Tuesday, August 6
Today was a travelling day — we motorsailed the length of Johnstone Strait, bore left into Sunderland Channel, then right into Wellbore Channel (through Whirlpool Rapids) and then left again into Chancellor Channel, thorough Greenpoint Rapids, finally dropping anchor in Cordero Channel after 60 nautical miles and 9 hours, averaging 6.6 knots and having taken advantage of a flood tide and north wind. There are several sets of rapids that skippers have to plan for when travelling this route (the alternative to Discovery Passage and Seymour Narrows). Tomorrow we will transit Dent and Yuculta Rapids at slack tide, and then we’ll be done with the rapids.
A group of orca was crossing the strait as we left Telegraph Cove this morning, and one was leaping out of the water repeatedly, too far away for photographs, unfortunately. We could see thick fog in Blackfish Sound as we passed Blackney Pass, but the strait was clear and calm at the start, with the usual afternoon wind building, so that by the time we got down to the bottom we whooshed into Sunderland, riding maybe two foot waves. Just before the entrance to Sunderland a couple of Pacific White-sided Dolphins showed up to play in Snug’s waves. The turn into Wellbore Channel is always a highlight of the trip home for me; it is such a pretty stretch of water. It is also the location of the last arbutus tree — there are no arbutus north of this point. We often see black bears on this run through the series of rapids, but guess what, not this year!
We startled a pair of Great Blue Herons off the beach when we dropped anchor and an osprey was wheeling around looking for fish. We rowed ashore to look for prints in the mud, thinking we were in a prime bear location with a creek entering the bay, but only saw evidence of the herons. There was some old scat in the bush behind the beach and we found a deer skull, with antlers till attached but nothing to indicate recent bear activity.