2022 / #3 Johnstone Strait

by | Apr 8, 2023 | 2022 Posts

Wednesday, August 17

Another calm night with a bright moon led to a calm, sunny, warm morning.  Clearly it was going to be a hot day.  We wanted to go through Surge Narrows to Octopus Islands but needed a period of slack water.  We were too far away to make the morning slack unless we got out of bed really early so we decided to wait for afternoon slack.  So we had lots of time to relax before getting started.  Boat chores, reading and music were the order of the day.  That and watching the loons.

We finally raised the anchor, made a leisurely exit and proceeded to Beasley Passage, the entrance to Surge Narrows.  We still arrived almost an hour early but we could see the conditions weren’t dangerous so Karen took us through without any issue and on to Octopus Islands.

The Octopus Islands Marine Park consists of multiple islands with several passages between them that are suitable for anchoring a boat.  Lots of exploring opportunities.  And popular, meaning lots of boats.  Included is a large bay called Waiatt Bay, at the head of which is a trail leading to Newton Lake.  We anchored about a half mile from the trailhead.  The trail is about 2 miles, half flat and half climbing, and the reward is a large, warm lake with a rock shelf at its edge – perfect for swimming.  And Karen loves nothing better than swimming in a wilderness lake.  So even though it was very warm, and late in the day, we hiked to Newton Lake and Karen went swimming.  This is summer at its best.


Thursday, August 18

We started around 9:30 to make the tide headed North out Okisollo Channel.  We paused along the way to explore several possible anchor bays and made it out to Johnstone Strait around noon.  The wind was already blowing and, according to the forecast, would build in strength throughout the day.  And with the outgoing tide against the wind there was a fair chop building.  We hugged one shore to minimize the chop and made it a few miles to the Mayne Passage, a sort of off-ramp from the Strait, and took it up past Blind Channel Resort to an inside passage narrow spot called Green Point Rapids.

Green Point Rapids is formed by a group of islands forming a causing spot in the channel. These are the Cordero Islands and in the middle them is a quiet anchorage with enough room for only a couple of boats.  We were the first to arrive … a second came in a while after us.  It was our second visit, the last being about 15 years ago.  Nothing appeared to have changed. It was sunny and warm so we took the dinghy to all the nooks and crannies that make up the inside of the Cordero Islands.  The water was outstandingly clear and the islands composed of beautiful granite rock slabs angled to descend gently into the water.  Lovely place.


Friday, August 19

We saw a change in the weather this morning.  Mist and low clouds swirled around the hills and channels surrounding our anchorage and the tops of peaks weren’t visible.  And it was cool – 59 degrees.  We turned the heat on and warmed up the boat for a breakfast of homemade granola and fresh cherries, yum.  The change to more typical Northwest marine air is most welcome from the past days of hot sun.

We continued our journey north by first passing through Green Point Rapids about an hour before slack water.  Although there was some turbulence the passage is wide and the current was only 2 knots so Karen took us through without a hitch.  We have learned that during neap tides, like we have now, Green Point can be taken at any stage of the tide.  We continued on to the next narrows, Whirlpool Rapids, which was even less of a problem that Green Point and then our into Johnstone Strait.  Just like the day before the 1 knot ebb current against the 5-15 knot Northwest wind raised a chop that succeeded in putting salt spray on the foredeck and front windows.  But it wasn’t long before the entrance to Port Neville appeared.

Port Neville is a 7 mile long inlet consisting of a narrow entrance channel, a large shallow bay and smaller lagoon at its head.  We had never been up to the head in all our prior trips so this time we wanted to more thoroughly explore Port Neville.  The lagoon at the head was a disappointment.  It has an active logging operation with several booming areas to be avoided and the surrounding terrain is flat and recently logged.  Not scenic at all.  We ended up anchoring in an area near the beginning of the shallow bay where we had anchored in the past.  The views are good and there is a lot of bird life to keep us occupied with the binoculars as we sip our chai tea.  Port Neville is a midway point between the Discovery Islands to the south, where we spent the last two nights, and the Broughton Archipelago to the north where the weather becomes firmly marine with less sun, more rain and cooler temperatures.  And fog in the mornings.


Saturday, August 20

There was definite fog this morning.  Visibility in the anchorage was decent but looking out the entrance it was pretty dense.  We faced the classic Northwest cruising dilemma – go early, more fog or go later, more wind.  We chose the fog and powered out into a calm, but largely invisible, Johnstone Strait and turned North.  We saw a few boats and even passed a couple, almost all only as yellow blips on the Radar screen.

In two hours the fog had lifted locally and we entered Havannah Channel, our gateway to the Broughtons.  As we passed a small anchorage off the channel we spotted another Eagle, “Honu”, owned by Aaron and Jacquie, formerly from Victoria but now that they are both retired calling Honu their home.  They must be the longest Eagle 40 owners – they bought their boat new in 1995.  They get offers all the time but they still can’t find a boat they like better.  We stopped for a while and rafted for a gam before continuing our journey.

We decided to explore Call Inlet which we had passed many times but never been inside.  It seemed to have a great deal of promise but the the clear cuts on both sides marred the view.  So we came back to the entrance and anchored among the Warren Islands.  The guide book says the holding is only Fair but we pulled hard on our anchor and it seem to be completely solid.  Good thing too since the wind picked up all afternoon and was blowing 15 knots of so by sunset before it fell to light overnight.  Beautiful clear sky covered with stars before the fog rolled in in the early morning hours.

Everything is going well except the flexible hose connecting the handheld shower head sprang a leak. It doesn’t appear to be repairable to we will jury rig something until we can get to a hardware store.  It may be quite a while.  Meanwhile there is exploring to do.

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