(August 22rd, 2017)
Before leaving Butedale we explored a bit and talked with Cory as well as some of the other visitors. Then it was time to go so we helped Breakaway get off the dock as he shot off at full speed (the only forward speed available) and we followed shortly after. We had planned to pull in to a recommended halibut fishing hole bit realized it was almost 2 hours out of our way (5 miles up an inlet, 5 miles back) plus the time we’d spend fishing so we abandoned that plan and trolled for salmon for a little while. We didn’t catch anything. Later at regular cruising speed we came to the conclusion that no matter what the cruising guide says, or what the tide tables say, or what the locals tell you, the currents in Fraser Reach and Graham Reach make zero sense, and even when you are sure you should have the current with you, you don’t. We did get a nice little shot though Hiekish narrows but we still slowed down just south of it.
We did eventually get to Klemtu, where we saw Breakaway tied to a fishing boat, or so it seemed to be a fishing boat. It turned out to be a missionary boat, Coastal Messenger, that is designed and built to look like a work/fishing boat, but was custom-built specifically for the missionary role. Coastal Messenger works the BC coast, up and down the inside and outside of Vancouver Island and northern BC coasts, visiting small villages all over. When we arrived I saw two men picking through berries (looked like blueberries but they were a form of currant. As a consummate people watcher, I can pick out missionaries in an instant and I knew that’s exactly what they were from 200 yards out, but was confused at first by the fact that they were on what appeared to be a fishing boat. Devon later reminded me that Jesus was a fisherman, and the boat owners intent was suddenly very clear. The crew had also mentioned that they didn’t want to show up in any of these poor coastal villages in anything that looked like a yacht, for obvious reasons. A workboat was the perfect platform for their work.
The crew of Coastal Messenger were super accommodating, happy to help Breakaway raft up to them, and us to Breakaway for the evening. They had made extra for dinner and shared it with Breakaways’ crew (“God knew they’d need extra, they just didn’t know who for until Breakaway showed up”, to hear them explain), and they walked us through the various weather conditions to expect, pulling out their charts and helping us understand what the weather was really like (as opposed to what we might think from the forecast). Coastal Messenger has been plying the waters of BC for many years so they had a lot of experience with the area.
We eventually settled in for the night, while John and Rebecca from Breakaway visited the longhouse across the bay for a celebration of youth event where the local tribes children gave presentations on their various projects over the year learning about or immersing themselves in their native culture. Unfortunately we missed this due to making dinner for the girls but after hearing about it I think I would have liked to see it. I’m super encouraged by what I have heard from the native villages around Alaska and BC, particularly Hydaburg and now Klemtu.
In the morning we planned to depart at first light to get to Shearwater as early as possible. We wanted to get out into Milbanck Sound and around the point before the 15-25 knot winds filled in. As Devon prepped the boat, Coastal Messenger surprised us again with a jar of boat-made Apple-Plum Jam (SUPER GOOD) that we enjoyed with our toast later on.
It was dark and foggy, and Breakaway doesn’t have radar so Devon and I teamed up, she had the wireless autopilot remote and an eye on the horizon, while I watched the charts and radar, giving her navigational feedback while she dodged the ridiculous amount of logs in our path…
Time to digress…
I don’t know if it’s a geographical thing, an economical thing, a lack of caring, or some combination of the three, but BC waters have a TON of logs floating around. We have sailed in and out of BC water many times in our boat history and there is one constant.. Literally the second you cross the border from Washington to British Columbia, you start seeing loose logs that you have to dodge. I thought it was an inside passage thing, but on this trip I was proven wrong. As we moved north in June/July we dodged log after log in BC, and as soon as we entered Alaska waters, there were no logs. We dodged maybe 2 logs the entire month in Alaska waters, and when we got back to BC on the way south, bam, logs again, as soon as we crossed the border back to BC, and everywhere since. It’s crazy. I know BC has a large logging business, moving log booms up and down the inside passage, and they must lose a few on the way, but it’s freakin ridiculous how many logs there are floating in wait as we navigate BC waters, and NO WHERE ELSE in the Northwest.
Back to the topic at hand…
We navigated in the dark and fog for a while, sometimes dodging a new log every 5-10 seconds, until we made it into Milbanck Sound where we found no real wind, maybe 5 knots. There was a bit of swell but nothing much. We rounded the point and headed west into the channel toward Shearwater, with following seas and light wind from behind, arriving in Shearwater about noon. We tied up to the dock, hooked up to power, and sat back for few minutes to relax. We also discovered that Sea Pie, and later Lori Lee were in Shearwater at the same time which was super fun.
The girls had commandeered the dinette for Legos for much of the day which was good since it keeps them busy.
We had dinner at the Shearwater resort restaurant with Breakaway and Sea Pie, the girls partaking in their usual Shirley Temple’s. Devon had a hamburger and I had a steak, a common theme at restaurants now since we have so much seafood aboard. So much in fact that Morgan has started protesting a bit by not eating her dinner some nights, complaining that it’s “always salmon”. Not sure what to do about this since 1.) we have a lot of salmon to eat, 2.) it’s cheaper to eat the salmon we catch than to buy other stuff, and 3.) it’s what we made, so she really should just eat it.
After dinner, Shirley Temples, and dessert, we were back to bed, and I had a bunch of work to do in the morning before we headed out.