Friday, August 22, 2014

No More Johnstone Strait Weather Forecasts!

Distance traveled:  30.6 miles

Travel time:  4 hrs, 21 mins

As usual, we began our day with coffee and listening to Environment Canada on the VHF radio. We’re starting to think Environment Canada broadcasts the SAME forecast every single day: wind 15 knots in the morning (or sometimes a “high wind warning” instead), and rising in the afternoon to 15-25 knots”.  Well, after 3 weeks boating in Canada, we’re finding that isn’t hugely helpful. It’s almost never been accurate: often forecasting much worse conditions than what happens, and occasionally forecasting much better. But mostly the forecasts seem extreme, and we’ve been tempted to take them with a grain of salt. So . . . . as of today, we’re DONE with Johnstone Strait for this year and don’t have to try to decipher what we’ll really experience on the water.


We rocked and rolled all last night at Port Neville, with high wind and happily tied to a creaking dock so at least we weren’t wondering whether we’d drag anchor. We got up early and cast off our lines at 7:30am.


We passed through the same stretch of Johnstone Strait that taught us a lot about steering through boils, eddies and whirlpools when northbound, but we knew how Next To Me behaved in those conditions this time, and the weather conditions were perfect: no wind, small waves, sunshine, and beautiful scenery: more multi-layered mountains!


As usual, there was some clear-cutting too. We pulled into Blind Channel, another off-grid marina, just before noon, and a seaplane zipped past to land, only 100 feet to our side, as we approached the dock.


Our afternoon was all work, and Bob drew the undesirable card. Cathryn did 3 loads of laundry while Bob changed out another “sanitation hose” in the engine room, as our aft head again seemed clog and stopped working. Ick!  We’re so glad we have a second head in the guest stateroom!


Both of our heads (toilets) operate by pulling in “raw water” for flushing, which means the water that the boat is sitting in, so salt water. We don’t understand all the details but have learned that seawater is very high in carbonates and bicarbonates, and when combined with urine (as happens when you flush a toilet with salt water) a very dense “scale” forms which eventually will completely plug your sanitation hoses (like plumbing lines in a house). Guess what that scale looks like? No wonder the toilet wouldn’t flush, despite the motor obviously working properly.


Enough about that. So . . . . we had yet another Small World Experience today.  Back in May we hired a 100-Ton US Coast Guard Captain who has traveled from Seattle to Alaska by boat dozens of times to train us for a half day, focusing on issues related to The Broughton Islands, including how to safely run tidal rapids. Guess who we ran into on the dock here at Blind Channel this afternoon? That’s right: Linda Lewis, the Captain who trained us. She single-handed her 45’ boat “Royal Sounder” to The Broughtons this summer, as her husband has some mobility issues and couldn’t come with her.



We invited Linda to join us for Happy Hour, and a lively conversation ensued. We’d unknowingly been near each other many times during the past two weeks in The Broughtons, always missing each other by a day or two. Linda is a competent, independent, lively boater who inspires Cathryn to keep bucking the stereotypes and learn more and more about boating, and reinforces Bob’s natural instinct, like Linda’s husband, to continue encouraging this boating pursuit as an equal partnership.

We’re off to bed early, as we have another early departure tomorrow, planning to shoot 3 sets of rapids, hopefully achieving the goal of hitting all of them at slack tide.

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