Day 14 overall, Day 7 afloat: Blind Channel to Port Harvey (Friday)

Blog Readers, Blog Readers, Blog Readers come in this is Domino! (I am still learning how to communicate on the VHS still. You say the name of the boat three times to get their attention. If you don’t know the name of a vessel and you are trying to hail the boat then you describe their position and characteristics or actions of the boat you are trying to reach. For example you might say, ”Blue fishing vessel, south bond in Johnson straight just north of McCroskie this is the Domino…. over. You wait a few minutes and then you say it again until they respond. If they don’t respond then you might change VHF channel and try and locate the local fishing channel. Usually there is chatter and that helps to locate what locals are using. Also every boat is generally required to monitor 16, the International Distress and safety calling channel which is also monitored by the coast guard. If they answer then you say, “Domino switching to VHF 68 and hopefully they follow you to channel 68 and then you chat. You might be asking information about their boat, fishing conditions or you might want to alert them that you would like to pass them. The ship ahead has the right away as it is the stand on vessel. We have found that boaters are generally very courtesy and most of them follow water traffic safety rules.

6:00: Up and out of the slip with no assist.

6:48: Chancelor Channels

It is a beautiful sunny day, clear sky, 5kts to our bow and a west wind. It is almost impossible to believe that we have only been on this voyage for 7 days. Andrew and I have discussed how quickly the stresses from our normal lives have just faded away. I have not had a single thought about the stresses of work or home pretty much since we cast the ropes off in La Conner 7 days ago. Take the helm of boat that we don’t own or have experience with and make a passage of approximately 2500 nautical miles this summer. Well, it was the craziest thing that popped into our heads and once the idea was there we could no talk ourselves out of the idea. Andrew and I both grew up in the great lakes area and spent time boating and fishing but on much smaller vessels. So some could argue that we are too inexperienced to navigate, chart and make a voyage as challenging as the passage from Washington to Alaska but for those of you who know my Andrew you know that there is nothing that he can’t figure out given a little time, a few books or access to the internet. Handing him this boat was like handing him the ingredients, the challenges, the adventures straight out of some of his favorite books. I will take credit for finding this boat but the original idea was Andrew’s idea. I think in another life he must have been an archeologist or an explorer or something exciting, independent and constantly educational. We have decided that I must have been a pirate for sure! I had no idea how much I would love the open water. I have been on big cruise ships but there is nothing as exciting or exhilarating as manning the helm of your own vessel and facing the navigational challenges, the weather, the water conditions and while maintaining the smooth operation of the boat.

Navigational Challenge:

Today we are going through Greene Point Rapids. Once again we are using our “Ports and Passes” book to determine the right time to hit slack (turn to ebb). As I explained in the previous blog post, this means that the tide has finished coming in and is about to start going out. You want to take advantage of the lull in the middle, when the water is neither ebbing nor flowing. Timing today was great and we passed with no problems. It is interesting though that if you only saw these areas at the lull you can’t fully appreciate how powerful and dangerous the waters can become so we now understand that it is always important to use “Local knowledge” and “Ports and Passes” to understand an area before you attempt to boat through these areas. It also so happens that the author of “Local Knowledge is along with us on this trip. He is the 2nd hand on Sam’s boat, Safe Harbour. Kevin is a wealth of knowledge, extremely smart, generous with his time and his knowledge, very knowledgeable on the navigation instruments like the radar and GPS and a really fun partner in liar’s dice. (A game I have now been introduced to by Sandy and Dan on the Yacht Shot.) He also has a really great laugh that fills up the room and pulls you right into the joke or the fun. I am so glad that he is along. He has been a great addition to the other boaters and I am sure Same has been glad for the company.

We passed through Current Channel and we hugged the shore as there was some wind. We also carefully avoided Earl Ledge. We had wind at 15-20 kts with an ebb current so conditions were choppy. Waves were on the beam so not too rolly today. When the waved are on the bow not the beam so that means that the waves are coming at you or hitting the front of the boat first and the boat then raises up and down and is not rolly like when the waves are on the beam or coming at the side of the boat. I like waves on the bow much more than on the beam for obvious reasons. Little kitty likes that better as well.

We arrived at Port Harvey at 11:15 in time to make lunch. I pulled some hamburger from the crazy big freezer under the Helm seat and made hamburgers and macaroni and cheese. I had a crazing! Little kitty and I got a nice nap and then I dropped my crab traps.

Port Harvey is really just a very long dock and a little building run by a man named George. He is very nice and has a lovely dog that greats you at the dock. He runs a little store which looked like it had one of everything and a little diner that he will open if the boaters want dinner and he takes your orders after you arrive and then begins preparing for dinner. He makes a killer pizza and so that is what we ordered. He also takes orders for cinnamon you can pick up at the little store the next morning when you pop into to pay the slip fee.

Taking care of Domino/Boat Repair:

We have not been able to use the VHS radio so far. We are using the redundant hand held that we brought along but the range is not as strong on the handheld. Sam came to the boat and he and Andrew took a look at the wiring for the VHs and discovered that the VHS was still attached to the old antenna and so they reattached the VHS to the AIS antenna (Automatic Identification system). So now the VHS works great but now we can’t pick up on the chart plotter the AIS signals that other boats are broadcasting. We are going to find a splitter, probably in Ketchikan and fixed that problem as well.

Dropped by crab traps at the end of the very long dock and will check after dinner.

Dinner at Port Harvey: We had a lovely group dinner prepared by George with a really nice pineapple cheese cake for dessert. We all walked back to the boats casually but I ran to my crab pots (I always want to call them traps but they are called pots) and there they were! My first crabs in my pot! Three crabs, two male and one female. The female goes back in the water no matter what size she is so that the species can continue. The two males are measured and they are long enough and so they are mine! My bait was the left over shrimp heads from the day before and a scrap turkey neck that the butcher at an IGA gave me. Kevin and Dan showed me how to determine a female crab from a male and how to grab them without injury and then how to snap them in half (a quick death) and then clean them. I will boil them tomorrow and eat them!

Domino…….Over and standing by on VHF channel 68.

  • Left Dock/Weighed anchor: pulled up Anchor at 6:00
  • Cruise Log: 37 Nautical Miles
  • Weather Conditions: Moderate wind and Sunny
  • Navigational Obsticals: Green Point Rapids and docking in the moderate wind. Domino has a bow thruster and in reverse walks to the starboard side. This is important information when coming to a marina. We tend to favor docking, bow in and Starboard tie which is the easiest to do on this boat.
  • Wildlife Sighting: Ran and Jan saw a momma black bear and 2 cubs, we just missed them. They were eating grasses by the edge of the water. Eagles, harbor seals and crabs!
  • Arrived Dock/Dropped anchor: Docked at 11:15
  • Slip for the night $102 included slip, pizza, dessert, power and water and 4 Carabiners.
  • Time today Helm for TEA: 1.5 hrs
  • Time today Helm for ACA: 7 hrs
  • Lessons learned: All rapids are not the same but all are to be understood and respected. Can’t say enough about “Local Knowledge” and “Ports and Passes.
  • Fun Meals while underway:
    • Burgers and Truffle Mac and Cheese! (A little comfort food and the first use of the grill on board.)
    • Dinner-Pizza at George’s Red Shoe Cafe

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