Fury Cove to Kakushdish Harbor
We've had a solid few days coming up from Fury Cove. Bears, whales, a school of jellyfish, numerous birds - many of them eagles.
As we were pulling up anchor at Fury Cove Ray and Gill of SV Kerveza, came over with an offer of fresh caught rock fish. When Ray asked if I knew how to fillet it, I hesitated for a moment, and he offered to fillet it and bring it back over. A few moment later he was back with the fish beautifully filleted and a small ziplock bag of flour and a small ziplock back of crushed cornflakes, with a recipe for how they like to prepare it. Beautiful fish and I was moved by their kindness. They embody this can do, make it happen cruising spirit, they seem to be on the move with their dinghy setting crab or prawn traps or zipping off to catch fish, their dog Kona on the bow a shaggy figurehead.
The forecast was for 15-20 knots of wind in the afternoon and we were ready to finally do some sailing. We motored out of Fury Cove in a dead calm and into the dead calm waters of Fitz Hugh Sound. But the sun was out and the water sparkled as though covered in sequins. After a half hour on the water we spotted a massive whale off in the distance. It dove, kicking up an immense tail fluke that hung in the air for a moment. Twenty minutes later a massive whale surfaced off our port side, taking a few moments to take on air before sliding back under the surface. We identified it as a Minke whale and it might have been the same as the first we saw. Some twenty minutes further on we had our third whale sighting, a different whale we were unable to identify. It surfaced off our port bow, coming up for air a couple of times and taking its time. We were the only vessel in sight, the water was flat, we spent the afternoon scanning north and south but did not seen any other whales.
The entrance of Green Island Anchorage weaves around a few small islets before lining up with a narrow slot in to a small cove. As we made our final approach into the slot we passed over a field of jelly fish. They were white, about hand sized, and in that area appeared to be in the thousands. The water was very clear and as far as we could see into the depths and for several minutes as we idled forward to the cove we passed over them.
Green Island Anchorage is beautiful, enclosed by a rocky shoreline with a small gap to Fitz Hugh Sound. There is a an area of brambles and vivid green vegetation over a midden, otherwise the shore is covered with stunted trees. Navigating into the cove we wove in through a couple small islets and up a back channel and into the entrance which is sheltered from Fitz Hugh Sound by small islands.
We had the cove to ourselves for about an hour before a prawn boat arrived. They promptly dropped anchor and disappeared below deck. But it is a large cove and other than their generator was peaceful and still.
I followed Gill's recipe for the fish, rolling them in flour and crushed cornflakes that I seasoned with smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Fried in the dutch oven. Delicious - firm, white flesh, it's been some time since I've had fish as delicious as that. Served up with mashed potatoes, the last of our lettuce, and a glass of fine boxed wine "from foreign grapes".
The sun went on and on, until late in that evening and we ate in the cockpit, looking out through the small gap in the cove to Fitz Hugh Sound.
We spent a day exploring the cove mostly rowing with the dinghy. (Our dinghy is an inflatable and incredibly practical - we can deflate it and store it below decks, it is lightweight, will take an outboard motor, very stable, holds many people - but rows like a bathtub with short oars. Each time I row it I fantasize about a wooden tender with nice long oars. Lately I've been mentally designing a dinghy out of carbon fiber panels that would slot together and when not in use collapse into a flatpack like a portfolio case.......)
But back to the cove. One of the most beautiful features of Green Island is the site of an ancient midden. Native people had lived at one time on a small islet in the cove and over generations their tossed aside clam shells built up a midden that could archeologically be explored to understand more about them. At present the midden is covered in dense, brilliant green brambles, utterly inaccessible from the shoreline. We rowed around the islet and found the that three of the small islets connected at low tide with a small patch of sand. We tied up the dinghy and began to follow a large game trail up the steep side of the islet. This side of the islet was dense with cedar trees and close undergrowth, the ground spongy and deep with decaying branches, leaves, organic matter. I took a couple photos and began to follow the game trail up to the higher level of the islet and through the trees to the midden. It was dense and dim under the trees and I stopped for a moment to see massive impressions under a couple of the trees, body sized wallowing areas for a large animal, perhaps a bear, in my mind, most like a bear, and certainly a female bear with cubs. The large game trail with footprints became the walking path of grizzlies and my interest in exploring the midden evaporated. Douglas and I went back to the dinghy and rowed off to explore another area.
The next day we finally had a chance to get the sails up and had a beautiful sail to Warrior Cove, a narrow, long indent off Fitz Hugh Sound. Once we were anchored back in a shallow area the swell from the sound mostly disappeared and we had a quiet night with great views down the inlet to the sound. We were entertained by several large bald eagles, one that had a nest at the mouth of the cove high on the tallest tree, a massive pile of branches. I've read that eagle nests can weigh as much as two tons. We tried our hand at crabbing, putting out a trap a short row from the boat, with no luck. We also rowed ashore and walked the small beach. Like most inlets we've seen here there are usually no beaches or just a small landing, for the most part the shoreline is steep rock to the waterline and once it begins to level off and accumulate soil is thick with underbrush and gnarled pine.
From Warrior Cove we sailed for Fancy Cove, through Fitz Hugh Strait to Lama Passage. Coming into the passage at the first red channel marker I saw a massive white splash out of the corner of my eye. A whale had breached and in landing had caused a massive splash. It looked like a small car had been dropped from a helicopter. I went into fwd idle and turned to port, away from the whale. Soon we saw that it was part of a pod and for the next 20 minutes we idled slowly away from them and watched as a group of at least four humpback whales breached, dove, spouted and played around. It was awe inspiring to see a massive whale come fully out of the water, seem to hang for a moment in air and then crash down creating a cloud of spray. We drifted away and used binoculars to watch them at play. They were utterly magnificent and I was overwhelmed with the happiness of seeing such beautiful creatures.
Fancy Cove is beautiful and deserves a keener name than “Fancy” - it sounds like a grade of produce. Straightforward anchoring - we probably could have anchored a bit further back in shallower waters but we were in about 36 feet of water and it was still as a bathtub. No other boats around. Very quiet, not much in the way of wildlife there. Kakushdish Harbour, Denny Island
Sweet sail from Fancy Cove through Lama Passage yesterday. Lama Passage is wide enough and the wind was mostly on our beam, for a few gentle tacks up to the turn north to Shearwater. We were passed by an immense Alaska bound barge, from a distance it looked like a cruise ship, a couple of pick up trucks stacked on top of the shipping containers looked like toys.
We pulled into Shearwater around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. It is an area resupply point with groceries, marine supplies, fuel, etc. We were planning on getting a few charts and supplies, topping off the fuel and water, staying the night if the price was right or anchoring in the bay. Dock rates are at summer cost of $1.50 a foot plus $10 for power, we passed. The fall back was the harbor for anchoring but it was too deep, with high tide taken into account we'd be dealing with 70 feet for scope. So off to Kakushdish Harbour, three miles away and really happy we did.
Slightly tricky getting in, narrow, shallow slot under power lines but there were only 3 kts of wind and very easy to navigate. The harbor itself is wide and shallow, we anchored in 17feet, set well in mud. There was one other boat when we pulled in, a cute small sailboat with a clunky pilot house and workboat lines, like the drawing of a sailboat I'd make as a child.
While I cooked dinner an eagle wailed on and on, a plaintive cry that sounded unmajestic, forlorn, piercing. There were also many small birds that ran a straight line together, maybe 100 in a row, then took turns dunking one after another like a Berkley Busby scene. This harbor is on the edge of native lands and other than a small cabin at one end there are not signs of people. Early in the evening an aluminum fishing boat with a group of young first nations people - 3 guys and two girls - came into the harbor, drifting past, smoking weed and drinking beer. After hanging out at the far end of the bay they came over to talk with the lady in the small sailboat who had rafted up with another couple in a motor boat, then motored over to us. They were in good spirits and asking where the party was, joking around, then puttered off to the other end of the harbor and laughed and carried on for another hour or so before revving up and blasting out the passage.
Big thunderheads built up on the horizon late in the afternoon and there were a few massive rolls of thunder but after a couple of hours the clouds melted away and we had a clear evening.
Sun was a glow at 10:30 when we went to bed last night and it was glowing before we woke early this morning. Blue skies all around today, warm already. Off to Shearwater in a bit then aiming for Roscoe Inlet - supposed to be gorgeous with massive vertical walls of granite.