KatieKat 2005 Cruise Chapter Four

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7 June - 14 June 2005Port Hardy to Prince Rupert (updated 3 July)
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7 June - 14 June, 2005 -- Port Hardy to Prince Rupert

Kathy rejoined me in Port Hardy and from there we sailed across infamous Queen Charlotte Sound, anchored in Fifer cove and then we took the short sail up to beautifully protected Codville Lagoon where I sat out a storm 7 years ago, then continued up through Fjordland, and meandered our way up the various channels to Prince Rupert. If we're lucky, we have a tailwind and fly a spinnaker; if we're not, we beat into a headwind, all the time towing our SeaCycle.

[Map of northern British Columbia showing KatieKat's track] Taking the sightseeing trail - the names identify the anchorages we stayed at, with Prince Rupert being a major town with a marina.

Sending this out from Ketchikan on June 19 (it was a sunny 80degF yesterday but 55degF and raining today!). Still on the move, with no time now to update this website while sailing. With sunrise at 4:00am and sunset at 9:30pm, it's a long day's sail! Our tropical cruising cat is proving very comfortable in this climate and I have all but given up making a new aft enclosure (lack of time, and the original works just fine). Unlike the South Pacific, we cannot relax while on the move up here - too many logs in the water!

Update July 3, from Juneau. Finally have a few minutes and connectivity to catch up...

[Kathy on bow entering narrow channel] [KatieKat anchored with pretty mountain background] [Exiting into a fogbank]

This is Codville Lagoon. The left photo shows us entering, the center photo shows us anchored, and the right photo shows us going off into very foggy FitzHugh Sound early the next morning (thank goodness for radar!).

[Approaching waterfall] [Waterfall as seen through forward windows, cat sleeping] [Waterfall behind, showing SeaCycle being towed]

The waterfall at the entrance to Fjordland.

[Beautiful towering mountain-enclosed channel] That did it: I took hundreds of pretty views of our passage up to Alaska, with this just a sample (Mathieson Narrows on the outskirts of Fjordland). Enough pretty stuff! I'll try to focus on the nitty-gritty of sailing up here... to start off, the narrow channels mean the wind is either on the nose or behind us. Since it's usually light, we end up being a motorboat much of the time.

[Tug towing barge filled with containers] [Container barge closeup]

I took many many pictures of tugs and barges... these, first from a distance, and then the second photo showing the barge closeup, puts things into perspective. Inasmuch as most communities have no road access to the mainland, barges are the serious transport in this part of the world.

[Barge loaded with logs] Speaking of barges and logs in the water ... wonder what would happen if this barge hit heavy weather? I've been told that in British Columbia all the logs are identified as to their owner, and the owner is entitled to payment if one of their logs is utilized, even if it's been fished out of the water; however, they are not responsible if you hit one of their logs in the water! How's that for a strong legislative lobby!!

[Tree root] [Tree with root]

I keep taking photos of things in the water which, in other parts of the world, would classify as hazards to navigation. Up here, they're simply shrugged off. The left photo shows a humongous tree root entanglement whereas the right photo shows a floating mid-channel tree (branches, roots, and all) that was easily over 40' long!

[Joe in front of BBQ] On to more pleasant things! The rain may be pouring, but our Aussie BBQ continues to serve us wonderfully, keeping the cooking odors, smoke, and moisture out in the open. This is in Windy Bay, an anchorage close to Fjordland. I love to anchor with our Seawind, as she points into the wind and thus the aft end is always sheltered (no, Seawind didn't pay me to say that!). :-)

[Honda generator on forward trampoline] OK, you've noticed the sweater in the above photo: so what do we do for heat? Crude, not very efficient, but lightweight and effective: the Honda generator on the front tramp simultaneously runs two of three onboard electric heaters (port, starboard, or main saloon). I've since come to realize that simply putting the generator on the forward walkway between the trampolines doesn't increase the onboard noise or vibration level at all (it's virtually unnoticeable up there, but somewhat obtrusive if run anywhere on our aft deck).

I'm still trying to come up with an effective cover for the Honda generator when it's raining, as slinging a blue tarp between the jibsheets is rather uncool.

Part of the way up the 40-mile long Grenville Channel is an anchorage called Lowe Inlet. I thought it'd be interesting to go all the way inside the lagoon and right up an extremely narrow channel up to a nice waterfall ... dropped the anchor in about 20' of water and was held nicely stationary into the river current until.... a strong WIND picked up from the southwest and almost pushed KatieKat into the waterfall and the rocks beside it! Another bright idea which didn't pan out (after the incident Kathy immediately retired to the bunk clutching the cat while muttering something...).

[Screenshot of chart on computer showing boat positioned within narrow inlet] I was too busy to take any other photos, but had just snapped a picture of our chart on the computer screen (I keep forgetting that I don't need the camera to do that! - duh!!). The triangle represents the boat location and direction we're heading. I use a great Macintosh program for our navigation up here: GPSNavX. More about this at a later date.

[Deer swimming distance] [Deer swimming closeup]

I was up at 0400 the following morning and we continued up the Grenville Channel... I took a late-morning snooze while Kathy conned the boat, and after I got up she started with .... "You're not going to believe this, but I took a picture...".

[Screenshot of tide] On the topic of computer programs, if you look closely, you'll see that we're going through Griffin Passage perfectly at high tide, very close to slack water. The program was ported over to the Macintosh and is called "Mr. Tides". It has been doing quite well for us during this trip. I still do use paper current tables for serious passes as a double-check.

[Kathy in foreground with laundry bag, KatieKat tied to dock in background] Ok, we finally got to Prince Rupert, after a marvelous spinnaker sail up the Grenville Channel which lasted almost all the way into Prince Rupert. This photo proves we were there (KatieKat is dead center in the photo), with poor Kathy hoofing it to the nearest laundromat a mile away.

[Huge bow of ship in window] [Kathy and bow of ship in window]

While tied up to the dock in Prince Rupert we were enjoying a late evening glass of wine when... the expression "What, me worry?!" comes to mind...

It's late in the evening on July 3 and we're taking off early tomorrow morning for Glacier Bay. David Reeves, whom I've known since he was kneehigh to a grasshopper, has joined us for a week. I'll keep trying to catch up to our travels with the website (wait 'till you see the iceberg shots!), but it will be at least a week before we regain Internet connectivity. Cheers! JoeS.


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