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Northern Broughtons to Nakwakto Rapids

31 May 2018 | MB
With a storm forecast for south winds up to 40 knots, we decided to take shelter in Waddington Bay because it is well protected from all weather. We took out the kayak to explore some of the surrounding islands. The winds have been building all afternoon so we’ve taken refuge on the boat, which is calm but noisy with the flapping of the flags and rigging. And we’ve spent the time hovering over charts and guidebooks laying out possible destinations for the next few days. It is wonderful not to have a timetable.

1 June 2018 | MB
What happened to the sunny days of May? It has rained most of the day and blown a little even in our protected anchorage. We decided to take a day off and just hang out here. Karen has been painting, I’ve been reading and we’ve both been eating, and eating well. We tested out the satcom system and it worked nicely, providing us with a fairly fast internet connection. The rain has turned to showers and sleepytime tea calls.

Stellar sea lions outside Booker Lagoon

Stellar sea lions outside Booker Lagoon

2 June 2018 | MB
We entered our first lagoon today. A lagoon is a substantial body of water with a single passage into it that is narrow and shallow. The passage can usually only be followed at low or high tide slack water. Sometimes the entrance is so shallow it can only be entered at high slack water. Booker Lagoon is a lovely place. About a mile to a mile and a half in diameter, shaped like a starfish, with many delightful places to anchor along its shoreline. It has a deeper entrance than some so we entered at low slack when there was almost no current in the passage. It was good practice for the trickier lagoons further north. We kayaked around some of the local islands and enjoyed the isolation. The rain started about 6pm and it looks likely to continue for some time. The 10 day forecast for Port McNeill shows rain every day — no hint of the sun.

Booker Lagoon reefs, where the bear appeared later

Booker Lagoon reefs, where the bear appeared later

3 June 2018 | MB
We went to bed last night with the sound of rain pelting the deck above our heads. But today dawned cloudy and dry. We watched a lone black bear explore the shoreline as the tide went down. We exited lovely Booker Lagoon at noon low tide without difficulty and headed North. No other boats were in Queen Charlotte Sound at all. The forecast was for Southeast winds 10-20 knots but it was actually dead calm all afternoon, at least until a rain squall hit at around 5 o’clock. But by that time we were snuggly at anchor in Blunden Harbour, another landlocked harbour with anchoring room for many boats. There were four sailboats here when we arrived, but they are a long way away. Blunden Harbour is famous on the coast for being the site of a major native village from the mid 19th century until the 1930s. Only one house is left now and we could find no signs of the totem poles which must have been here. Everything is returning to the earth. There is a beautiful shell midden filled with bits of glass and pottery left over from daily life. We hear the eagles around us and see the loons on the water.

4 June 2018 | MB
We continued north, getting our first Pacific swells and sea otters, to the gateway to Nakwakto Rapids. After checking out Alison Harbour we decided to wind our way into Murray Labyrinth for better protection from the coming gale. Karen did a good job of avoiding the reefs and getting us to the main spot to anchor. We were all alone but not destined to stay that way. A sailboat joined us in early afternoon and two more at dinner time. There is room for all but it feels crowded in such a small beautiful place. There is a Southeast gale forecast to move through the area tomorrow morning. That will be the acid test of this anchorage.

5 June 2018 | MB
Everyone stayed put today as the wind whistled through the anchorage. We took advantage of the time off to do chores around the boat which, after three weeks aboard, were needed. Late in the afternoon a lone sea otter cruised through the anchorage eating crab as he went. And we enjoyed watching the residents pigeon guillemots and red-necked grebes as they wandered around the bay.

6 June 2018 | MB
Karen took us through the formidable Nakwakto Rapids (strongest rapids in the world!) at high slack without skipping a beat. The inlets are pristine and wonderful, despite the cloudy, showery weather. We’ve seen one other boat all day, a commercial crab or shrimp boat. We anchored in Charlotte Bay, which is well protected from the prevailing easterlies. We went for a nice hike on an old logging road, taking our bear bells along just in case. The head of the bay has a large drying mud flat so we are hoping to see bears before we leave. In the meantime there are nice birds all around.

Nakwakto Rapids at slack

Nakwakto Rapids at slack

7 June 2018 | MB
Shucks, no bears. We went part way up Seymour Inlet but the wind was blowing strongly and the clouds were low enough to restrict the view of the mountains so we turned around early and went on to Belize Inlet. On the way we passed by the entrance to Nakwakto Rapids at an 8-knot ebb and you could see the waves and turbulence with binoculars. Impressive. A pair of osprey in our anchorage at Westerman Bay were playing follow the leader. It’s easy to imagine a mother and newly fledged chick out for a training session. Still haven’t seen any other boats. Just before dinner it started raining heavily, very heavily. Thank goodness we didn’t have something on the grill.

8 June 2018 | MB
We left one anchorage a 9am and returned to another a mile away, as a raven flies, at 4pm. In between, we saw 18th century re ochre pictographs depicting first contact with Europeans, hundreds of waterfalls swollen with a week’s worth of rain and we explored a narrow winding Inlet with gray rain clouds coming down almost to the water. This is Alison Sound, one of the most spectacular inlets on the BC Coast. At times a mere 1/4 mile wide with black granite cliffs soaring 3000 feet from the water. The snow-covered mountain tops were hidden from view on this trip. But the waterfalls were particularly spectacular, many falling directly into the salt water after working their way hundreds, even thousands of feet down cliffs and improbably steep tree-covered slopes. The icing on this cake is that we were accompanied only by harlequin ducks and mergansers — no other people, no others boats. We look forward to a return visit in the sunshine.

Hundreds of waterfalls in Alison Sound

Hundreds of waterfalls in Alison Sound

9 June 2018 | MB
Karen brought us back through Nakwakto Rapids right at slack. No drama. That’s good. We are in beautiful Miles Inlet in perfect position to round Cape Caution tomorrow. The weather forecast is good. Miles Inlet is a narrow T-shaped inlet barely 100 yards wide throughout, completely surrounded by old growth cedar trees intermixed with silver snags of old, dead trees. With the addition of Spanish moss hanging from the branches the effect is of a primeval forest, timeless and old.

  1. John Wurl
    John Wurl06-11-2018

    Loving every minute of your journey. So well written and photographed…… And well lived I might add!

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