Week 12 – Echo Bay to Port McNeill

Eagle watching in Booker Lagoon

Eagle watching in Booker Lagoon

When we last left you we were in Echo Bay having visited Billy Proctor and his museum of “junk”. After buying some $10 cereal and a few other goodies at Pierre’s pricey store, we moved on to Lady Boot Cove on Eden Island. It was just a short journey down Fife Straight where, after a couple of zigs and zags, we entered Lady Boot Cove.  This anchorage had come highly recommended to us and so we were both eager to see it.  When we pulled through the entrance we realized it was tiny; just about three boat lengths wide, but protected enough from the wind for us to anchor without worrying about the rocks too much.

We were settled in nicely enjoying books and birdsongs in the center of the cove when another boat pulled in and anchored along one side of this already tight spot.  About that time the wind picked up a bit and we noticed that we were dragging anchor ever so slowly toward shore.  When we pulled the anchor to reposition we discovered that the fluke (the pointy end of the anchor) had impaled itself on what looked like an old barbecue or tank of some sort, so the fluke wasn’t set into the ground, which is why we dragged.  When we set it again, we dragged again!  This time we pulled up a tiled tube with a huge starfish in the middle of it.  You have to picture all this going on in a tiny cove with another boat securely stern tied to the side watching us and probably wondering what the heck we were doing!  We could have stern tied too, but the problem with that is that you still need your anchor to be set, and especially so for us because our boat is so beamy that any breeze on the beam will put a lot of strain on both the anchor and stern tie.  Each time we dropped the anchor only to find that we would be drifting back a little bit further slowly and when we raise the anchor that’s when we found our surprises.  After moving around a couple times we almost left because the other boat was right where we needed to swing. So instead of spending two nights there we ended up spending one and left the next morning for Booker Lagoon on Broughton Island which was just a short 5 miles away.

An eagle flew right over my kayak as he swooped down to catch a fish!

An eagle flew right over my kayak as he swooped down to catch a fish!

Eagle3

To enter Booker Lagoon you pass through a labyrinth of rocks and islets in Cullen Harbour that are so close that it’s hard to determine which way to go since you can’t see open water beyond any of them. Once we made it through

The Rock Man, Booker Passage

The Rock Man, Booker Passage

the maze, and found the “rock man”, we then went through Booker passage which is a short, narrow passage with reefs on both sides, and strong currents; so you want to be there at slack tide. We slowly went through, keeping clear of the kelp beds on either side since we had chosen low tide for our entrance.  Once through the passage Booker Lagoon opens up in front of you.  It’s a large lagoon that some people describe as a crab, with the inlets being the legs of the crab.  We toured three “crab legs” before settling down in a quiet corner and enjoyed seven eagles floating around us as we anchored. There were only two other boats in the entire lagoon, neither of which were visible from our anchorage so we had plenty of scenic vistas available.  As for the weather we had sunshine, rain, heavy rain, thunder, lightning (in the distance thankfully), and wind from all directions. The days have typically been partly sunny with ominous clouds approaching from the southeast in the afternoons, eventually turning into rain showers every evening. Fortunately we have not been caught out in a rain storm again in our kayaks and hope not to again!  And we’re VERY happy to have a full enclosure around the cockpit as we spend lots of time “on the veranda” even when it’s pouring rain.

Rainy sunny rainy...!

Rainy sunny rainy…!

We spent four days in Booker Lagoon, doing everything and nothing.  When the sun was out, we went kayaking; when the rain was pouring down we read (and then drained the dinghy!), did mini-projects, planned routes, or made biscuits!  We never seem to run out of things to do, rain or shine, so that’s good!

It has been a month since our last grocery store run in Campbell River and provisions are starting to diminish to “creative cooking” status. The liquor locker is nearly dry (down to Port, which ain’t bad!); fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, and milk are things of the past.  Though it’s not like we are going to starve since we have plenty of Costco canned food stashed away in all the out of the way lockers and Sue has become very adept at mixing and matching to make some very interesting meals! We have tried crabbing and fishing this week too, but no luck this time around.

We finally left Booker Lagoon heading for Port McNeill, but alas, it was not a good day to make passage as there were still strong winds and the westerly swells were running abeam which meant we were taking them from the side! Not very comfy, so we ducked into Joe Cove on Eden Island and joined 2 other sailboats hiding from the weather. You gotta love the cruising life! No need to be anywhere particular at a certain time creates a more comfortable lifestyle…except for that little liquor locker snafu!

Fog bank over Queen Charlotte Strait

Fog bank over Queen Charlotte Strait

Radar is a good thing!!

Radar is a good thing!!

Our next move was from Joe Cove to Port McNeill, traveling in fog and flat seas, to re-provision, add some fuel and find a beer and burger!  We did the laundry, added food, removed trash, bought a few more charts, read our email, and started watching the weather to get ready for the next leg of our journey north around Cape Caution.  This is a 50 mile jaunt from Port McNeill across Queen Charlotte Sound, which is known for it’s nasty weather since it is open to the Pacific.  There is a SE wind on it’s way tomorrow, with a low pressure system after that, so if the weather holds to that we’ll leave here Sunday.  If not, then we may stay a few more days to wait out the storm!

All is well with us and we are excited to be making the transition to another cruising ground.  Our first stop will be Fury Cove, followed by Pruth Bay on Calvert Island.  We expect to meet up with the Sail Alaska flotilla in the next week, though we’re not sure exactly where!  It’s as they say – you can’t direct the winds, but you can adjust your sails!  We’ll be somewhere that the wind blows us….!  🙂

6 thoughts on “Week 12 – Echo Bay to Port McNeill

  1. Still living the good life! Good for you two!! Keep it up and keep up the blog, I truly love riding along. Safe sailing and calm seas!!

    Scooter

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    • Hi Scooter!
      Yep – life is indeed good! Glad you’re enjoying the ride with us. We’ll see you in a few months! Hugs.
      Sue

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  2. I really enjoy your blog, and being a previous coworker to Marty makes your adventures even more exciting.
    Question, do you find yourselves motoring more than sailing on this trip?

    Geoff

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    • Hi Geoff,
      Thanks for your hello and feedback! It’s funny how many other ex-boeing folks we have met while up here. To answer your question, yes, we’ve motored much more than sailed on this trip. That seems to be pretty much the norm in this area – especially as we move around in between islands. We pull out the sails when we can, but it’s rare. As we head down the coast and when we get into the tradewinds down south, I’m sure we’ll make up for it!!
      Sue

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  3. I’m enjoying the updates as you are in territory aways beyond what I’ve explored……fair winds and following seas!!

    Vinnie

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