Leg 7-1999 : Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada to Friday Harbor
Oct. 10, 1999
0345 52.11N 130.34W Crossing Queen Charlotte Sound
Log: 30,019 Baro: 1023 Air: 67F inside, COLD outside Water: 45
Winds: SSW @ 16 Broad reaching @ 8kts
THE NORTHERN LIGHTS ARE OUT!!!
This is the first
time I've ever seen them, and they are lighting our way as we cross Queen
Charlotte Sound from the Charlottes to mainland Canada, just north of Vancouver
Island. I haven't been looking forward to this passage as this body of
water is notoriously rough with relatively shallow depths. A 24' tidal
range creates strong tidal currents and the potential for storm force winds
any month of the year is high. We weren't planning on leaving the Charlottes
for another day or so but this afternoon we heard the forecast we've been
hoping for: 20-15 kts SW, a broad reach with moderate seas.
The Queen Charlottes have hardly changed since
our expeditions here in 1991 but this time we spent a fabulous couple of
hours on Friday in the sunshine anchored at Hotsprings Island. In '91 there
were several fishing boats visiting and as the weather wasn't good for
the exposed anchorage we decided to skip it. This time we had fairly stable
weather, a brilliant sunny break, the time to spend ashore and no one about.
The Haida Indian watchkeepers have built a bath
house for a quick scrub in before leaping into one of the three beautiful
stone-lined hot pools. The view of the bay and islands while enjoying a
hot soak is exquisite. Amanda & I went exploring though didn't get far
as the sight before us changed our minds. It was spectacular, so we neatly
hopped into one small pool surrounded by rocks and grass perched above
the shoreline to absorb the view.
Haida Indian Watch keepers House - Hotsprings
Island - Crew enjoy a hot soak at Hotsprings Island
This afternoon we sailed out to Anthony Island
to Ninstints Village, where there are more original totem poles standing
than anywhere else. The Haida watchkeepers had gone home for the winter.
I missed the excellent time talking with them and sensing their reverence
and pride in caring for and explaining this very special site that we previously
visited in 1991.
1. Totem Pole Ninstints Village -2. Totem Pole Detail
Instead we had a guidebook given to us at the
mandatory orientation in Queen Charlotte City. We hiked around much of
the tiny island, marveling at the ancient village site with fallen in long
house poles, some to 60', in various stages of decay.
Haida Long House Frames
Just six miles east of Ninstints is Rose Harbor,
formerly a whaling station, but since the mid-70's a cooperative community.
Tonight when we went ashore, only Susan Cohen
and a friend were there, the other three home owners had already left for
the winter. I enjoyed meeting Susan in 1991 and she even remembered Mahina
Tiare II. Her sons that led us on wild hikes through the woods to show
us remains of the whaling station had grown up, one studying computer science
in Prince George, BC, and the other finishing high school in the Gulf Islands.
October 15, 1999 1500 50.14N, 125.23W
Log: 30,349 Baro: 1031 Air: 63F Water: 43.3F (Burrr!)
The northern lights faded with dawn that morning
last week and we've since had some excellent sailing across Queen Charlotte
Sound to Port Hardy, at the northern end of Vancouver Island. After hearing
a forecast for 55 knot SE winds on the outside of Vancouver Island, we
decided on the inside route south and yesterday and today have had awesome
NW following winds and boat speeds up to 8.5 knots, with nearly flat seas
in Queen Charlotte Straits and now Discovery Channel. We are just an hour
from Seymour Narrows, where violent currents and whirlpools have sucked
down or impaled many ships before Ripple Rock, in the middle of the channel
was blown up. Currents still reach over 8 knots, and we have timed our
arrival for low slack water, so once we pass, we should have several knots
of current speeding us toward Campbell River town on Vancouver Island.
Catching up with some news from Darwin Sound
also on her home coming.
We are right on schedule for completing our 10th
year, upon arrival in Friday Harbor on Wednesday, October 20th. It will
be nearly three years since we left Friday Harbor for Hawaii and the South
Pacific aboard a new Mahina Tiare III, and she looks just as good today.
Once again, we have an excellent crew, all keen
to learn everything they can:
Steve Newman, 35,
a software developer who works in Seattle but lives on Bainbridge Island.
Steve & Elaine and their gorgeous three daughters are eagerly awaiting
their new Hallberg-Rassy 39 which is nearing completion.
Steve learns to sew Gucci items for his new
Ralph Baum, 67, a
mechanical engineer and a prince of a guy from Issaquah, east of Seattle.
Ralph has 30 years of Northwest boating experience and just put his powerboat
on the market, eager to switch back to sail again. Ralph is an excellent
navigator, setting the pace by working out a minimum of six sun LOP's most
47 of San Francisco runs a construction company founded by his grandfather
in Oakland, sails his Ericson 38 on San Francisco Bay and is looking for
an ocean cruising boat. This is his first visit to British Columbia and
he is surprised how sunny & warm the weather has been!
Richard Gibson, 42
from all over, but recently from Port Orchard where he enjoys working as
a waiter. Richard and his wife, Shelly Arnold just purchased a Niagra 35,
an excellent cruising boat which they look forward to exploring Northwest
waters on before possibly venturing further afield.
Bruce Warren, 48
from Cochrane, near Calgary, Alberta. Bruce keeps his Catalina 34 in Sidney,
B.C. and looks forward to cruising further afield once he sells his software
October 20, 1999 0600 Friday Harbor
Wow-another season of sail-training has passed
so quickly! Our sailing down British Colombia's Inside Passage has been
spectacular! Not one day of fog or rain, bright sunshine and snow-capped
mountains on each side and Dall's porpoise or Orca whales visiting us daily,
plus great following winds. As we approached our homeport of Friday Harbor
yesterday afternoon snow-capped Mt. Baker loomed in the distance, the sky
was dark blue and cloudless, float planes were coming and going and it
looked just like summer, except with hardly any boats about.
One of the many Orca Whales that came to
visit us daily.
Our Leg 7 crew helped us in reviewing and rewriting
our Expedition Handbook, formerly 56 pages, and have suggested that we
mail it to future expedition members before they join us so they can review
it. Great suggestion! We will now mail it out once we receive final payment.
We have lots of folks to thank for this incredible
year! First, our expedition members, then Tracy McClintock who keeps our
office running smoothly while we're offshore, Roberta Crist at Great Getaway
Travel for doing an excellent job arranging airline connections for expedition
members, Suzy Wilson for doing an awesome job maintaining this website,
COMSAT Communications for our dependable satellite communication, Armchair
Sailor in Seattle for organizing our weekend symposiums, and Hallberg-Rassy
for building a boat for us that looks and works as well after 30,000 miles
of expeditions as when we launched it. And thank you, dear reader, for
following our adventures!
John and Amanda's homecoming - Friday Harbor, WA.
Keep an eye on our Latest Updates heading, as
we'll have lots of updates coming soon, on Amanda's new book, 2001 &
2002 expedition schedules and details on our invitation for you to come
and visit us aboard Mahina Tiare III at the Seattle Boats Afloat Show,
Jan. 21 - 30, 2000.
"Totem Pole carver" Queen Charolottes
For more details on sailing and navigation experience check out our Sailing Schedule or contact Tracy in
our Mahina Expeditions office: firstname.lastname@example.org
or tel 360-378-6131.