Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

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


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 Ninstints Village

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 H.R.

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 days!

Ralph Navigating

Tim Fitzmaurice, 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 company.


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: or tel 360-378-6131.

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