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Old 10-03-2022, 12:37 AM   #21
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Day 10ish. Lost track.
We had enjoyed our time in Princess Louisa, and after 3 days and 2 nights there it was time to move on. We'd heard a lot about the Skookumchuck Rapids (skookum chuck is allegedly Indian for "strong water"), and wanted to see it. The rapids are near the town of Egmont, a jumping-off point for commercial operations taking people by air and boat up to Desolation Sound, Princess Louisa, and other places. There are a few marinas there, but the biggest attraction we heard is the 1.4 mile trail that leads out to an overlook from which you can watch the rapids. At maximum current the rapids can run as high as 16 knots, with a 9-foot overfall (delta between the high side/upcurrent side of the rapids and the low side/down stream side). It's become a big tourist draw, as skilled kayakers in tiny, shorty-kayaks ride the stationary wave produced during the tidal change. These kayakers are amazing, almost acrobatic, performing spins, rolls, and other stunts in the wave. Tour boats cruise thru the rapids at max flow, using powerful outboards to pause so the passengers can watch the kayaks do their thing. There are also some YouTube videos showing the rapids, including some where things went wrong...

We loosed the line from the mooring ball at 1115, and this time the right engine purred without a hiccup. The night before I'd finally remembered her morning habit of quitting after 5 or 10 minutes, and had backed the on-engine (secondary) fuel filter off enough to leak fuel into a copious pile of rags, switched on the prime pump and bled all the air out. We never had another peep out of the warning bell, and the engine behaved from then on.

We cruised thru the Malibu rapids outbound at exactly noon without a hitch, even though we were passing thru them almost an hour early. As promised, we blow the horns to say thanks and goodbye to Jed and the YoungLife facility folks, then cruised with the tide back down Jervis Inlet. I took a nap when we were an hour and half from Egmont. Suddenly the Admiral was sitting next to me saying it was time to get up, we were almost there.

We'd hoped to tie up at the public dock but when we got close we realized how small the dock was - maybe 3 boats could fit per side - and it looked like it was full of local boats, most of which seemed to be long-stay and liveaboard. We went back to "Backeddy Marina", a commercial place with fuel, a store, restaurant, and some cabins to rent. We slid on the the end of the fuel dock in strong currents tugging us parallel and forward. The fuel/guest dock is broadside to the channel leading to the rapids, so every tug, speedboat, fishboat, or ferry that went by let you know of it's passing, but it was nice to be at a dock instead of anchored in the kind of tides that flow thru there. We were there before closing, but I'd gotten no response to my calls on 66A or the phone. I walked up to the office and found it closed. No problem, we'll settle up in the morning I guess. There was a really big wedding happening at the Wilderness Lodge, a high quality restaurant just next to the marina, and we guessed maybe the marina folks were at the wedding. Shortly after we arrived, the bride and groom, father of the groom, and the photographers came down to our dock and took pictures, then the bride and groom hopped into a small fishing boat that the groom owned and took off while the photographer used a drone to capture them, wedding dress and tuxedo lapels flying in the wind as they sped around in their boat.

The sunset was beautiful despite the regular wakes, and the wedding party music wafted across the marina in the breeze as night moved in. We taught our friends to play Farkle/Zilch. My wife won. She always does... It's crazy. It's a dice game with almost zero skill or strategy involved, but she always wins. The dice must be loaded, but only when she rolls.

The next morning we headed out on the trail to the rapids. There's a sweet little bakery on the way, and it was full of good things. We'd just had breakfast, so we figured we'd stop on the way back. As cruisers we should have known better... You'll see. The hike was flat, but felt longer than a mile and half. Turns out it's actually 4km (2.5-ish miles); we'd measured it from the public dock, which was considerably closed by land. No biggie - we're in good shape and enjoyed the hike. To our surprise when we finally arrived at the point to see the rapids there must have been 100 people there! Hmm, this is more popular than we realized; we soon saw why. The kayakers were already in the turbulent water, riding up the large standing wave. We'd arrived about 15 minutes before max current, but the water was roaring thru the narrows. The kayakers were the main attraction; they were orderly, lining up one at a time in two different entry locations. Each one took their turn, usually lasting about 5 or 10 minutes before tiring out or being tossed out of place by the whitewater curling in on top of them. The simple act of getting into the right spot took a lot of effort, and the acrobatics they performed were like a cross-fit workout on steroids. They'd barrel roll, flip, spin, turn 180 and slide down the face of the wave backwards, and several other maneuvers. The crowd would clap for each kayaker when they got in place, and an "Ooohhhhh" would rise from the audience whenever one got pushed out prematurely by the water. It was pretty cool to watch. The kayaks are not normal kayaks. They are to kayaks what shorty skis are to the old 170cm downhill skis - ultra maneuverable, quick turning, light. The people doing the stunts were obviously skilled and experienced.

After the current began slowing we drifted back along the trail toward the boat, with hot bakery pastries in mind. When we arrived they were literally sold out. They had one small pastry left, and the guy in front of us bought it. Should have struck while the iron (pastry) was hot on our way in. Bummer. Lesson learned. Do it now. Don't wait. Tomorrow had no guarantees.

We got back to the boat with about 2.5 hours of sunshine to spare. We paid the marina, loosed the lines, and backed off the dock. While we were away at the rapids the guest dock had filled with boats all around us. Most were people just there to see the rapids. We headed noth a short way, then hung a left (SW) into Agamemnon Channel. That's a mouthful. About an hour or so down the channel on the north side is a sweet little cove called Greene Bay. It's got some shoals and rocks at the entrance and on the way into the anchorage, and it's small, but it's a beautiful place, and it was easy to anchor in 35 feet. We've learned that sometimes you have to live with a 2:1 scope, though. If the weather is flat calm and forecast to remain so, and the anchorage is well-protected by high hills, you can get away with it. It's not normal or comfortable, but it was fine that night. There wasn't room to put out our usual 4 or 5 to 1 scope. We anchored just off a cabin as the sun was setting. After dinner we went up to the bridge and watched the stars and satellites. It was a moonless night, so everything stood out against the black.

We saw something that was just unreal. I've never seen anything like it. This may be old new to others, but it was amazing to see. About an hour after going up there, we're all laying on cushions on our backs, pointing out things we saw and comparing an astronomy book to the different constellations, when we saw what can only be described as a train of satellites. They were very bright, relatively low altitude, and very easy to see. First came one, then a 2nd right behind it, then another and another. They were all exactly evenly spaced, moving quickly across the sky - we counted 30 of them! They were all going in exactly the same direction, directly behind the previous one, perfectly spaced. They kept coming, and coming. It was eerie! Apparently they're ol' Elon's satellites. Elon Musk has launched StarLink, and attempt to provide satellite internet globally. I know several cruisers who use it crossing oceans and internationally along the coasts. We've done our share of star gazing over the years, including once crossing from FL to the Caribbean, but I'd not seen anything like that before. It was a highlight of our nights. We went to bed after that, impressed by Mr. Musk and what one can do with a few billion dollars.

The next day our plan was to visit Pender Harbor, then sadly take our friends back to Powell River so they could fly back to Montana.
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Old 10-03-2022, 11:16 AM   #22
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J 15, Thanks so much for the amazing documentary of your trip. Having cruised these same waters many times it brings back wonderful memories.
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Old 10-25-2022, 07:46 PM   #23
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Great writing! Brings back fond memories.

Here's one about PLI in winter that may interest you.

Cheers, Alex
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Old 10-25-2022, 09:10 PM   #24
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Congratulations, you picked a perfect boat for your adventures. great pics.

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Old 10-26-2022, 05:33 PM   #25
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Thanks, I'm hoping for many more. I wish the summers here were longer.
I took a break from writing, but hope to finish with a couple more installments this week.
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Old 10-29-2022, 11:04 PM   #26
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Sorry for the delay. Got busy.

The night was idyllic, flat calm, and we slept great. The next day we departed Green Bay headed fro Pender Harbor. PH is a pretty populated place, and it looked like there would be a lot things to do and see. There were really nice houses all along the circuitous entrance and all around the various bays within the Harbor. It's totally protected from wind and waves, a great place to wait out weather if you need to.

We went all the way in to the Harbor and anchored in 25 feet between three widely spaced sailboats. I stayed on the boat and did some minor boat tasks while the admiral and our guests jumped in the dinghy and toured the harbor, checking out the houses. They kept going until they got too close to the entrance and ran into some waves that turned them around.

After we had some lunch I called Powell River South Marina again to see if we could spend the night there. We wanted to be there tonight so our friends could leave in the morning without feeling rushed, and I wouldn't have to be underway with a deadline. Powell River said there were others inbound, so it would be first come-first served, and to call them when we were 10 minutes out. We upped anchor and idled thru the harbor, setting course to the NW. It was an amazing day, with maybe 7 knots of wind and 1 to 2 foot in the strait.

As we closed in on Powell River after a 2.5 hour leg I called them back. The woman on the phone said there were 2 boats on the guest dock already, and one more inbound who'd just called her. I looked around and saw another boat a mile or so behind us. We slid into the last spot on the dock about 4pm. Whew.

We scheduled a pickup for the next morning using the Zunga Bus (funny name, super convenient transpo), then let our friends pack while my wife made one of her amazing dinners. That last night together we played some games and then recalled everything we could from the trip together in an effort to imprint the memories in our minds. Sleeping at the dock was nice; none of the usual anchoring concerns, and no early wakeup required.

In the morning the little water weasels were playing and chirping all over the dock again. My wife and the wife of the other couple took off early (8am - pretty early for them!) on the kayaks for one final excursion together. They're pretty close, so it was going to be a sad goodbye. Me and the other guy made breakfast so it was hot and ready to eat when they got back. We walked them up to the top of the ramp and waited for the bus. We said our goodbyes, and then it was back to just the two of us - sweet!!

We took our time refilling with water, paying the bill, and deciding where to go. The best part of the trip was still ahead - the long slow return home, during which we'd explore more places we'd never been.
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Old 10-29-2022, 11:42 PM   #27
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We left Powell River for our first leg homeward bound around 1 or 2 pm. We went briefly north to get around the top of Texada Island, then finally turned south for good. We cruised the west side of Texada, our destination was Lasqueti Island. Texada was interesting, with some large quarries and small clusters of homes. We finally saw some whales for the first time. A pair of humpbacks broached off the starboard bow several hundred yards away, and stuck their backs and flukes out a few times after that. I've read about and seen countless videos of them in the years we've been looking forward to this trip, but it was still awe inspiring to see them in person. They seem to move with a slow, steady, unhurried power and grace that belies their size.

Approaching Lasqueti we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the area. Lasqueti lies off the SW corner of Texada. There are numerous smaller islands between Lasqueti and Texada, including Jervis, Jedediah, and Bunny Islands (not kidding - that's its name). There must be 20-odd anchorages all around the various sides of the many islands. We saw several other boats as we passed thru the different channels on our way to Boho Bay. It's a good size bay, surrounded at its head by 100 foot rock cliffs that taper to 30' cliffs at the mouth. The only wind I can see affecting it would be one from the SE. We found 4 other boats in there, single file starting about 3/4 of the way to the head of the bay. We squeezed in next to the forward-most vessel, a motor-sailor. Behind us was another American, in an aluminum trawler.

I was getting over some slight food poisoning, so I hung out and did some planning while Deb went kayaking around the bay. A little plug for Waggoner's Guide - we had a bunch of different guides to the areas we visited on this trip, and usually read thru them all for each place we went. By the time the trip was over, we came to the conclusion that nothing was as comprehensive as Waggoners. The others may occasionally carry a tidbit about a place, but we could have done the entire trip with just that one guide. It's really impressive how much info they have. There seemed to be no bay so small or insignificant they didn't comment on it. At the checkout counter I hoped it was worth the price. I'm a fan now.

Sometime during the night 2 of the boats left, so we awoke to a foggy morning with no one close by. We really wanted to stay another week and explore the other anchorages around the islands here. The rocks, hills, cliffs, wildlife, and protected bays were stunning and calling to us, but I could tell my wife was missing the grandkids. We still had a couple days of cruising ahead of us, so we ate breakfast and pulled the anchor up, reluctantly leaving Boho Bay as the warm September sun burned off the last few stubborn cotton balls of fog.

This next leg would see us transit around the infamous Canadian military Warning Area "Whiskey Golf" (WG) and pass thru the equally infamous but less forgiving Dodd Narrows...
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Old 11-19-2022, 08:58 AM   #28
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Wonderful travelogue. Read most of it but what I read had no mention of bears. I understood the place to be thick with them?
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Old 11-20-2022, 05:10 PM   #29
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Glad you benefited from reading this. I'm not particularly good at writing but I've enjoyed and benefitted from so many others' writings here I wanted to try to give something back.

We saw no bears during our time, however, I don't know that Desolation sound is quite "thick" with them simply bcs of the large human footprint. At least not the places we visited. While there weren't many people when we were there, 2 weeks prior it had reportedly been crowded. Lastly, maybe it was too late in the season? We were basically there during the onset of fall, so maybe the bears that inhabit DS were already headed into hibernation... From what I've heard, the areas of west Vancouver Island, the Broughtons, and north toward AK have increasingly greater amounts of wildlife.
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Old 11-21-2022, 03:03 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Cargile View Post
Wonderful travelogue. Read most of it but what I read had no mention of bears. I understood the place to be thick with them?
The bears? They're all in town. Often my carport. Seriously, I see more bears in Powell River, than I ever do in the bush.

Lots of Cougars around, but not often seen.

Cortes Island has a visible Grey Wolf population.

Great write up. Thanks for visiting.
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Old 12-05-2022, 01:56 PM   #31
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I don’t wish to take away from an excellent thread, but as a fourth generation BC coast dweller, with two more behind me, I want to respectfully add some educational value to three items, all of which tourism, marketing and Wikipedia have embellished and blurred.

The Inside Passage.
From 1778-93 when Captains Cook and Vancouver first charted these waters, until the Alaska cruise industry muscled their way in, the Inside Passage was between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert. Tourism, US recreational boaters and anyone who loves fancy buzz words over history, continuously stretched the Inside Passage from Southeast Alaska to where Wikipedia marks Tacoma as the southern boundary. The same has been done with the Great Bear Rainforest and those three ugly letters, PNW.

What is pictured in post 18 and described in post 20 are river otters; large rats, a nuisance and completely different from sea otters.

Sea otters spend their entire lives in the water diving to great depths for food and swimming mostly on their backs. Average females grow to about 50 pounds and males to about 60. They can be as large as 100 pounds. River otters are normally 10-20 pounds, spend most of their time out of the water, hanging out around fresh water streams, creaks and wherever humans provide food and structures for them to rip apart for nest building.

The feet, tails, fur, nurturing and foraging behaviors are as different as night and day. Canadian sea otters were completely wiped out during the fur trade and reintroduced to northern Vancouver Island in the 1970s. Since then their range has expanded southward to Telegraph Cove and various locations on the west coast of Vancouver Island. There is one sea otter (Ollie) at Race Rocks near Victoria and another (Odin) off San Juan Island. Otherwise there are none on the east side of Vancouver Island.

There are plenty of black bears on our coast away from the trash cans of cavitation. In 2022 more black bears were seen from the Discovery Islands to the Broughtons than in recent history. This was primarily because the drought killed their normal inland vegetation, driving them to the shores to forage for mollusks and small tidal pool fishes. In September they would have moved from the beaches to the rivers and streams to hopefully find enough salmon to fatten up for winter. If they in fact do hibernate, when they emerge in spring they eat sedges, skunk cabbage and other greens, along with shoreline treats. In the summer, they usually move higher up to feast on berries while awaiting the salmon runs.

2022 was a disruptive, if not devastating year for all nature on the BC coast.
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