Log #59d Kitimat to Prince Rupert

June 20, 2015 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 59, The Logs

Sitka, Alaska
July 5, 2015
Hi Folks,
We are just departing Sitka, and heading further south.

We have been travelling constantly, never spending more than two days in any one place since we left Vancouver in early May.  We also prefer to anchor when possible for several reasons. Anchoring is free, the boat swings into the wind for a more gentle motion, more breeze on hot nights, the view is wider and less cluttered, and away from land there are fewer to no bugs or mosquitos. For the month of May we anchored 20 nights in 17 different locations, and were in 7 different  marinas for 11 nights. We travelled a distance of 680 nm from Thetis Island (May 1) where we stored Veleda for the winter to Hideaway Bay outside of Kitimat (May 31). Currently we have travelled over 1600 nautical miles since we left Thetis Island on May 1st.

I started this log on June 20th but have not been able to get a reliable internet signal since then. Access to the internet for E-mail is the most frustrating aspect of cruising. I will save this on my E-mail program and start the next log from Ketchikan to Juneau, and hope to send this off as soon as I can get on line.

Pasted below is the map of our season’s sailing, and it will be posted on the website.

All the best,

Aubrey

PS – I hope I can get on line later today, July 13, in Craig. I already have the next log ready to go, and will hopefully send it tomorrow. This next log gets us into Alaska, although we will be leaving US waters in a few more days.

 Where are they now[1]


Log #59d Kitimat to Prince Rupert
Neka Bay, Alaska
June 20, 2015
As I write this motoring on our way to Neka Bay, I realize today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. For our location this far north (58° 14.61’ N) sunrise was at 3:53 am and sunset will be at 10:08 pm for a total of 18 hours and 55 minutes of daylight. Because it is so light out so early we have had several early departures to have a long day to make distance, to get tides in our favour or to get off before adverse winds started up. The earliest we have left was at 3:49 am one day and several days between 4:00 and 5:00 am.
Incidentally, the latitudes we are travelling now are the furthest north we have been with Veleda since Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides of Scotland in 2000, at 58° 16.095’ North latitude. Just above Juneau we were at our furthest north at 58° 25.000’ North latitude as we came around Point Retreat. While I am at statistics for our sailing, the furthest south we have been was down the Manamo River, part of the Orinoco Delta of Venezuela, in 2005 at 09° 04.201’ North latitude (and 62° 04.582’ W). The furthest east we have been with Veleda was in Iskenderun, Turkey near the Syrian border in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2002 where we were at 36° 09.731’ East longitude. We are presently sailing our furthest west here in our anchorage at Neka Bay at 135° 45.199’ West longitude , but we will be even further west as we head towards Sitka. So, our ventures this year will see us at our furthest north and our furthest west points of travel in our 17 years on Veleda since leaving Toronto in July 1998.

Kitimat
Alongside at MK Marina just outside of Kitimat (53° 58.862’ N, 128° 39.146’ W) we paid $1.25 a foot plus tax for 42.00 a night, relatively expensive for this area. I had a frustrating time trying to get on to their internet with no success. Something is wrong with my laptop. In addition, the marina, the only one, was a $30.00 taxi ride to the shopping mall into town. However, we were able to resupply and refuel.

59D-1
MK Marina with Aluminum/Bauxite operation on the far shore and snow-capped mountain background

I wanted to get to Kitimat as it is the focus of a political issue of a pipeline from Alberta to here for oil shipment across the Pacific. Environmentalists are arguing against the pipeline for pollution potentials, either with the pipeline itself or the large tankers that would have to negotiate the Douglas and Whale Channels, about 75 nautical miles to get to open ocean. The port is well served by several primary resource industries such as aluminum, bauxite, grain, lumber, and pulp and paper, as well as fishing and a burgeoning tourist industry. It has also a good transportation infrastructure with road, rail, sea and air terminals. In anticipation of these industries and the pipeline expanding, housing costs have gone up in the area.
I personally support the establishment of the pipeline to Kitimat, as the infrastructure for safe navigation and pollution control is in place, and it would be an added asset to our trade with Pacific Rim countries. There are only three major ports for our Pacific trade; Vancouver, Kitimat, and Prince Rupert, and all have good infrastructure.
On May 31 we left Kitimat and went down 15 NM to anchor in the dramatic panorama of Hideaway Bay for the night.
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Views from our anchorage in Hideaway Bay
Before a 0545 start the next day for a 52 NM day down to anchor off a picturesque short waterfall in Lowe Inlet (53° 33.586’ N, 129° 33.918’ W) where the lake feeding it was only a few feet higher than sea level. There was a rally of American power boats from Anacortes in Washington State, led by Mark Bunzel, the publisher of the Waggoners Cruising Guides which we use. He and a friend came over to Veleda with chocolate cupcakes and introduced themselves. As he had a few copies of the guide, Exploring the Southeast Coast of Alaska, we bought one from him, in Canadian dollars. Thanks Mark. We were anchored off another boat in the rally, Thelonius, an attractive 1950’s built classic yacht, based on a 1930’s design, with a traditional clinker built dinghy called T. Monk, after the jazz musician Thelonius Monk. We were to see this distinctive yacht in several other anchorages as we worked our way up to Alaska.

59D-4
 Thelonius at anchor  
Verney Falls doubles in its short height from high to low tide as the Kumodah River tumbles into Nettle Basin of Lowe Inlet, a favourite anchorage of northbound vessels.
59D-5  Verney Falls at high tide

We were anchored only 100 metres from the falls with a beautiful view of it, and lulled to sleep by its rushing white noise.

59D-6
Veleda at anchor off Verney Falls    
On our way up the narrow but picturesque Grenville Channel we passed HMCS Yukon, an Orca training ship of the RCN, a modern vessel far better than the gate boats and YFP’s that I captained, training officer cadets in my time. We didn’t dip our flag to them (On the short flag staff, it would not be noticed.),  but gave them a hearty wave which many of them returned, after which we altered to head into their sizeable wake.
59D-7  HMCS Yukon
Butedale, another community along Fraser Reach, which was struggling for its existence when out 2013 Waggoners Cruising Guide was published, is now totally deserted. The guide book indicated that a group of volunteers cleaned the site of the old fish plant and established 500 feet of float space with water and power. A diehard, Lou Simoneau, attempted to keep it alive, but it looks as if it was too much for him and Butedale has died, gone the way of Namu and many other fish plant communities.

59D-8
Butedale abandoned
As we worked our way up the many channels and passes, I was impressed by the waterfalls cascading down the mountainsides. There were so many it is hard to say which are the most spectacular or picturesque. I think of waterfalls as the dynamic of Nature, feeding fresh water from the mountains (and later as we saw, from the glaciers) for all the waters’ many uses to nature and humanity.
59D-9 59D-10
Waterfall Mathieson Channel                Waterfall Grenville Channel
Every channel, sound, inlet, passage or lagoon has its own spectacular beauty with dramatic panoramas of the mountains both cloud shrouded and snow-capped.
59D-11  Cloud shrouded and snow-capped    

59D-12
Veleda at anchor in a lagoon 
Notice how insignificant Veleda is beneath these towering mountains. (That’s Veleda at the left side.)
In one of the channels we had to alter our course for a deer swimming across.
59D-13  Deer in mid channel

Prince Rupert
Two days and 63 miles later we were in Prince Rupert Yacht Club (54° 19.215’ N, 130° 19.169’ W), the city marina for transients. There is another marina one mile north, further from downtown. As we entered the area I noted the large containership piers, and facilities for primary resources such as coal, oil, lumber, minerals, pulp and fish which are exported all across the Pacific. This small city of 18,000 boasts the third deepest natural harbour in the world. It is served by rail, road, sea, air and the BC Ferries, taking advantage of its beautiful location for an increasing tourist industry.
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Container port and grain ship in Prince Rupert
We walked up into town several times over the two days we stayed there, to take care of many chores. We had a new burner fabricated for our Force Ten cooking stove, purchased new belts for our alternator, stocked up on our grocery supplies and had our laptops cleaned of accumulated viruses so we could now access the internet. After refueling we set off for Brundige Inlet on Dundas Island, our last anchorage before entering US waters into Alaska.
Dundas Island is a convenient stopover en route to Ketchikan, still in Canadian waters. I wanted to anchor there as I was born and raised in Dundas, Ontario, my home town of which I have many fond memories. Unfortunately Brundige Inlet lived up to its reputation as mentioned in our cruising guides – BLACKFLIES. I made the mistake of fishing off the bow (unsuccessfully) and had dozens of blackfly bites to the extent I had to use Calamine lotion to relieve the itching.  This was our first exposure to black flies or mosquitoes this year, as usually at anchor, we are not exposed to such. Judy wisely stayed below.
Next day we were off for another 57nm north to Ketchikan, Alaska.