Day 13 overall, Day 6 Afloat: Prideaux Haven/Desolation Sound to Blind Channel via Dent Rapids (Thursday)
6:05- 6:20: I got up early to meet my fishing buddy, Dan the man, to pull the shrimp pots that we dropped last night. The sun is coming up and the water is like glass. The other boats at anchor are lit up and bobbing peacefully in the morning sun against a magnificent view of the mountains. These are the moments that I have to put my camera down and make sure that I really see this all with my own eyes. There are snow covered mountain tops in the background and wonderful light reflections everywhere and the calm is absolutely intoxicating. I am not sure it gets any better than this! I can’t remember the last time I was this happy and excited about being alive and that was before I started catching fish!
Andrew and I spent a wonderfully, peaceful quiet night in one of the most beautiful places on earth! I can’t wait to come back to Prideaux Haven and spent a few days and explore. I certainly understand how this place can get under your skin in a big way! While I was pulling up three hundred feet of rope to bring my “Fishy Joe’s Diner back up, hopefully with a lot of shrimp, Andrew pulled up Domino anchor alone and met us at the top of cove. Drum roll……………wait for it…………..I met him with met him with 13 shrimp and my dinghy. Only one of the pots Dan and I dropped last night had shrimp and Dan was kind enough to let me take the haul as he had some from the day before. So… I guess we hit the motherlode because we got enough shrimp for a nice shrimp dinner this evening. This was the first time we were picking up the dinghy underway so another educational experience for both of us.
Today we go 46 NM and that is a pretty easy day of cruising and the waters are calm. However today the challenge is about currents, flood, ebb and slack tides. We headed out at 6:30, once again ahead of the group to ensure that we arrived on time just south of Stewart Island where we will wait for Sam and the rest of the flotilla before heading into the rapids. We will run through 3 sets rapids; Yuculta, Gillard and then the biggest of them all which is called Dent Rapids. To understand how the tides and current work you must first understand that in Northern latitudes, the twice-daily rise and fall of the tides is much greater than it is closer to the equator. When the tide rises in the ocean it rushes into the inlets, raising their levels as much as twenty feet which can create a fair amount of turbulence, waterfalls, rapids, whirl pools, etc. The way through these areas is to enter them at slack tide which is neither ebb or flood but some short period of time between those two conditions. At slack these inlets are generally very calm as tide is no longer rushing into the inlets. Take a look at the map of the British Columbia Coastline and notice how BC faces to the ocean and is backed to inlets and land but more importantly notice how many places the ocean can rush through passages or inlets and then think about the many directions that the water would be rushing into those inlets. The way that BC is situated the ebb and flood are coming and leaving from multiple directions and that water flow often meets in certain locations and not only significantly raise or lower the water levels in an area but can create the whirl pools, water falls, tidal rips or rapids which can be impossible to pass through not to mention can become very dangerous. (Remember what I said about water levels changing by as much as 20 feet. So we have to use a book that is updated annually, called “Ports and Passes.” This book includes hundreds of pages of tide and current tables for various areas from Portland to Ketchikan. The book is broken down day by day for the entire year based on where the moon is in the sky and on past observations of tide heights and current speeds at given places. The tables are considered pretty accurate and are updated every year. Data for some location are given as an offset to another location which leaves you calculating tides and currents based on the reference stations. You also have to take into account your boat speed and expected time of arrival at these reference stations. Some boats have to take these three rapids one at a time over 18 hours rather than risk hitting one of three at the wrong time.
We arrived at the first of the rapids which is Yuculta, on the day of a full moon so this meant that we also had a smaller window to get between each rapid because the tide turns from ebb to flood much faster during a full moon and there is much less slack time between the change from ebb to flood.
The good news is that the Wagner’s group spent an significant amount of time educating us on how to make this part of the trip safely and what to do if we could not make all three rapids safely and where to stop the boat and spend the night and start again the next day. If you are watching the photos go up then you know that we made it through safely. Thanks to the Wagner’s group we have learned to calculate these passages and assess the situations and remain safe and which will be important on the way home when we will no longer be with the flotilla.
More on Domino’s Capability:
I will take a minute here to talk about the capability and speed of the Domino. Although Domino is capable of 8.5 Knots (Kts) (Nautical Miles per hour), the nature of full-displacement hulls is such that it takes a lot of power to reach maximum speed. 6-7 Kts. is a much more fuel efficient cruising range. At 6 Kts Domino gets 4 miles to the gallon, giving her a 2400 mile range from her 600 gallon tank. This makes her an optimal boat for long distance passage making. We hope to reach Ketchikan having burn less than half a tank of Diesel. That is after cruising and running the diesel heater and the generator.
Domino…….Over and standing by on VHF channel 68.
Left Dock/Weighed anchor: pulled up Anchor at 6:15 AM
Cruise Log: 46 Nautical Miles,
Weather Conditions: Calm, sunny, warm and brilliant blue sky, billowy clouds
Navigational Obsticals: Yuculta Rapids, Gillard and Dent Rapids.
Wildlife Sighting: Dolphin, eagles and SHRIMP! Also a great hike to the Bid Cedar which is said to be 800 years old.
Arrived Dock/Dropped anchor: First Anchoring @ 3:00
Slip for the night $58
Time today Helm for TEA: 1.5 hrs
Time today Helm for ACA: 7 hrs
Lessons learned: Don’t mess with Dent Rapids. Even though we hit it during slack once we got past it the tide was starting to come back in and the little rapids and whirl pools that build up beyond it were also impressive!
Fun Meals while underway:
- Breakfast underway this morning was a lovely Chorizo and veggie omelet.
- Lunch Basil Turkey and grilled cheese.
- Dinner- Romantic dinner on the dock. Grilled Halibut with homemade Chimichurri sauce, thirteen shrimp that we caught that morning and Grilled sweet potatoes and grilled asparagus and a nice bottle of red wine.