Bull Harbor, BC to North Harbor, BC
Leaving Bull Harbor
Monday, June 7 - Left Bull Harbor at 6 am to cross Nahwitti Bar at the 7:10 slack high. The buzzer came on again just as I was leaving the harbor, so had to shut down and check everything. I added my last 1/4 quart of oil and presto! The buzzer remained off. It had been a little below the mark, maybe it needed to be clear up to the full mark? I flagged down John as he was passing me (typical, as he has the faster boat) and got him to toss me a spare quart of oil in case I needed to top off again. Seeing a pod of whales, having Nahwitti Bar behind me and no buzzer going off restored my confidence and I was feeling quite content passing around Cape Scott. This was something I'd dreamed of doing for over thirty years.
John had elected to go about 4 miles further out to do the rounding. All of a sudden he was gone. No, there he was, how did he get so far south so quickly? While I was bucking a 2 knot current around the Cape at a mile out, John had managed to pick up a favorable current further out. I looked at tucking into Guise Bay to anchor, but chickened out. If I had a crew, I'd have done it.
Entrance to Sea Otter Cove
Sea Otter Cove is entered from the south, so one has to round Cape Russell through a maze of rocks. I had apparently entered a GPS waypoint incorrectly, as I was unable to make sense from where it was trying to guide me. Fortunately, there was no fog and it was quite easy to pick my way in visually. Once inside, I headed for the mooring buoys only to have the shallow alarm go off. 2 fathoms, then 1.5 then 1.1. Time to stop and check out the chart. I had nearly run aground. This was a minus tide and one has to wind ones way in. I tied to a buoy, the dreaded buzzer sounding again. I unlashed Isabella, broke out the oars, and we were off. I swung by the pilothouse that had just come in to see if they
knew where the trail started. They had been at Bull Harbor the night before also. They didn't know but wished me luck in finding a glass ball. I ran aground about half a mile from shore.
Going around the shallow spot, I did get a bit closer but still had to tow, drag and carry Isabella half a mile to get her to high ground as I didn't want to have the tide come in while I was gone and not be able to reach her when I returned. Another 3/4 miles to the very head of the bay revealed the trail. This is like no other trail.
I sank in up to my knees in spots in the soft bog. The way it wound around, I was sure I'd lost the main trail at one point as I appeared to be headed back to the cove.
On the way, I came across this spruce tree with huge burls in it's trunk.
Finally, after nearly an hour, I came out at Lowrie Bay, which along with Sea Otter Cove, is part of the huge Cape Scott Provincial Marine Park. Arriving at the beach at Lowrie Bay was eerie. The only tracks to be found in two miles of sand were those of a bear. A glass ball could be hidden here and it might take a week to find it. In most places there is 30 yards of freshly churned driftwood, and another 30 yards of old bleached out logs, which apparently didn't get moved during the past winter. This wood is big, many logs 40 feet or more in length and up to several feet in diameter. Lots of balls and floats, but all plastic. Near the trail head, people had collected plastic in garbage bags. I found beautiful wild flowers growing in places one would never expect.
Returning to Corleto, I had to break out the scrub brush and bucket and clean up my foul weather bottoms and boots before bringing them inside the cabin. I checked the oil level and found it up to the full mark. I was too tired to think what it all meant. I hit the sack after dinner without even setting the alarm.
32 mi - 7 hours underway - light rain
Tuesday, June 8 - I slept 12 hours straight. Boy was I tired. The engine oil seemed thin. Perhaps the 60 hours of hard run time had allowed enough fuel to pass the rings to thin it out and that's why the pressure was low. I always change at 50 hours and I had never ran it this hard before. I had not planned to change oil in route, but I needed to give it a try. I left for Quatsino Sound and Winter Harbor at 10:45.
I was able to buy three quarts of oil, a quart of milk, loaf of bread and 20 lbs. of ice for $27. I thought this was a bit steep at first, but since there are no roads into this place, it wasn't such a bad price. Also there was an oil dump right next to the float, so I was able to get rid of the dirty oil and the many oily paper towels it took me to clean up. I usually draw the oil out the dip stick tube, but didn't bring all the gear to do it that way so I had to drain it out the bottom. So, now with fresh 40 weight oil in Corleto, we should have the oil pressure problem solved. I talk to a guy at the float who has just spent all day working on his hydraulic steering system. He told me I might have a stuck pressure relief valve, and that could cause it to have low pressure at low RPM. Motoring out to North Harbor, the dreaded buzzer sounded still. It came on just like before. I dropped back to idle and it stopped, so I went on. I tied up to a buoy for the night and tried not to think about it.
25 mi - 7 hours - heavy mist but no rain - (one can get just as wet in this mist as in rain)