Log #58t North of Cape Caution

February 10, 2015 in Series 58, Uncategorized

Log #58t North of Cape Caution-Part 2

Okanagan Falls, B.C.

Nov. 9, 2014

Leaving Goose Bay Aug. 13 we motored further up the wide Rivers Inlet, able to do a bit of motor sailing with the genoa out for a couple of hours, but not enough wind to sail.

Motor Sailing

We are impatient, and when we have a destination in mind, try to reach it by mid-afternoon. If our speed under sail alone goes much below 3 knots, we will use the engine to keep up our speed to 4 or 5 knots. We are not purists.

Another strategy we use at the end of a day of motoring or motor sailing is to open the throttle up to maximum, which for our engine is 3200 rpm, as we have been advised a diesel engine works best under load, and that at full throttle for about the last 20 minutes of the day’s run, carbon and residue are burned out of the pistons, preventing buildup in the cylinders. When we do so, we make white smoke and the exhaust has a different smell, like smoky caramel. This also gets us into our anchorage a bit faster.

Dawsons Landing

Rivers Inlet is a wide inlet extending 50 to 60 miles inland with three major inlets 10 miles and more in length branching off. The waters are good fishing grounds and quite popular in the summer. Even as we motored up the inlet we saw many small sports fishing boats drifting in the tidal water. Most of these fishermen are fly-ins, using a few private fishing camps and the services of Duncanby Landing and Dawsons Landing, the only two commercial marinas in this long inlet, both accessible by float plane or helicopter.

Dawsons Landing is about 15 nautical miles up the inlet from our anchorage in Goose Bay, tucked in behind a couple of islands on Darby Channel, giving it good protection from heavy winds and especially winter storms. It is another floating community with general store, rental and private float homes, fuel dock, Department of Fisheries float, and 800 feet of dock space all afloat on wooden planked giant timbers. The store also hosts a liquor store and post office. In addition, there are showers and laundry facilities and WiFi is available at $10.00 a day.

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Dawsons Landing with helicopter

The owners, Rob and Nola Bachen, are friendly down-to-earth helpful people.  I had recently acquired a small downrigger and had never used it. I asked if there was someone whom I could pay to take us out on Veleda to show me how it is used. Rob volunteered and spent three hours with us going up Darby Channel showing me how to stream it with the line, flasher and fishing lure. He also advised me not to go over 2 knots speed, thus explaining why I have not caught anything while trolling under way at 3 to 5 knots. (Remember the only fish caught so far this summer was the one salmon that jumped into the dinghy.) He gave me some good suggestions for jigging while at anchor, letting the lure go to the bottom and then jigging upwards.

We caught no fish while he was aboard, but the next night at anchor I caught a couple of flatfish and rock fish, and three good sized dogfish. More about my fishing later in this log. Rob would not accept any payment for the time he spent with us. Thanks Rob!

WiFi Problems

Next day we refueled, and wanted to leave in the morning. However we had a frustrating time trying to send E-mail on line. We paid $10.00 and could still not get on line. I didn’t know if it was a virus in my laptop. After two hours of trying several procedures we went over to the store only to find out it was closed for lunch. After 1:00 we went back only to find out the service cancelled itself at 1:00. We renewed it for another day and asked Nola’s daughter if she could help us. She tried but was not successful. It was either a virus in my machine or… their WiFi was defective! Nola re-imbursed us for the second $10.00.

Accessing WiFi frequently is a very frustrating problem at marinas. Sometimes we are too far away or in a dead zone. Other times the signal is too weak, indicating we are connected, but connecting is still on and off. This is not to blame Dawsons Landing as we have been frustrated in our inability to hook up, and cannot identify if the problem is with my machine or the range or quality of the service. I am not very computer literate, and sometimes when trying to hook up I complicate matters by hitting the wrong keys and going into “laptop limbo”. Aaaaargh!

The technology has improved dramatically since our departure in 1998, and it is good to be house sitting in a home where the internet is strong and reliable. My laptop works well when I have a good connection, something that is iffy at many marinas.

As a result we did not get off until almost 1600 (4:00pm). We went just eight miles down Darby Channel to anchor for the night in Five Window Cove (51 29.098N, 127 40.059W) off Ripon Island. It was good to get off and to a quiet isolated anchorage after the frustrations of the computer and WiFi.

Next day was cool, foggy and rainy, so we stayed put for a quiet day at anchor, and dinghied around the small islands and headlands of this pleasant sheltered anchorage. This is one of the many things I love about the B.C. coast; there are many picturesque, sheltered anchorages within a few hours sailing of each other.

Some success at fishing

Northward we went, 18 miles to anchor in Oyster Bay (51 37.898N, 127 41.310W) in Fish Egg Inlet. This inlet is not as large as Rivers Inlet, but it has several bays branching off it for interesting anchorages. Many of the small islands up here are not named, but have numbers instead. We were anchored just behind a small island # 35.

I tried my luck at fishing while at anchor, using a heavy silver lure and jigging it to the bottom as Rob told me. I let the lure go down to the bottom in 20 feet of water then lifted it off the bottom a couple of feet to jig it up a few feet, then let it drift back down. Within 20 minutes I had caught a small flatfish and a small rockfish, both of which I threw back. I also caught 5 shark-like dogfish. This was the first time I had seen such fish.

 

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 Aubrey with a dogfish

They are like small sharks, with the same rough leathery skin. I didn’t know whether they were edible or not, so I also threw them back. In subsequent reading of a fishing book we have aboard I learned they are edible, but to beware of a poisonous spine behind their pectoral fins. But at least I finally caught something. We did skin and clean one and it was quite tasty, a delicate white meat. Dogfish are frequently used in British fish and chip shops.

Another 10 miles around a headland and we went up a large bay and into the head of Waterfall Inlet to anchor in inner Joe’s Bay, adjacent to the rapids that feed Elizabeth Lagoon.

Shooting the rapids

While in Joe’s Bay I dinghied over to the rapids at the entrance to Elizabeth Lagoon, but did not go through them as the outflow current was too swift. The turbulent water generates large blooms of foam that make the waters for several hundred meters below the rapids look like a glorified bubble bath. I made a later attempt to go through to Elizabeth Lagoon at slack water. I touched bottom once while motoring through, but emerged into this large lagoon to appreciate its rugged tree clad shoreline surrounded by the mountains. However, I did not want to spend much time there as the tide was changing, and I wanted to get through before it became a torrent, stranding me in the lagoon for six hours until the next slack water. I also didn’t want to risk bottoming out on a rock and possibly damaging the propeller. We would then be in serious trouble.  I was relieved when I got through and back to Veleda.

     

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A strange craft

In the larger open bay before the narrows to Joe’s Bay we saw another boat at anchor, the first we had seen for several days. It was a large mega yacht, 75 to 100 feet in length.

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 Mega Yacht Keno at anchor

Alongside its starboard was a long (50 foot) low, slab-sided, grey craft with a modified trimaran hull. The mother ship, with her name Keno on, had both a Canadian courtesy flag and a national flag which was a British red ensign with a coat of arms from the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

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The sleek mystery boat had no name but was flying the Cayman Islands flag and a courtesy Canadian flag below it.

 

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This was more than a cigarette boat, and it looked very similar to a US Navy experimental stealth boat we saw on a trial run a few years ago off Norfolk, Virginia. It was racing across the water at a high speed, as shown in this picture below. I am sure the low profile, and slab sided design, plus the grey paint were all to reduce or eliminate the radar signature of this vessel.

Log #58t USN Stealth craft

                  US Navy stealth craft under speed trial

We joked about the possibility that the mega yacht was on some kind of nefarious smuggler related mission. However, another sailboat that came in next day had engine trouble when they were about to leave. We had already left that morning (Aug. 18), but heard a call the boat tried to make to the Coast Guard for assistance. They were out of range of any coast guard station, but we relayed their call to the Coast Guard, and indicated a large yacht Keno was in the area and it may have an engineer on board. Subsequently we heard the yacht contact the sailboat with an offer to send their mechanic over to them. So, I guess it was a legitimate visitor after all. A week later we saw this same mystery vessel motoring south down Georgia Strait off Campbell River, but no mega yacht in sight.

 

Log #58t Chart North of Cape Caution3North of Cape Caution

Just 12 miles around from Joe’s Bay we anchored in the early afternoon in another secluded anchorage in Fury Cove (51 28.284N, 127 45.674W).