27 Aug The West Coast of Vancouver Island
We left Port McNeil early morning heading for Bull Harbor. Mid-day we spotted a pod of 4-6 whales, such an awesome site and a good omen for our journey! Near Bull Harbor, we had our first experience with the Dependable, Pacific Swell. It was amazing to see the waves coming through the channel and begin bouncing up and down in a predictable pattern.
It was delightful to be met by Kevin and Gina of Raven at the dock in Bull Harbor. We took a terrific hike up past the old Coast Guard station to the beautiful beach and Ocean before dinner and confirming our plans for our next day’s journey.
On August 14, we had an early start from Bull Harbor, with Raven just ahead of us. It was an overcast morning with light wind and about a 3-foot west swell. At 0716 we were treated to another beautiful site, a pod of Orca whales. By 1000, we were passing Cape Scott, our first major hurdle. Late afternoon we anchored in Browning Inlet after motoring by and checking out Winter Harbor. It was another beautiful anchorage, but we had a lot of fly’s and mosquitos. So glad we have screens!
Day two, we had a beautiful sail with our speed up to 7 knots and about a 4-foot swell. Late afternoon we anchored in the Bunsby Islands in a cove on the west side of Gay Passage. We had cocktails aboard Raven. We also had the pleasure of meeting John and Justine of s/v Rhythm who gifted us some freshly caught salmon.
We had an exhilarating day three. It was a quiet morning, but by 1030 we were sailing with an apparent NNW wind of 13 knots. We had the staysail up and a reefed main. By afternoon, the wind, swell and wind waves picked up. We figured we had about 26 knots of apparent wind! By 1530 we turned the engine on and took the sails down as we did not have the control, that we wanted with MAIA. Waves were slapping us around, we were not making the progress we needed into port. It was a Harrowing experience for Laura! Very happy to pull into Esparanza Inlet and set anchor by 1730 in Queen’s Cove in the Nootka Island area.
The next morning Ellie and I took a row in the dingy. After she had done her business on a small beach we continued rowing around the bay. Much to our surprise a beautiful, young looking, black bear meandered out of the forest and down to the beach! Ellie enjoyed stalking the bear from the dingy. As the winds were going to continue to be strong for a couple days we motored up to the small town of Zeballos with our buddy boat, Raven.
We radioed ahead to check about dock space and were greeted on the radio by a fellow yachtie, Lew. He said come on in and they would help tie us up. As the winds were very strong out in the Pacific, the local fishing fleet were also in port. We tied up and rafted off the fishing boat, Pacific Venture. It turned into a couple, wonderful, fun days of summer. With the heat in the high 80’s to 90’s we hiked to the river nearby and swam both days, we celebrated Lew’s birthday, with a magnificent dock party with both fishermen and yachties, hosted by his wonderful wife, Wendy.
On the morning of August 19th, we said our goodbyes and continued southward on our own. We had a little bit of a time crunch as we needed to be in Port Townsend by August 25 to pick up our new sails! We motored out of Zeballos to Santa Gertudis Cove for a night of anchoring before heading to Clayoquat Sound and Hot Springs Cove. We loved our anchorage at Hot Springs Cove as we were right next to the landing “strip” for the Sea Planes. We had a lovely morning hike up to the hot springs. So fun to see all the dock planks with names of fellow yachties. (People bring planks to add to the walkway.)
As the wind was still howling on the great pacific, we took the “inside” passage to Tofino. Winds were so strong that our furled Genoa ripped. We were thrilled to get to Tofino. Even though the current was super strong, Captain Dick, expertly docked us at Marina West. We had a nice walk around town that evening.
The following morning, we re-fueled in Tofino and south to Barkley Sound! In the late afternoon of August 22, we entered Trevor Channel, as whales led our way in. We found a little inlet to anchor (which we named Whale Cove) and were treated to a magnificent Whale feeding show out in the channel. We spent one last night in British Columbia, anchored in Thrasher Cove, in Port San Juan. A pod of whales escorted us into the Harbor.
The following morning, we had a BIG whale visit us off our starboard side and then they surfaced again behind us. So awesome! At 1035 on August 24th we entered the waters of the USA and checked into Port Angeles that evening. Thank you, BC for the wonderful summer! We will be back!