Take a chance on bad weather forecast| Passage from Shearwater to Port Hardy

 

Greetings from Port Hardy, Vancouver Island

This post to follow from the previous post.

Tuesday 22 April 2014 (Shearwater Marina)
Storm warning at Queen Charlotte Sound for some period of time.

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Coast guard helicopter landing near fuel station, Shearwater.

 

 


Next day…

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Shearwater Marina to Finn Bay, Penrose Island

Wednesday 23 April 2014
Although storm warning in area of Queen Charlotte Sound is still on from coast guard radio. We decided to take a chance if the weather turn bad we will track back but if not we can continue further down south to Vancouver Island.
8.15 a.m. Leave Shearwater and weather is calm, sunny, see cloudy waiting ahead to south and bad wind. Motoring through Lama passage speed 4.5 k
In Fitz Hugh Sound speed up to 6.9 k, central coast.
12.45 hrs Passing Namu with 6.7 k
13.45 hrs Pass Hecate Pass (open ocean)
Addenbroke Island Light House. The forecast was starting to come true. The Morning bright and sunny weather has been replaced by dark squall clouds bringing driving rain. Of course from the South.
14.30 hrs Calvert Island 6.4 k As Calvert Island lies abeam we decide that we will not chance the open crossing in the dark. The weather forecast is not good and it would mean a long and slow crossing in poor conditions.
17.00 hrs Penrose Island is our destination. We start to make our way carefully to our small harbour, as our depth sounder is not working we have to rely on our GPS map to keep us clear of the dangers.
17.30 hrs Docked at Finn Bay
{Tied Beautiful Swimmer at Abandon floating house}
Tired from a long day. A quiet place and no people around, no radio station at this remote place. We watch Big Bang and Fawlty Towers until we fall a sleep very early. The weather forecast for the next three to four days is very bad with gale and storm force winds to 45 knots.


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Finn Bay, Penrose Island to Port Hardy

Thursday 24 April 2014
Stephen listened to the 6 a.m. coastguard broadcast and it was not good. At 7.30 a.m. the updated Light house weather reports came on the radio. These show calm conditions, with a major blow setting in from the South East and then South West later in the day. The anchorage was bomb proof but not the place to spend several days. The weather was dreary and this should not be fun place to stay 2-4 days until weather gets better, maybe. Stephen hurry up to fill fuel and we untie the dock
At 08.30 a.m. Leave Finn Bay with 6 k speed
10.00 a.m. Start using head sail make 6-7 k as we had a 10-15 knot breeze from the North east. So far so good.
11.40 a.m. Egg Island with 6-8 k Basically the point of no return. Once you commit passed here you have to carry on. No place to hide. A very wild and reef strewn part of the coast. Like driving down an alley with minefields to the right and left and only a small escape path ahead. From now on if the engine died or we could not make any forward progress our only option would be to run before the wind. In other words go back over the distance we had made over the last couple of days.
12.15 Cape Caution {Queen Charlotte Sound} 6 k The wind was starting to back from the North east around to the South East. Stephen later said that he had an uneasy feeling that our luck was not going to hold.

13.30 hrs Heading to Pine Island Light House 4 nautical miles ahead. This waypoint makes the place that the ocean has a series of steps, in calm weather the tides create a giant roller coaster. In strong wind, we where about to find out. Cloudy and very quickly the wind built to over 25 knots the waves quickly built up to very steep 2 metres, maybe a little more. They come very close together

14.00 hrs Strong Gale, I keep focus on steering Beautiful Swimmer, Stephen open the map and make new emergency plan. We are the only small sailboat, in fact other than a large Alaskan Ferry heading for Seattle, the only vessel heading South or North today.

The nearer to Pine island the harder it became to make any progress. Speed down to 1.8 and zero knots. Salt water splash from the bow to our face every time Beautiful Swimmer ploughed into the large white capped waves. Stephen used to tell me that Beautiful Swimmer, she is built very strong and that I can trust her! My throat very dry as I watch her dive and then soar up as she bounces over the waves. We have to make headway until we have the right angle to sail across to a passage that is rock free between islands that will give us shelter.

At the same time of big piles of Seaweed and giant Kelp floating along the waves that also very careful to avoid the many large logs. Glad we did not do this in the dark!

Queen Charlotte Sound – Queen Charlotte Strait, very wild place.

shearwater to Port Hardy

16.00 hrs. Can cross to the shore. At last Stephen says we can set new course. Opens up the head sail about 40% and the boat takes off like a race horse. No more gut wrenching pounding. from 2 knots to 8 as we surge into Bate Passage, we had made it, no chance of having to sail back. Still very wet and windy but now the motion of the boat is exciting and she shows her ability to Sail well in bad conditions.

Wind good for using head sail By the time we made exit Bate Passage into Goletas Channel that heads south. Here the sea is remarkably calm with Nigei island shielding us from the South East wind.

17.00 hrs. Checked about 20 miles to Port Hardy with speed 5.4 k

Calm smooth and let us relax than the strong waves outside. Rain all the way.
A chance for me to do today’s first meal, Corn beef, Brussels sprouts and carrots.
Wind switches to South West and builds but we are shielded now by Vancouver island so seas only about 1 metre. 18.30 hrs. Sail on the waves speed 6-7.6 k
20.15 hrs. Docked at Port Hardy. Very tired and wet but safe and we can now prepare for the second half of the coastal journey.

Friday 25 April 2014
At Port Hardy, Moorage Cost per day with power $ 28.30 at government marina.

No wi-fi, there is a library in town by walk.

Saturday 26 April 2014
At Port Hardy, waiting for good weather to move further south along Queen Charlotte Strait

Moorage

P.S. Today we move the boat from government marina to private marina because it is $5 cheaper and included free shower, laundry, Wi-fi and electric power. 🙂

Take care and see you next update.

 

4 Comments

    1. Hello Holli,
      thank you for your supporting. We are appreciated and wish you can join with us. The weather is always a problem to travel this month from North to south. (we could be fly sailing from South to north and not have to motoring all the way down. best wishes from us

    1. hello Ashok, We must…:) the scary pine island will remind us not to force with south wind again. a good lesson for me too. thanks for the supporting and follow up our BC inside passage trip. Best wishes from us

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