Log #59r West Coast, Cape Scott to Nootka Island

February 24, 2016 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 59, The Logs

Log #59r

Mittry Lake, Yuma, AZ

Feb. 24, 2016


Hi Folks,


I have a new computer, unfortunately with Windows 10 (I liked Windows 7). I can get on to Hotmail and so I will not be using Gmail. I am still learning this system, so forgive me if things seem a bit mixed up. Incidentally if you receive an Email from Ontario Cruiser, that’s me as well. It was my identifier on Gmail. I hope you can read and enjoy this Log #59r about a GPS problem and an abandoned First Nations settlement.


Note – I had this covering letter all setup as a word document with several pictures in it. However when I copied and pasted the letter to the E-mail, the pictures did not come out. I am not going to spend another couple of hours re-inserting the pictures in the appropriate places of this text. Where there is a space or a heading in Italics, there would have been a picture. I have attached the original covering letter with pictures in addition to the attachment that contains the Log #59r. Sorry for the inconvenience. I liked the format of my Outlook E-mail on my old Windows 7 system. This format does not even have a draft option. So if I am writing this while off line, I have no option but to hit SEND, and hope it goes the next time I’m on line. I have no way of saving or revising a draft or attaching anything to a draft. If anyone can help me with Windows 10 Outlook to be able to copy and paste pictures and text and to use a draft command, please let me know. Aaaarrgghh!


I enjoyed Quartzsite, even though it is one big flea market for Rvers. We made a well attended slide presentation at the local library on night and I enjoyed a radio controlled display at the large park which actually has two paved runways for radio controlled aircraft. The aeronautical acrobatics performed by these hobby enthusiasts was spectacular, every bit as good as any airshow I have seen. They did a variety of loops and rolls, and a couple of craft had smoke trails to show their manoeuvres. Some aircraft were single engine prop driven, others were twin engines and some were even jet powered. A couple were designed to take off and “land” on water. Some had LED lights so their controllers could see them when flying at night. It was a great display.





Float plane with LED lights on each wing

Smoke contrails show the aerobatic manoeuvres


I visited the local cemetery where a stone pyramid commemorates Hi Jolly (originally named Hadji Ali) a camel driver from Syria who accompanied about 70 camels that were part of a US Army experiment to use them for desert transport in the 1860’s. The trial was discontinued after four years. The camel now serves as a symbol for Quartzsite. The stone pyramid also reflects the mining carried on in the area.




We left Quartzsite a week ago to head into California to camp at Salton Sea, where we went to Palm Springs to visit some friends from Okanagan Falls, then back to Arizona at Lake Mittry outside of Yuma.


The Salton Sea in a California desert

Down here at Mittry Lake we are camping on free BLM land with a nice view across a marshy shore over the lake. It is part of the Colorado River irrigation system, providing water for the many large scale farms in the area.

View from our trailer window across Lake Mittry


Farm workers harvesting and packaging leafy green vegetables


A couple of days ago we went to Los Algodones in Mexico. It is a small town on the border that specializes in medical, and dental services. In addition it has cheap prescription pharmacies and vision services as well as Mexican cantinas and restaurants and other tourist souvenirs.



Most of the medical dental and pharmaceutical services would be less than 50% of their costs in Canada or the US.


I had my teeth cleaned and Judy had what she thought would be a crown preparation, but turned into a difficult extraction. Their equipment was quite modern and their doctors well trained mostly in US universities. The whole town is set up for Canadians and Americans who come down, mostly in RVs for the cheap medical and dental services available. Prescriptions can be renewed with nothing but the prescription pill bottle from a Canadian or US pharmacy. I was low on a couple of them and had them renewed down there rather than arranging to have them shipped from my pharmacy in Toronto. There is a huge parking lot at the border which allows people to walk into Mexico, without going through any Mexican customs or immigration, and they are right in the busy town with all the services in a few blocks. Walking back we had to go through US customs inspection, but there was no problem with our passport and verbal declaration of a few prescriptions.


Today I am hearing the thump of howitzers being tested at the Yuma Proving Grounds which are adjacent to the BLM land where we are camped.







All the best, Aubrey


Log #59r West Coast, Cape Scott to Nootka Island

Salton Sea, California

Feb. 17, 2016

GPS failure at the worst time

We hoisted our main sail before weighing anchor from Klaskish Basin as we had light winds from a good direction, and motor sailed out into the wide Brooks Bay. We were heading southerly to round Brooks Peninsula and another notorious cape, Cape Cook. It is written up in our pilot book as treacherous as was Cape Scott. As our Waggoners quotes,

The Cape Cook/ Solander Island area can be a dangerous patch of water. When Conflicting currents meet accelerating winds, conditions can sink a boat. Cape Cook has driven back large steamships.”

Solander Island a half mile off Cape Cook has some shoals between it and the headland. The wind was light and the seas relatively calm as we approached. Our GPS indicated the depths of shoals off the headland and off Solander Island. It looked like “a piece of cake”, and so we decided to go between the cape and the island. As we motor sailed to the north tip of the headland, the wind became fluky and we strapped in the main and increased engine power. The sea became sloppy with waves coming from different directions. We were carefully following our GPS track between the shoals from the headland and those extending out from Solander Island, being tossed by the confused seas.


As we were rounding the point, our GPS froze up! We were in the unmarked channel 200 yards from shore and the underlying shoals. If we tried to turn around we would have to look out for shoals on both sides of the boat. We slowly continued through the sloppy seas keeping an eye on the depth sounder to avoid any shallowing water. We couldn’t turn back or head out to open water as we had shoals on both sides. We continued slowly around the point as Judy played with the GPS trying to get it back on line. Finally after turning it off and back on, it found its location and started working properly, and indicated we were finally around the cape and heading southeast in clear water. Whew! It shut off at the worst possible time. Murphy’s Law! We don’t know what caused it. There are a few areas of the world where the GPS signals get scrambled or confused, but our GPS just froze up.

We motored on over to the Bunsby Islands, an attractive group of small islands nestled just off the mainland peninsula extending between Ououkinsh and Malksope Inlets. We wended our way through a few of the islands to anchor off in the northern part (50 05.907N, 127 31.619W) by 1500 (3:00pm). However when we dropped the dingy into the water to tour around these islands, I was unable to get the outboard started. Frustrated at this development we weighed anchor and motored ten miles down the coast to go alongside Walkers Cove public dock (50 01.586N, 127 22.535W) hoping to find someone who could help get the outboard going.

I asked a gentleman who was just looking over the lower floating dock where we were alongside if he knew of anyone familiar with outboards who could help. He indicated he might be able to help and came down to open the cowling to find the carburetor and fuel/water separator we have mounted on the transom of the dinghy were both filled with water. He drained both and started the motor back up. It ran well. We had not looked at our fuel/water separator all season assuming it was doing its job. It was, but it should have been emptied far earlier. He would not accept any money for his twenty minutes of getting it going. Shortly after when we were walking up the docks, thanking him again, he gave us two meals worth of fish he and his wife had in their refrigerator, again not accepting any money.

I wandered around the path of the bay in front of several houses and over to a high end resort fishing lodge, the main activity in this small community. There is a small general store, and a closed coffee shop. The resort and fishing are the reasons the hamlet exists. It also supplies the Kyuquot Native community across the bay with supplies and an outpost hospital/health service.

We left next morning, heading 27 miles down to nestle in Queen Cove (49 52.665N, 126 58.950W) bypassing Kyuquot Sound, another major sound of the west coast. It was a clear sunny day, and as we motored into Esperanza Inlet, into Port Eliza inlet via False Creek, we dropped our prawn trap, as the underwater contours looked a likely bed. The criteria suggested to us was a depth of 150 feet beside a steep incline that flattens out. We leave the trap buoyed by a white fender, and mark the spot on our GPS for retrieval.

Abandoned Native Settlement

On our way in after dropping the prawn trap we noticed a few houses in an adjacent cove before rounding in to Queens Cove to anchor by 1400. It is a well sheltered cove at the foot of Port Eliza Inlet. In the afternoon we dinghied around the bay where we saw a small black bear and a deer near the mouth of Park River which empties into Queens Cove. It was a damp ride in the exposed part of the bay due to afternoon winds. After supper in quiet conditions we dinghied out to check our prawn trap. Nothing. We kept the trap and line in the dinghy to return to Veleda.

On our way back we went over to a few houses we saw in the next bay to go alongside a few floating logs serving as a dock access.

All were deserted. No one was around. We saw several berry bushes and decided to come back next day as we were in bare feet and didn’t want to walk on the stony shoreline.

Next day we went ashore with containers for berries. The bushes were full of ripe blackberries. While Judy picked them, I explored the abandoned houses and trailer on the shore.


They were relatively new houses, maybe built in the 1960’s, but their windows were broken and the doors bashed in. Some had some old couches, refrigerators, broken chairs and cupboards. Electrical fixtures were torn out of the walls. It seemed a shame that these solid abandoned houses were so desecrated. I guess the fishing was insufficient for the First Nations inhabitants who left for other settlements.

The road behind them was also overgrown making any exploration a heavy chore of hacking through the undergrowth. I wandered down the beach, hoping to get over to the abandoned church whose steeple I could see through the trees.

It was too thick to penetrate and so I returned down the beach to help Judy picking the berries. We got a good supply.

My next log will take us up Esperanza Inlet and around the large Nootka Island separated from Vancouver Island by the 10 mile long Tahsis Inlet.