Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Muirhead Islands, Drury Inlet

Last night (Monday) was calm and warm, suitable for sitting in the cockpit to watch the moonrise at anchor in Claydon Bay.

For the next week we'll travel shorter distances over no big bodies of water, so the dinghy is back in tow mode instead of hoisting it up to the cockpit roof each time after use.

This segment of the Inside Passage has lots of "tidal rapids", narrow segments, usually shallow and rocky. The flood and ebb tides change direction through these channels every 6 hours or so, and currents in the rapids run 4-15 knots depending on location. It's important to accept additional risk if challenging a rapid running that fast, or run it at slack tide when it's completely benign. We always run them at slack. Stuart Narrows, one such tidal rapid, guards the entrance to Drury Inlet. So we got a late start this morning, timing departure from our anchorage to hit slack tide 5 miles away at 10:20 am. Uneventful. 

Tonight's anchorage at Muirhead Islands is pretty, with no other boats in sight. 

16 miles from last night's anchorage, we arrived early enough to get anchored and take off in the dinghy to explore Actress Passage and Actaeon Sound, a long northeast running arm from Drury Inlet. 15 miles and 2 hours later, we were back at Phoenix, disappointed. Actaeon Sound and Actress Passage are occupied by an active logging operation. Here's the logging camp, a modern facility on a barge, surrounded by log booms and clear-cutting.

Lots of Skid Roads occupy the shorelines  to help move logs off the hills to awaiting log booms to be towed to a mill.

The noise of such operations, and the clear cutting, means there's little wildlife.
We saw seagulls, an occasional seal's head, one kingfisher, and one seal hauled out on a rock (on the right in photo below).

Before we left home, while we and Captain Bob Smith were busy making modifications to Phoenix to get ready for this trip, we changed out most of the interior light bulbs and anchor light to replace them with LED bulbs which use a tiny fraction of the power of fluorescent or halogen bulbs, but are quite a bit more expensive. 

This is important when anchoring, as they use far less stored battery power, especially if you dislike the noise of running a generator in an otherwise serene anchorage (though the generator on Phoenix is quieter than any boat we've owned previously).

For almost 2 months we've felt perhaps we wasted money on this modification, because up north this time of year, daylight hours are 4am to 10:30pm, so we never turned on lights inside the boat. Now, 7 weeks past the Summer Solstice, it's getting dark enough by 8:30pm that we're turning on lights and are happy we have LED bulbs. 

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