What's in her name?

What's in her name (Salish Aire)?

from her new home the Salish Sea

Aire as in a melody of song.

Salish + Aire = The melody of the Salish Sea.

Salish Sea:
In the late 1700's Captain George Vancouver wandered around the waters of what are now known as British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, USA. He did the usual 1700's explorer thing and put names he chose on everything he saw. The names stuck and are recognized and used to this day.

New lines were added to Captain Vancouver's charts in 1872 (after a near war with Great Britain over a pig) which made waters on one side of the line Canadian and those on the other side of the line American.

It wasn't until 1988 (officiated in 2009) that someone finally realized that fish and various critters, (to say nothing of the water itself) were never involved in the boundary treaties and really ignored them completely. (This is best illustrated by the problems that Homeland Security has with Canadian Canada Geese and American Canadian Geese - it seems they refuse to carry passports and have been known to poop on the head of any border patrol person who tries to challenge their right to cross the border when and where they choose!) In reality the waters from Olympia to the well up the East side of Vancouver Island are pretty much one ecosystem.

The Coast Salish are the indigenous peoples who live in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington state along the Salish Sea and share a common linguistic and cultural origin. The Salish Sea is named in honor of the earliest recorded peoples who plied her waters and learned to live in harmony with her.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Eric's video

Thanks to Eric B for this video of the time we spent with he and Michelle in the Octopus Islands

Into the Mist (and Rain)

Clarice ended our last note with us crossing Dixon Entrance and re-entering the USA (Alaska) with fair seas and fairly nice weather.  Since we could see that our weather window was not likely to last more than a day we went ahead and went the full way into Ketchikan rather than making an intermediate stop as we had planned.

In 2000 when we started into the channel leading to Ketchikan we were greeted by a pod of Orca fishing and swimming directly off our bow.  This time it was a pod of humpback whales using a fishing technique where they swim in a circle and all jump half way out of the water at once.  I didn’t expect the jump and so got only the end of it on video (but I’m finally finding some less camera shy whales).  They put on a show for us for some time.

The past two nights we stayed at the Ketchikan Yacht Club docks.  I was excited to see the actual bell that is rung at the end of the R2AK race in the club house when we joined the group for burger night.  We have seen a couple of the boats that were in the race this year along the way but haven’t met any of the owners yet.  We did make a note-to-selves that we really need to emphasize when we call in for dock assignments that we are a BIG 46 ft boat.  This time we barely squeezed into the spot they had arranged for us but they have a flat $35/night rate including power which is a great deal for us.

On the maintenance side; Ketchikan is the first dock we have stayed in that were equipped with GFCI breakers on the dock electrical posts.  This revealed that somewhere on Salish Aire we have a fault that I haven’t found yet.  At first I thought it was an inverter issue but I’ve pretty much ruled that out.  I did find that one of our outlets had the neutral and hot wires reversed (3 years of ownership and I’d never checked all of the outlets with my handy dandy outlet checker – embarrassed).  Another outlet had corroded connections.  Bottom line is that I need to start working my way through the 120 V wiring and looking for (and correcting) issues as I find them.

Ketchikan is showing signs that they are likely to blow their all-time rain record out of the water. Just saying that our new rain gear purchased in Prince Rupert (with Canadian dollars J ) are getting well tested.  We giggled at the cruise ship passengers with their freebie ponchos that didn’t look like they were much help at all.  We were amazed to see four ships in town at once with a steady parade as soon as one left another arrived.

Entering Ketchikan

For many years I have been fascinated by the idea of circumnavigating Revillagigedo Island.  Now that we have time and fuel to do so we are going for it.  We left this morning in low clouds and rain heading for an anchorage in Misty Fiords National Monument.


Last night the rain stopped and we anchored in a truly idyllic setting in a very protected cove behind an island.   The island has a forest service cabin on it where two middle age guys were just setting up housekeeping after being dropped off with their kayaks by a guide service.  We kayaked over and visited with them for a bit and checked out the cabin – a very cozy and critter proof place in an incredible setting.  It comes with bunks for 4, a wood stove (wood), a deck with a bench, an outdoor fire circle, and a priceless view and solitude.

FS Cabin

Anchorage from cabin deck

A proper outhouse

Campfire circle

We kayaked around the bay and walked Jarvis on the shore (where he almost got a bit too curious about a small porcupine!)

Today we took a side trip up Rudyerd Bay which is rated as one of the prettiest in Misty Fiords NM.  All we can say is “WOW” and thanks to the folks who worked to preserve this place. I’m hoping that of the many, many photos I’ve been taking today that some of them will show the majesty of the place.  Think of Yosemite in a fiord instead of a valley with the only tourists being those who fly or boat in. (We’ve only seen one other boat today exiting the bay and a number of float planes that either do fly-throughs or fly-in and land on the water for 20 minutes before departing back to Ketchikan.)  We have had a dry day with broken clouds and glass smooth water.  A truly awesome experience.

Porthole view of our world

New Eddystone Rock (the remains of a volcanic intrusion)


It looks like we will have internet access before the day so I will try to catch up on notes.   After we left Rudyerd Bay another cruising boat contacted us on the VHF radio and recommended the mooring buoy in Walker Bay (which we had planned to skip) – MV Pleasant if you read this – Thank you, Thank you for the recommendation.  Again we travelled through a fiord that challenged Yosemite for spectacular scenery. 

The buoy was in the end of the bay next to a small creek outlet.  It still seems unsettling to us to be so close to shore and then realize that the depth sounder at the buoy shows 50 feet of water under the keel.  We had never caught a mooring ball with this boat before and were a bit concerned about how to accomplish the task without a crew member falling overboard.  We figured out years ago that it is much easier to catch the ball from the aft section of the boat and often shake our heads watching people hanging off the bow trying to reach the mooring below them.  Instead we take a long line from the bow back to where the boat has a low gunnel and then threat the line through the loop on the ball and take it back to the bow and tie it off.  Salish Aire doesn’t have any really low spots for reaching over except through the side doors.  The plan was that I would try to stop the 60,000 lb boat dead in the water a foot from the buoy within the space of an 18 inch doorway.  I came close enough on the first try that Clarice was able to get the line through the loop.  (We have now done this twice and are feeling pretty sure of ourselves – guaranteeing that the next time will be a total foul-up.)

We did have a bit of cloud cover that night so the stars were occluded but that was a pretty minor complaint when you consider we had this amazing place entirely to ourselves.  The next morning we could see blue sky above us but fog all around the boat as the morning mist rose from the water. We took the camera in the kayaks and got some pretty cool photos as the morning fog moved around the basin.  We kayaked up the creek a ways and saw a few spawned-out salmon barely alive or dead in the water.

I had hoped that Bell Island Hot Springs Resort would have been resurrected as it is reported to be under new ownership.  Alas it is in terrible shape with the only new construction being “no trespassing” signs.  So we moved on to Bailey Bay and spent our second night on a FS mooring ball (Thank you Forest Service!!).  We walked a short distance up a trail that was supposed to lead to a lake and a hot springs but decided we were ill prepared as the trail got rougher wearing our rubber boat boots and not carrying any emergency supplies when we were in a very remote location so we turned back about ½ mile in.  We then kayaked around the bay before heading back to the boat for dinner.  The only negative thing was Jarvis decided he needed to disguise his scent by rubbing in some poo he found on the path – this is a new behavior for him and one we hope he doesn’t repeat.
Last night I woke up about 2 AM and walked out on deck to a display of stars such I have not seen since my youth when there was less light pollution.  WOW!

Today we will return to heading north once we exit Behm Canal. We have been told that anyone who gets one day of good weather in this area is really lucky – we have had three very nice days with anywhere from scattered clouds to clear skies.  I only wish I had a chance to take a float plane trip over the Misty Fiords NM as I expect that the views would be very different and very spectacular.
I think we are both beginning to emotionally accept that we really aren’t on a schedule and can stop when we want or move on when we want.  I think we will try to get on to Sitka within the next few days so we can at least figure out if we will stay the winter there or if we need to look at other options.

Clarice's notes:

August 262017

Last night the Ketchikan Yacht Club ( who’s docks were have been moored at for the last couple days) offered a hamburger dinner for a donation. We like to support the yacht clubs if we can as they usually offer very affordable rates. There is no reciprocal moorage available at the Ketchikan Yacht Club..you are requested to fly your burgee and if you fail to pay, they will charge your yacht club the fees you’ve incurred. Not quite how it usually works, but since they were pretty inexpensive so be it. Our slip was interesting in that Norman managed to squeeze us in a very tight slip. I had told the moorage coordinator the size of our boat, but as he was assisting with tying the boat up upon arrival his comment was “ Wow, that’s a really big boat”. My thought is “and that’s why I told you multiple times our size and requested clarification if there was a slip that was adequate for us. The awesome pilot that Norman is made it all work and we were quite snug in our temporary quarters.

After a couple of very rainy days in Ketchikan we opted to explore Misty Fjords National Monument and escape what even the locals thought were extremely rainy days ( the bus driver told us 10 inches of rain in two days). We headed out in a mild breeze that gradually built to 14 or so knots. The crossing over the end of Revilligegedo Island was a little sloppy  ( I videoed the slop but not sure if it really explains what it is to those of you who are not boaters) but we finally put out the paravanes and that calmed it out nicely. The breeze finally came off our stern and so we chugged happily along viewing lush emerald green forests that come right down to the sea.

I put out my salmon fishing rig and must have had something on it, however the line was old and snapped. Lost all the rigging on it (bummer) but found some replacements in my sorry pile of fishing gear so will try it out tomorrow. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, but would love some Salmon or Halibut. Tried the halibut rig but not really deep enough where we are anchored tonight.

We entered the bay we were going to anchor in and managed to fit over the 8 ft ( more like 7 feet in reality) shallow spot that was part way into the entry and anchored just off the USFS bouy and near the USFS cabin. Shortly after we got the boat secured two men in kayaks headed over to the USFS cabin. We launched our kayaks and headed over to the beach. I chatted with the men while Norman and Jarvis explored the area. The men graciously allowed us to check out the cabin. It is quite new and very lovely…and what a lovely setting.

We could use the buoy however we are usually reluctant to use them due to our boats weight ( she’s a svelte 60000 pounds). We kayaked by the buoy and it’s extremely stout and looks very secure. Since many of the anchorages are quite deep and not the best seabed to set an anchor, we may try one out. We discussed how we would hook the buoy since we’ve not been able to use one with this boat before. It might be a bit of a challenge but it would be great to try it out.

We headed back to the boat eventually for dinner and our evening down time. I took a shower and took a picture to share of my view from the shower. I opened the port as it’s not raining and quite warm outside. Pretty awesome to have this wonderful view while you shower.

Sounds like the weather will be a little better for a few days so we are excited to explore the fjords and see what they have to offer.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Leaving Prince Rupert

August 24,2017

Oh happy Day we are on our way…again. After 5 days exploring all the wonders of Prince Rupert and having buckets of rain wash our deck as clean as can be, we are ready to continue northward.

We did enjoy the museum in PR – small but packed with so much information and items to see. Had some really nice long walks which is always a bonus when cruising. I found a fabric store that is just opening so added a couple of pieces of fabric for my “ Far North Quilt” that I’ll work on this winter. 

We’ve met some other Nordhavn owners…some with more experience, some with less but we all have something to share.

Evidently we are not the only ones enjoying a somewhat sunny and very calm Dixon Inlet transit. We are in the company of many recreational and work boats.

It’s been interesting adapting to the “not having to go to work” plan. I’ve had time to do some projects that needed to be attended to on the boat, I’m enjoying having time to cook meals that take more than 30 minutes( I do find the crock pot is great when we are underway – it’s nice to know dinner is pretty much done when you are done with your day of travel),  baking bread…oh yum. Cannot get into that habit too much but it’s sure fun for the moment. I’ve done a lot of reading, but decided I’ve got to do something else besides vegetate.

So grateful to have a partner that is so adept at figuring out issues when they crop up and then willing to instruct me in what’s happening and how to troubleshoot. If anything is stressful, the not knowing how to fix something is it…I’m learning but I want to know it all now!!!

The scenery today is absolutely beautiful..many islands and interestingly sharp peaks in the distance. 

Talked to a very friendly customs officer when dealing with how to check in in Ketchikan…I’ve not conversed with such a pleasant person in that department ever. Unfortunately she was losing me reception wise so will try to call back later if we cannot make it to Ketchikan today ( a very long run for our slow boat).

I love looking out to my left and seeing the ocean and dreaming of what may be “over there”. Don’t know if our dreams will pan out in the long run but they are certainly alive at this point.

I’ve been able to contact my Dad and he’s doing pretty OK overall. I had an off day on August 17th after dreaming of Mom all night before. Then realized it’s been 2 mos. since she passed. Had a tearful morning but that too passed. We’ve been able to contact kids and Norman’s Mom so that’s all good.

We rigged the paravanes in anticipation of a sloppy crossing, but  it’s not messy. Soooo.  we decided to deploy the “fish” and let the system work. The swell from the ocean is calmer with the paravanes deployed  however we have to remember to not let the logs get caught by the lines.

Norman purchased a fishing license for me so we’ll see if I catch enough to make it worth it. I think I’ve got all the tackle I need, just need to see what will attach to the end of that line.

I’m not a writer by nature, but decided I will try to participate in the blog a little more to give a little different flavor to it.


Big House at New Bella Bella

Lots of waterfalls through the mist and rain

Butedale almost abandoned cannery

In Prince Rupert felt small with a Nordhavn 78 on one side and a 96 on the other (but a 40 finally came in and we felt better)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

North of Queen Charlotte Sound


At one time I believed Alert Bay was just a Canadian Coast Guard Radio outpost as we heard them calling the further north we travelled.  When we came up this way in 2000 we learned that Alert Bay has a very large First Nations presence and an outstanding cultural center.  I really wanted to stop in again to visit the cultural center and it was as good as I recall (but no photos of the displays are allowed and it is the Potlach Room full of historic dance masks that awakens something deep in my soul).

First Clarice made a fancy breakfast

Alert Bay Marina
Anglican Church Alert Bay

This time the Coast Guard Station has been reduced to an automatic repeater station for Victoria Coast Guard and we ended up at a grill owned by an Indian (NOT First Nations) family who served me really great halibut and chips and Clarice a tandoori chicken dish native to India. 
Sunday morning Clarice served a very fancy breakfast then we attended the Anglican Church in town before walking to the cultural center.

The next night we spent in Hardy Bay where we double checked the weather for the morning and all looked good for an early departure to cross Queen Charlotte Sound which is one of the two places we have no choice but to be exposed to the Pacific Ocean on this route north.

Sunrise leaving Port Hardy

Sun rises above the low clouds (Canadian CG ship)

Lots of little islets as we head out Queen Charlotte Strait

Rounding Cape Caution
Jarvis hunkered down by his heat outlet while we are on less than smooth water 

We had a very nice crossing of Queen Charlotte Sound with about 1 meter swells and about 5 kn winds usually off our stern.  During the crossing we had porpoises in our bow wake for a bit which was very entertaining to watch.  Overall it made for a long day but there was lots to see along the way. Our current sea mammal viewings include a humpback whale, a very large sea otter (that we thought was a log and almost ran over), lots of seals and sea lions, and periodically porpoises at a distance and now up-close.

In many ways this is our first long distance shakedown cruise after doing 3 years of upgrades and learning about the boat. In the last update I noted that I had finally buckled down and was trying to understand all of the nuances of our 12 v system and the measuring gauges that came with the boat.  My timing was serendipitous as I had just learned that I did have a way to watch the amperage output of the main engine alternator. I had been just using voltage changes as an indication that it was working correctly which really indicates a problem after it has been going on for some time.  Several times in the past few days we have noticed the alternator output drop to very low or zero.  The first time it happened I confirmed that no connectors had fallen loose, belts were tight, and other usual alternator trouble shooting.  We shut down the engine and restarted and had good power output so we figured that something had been loose.  The next time it happened I learned that if I disconnected then reconnected the external voltage regulator that it would reboot and we would have power again for a while but this strongly hinted that the external voltage regulator was the source of the problem.
Batteries on boats are one of those topics that can lead to long strings of absolutely correct opinions that all disagree in some way in boating interest groups.  In summary; it is generally agreed that flooded batteries, such as we have, should be charged in 3 stages.  Stage one (the “bulk” phase) is to get a lot of power back into the cells quickly and runs at about 14 volts.  Stage two (the “absorption” phase) is at a lower voltage and “tops off” the cells.  Finally Stage three (the “float” stage) maintains the voltage during light use and/or storage.   Fancy regulators are designed to maintain the batteries for the longest service life possible by running them through a very carefully prescribed charging process.  Many boats are equipped with external regulators that direct the charging process and are considered by many as superior to the internal regulators that are used on alternators in cars and trucks throughout the world.  Since we carry a matching brand new spare alternator which came with an internal regulator it seemed a good plan to either swap out the regulator or the entire alternator.  Swapping the brushes and the internal regulator from the new alternator was a pretty minor process compared to swapping the entire alternator so I decided to give it a try.  As we have carefully planned, but never had to put into practice before, Clarice started the wing engine (which started on the first revolution after all of our work on it!) and then shut down the main engine while communicating with me via a Bluetooth headset that I have adapted from my motorcycle helmet to fit in hearing protectors.  The swap went smoothly and the alternator immediately started producing power and continues to do so today.  Now the question remains is there a correction that I can make to the old external regulator or has it reached the end of its service life. Also will the new regulator work “just fine” or is it really worth the trouble to go back to an external device.

Installing a new alternator regulator underway

I also spend the morning yesterday while we were at anchor moving a bunch of connections in the pilot house and in the front battery bank area so that the gauges themselves are wired to better function with the changes that have been made since they were installed a number of years ago.  We now have good and reliable data on the alternator performance, status of the main engine starting battery and the forward house battery bank.  I still need to move some heavy wiring in the aft bank (which we tend to use as our backup bank) before I will have good data but at least I now understand the changes that need to be made.

After crossing Queen Charlotte Sound we anchored in Pruth Bay around the corner from the Hakai Beach Institute.  Not only is Pruth Bay a very protected and lovely place to anchor the folks at Hakai welcome visitors with a dingy dock, limited internet access, and boardwalk trails to several of the prettiest beaches we have encountered north of the Oregon Coast.  The difference between the beaches on Calvert Island and the Oregon beaches being that the crescent white sand beaches with picturesque rocks and islets off shore are places of solitude rather than covered with hordes of tourists.  The grounds of the Hakai Institute are also lovely with natural vegetation mixed with floral gardens.
West Beach Calvert Island

Clarice on West beach Calvert Island

Happy Jarvis 1
Happy Jarvis 2

White sand and rock on West Beach Calvert Island

Nature's sculpture

Shallow lake along the trail from West Beach to North Beach

North Beach

Selfie on North Beach

Clarice pulling the crab pot

We ended up staying two nights and taking Jarvis to the beaches a couple of times where we walked and enjoyed the scenery while he ran around being a picture of pure, unadulterated doggy joy.   Clarice was even able to stock the refrigerator with some crab meat for a future meal.
Today we are heading north towards the almost ghost city of Ocean Falls.

Jarvis and Clarice playing on the beach video


On arrival in Ocean Falls we quickly pulled down a ceiling panel as we had a small drip when it rained.  Turns out that a bolt holding the radar base was leaking.  We did a quick seal job and made a note that in the future we need to pull the whole base and re-seal the whole thing as one bolt leaking is suggestive that time has taken its toll and the other 7 bolts will drip before long.

We left Ocean Falls early this morning.  I have always had an interest in wilderness towns that have lost their reason to exist and are going back to nature.  Ocean Falls was created to support a paper mill which was built as the source of the paper’s raw material.  Forest were plentiful and power was cheap once a dam was built at the head of a falls near the apex of an inlet. Several huge concrete buildings were put in place for the mill itself and workers housing.  Initially the paper company decided they could no longer make a profit and so stated its intention to leave.  British Columbia bought the mill and tried to keep the workers employed but the mill could not make it even as a non-profit and so it was abandoned.

Approaching Ocean Falls - The tall concrete building is long abandoned

The dam designed to power a paper mill and town now needs to make only a fraction of its design electricty

The lake above the dam

At this time the dam still exists and makes power for Ocean Falls and two other towns.  A marina is maintained by the small cadre of full and part time residents for themselves and visiting boats.  There are just enough folks living on –site to justify a BC ferry run a couple of times a week with a tiny ferry boat.   A company that raises Atlantic salmon smolt  for the fish farm industry has taken over the old paper mill and provides a bit of employment.  Most of the original town is falling into ruins accelerated by the huge annual rainfall. I enjoyed walking about but was ready to leave this morning as we need to get north a ways if we are to make the weather window we hope will open next Sunday for Dixon Inlet.

We have arrived in Klemtu First Nations Village after a bumpy ride through Milbanke Sound with winds gusting to 24 knots. Our route from Ocean Falls took us through Gunboat Passage with some really nice scenery.  Exiting Milbanke Sound we encountered fog in Fitz Hugh Sound where we had some pleasant radio chats with a BC ferry and a small freight boat to make sure everyone knew what everyone else was doing with about 1/2 mile visibility.  AIS ("see and be seen" for boats) is really nice when visibility is limited. It doesn't replace radar but it certainly adds to it. From the fog we moved into lower winds (gusting to 14 knots) and its raining very hard so its nice to hunker down in our warm boat.  Clarice made soup and toasted crab and cheese sandwiches to warm us up after a walk into town.

Eagles adorning the entrance marker to Gunboat Channel

A tug and two barges headed to Seattle

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Salish Aire has left the Salish Sea


By definition the Salish Sea includes the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia that are primarily connected to the Pacific Ocean tidal circulation via the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  We have now travelled north of that general boundary and the currents and tides of the waters we float on communicate with the Pacific Ocean via Queen Charlotte Strait.  Salish Aire was named to carry the legacy of her home port wherever she travels and now she has officially started on that journey.  While we were walking around Sidney BC we poked our heads into the local aquarium and found a great book explaining the Salish Sea which we bought to show folks we meet during our travels about this fascinating area.

A great book telling the story of the Salish Sea

Map of the Salish Sea

We have heard many many questions about our specific plans for our travels.  We are purposefully keeping those plans to a minimum.  In doing our book learning in preparation for this journey one message has been repeated over and over by experienced cruisers which is that over-planning and over-scheduling is the fastest way known to get yourself into trouble.  Experienced cruisers study the weather carefully and let nature determine when they will leave port rather than letting a date on the calendar make those choices.  In our case, we have a lot to learn about handling the boat and our own capabilities.  We know that the boat will cross an ocean but we doubt our own readiness at this point. 
The plans we have made are to head north to SE Alaska with the plan of staying over in a port (likely Sitka) for the winter. We had hoped to meet up with friends from Everett as they headed south from their summer expedition to Glacier bay and we were able to meet them 2 days ago in the Octopus Islands where we are currently anchored.  We had also planned to move fairly quickly north until we were north of the common “Desolation Sound” cruising area which has its northern psychological boundary about where we are now.  From here north we have only visited once before in 2000 and have looked forward to taking time to enjoy at a slower pace.

Likely one of the big reasons that the boats from the Salish Sea tend to start thinning out from here north is that the tidal challenges become significant.  One of the challenges of boating in this part of the world is learning to live with nature’s tidal exchanges which in some areas create rapids that have put many a boat on the rocks through the ages.  Now we have the advantage of very carefully studied and calculated tidal guide books that tell us when the twice daily rise and fall of the tides changes direction and thus creates windows when the waters in the narrow spots are quiet and safe to transit. We have spent our entire boating careers living with these facts of Salish Sea boating life so while we find the challenges to be inconvenient at times we just follow the rules set by the sun and the moon and recognize that a big part of the diversity of life in these waters only exists because of the mixing of waters providing the nutrients to drive a complex food chain.  Boaters from around the world tend to think highly of boaters from this part of the world because of our comfort with the moving waters and even local boaters shy away from the fastest rapids which leads to less crowded boating the further north we travel.

Tug and log boom working the tidal currents

So far we have transited tidal rapids in Deception Pass Washington, Dodd Narrows BC just south of Nanaimo, and Surge Narrows so that we could get to our present location in the Octopus Islands. After having a wonderful day yesterday visiting with our friends and Kayaking and Hiking to a mid-island lake we plan to leave today when nature says it is OK.  Today we plan to move north and east so we can go the “back route” and avoid Seymour Narrows but in order to do so we have to travel through a  number of challenging tidal rapid areas.  Our first encounter will be with the rapids at both ends of Hole in the Wall channel and then we will turn north toward the Yaculta rapids group.  So far it looks like we will need to wait the six hours between slack times in order to make it to our planned anchorage for tonight as the timing of slack waters doesn’t allow for travel from one narrows to the next at our speed.

Eric and Michelle on Secret Beach headed south after a summer going up the Inside Passage 
A hazy sunrise thanks to forest fire smoke

Octopus Islands Anchorage

Heading out of the Octopus Islands

We are currently in Johnstone Strait which can be a really nasty piece of water if the tide is against the wind or a very pleasant place to travel as it is this morning.  We were able to get through the final 3 tidal rapids yesterday after managing to creep through the Yaculta group at 3.5 knots over ground (while doing about 9 knots over the moving water) just after slack but before the full fury of the rapids had built the day before. All of this moving water has meant that our expected 3 nm / gallon of fuel has instead been just over 1 nm / gallon as it seems that we keep moving up current – until today when we are finally in-sync with the tide as it ebbs north instead of south during the first half of the day. We are currently moving at 8 kn over ground and 6.9 kn over water so nature is giving us a “free” extra mile every hour.  We started the day on mirror smooth water but in thick fog. As we have moved from the side channels into Johnstone Strait proper the fog lifted a bit so we didn’t have to be totally dependent on radar an AIS (location information broadcast by some, but not all boats).  As we have moved north the fog bank has kept ahead of us so we have had good visibility most of the day.
Speaking of visibility, we seem to finally have moved north of the smoke from the BC forest fires.  Last night Jarvis decided he needed to visit his pee-poop pad at 2 AM but it did mean that I was awake to see the moon and the stars for the first time without a haze of smoke. 

In the heavy fog we could see our own bow and not much more

Both radar units and the AIS transmissions from other boats become our "eyes"
and we listen carefully for horns or engine noise

The fog begins to lift just a bit
Finally able to see ships visibly we had been watching electronically

Chasing fog up Johnstone Strait

Fog off the bow but clear looking south down Johnstone Strait

Folks often ask if we are tied up every night or anchored – the answer is we do both.  As we are trying to learn to live on a much more limited budget we are taking advantage of low cost opportunities to be at docks when they are available as it makes it much easier to get to shore otherwise we anchor out which has the advantage of (usually) being very peaceful and private.  Low cost dock opportunities so far have included using yacht club reciprocal moorage (usually about $5/night for power), using public / commercial wharfs (about $40 USD / night in Comox), and a complimentary night as we chose to use the unmaintained outer dock at Morgan’s Resort (which was only a couple of hundred yards from the VERY expensive docks at Dent Resort (reported to be $4/ft so about $200/night for a boat our size and with the expectation that you get dinner at $125/plate!)
The weather has cooperated being in the upper 70’s during the days and just cool enough at night for Clarice to sleep well with the overhead hatch open.

Our very inexpensive moorage looking at the transoms of Dent Resort

Entertainment consists of watching the scenery, walking on trails through the forests (which lets Jarvis’ inner Jack Russell come out as he runs full speed up the trail to find the next “nose candy” and then sniffs for a bit before taking off again), swimming in a lake, checking out a harbor’s nooks and crannies in either the dingy or paddling in kayaks,  reading books, watching the British TV series “Last Tango in Halifax”, catching up on business and pleasure email when we have cellular service, and doing boat maintenance.  Boat maintenance ranges from the basics of checking the engine room periodically for any signs of trouble to rebuilding another section of the pilot house panels, to learning how our electrical gauge system is designed to work (and how I need to change it so it works with the current battery and solar configuration).  All in all Clarice and I keep fairly busy between driving the boat (which can be anything from very intensive in a high current area or high traffic area to really boring when the auto-pilot is keeping us on course without much human help required and all stages in between).

Making blackberry cheesecakes for desert

Drying laundry

New facings for the radar and SSB radio - Old gray Formica under the chart plotter

Next area to be refaced with holes from retired gauges
(ladder, plug and key chain to the left get hung in front of chart plotter as reminders
that our ladder is in the water and shore power connected.) 

So far we have happened into a festival and fireworks show in Comox, met up with our good friends Eric and Michelle as they headed south from Alaska, had a quick radio conversation with some Nordhavn friends as they headed south through Dent Rapids and we headed north, had a pleasant visit with some other Nordhavn friends while we waited at Shoal Bay Resort for the slack to occur for our next rapids transit, in addition to people we just meet on the way who have a common interest in boats and nature.  We have heard over and over from long term cruisers that you are never out of touch with friends for too long as you will often run into someone you know at the next port.  We are certainly finding this to be true.

Our friend David passed us in Mary Pearl just as we were about to go to press

As far as adapting goes, we are now 1 week into official retirement.  To say that we haven’t felt a bit of stress would be untruthful.  A couple of days ago Clarice and I found ourselves grouching with each other over things that normally we just let go.  We took a minute and reflected on all of the changes and stressors over the past month as we had the kids visiting, and were finalizing employment, and mail, and insurance, etc. issues on top of moving to a whole new lifestyle and agreed that while being grouchy was not fun it was to be expected.

I hope to post this today as we plan to stay in port at Alert Bay where I have really nice memories of a First Nations museum from our last visit in 2000. We had planned to spend time in the Broughton Islands but it looks like we have a nice weather window for crossing Queen Charlotte Sound if we keep moving north so our plans have been adjusted accordingly.