2022 / #4 Broughton Islands

by | Apr 20, 2023 | 2022 Posts

Sunday, August 21

Today we decided to stay put and enjoy the Warren Islands.  There isn’t much to kayak to and the wind picks up around 3:00 but it’s the site of a fairly recent logging operation which has finished and closed up.  This leaves the roads so we thought we would go for a hike.  An easy hike up a road, we thought.  It turned out to be one of the roughest 2 mile hikes we’ve been on.  When they closed up operation the logging company dug swales across the road every 75 feet or so to control erosion.  Some of them were 6 feet deep.  So it was down slippery slopes then up again and repeat a minute later.  After a mile of this we reached a high point of about 400 feet with a great view (because of the clear cut below us) of Havannah Channel and its islands.  We sat on a stump and had a snack.  Definitely worth the trip. Then we had to go back down which was just like the trip up, down then up again and repeat.

It was cool for our hike, about 70, but humid so we decided we would have a shower in the cockpit since our inside shower is broken.  We turned on the cockpit shower and it turns out the flexible hose to that shower head had also failed. Now what are the odds both showers would fail at the same time in the same way.  Oh well, it’s a boat so anything is possible.  Now this isn’t really a tragedy since in this neck of the woods it isn’t often that it’s both warm enough and private enough to take a shower in the cockpit.  It’s just another work item to add to my list for the winter.

Tomorrow we’ll continue our exploration of the Broughtons.


Monday, August 22

After another calm, quiet night in the Warren Islands we woke up to a layer of clouds hugging the tops of the hills around us but clear at water level.  This was the beginning of what would turn out to be a typical day here in the Broughtons, cool and cloudy in the morning, warm and sunny in the afternoon.  The first challenge after we got underway was a narrow passage with range markers at each end.  We had about 3 1/2 knots of current against us but the water was calm and Karen took us through perfectly, right on range.

We decided to continue our tour by taking the channels that border the mainland.  The scenery is spectacular with peaks in the distance that still have snow and deep fjords leading to them.  As the sun came out and the day warmed up the wind picked up, heading right up the channel of course, and raised a chop with some whitecaps.  We got the hatches closed just in time to prevent salt spray from landing on the bed.  But Mischief handled it nicely and we had a hot lunch underway.

We decided to head for Kwatsi Bay.  This is a totally land locked bay surrounded by mountains on three sides with large cliffs that drop almost into the water.  It’s quite a feeling to anchor under these cliffs.  The only downside is the bay is deep – we anchored quite close to shore in 90 feet of water but feel perfectly comfortable because it is calm and protected.

Kwatsi Bay is the site of a former marina.  Since we were first here 15 years ago the owners have sold out and the marina buildings and docks have passed into other hands and fallen into disrepair.  Unfortunately  this is a common story here in the Broughtons.  Since our first visit more than half the marinas have closed down and been dismantled or turned into private dwellings.  Today there are only three left.  This continues a pattern of population decline that has been in effect for a very long time – the last school closed in 2008 when the number of students dropped below the threshold (which was 10, I think).  Clearly this is a vastly more popular place to visit than to live.


Tuesday, August 23

Again, clouds almost down to the water but no fog and decent visibility. We dallied as much as we could and it was after 10:00 that we were finally turning on the electronics, starting the engine and raising the anchor. The longer we cruise the easier it is to be lazy, it seems.  We continued our slow tour of the mainland side of the Broughtons by checking out a possible anchorage and cruising slowly by Deep Sea Bluff.

Deep Sea Bluff is a vertical cliff about 500 feet high that drops right into the water.  You can drive the boat right up to it – 100 feet from the cliff the water is 600 feet deep.  We were searching for pictographs in red ochre but instead found nesting colonies of gulls, pelagic cormorants and pigeon guillemots occupying every crack and ledge, even if only inches wide. As the boat glided by at idle speed some flew off while others, particularly the  gulls, were unfazed.  It was a treat.

Usually the low gray sky is associated with a light winds and calm seas and that was the case today.  So we decided to go someplace new and explore a little of Kingcome Inlet.  Kingcome is a very special place in these parts.  It is a 10 mile long fjord surrounded by mountains with a fairly large river at its head that’s the site of a major First Nations population center.  Unfortunately there is no place to anchor along the way with the possible exception of Belleisle Sound which has a narrow entrance from the Inlet about half way up.  We thought we would check it out.  Just as we turned into Kingcome Inlet the sun came out, the clouds melted away and the mountains were visible in all their glory; and the wind picked up raising whitecaps with the outgoing tide.  As we turned into Belleisle we were hoping for a calm anchorage but were disappointed on both counts; it wasn’t really calm and the only place we might be able to anchor was over 100 feet deep.  It was a lovely and isolated place but we decided to pass and backtrack a bit to Moore Bay near the entrance to the Inlet.  But even then our troubles weren’t over.  In the first nook we tried to anchor three times in three places and each time the bottom was loose gravel.  So we gave up and anchored successfully in a different nook, accompanied only by a lone Red Neck Grebe and with a great view of the surrounding mountains.


Wednesday, August 24

Short day today – two hours travel to Sullivan Bay Marina.  When we got there we had a welcoming committee of the same boaters we were anchored near in Kwatsi Bay.  The low clouds and light fog lifted just as we arrived and we again had beautiful blue skies.

You can tell it’s the end of the season here.  There is plenty of room at the dock, the store shelves are almost empty and the restaurant is closing for the season this weekend.  Still, this is a unique place.  In addition to the docks for transient boats there are docks with float houses moored. We understand many of the houses are owned by Americans who get to them by taking the scheduled float plane service from Seattle offered by Kenmore Air (although one of them had their own float plane parked behind their house.)  But the main attractions are the unlimited power, hot showers and opportunity to do laundry in a machine instead of a bucket.  We’ll definitely take advantage of some of these features and plan to watch a movie tonight after our hot showers.  And they won’t be Navy showers like our boat showers (where you turn the water off between getting wet and rinsing to minimize water use).  It’s a rare treat and we can hardly wait.

The other feature of marinas up here is Wi-Fi.  Sullivan Bay has a pair of Starlink antennas for good reliable communication.  So we can send regular email and messages again.  Sweet.  We don’t know where we are going tomorrow but the weather is changing with higher winds forecast for Friday and Saturday so that will have an effect on our destination choices.  Look for our InReach messages.

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