Day 19 overall, Day 12 afloat, Port McNeil past west side of Cape Caution, short stop in the middle at Walker Group to gather group, rest and let the wind die down and then on to Fury Cover. (Wednesday)
5:30- Blog Reader come in this is vessel Domino and we have ropes off and the Domino is headed out to open water. We have a new alternator and we are ready to face today and all the excitement we promised by the weather forecasts. Right from the minute we entered open water we knew that the West Sea Otter buoy was indeed accurate. It sucks out here! The winds are from the northwest at approximately 15 kts bringing with it seas of approximately 1 approaching 2 meters (3-6 foot). Seas are on a 6 second periods which means that every 6 seconds you crest another wave or the boat plunges into another trough. Directionally, the seas are just ahead of the port beam which means that we are doing some rolling and some pitching. There is no comfort today for the crew and although Andrew and I are ok the little kitty barfed. We took shifts holding her and helping her calm down but the constant pitching, rolling and yawing of the boat make it difficult for her to stand still and she has dropped to her belly and is crawling about trying to find a safe and calm place to rest. Being in the trough between waves reminds me of Tennison’s line from Ulysses “It may be that the gulfs will wash us down.” You lose the horizon for a few seconds and it looks like the next wave will roll up and cover the pilot house. The Domino continues to plow through it all and is handling like a doughty, spunky, determined little seahorse. (I keep calling the Domino a little sea witch but Andrew doesn’t like it when I call her this because he claims people used to burn witches. He has a point I guess.)
I finally took the little kitty below to the midship cabin where the motion was less intense and the visual movement of the boat was not as obvious. Patience is not a cat that will permit her humans to snuggle her up when she is ready to sleep. Oh she likes to be held and stroked but only when it is her idea. For two solid hours she allowed me to snuggle her in a little ball and would not leave my arms. She kept sighing and groaning so I am pretty sure that she was sea sick. Well that is to say if I wasn’t already sure after she barfed! Meanwhile, Andrew ate a bag of flaming hot Cheetos and I accused him of nervous eating! He did not deny it!
9:27- 4.5 hours later we arrived at the Walker Group which is really just a grouping of two island, Kent Island and Staples Island. We pulled in and dropped anchor and cleaned up in the cabin a little. Put some more items away, checked on the cat and then had a bite to eat. Andrew decided to take a nap and I sat on the deck and decompressed and read a book and watched the anchor chain movement to be sure that we were not moving. Andrew and Kitty snuggled up and took a one hour nap and we all got some quiet time which we needed. Funny how the build up to a hard day sometimes takes as much out of you as the hard day itself.
1:30- We pulled up anchor and headed back out into the rough water and the wind. Andrew took the helm and I took a nap.
4:30- I took the helm and Andrew took another nap with the little kitty. I fastened myself onto the Helm seat and watched Cape caution slowly move from off the starboard bow to starboard astern. I can see why pirates and sailors alike want to be at sea no matter what the weather. The crossing give you a great deal of time to reflect, think and consider ways to solve some of life’s great dilemmas. Today, even in these high winds and rough seas I have all that really matters within m grasps, my husband and Patience, aka the little kitty. We have this blog and the satellite messenger to stay in touch with our family and friends and we have warm shelter, food and water and a sound seaworthy vessel to keep us safe. We are indeed golden and to me, on this day, I consider myself one of the luckiest humans alive and if this is all I ever had again I could be content.
I stayed at the Helm through the last of the heavy water and at 7:15 we arrived at Fury Cove. We dropped anchor. We were both relieved to be back in calm water. Dinner tonight was left over gumbo as we were both tired and didn’t feel like cooking. (Normally we would order Chinese on nights like this but not an option for obvious reasons. I grabbed the little dingy and went out to set crab traps. Yep they get set whether I am tired or not! Can’t let a stressful day and a little rough water stop you from enjoying and exploring the interesting new places that we ne have landed otherwise there is no point in the making your way through the rough water to get to these amazing hidden locations. Andrew and I later took the Dingy to a little sandy island and beached the dinghy. We walked up to a little hiker’s cabin and then all around the little beach as the tide was coming back into the inlet. This little cove is amazing. I have never seen such isolation and beautiful peace and quiet. There are a couple of other boats in the cover besides the Flotilla and we met some of their crew already on the beach. Most boaters are so glad to see new people and want to chat about the day. In this case they if we came from Cape Caution and asked about the trip. I don’t know why but I am still so amazed at how much boaters seem to care about each other. I can see how other boaters become friends and family so quickly. It is so heartwarming to have a complete stranger interested in the challenges that you faced during your voyage. We all become companions in the experience and folks can’t seem to help themselves but act with honest unabashed sympathy and empathy for tired travelers met along the way. Our human instincts that make us leery of strangers all seems to fade away out here and no one is ever a stranger very for long. You meet and within moments you are drawn into the story almost always told from the angle of the vessel that you manage. Domino is becoming as much a part of our lives and our story as our home back in Houston.
We beached on the little island was like a little salt pan but with broken shells and the little lake in the middle was filled with baby crabs. It almost looked like a small crab nursery. So there must be crab here! Moms and daddy crabs have to be somewhere close by, don’t they? You must be careful when you go to the one of these little “islands” to explore because as the tide comes in these little islands sometimes disappear and your little dinghy floats out and you can get stuck waiting on higher ground until the tide goes back out or until another dinghy comes back to rescue both you and your dinghy. This didn’t happen but as the tide came in we could see the possibilities of being stranded. We need a longer rope in the dingy and we need to tie off even when we beach!
It was a tough day for the entire crew and the entire flotilla. Yacht shot and Discovery got quite a ride as they are both boats that perform better at high speed and on a plane. Sandy and Dale are tired but are still smiling and I am in awe of their chutzpah! Yacht Shot is a Sea Ray and is really marketed as a limited range, high speed pleasure cruiser but here they are on the way to Alaska and should really be on the cover of the next Sea Ray magazine as an example of how to defy the whole theory of limited range as they carefully manage both.
Dan, the man, and I are going first thing in the morning. We are going to jig for bottom fish. I can’t wait. We are setting up my poles right now.
This is Domino saying glad that the worst of the day is over and that little kitty is sleeping soundly and seems to have forgiven us for the day. We will all sleep better tonight and tomorrow is another day. Domino kept us safe and dry and proved her mettle again. Andrew, Kitty and I proved we could handle rougher waters, longer days and only one of the three tossed their cookies! Over and standing by on VHF channel 68 and 16.
- Left Dock/Weighed anchor: 5:30 AM
- Cruise Log: 67 Nautical Miles
- Weather Conditions: High win, heavy seas, gray cloud covered sky and rain
- Navigational Obsticals: High Seas and had to keep testing bearing to find a semi comfortable path through the waves. Thank god for auto pilot to give us a break from steering.
- Wildlife Sighting: To busy worried about the waves!
- Arrived Dock/Dropped anchor: 7:15 PM
- Slip for the night: $0
- Time today Helm for TEA: 3 hrs
- Time today Helm for ACA: 6.75hrs
- Lessons learned: Sometimes the shortest route is the longest one. Tacking across the waves might make the ride more comfortable but adding additional time is the cost. Stay at least one mile offshore of Cape Caution because of the reflected waves from the shore because if you get to close than you will have waves coming at you from both sides. NOT GOOD! . We learned that the seas are less unsettled at least 2 miles offshore. Always tie up your dingy when you go ashore. If you are not confident with your anchor then pull it up and do it again because anchoring is absolutely a case of better safe than sorry.
- Fun Meals underway: Flaming hot Cheetos, a whole bag.