One of the most other-worldly anchorages we've found. West of Prince Rupert, across Chatham Strait, Edith Harbor is tucked away among a collections of bonsai garden topped islets. The approach in at low low tide, we are close to a full moon, was along a granite cliff and through granite upthrust along either side of the channel. After an epic day of sailing we motored in through the passage at around 7:30 last night, shaking our heads, overwhelmed by the beauty. The sun was still high and the water was dazzling with diamond like reflections.
Yesterday we set out with modest goals - sail to Lawson Cove, a bit west of Prince Rupert, from there sail to Foggy Bottom in the US, an anchorage allowed by US customs as long as we call ahead, at least so we've read. Setting out yesterday morning at six the waters were lightly rippled like a sheet of poured glass, with slight undulations and wavelets, but diffuse. The sky was a delicate blue and the distant mountains had a subtle softness, stepping away in various cool shades. There was a knot of wind and so we motored out, chugging along, passing long lines of debris - logs, whole trees, bull kelp, sticks - organized by various ebb currents into undulating bands. Crossing along side, or through them our depth meter would jump from 300 feet to 6 feet, setting off alarms, then drop down again as whatever hidden curtain of kelp slipped by underneath.
After lunch the winds started to pick up, we had motored quickly past Lawson Cove and set our sights on a distant goal. With the weather so favorable and the waters so calm we headed for Dundas Island, out in Chatham Strait and much more exposed to the waters of the Pacific than the inside route heading north out of Prince Rupert, which hugs the BC coast. With the winds at 12 knots we were able to put up all sails soon after passing Prince Rupert. We had the wind coming from the direction we were headed and so made a series of long tacks across the wind enjoying the roller coaster action of the waves coming to us from the Pacific Ocean. It was excellent sailing. Good winds, good sized waves, the BC coastline a range of distant mountains, a couple peaks still showing snow, to the west a clear horizon, a vast field of undulating sea and a pale blue sky above. We made our longest distance yesterday, some 60 nautical miles, impressive for us. The incredibly long days help, we are getting first light around 4am and at 11pm there is enough light to see by. Anchoring and putting Tumbleweed to bed until 8:30 in full light make a long day like that a real joy.
Rum and tonics in the cockpit, massive plates of spaghetti romesco, deep sleep. Rum was a bottle of Ron del Barrilito, Puerto Rican, that we had been given by the charter company we went through when we sailed in the BVI a few years ago. Neither of has ever been that into rum but it seems appropriate out here, and I like the reference of drinking something connected to that trip a few years ago - chartering in a foreign country was so daunting. But it was all part of the foundation we tried to build to be able to take off on a trip like this. And it reminds me of Mom and Bob, who were there with us. Really good memories mixed in with these new ones.
We have this cove to ourselves, it is so peaceful, many songbirds in the trees of the islets. Napoleon the seal just popped his head up. Last night a small flock of Canadian geese flew over us as we tidied up for the night. After a slightly overcast morning the sun is out and burning off the clouds. I'm in a tee shirt in the cockpit, feeling like a summer morning.Homemade granola for breakfast.
We had an excellent day at Edith Harbor instead of moving north. We put together the kayaks and spent the day paddling around the islets in the harbor. The harbor has what seems like at least a dozen small islets, each a beautiful base of granite, horizontally colored - first with brown and yellow from seaweed and silt at the low water mark, then a band of dark grey or black from the low to high water mark, then a band of white lichen above high water. The subtle tones and richness of the granite and various shades of water, kelp, lichen, moss, is austere, like zen master robes.
Above the granite foundation is a dense mass of gnarled trees and undergrowth, lichen, moss, the occasional well worn animal path, all compacted into a solid green mass, nurtured with a thin cover of soil. I was mesmerized, paddling around each one, drifting along the sheer, high faces of a few that had gained vertical mass. Lots of photos of granite, the patterns, crevices, occasional contrasting trees. Excellent day.
Back to Tumbleweed the wind had died and the sun had come out bringing with it satan's winged insects. Some sort of little fly, maybe black flies? They swarmed over us even though we covered ourselves in Avon Skin So Soft and some herbal bug spray. I think I'll be buying Deet or agent orange in Ketchikan. We hung out our mosquito netting over the cockpit and they kept them mostly at bay, but in the 45 minutes I was on deck taking down the kayaks they attacked my temples and neck, and my temples have 6 or so swollen, bloody marks. Douglas has several good lumps, one bloody one under his left eye and a massive lump on his forehead. They are tiny and soundless, and were gone once the wind picked up. High marks for the beauty of Dundas Island but bring a mosquito net.
Up anchor at 7am, as it surfaced Douglas called me forward to show me that our anchor had snagged on some ancient, rusty slab of metal and it was hooked to our chain. He was working at it with the boat pole for a bit when one of the guides with the MV Parry, set up to do charter fishing out of Prince Rupert, came over and lifted the slab of metal off, freeing us. He thought it might be a leftover piece of one of the mooring buoys that used to be in Edith Harbor. High fives and praise to the crew of the Parry - a beautifully restored large yacht - looks like a workboat from the 40's, I'll have to look it up. They have a collection of 4 sharp looking fishing skiffs they they pull along behind them and take clients out for weeklong fishing excursions. Looks pretty 1st class. Grateful for their help, it would have been a real project for us to get out to the bow and work that thing off, from a rubber dinghy - not a solid aluminum skiff.
We set out this morning from Dundas Island to Foggy Bay, the halfway point to Ketchikan. Very light winds, 1 - 4 knots most of the way, most we saw were 7 knots as we neared Foggy Bay, so no sailing. A real shame - it was sunny and gorgeous, water was flat as far as we could see. Would have been amazing with a little wind.
We scoped out Foggy Bay's Outer Cove but it looks too exposed and the swinging room, depth ratio seemed sketchy. There is also some sort of camp set up on the shore. We went on to the Inner Cove and on the way watched a whale surface several times, maybe a humpback, it was pretty large. Inner Cove is excellent. Plenty of swinging room, protected surrounded by forest with a view through a pass to the sound. We were joined by 2 motor yachts about an hour after we anchored and all is pretty quiet now.