2022 / #5 Queen Charlotte Strait

by | Apr 21, 2023 | 2022 Posts

Thursday, August 25

Being plugged into shore power at the dock provides for a number of indulgences that we don’t allow ourselves when we are limited to the ship’s batteries or don’t want the noise of the generator.  Last night was movie night – fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, ice cream and a dvd movie on the tv.  This morning was French toast waffles with fresh cherries.  We do like to make the most of our rare stays in a marina.

Marinas are a great place to meet and talk with other boaters.  In this case a couple from Everett on a 66 foot boat called “Crown Jewel” just happened to have a spare hose to connect to a hand held shower and very generously gave it to us.  Now we have a shower again.  Hooray!

While we enjoyed our stay, after only a day we were looking forward to the peace and quiet of a protected anchorage. And only a few mile away is Claydon Bay.  It’s large enough for a number of boats, has a sticky mud bottom and is well protected from Northwest winds.  That’s an important point since tonight and tomorrow the wind is supposed to pick up from that direction with 20-30 knots forecast. We were the first boat to arrive and took a nice spot in a corner nook. Best of all, Claydon is reputed to be an excellent crabbing spot.  So as soon as we dropped anchor we took a crab trap out in the dinghy and dropped it about 200 yards from the boat.  We have great hopes for dinner.  Hopes but not expectations; we still took something out of the freezer.

And a good thing too.  By dinner time we only had one undersized but feisty male that I had to coax out of the trap so I could throw it back and reset the trap.  Maybe a good long soak will give more time for the big crabs to find the trap.  Hope springs eternal.

We rowed almost 2 miles around the bay and Karen collected Red Throated Loon feathers floating on the water.  We explored a small island near the bay’s entrance and met the folks from the neighboring boat.  It was an uneventful, pleasant and relaxing afternoon.


Friday, August 26

Another rest day today.  With the strong winds forecast for Queen Charlotte Strait from the direction we’re headed it’s better to stay put.

It was totally calm in the morning so we took another row around the bay, this time over to an old logging area.  There were some crude trails there that we took advantage of but we didn’t find an old road.  There was active logging nearby complete with blasting so we didn’t want to get too close.  Still, it was nice to get ashore, even for a short walk.

On the way back we stopped at our crab trap and pulled it up.  There were two very small crabs in it, small enough to use the escape hole but they couldn’t find it.  Crabs aren’t too bright.

A day off isn’t actually a day OFF.  It’s a day for boat maintenance.  So while Karen cleaned house I did a bit of engine work, replacing the engine oil cooler anode and cleaning the raw water strainer.  I’m approaching the 100 hour mark since last maintenance so I will have some more work to do in the near future.  It’s all routine and no problems were found so we’re already thinking of our next destination.

Now we are sitting in the cockpit drinking chai tea and watching the trees pass by as we spin first one direction then the other from the wind gusts.  Other than the changing view the boat is level and stable and at a max of 16 knots the wind is no where near strong enough to test the set of our anchor firmly embedded in the sticky mud bottom. All is good.


Saturday, August 27

We made good friends with the other boats in the bay so after we pulled up anchor we did a tour of the bay, saying farewell to everyone.  One went so far as passing a magazine to Karen at the end of a fishing pole.  It was really calm as we started but as we made our way out of the bay and turned towards Queen Charlotte Strait the wind started picking up, still out of the Northwest.  Even though the barometer hasn’t varied by more than a millibar over the entire past week, change is in the air with a shift in wind direction forecast.

As we continued to the Strait we spotted a lone humpback feeding not far ahead.  We slowed and watched for awhile hoping for a breach or two before continuing on our way.  It just kept feeding.

As we turned into the Strait the wind was blowing about 15 knots and had raised a 3-4 foot sea.  Since we were headed right into the waves the spray soon coated the entire front of the boat.  We had to turn on the windshield wipers.  But at least we were warm and dry in our pilot house and just enjoyed the ride as much as we could.

There wasn’t much to see in Queen Charlotte Strait except three other boats, one a really large cruising boat, probably 100 feet or more, and two cruise ships over 1000 feet bound for Vancouver.  They looked like small islands in the distance.  Between the waves and the current against us our forward progress slowed by more than a knot and we continued in this way until we neared our destination for the night, Blunden Harbour.

Blunden is a landlocked bay with calm waters but the surrounding terrain is quite low so the wind does blow over and into the Harbour.  We found a nice nook to anchor in that has great views of the bird life in the bay: Common Loons, Red Necked Grebes, Pigeon Guillemots, Vultures and the usual gulls of several types.  Karen watched the birds while I did more boat maintenance, this time replacing the engine bypass oil filter and primary fuel filter.  We are ready to go exploring.


Sunday, August 28

The forecast was for strong winds overnight, shifting from the Northwest to the Southeast.  But in our nook it was totally calm with only a hint of a breeze in the morning.  That hint was from the South, so this part of the forecast was accurate.  Our nook was surrounded by small islands and reefs that looked so much larger when the tide was low in the morning.  It turned out to be a really nice stop.

This was another day out in Queen Charlotte Strait, but completely different than the one before.  Instead of wind out of the north raising a steep chop, the 8 knot south wind caused only small wind waves and gentle boat motions.  Now at its mouth, Queen Charlotte Strait opens into Queen Charlotte Sound which is part of the Pacific Ocean.  So as we continued North towards the mouth we started feeling the swells of the ocean.  They were 2-3 feet swells with very long period, the length of time between one crest and the next, so they weren’t rough at all, the boat merely moving up and down slowly as the crests moved by.

There wasn’t much boat traffic.  We spied a few fishing boats and had fun watching the Alaska ferry “Kennicott” slowly overtake us on its way to Ketchikan.  We identified him on AIS long before we saw his bulk emerge from the haze and the process took place in slow motion; since we were going 8 knots and he was going 16 knots he was only overtaking us at 8 knots – pretty slow.  In fact, we had turned out of the channel towards our anchorage for the night before he actually caught up with us.

Our goal is to go through Nakwakto Rapids and enter Seymour and Belize Inlets.  But the rapids are so strong and turbulent that in a boat like ours it is only safe to go through during the few minutes of slack water between the end of the ebb and beginning of the flood, or vice versa.  We realized we wouldn’t have time to make the 11:37 slack so we went to a nearby safe anchorage called Allison Harbour.  It has a long narrow entrance opening into a large shallow bay with room for many boats.  The water inside was smooth as glass.  Another boat was already there so we anchored as far away as possible, almost 400 yards. We now had the rest of the day to relax and since it was lightly raining we decided to forgo the dinghy ride in favor of making brownies.  It’s nice to have options.

Contact Us

Michael Boyd

Karen Johnson

Recent Posts