coming down Johnstone Strait that I could pick up an additional half knot with the mainsail up. I found a whale watching boat in my path as I neared Alert Bay. I changed my course to avoid the boat and that put me right into the pod of Orca whales they were watching. The whales didn't seem to mind. As I pulled into the outer float at Alert Bay, my warning buzzer came on. I immediately shut down and checked the oil and water and found the water low, so I topped it off. The wake from a passing cruise ship proved that my small fenders weren't up to the job of keeping Corleto off the float. It was too shallow on the inside, so after visiting the fuel dock, I moved inside the breakwater toward the center of town and found a slip there. John had larger fenders so he stayed at the outer float.

I stopped at the information office on the way back through town and found that the museum closed at 5 pm so I first went on to see the 'Namgis Burial Grounds and then the museum. This is the U'Mista Cultural Center. The most interesting part of the Center's collection were the repatriated artifacts which had been confiscated from the Village Island Potlatch in 1921. Many of the remaining artifacts are still in other muuseums and private collections, so the repatriation is still ongoing. There is also a fine collection of present day Kwakwaka'wakw artwork in the gift shop.

Then I was off to find a shower. I opted to pay $5 for a shower at the hotel rather than $2 at the campground up the hill, thinking it would be better. I had plenty of hot water this time but it was a closet affair with no hooks for clothes or sink to shave. After dinner with John and Barbara, I got ice just as the store was closing, but I missed out again on getting groceries. I spent the last of the daylight shackling on the new CQR anchor and figuring how to lash it to the roller and pulpit so it would stay put in rough seas. I had no luck in trying to figure out what was causing the problem with the buzzer, and by then it was nearing midnight and I was cold and exhausted.
35 miles - 8 hours - hard rain and cold - slept with long johns on for the first time.

Alert Bay to Bull Harbor

Alert Bay to Bull Harbor

Sunday, June 6- Left at 6:10. The warning buzzer came on half a mile from the dock. I immediately shut the engine down and checked the bilge for oil or coolant. I was convinced it must be low oil pressure, since it wasn't overheating according to the gauge and the heat exchanger was topped off. I also had discovered that the low oil pressure light wasn't working. I had thought it was, but this led me to believe low oil pressure was the problem. I had the option here of going to Port Mc Neill, where I might find someone to repair the problem. Since the prevailing winds here are westerlies, I could always decide at Bull Harbor and then sail back. I was afraid to ignore the buzzer, however. I didn't want to chance ruining my engine from insufficient oil pressure. Since there was a good easterly blowing, I continued under sail to Bull Harbor.

I spent the whole time fretting over the engine problem and worrying about how well the CQR would ride on the bow and if I would be able to get it lashed down and unlashed in time to keep from drifting into things. I had not gotten over that night of dragging anchor at Tuna Point yet and I also had not caught up on my sleep.

Photo of me by John in Bull Harbor

Bull Harbor

Inside Bull Harbor one can hear the crashing of the surf on the outer beach. If it hadn't been raining so hard, I'd have launched Isabella and gone out to have a look. Instead, I turned in early. It's quite a beautiful and secure harbor and I slept well.
45 mi - 8 hours - rainy and cold again

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