Log #61k Haida Gwaii to round Cape Caution

September 11, 2016 in Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs

Log #61k Haida Gwaii to round Cape Caution

Neah Bay, WA, USA

Sept. 10, 2016

Hi Folks,

We are weathered in here at Neah Bay for a day, and so I have another log ready to go out, hopefully from New Port, Oregon when we get there in a couple of days. We had a quiet motor all the way from Port Angeles to here yesterday, but did not want to leave today as there was fog and contray high winds. Rounding Cape Flattery is another cape that is known for its contrary weather and currents. After that it is straight down the Pacific coast of Washington and Oregon with few stops before New Port, a 255 mile passage.

This log gets us from Haida Gwaii over to the mainland and down below the “notorious” Cape Caution. Actually we have had no problems rounding that cape other than a few times doing so in dense fog. We had a good time at Hakai Beach Institute on Calvert Island with my grand nephew Ben.

We are on our way down to Mexico, but do not want to gt there until November due to hurricane seasonwhich ends then.

I hope to send this in a few days.

All the best,


PS I am sending this out today, Sept. 11 just before we depart Neah Bay for Newport Oregon, a 255 mile passage.


Log #61k
Neah Bay, WA, USA
Sept. 9, 2016

We left Sgang Gwaay (Anthony Island) at noon Aug. 9, originally intending to re anchor in Rose Inlet where we had been stormed in for three days, but as we seemed to have favorable winds we elected to keep sailing for the 122 mile passage across Hecate Strait to Shearwater. On our way past Rose Inlet we hoisted the main, hoping for some favorable winds on our crossing of Hecate Strait.

The winds were only OK, at least not in our face. We unfurled the genoa and continued to motor sail into the strait on a course of 065 m with ENE breezes. Mid afternoon we were favored with a pod of about 40 white sided dolphins that came over and played around the boat for several minutes before continuing on their northerly course.

In late afternoon, the wind shifted to SSW allowing us to turn the engine off and sail on a run (the wind behind us) with the main out to port and the genoa held out to starboard with our whisker pole. While quietly coasting along, afternoon, we saw another pod of five Risso’s dolphins. We enjoyed quiet sailing until sunset at 2135, when the wind died and we furled the genoa and strapped in the main to motor until about 0100 when a shift allowed me to unfurl the genoa and motor sail the rest of the way.

The new day as we approached the archipelago on the mainland was chilly, grey, and drizzly. Entering Seaforth Channel, we rounded Campbell Island to motor past New Bella Bella over to Shearwater on Denny Island. We have been to Shearwater several times as it is a good supply and refuelling stop. The docks seemed full, but we wanted to anchor (52 08.999N, 128 05.118W) off anyway, as we could dinghy over to the marina for our supplies. The 122 mile passage took us 28 hours to complete.
Anthony Island (Sgang Gwaay) to Shearwater  

Ashore we refilled our propane tank and bought groceries. After doing an oil change we were able to dump our waste oil in a special receptacle ashore. Shearwater was an RCAF base in WW II, and the former hangar for the sea planes is now in use for several stores and storage and repair facilities.

Another small world department situation arose when a chap rowed his dinghy over to say “Hi” to us. It was Ken on his boat Full Circle, the one who bought our old dinghy two years ago. He was pleased with it as Caribes are hard to find, and he didn’t mind having to scrape all the barnacles off the bottom.

In continuing cool grey drizzly weather, we left Shearwater for a 42 mile passage, wending our way through the islands of this archipelago down to Pruth Bay on the northern part of Calvert Island. We have traversed this area several times now. As we were motoring down Fitz Hugh Sound we saw a pod of five humpback whales as they leisurely broke the surface on their northward migration. This was just off the abandoned fish packing plant at Namu. We didn’t bother to check it out as it looked as abandoned as it did when we were there a couple of years ago.

We were at the Hakai Beach Institute in Pruth Bay last year to meet up with Ben, my brother’s grandson.

Overlooking Pruth Bay (Veleda on the left)  

We again had a good get together with him for a couple of days. We accompanied him on an excursion to plant measuring instruments on a wide tidal flat, the dime sized chips registering a variety of water qualities. The beaches around Pruth Bay are fantastic and dramatic, with large tidal flats and log strewn flotsam.

West Beach

Entrance to West Beach  

One evening after enjoying a meal in the lodge
Hakai Beach Lodge

with the other staff, we hiked out to the west beach, Ben with webbing and carabiners over his shoulders. We weren’t quite sure what he was to do with the equipment. He and a couple of young women proceeded to lash the web strapping between two large timbers long ago washed up on the beach. Stretching the webbing taught with the carabiners, they proceeded to use the now rigid strap as a tightrope, and challenged each other to cross the twenty foot shallow chasm.

Strap attached to logs

I couldn’t do more than two steps before falling off, and I called it quits for me, as another fall at my age could be hazardous. The young people were quite adept
Ben Balancing
(He was actually better than shown here)

at crossing, sometimes kneeling on the strap, and another time reversing course mid way across. It was enjoyable watching these young people enjoying this make-shift tightrope,

61K-9 61K-10

but we took our leave early as we had a 0600 departure planned for a 50 mile passage next day. It was good to see Ben again.

We were off by 0545, July 14 (Bastille Day in France) wanting to get down beyond Cape Caution, weather permitting. As we were heading down Fitz Hugh Sound we saw three pods of whales. The first was a couple of humpbacks heading north, as was the second couple as they casually surged their arched backs above the surface, preceded by hollow sounding blows. The third group we saw just off Rivers Inlet, a large pod of 10 to 15 humpbacks, all heading north. Then we saw a lazy sea otter languidly lying on its back, looking around in an unconcerned manner.

By 0930 the wind shifted northwest, in our favor, and we hoisted both the main and genoa to turn off the engine and have one of the few quiet times under sail. As we approached Cape Caution I swung out the genoa on the side opposite to our main with the whisker pole to sail wing on wing. We rounded the hazardous  Cape Caution with no problems, able to see it this time; on a couple of previous passages it was shrouded in fog. Shortly after rounding the cape, we saw a sea lion close alongside just off McEwan Rock. We continued down past the cape to anchor in the east cove of Wescott Point by 1600 (4:00pm)  after a long ten hour 56 mile passage. We wanted to make time south to get to the Broughtons and a beef rib dinner at Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina for my birthday July 19. We were there a couple of years ago and enjoyed their hospitality.