The clouds were at about 150 feet when I looked out of Alaskan Dream’s cabin in the morning. In other words, it’s a typical morning in the Pacific Northwest. This was expected, with the anticipation that the clouds would lift and burn off later in the morning.
Since we were so far up Quatsino Inlet, we decided to get underway right after I took my shower. We would use the two hours it would take to get back out to the ocean to make breakfast and for Karen to take her shower. Just after Karen finished her shower and pronounced herself ready for the day, we reentered the Pacific Ocean.
The clouds lifted quickly and the sun took control of the sky, burning off all the clouds and creating a brilliant morning. Of course, with the sun comes the wind. We found the wind to be only 10 knots out of the North/Northwest, and the persistent swells were 4-6ft. Both seas and winds were on our stern, the ride was pleasant. Our motion was up and down each swell, with a little surfing added to break the monotony.
As we left Quatsino Sound we were greeted with the fleet of small fishing boats doing the salmon troll along the rocky shore.
There was not much to see along the way. We’d pick up a target or two on the AIS, but they were in the distance, either behind us, or far off shore. The most unusual sight was a very small tug pulling a few logs and a very small barge with what looked like a camper aboard. The tug was proceeding northerly, bashing into the waves. From our perspective it looked like an awful ride. Just as I grabbed my camera to see if I could record this exercise in futility, the tug stopped and did a 180 degree turn. We don’t know where he ended up, but I think his plan to bail out was well advised.
Soon we saw a sailboat on our bow, going our same heading. They had the sails set and were riding the northerlies down the coast.
We wondered if this was the same small sailboat that was tied up behind us in Queen Charlotte City. As we got abeam her, sure enough we recognized her because of the kayaks she carried lashed to her lifelines. Seems we were on an identical path down the coast. This often happens. You run into the same boats many times, especially on a journey down the outside where the anchorages are few.
The swells followed us into Klashkish Inlet. It was not until we began our approach into Klashkish Basin that they relented. The entrance to Klashkish Basin is narrow, about 60 feet wide, with steep sides and a dogleg. It is not difficult. There is plenty of water up to the shore and the fairway is obvious. However, the GPS position is displaced about 100 yards, placing the boat on land the whole way in. I double checked all my GPS sources and charts and they were in agreement, just wrong. Not a big deal unless you wanted to make the passage in zero/zero fog.
The Basin is beautiful, with a large drying mud flat at the end where the Klaskish River terminates. It is our type of anchorage.
We set our anchor in 25 feet of water and prepared to launch the dinghy to see how far we could get up the creek at the head. As we prepared to go exploring, that same sailboat made its way into the anchorage and set itself near the shore.
The tide was falling, so we knew we could not go far up the river, but we wanted to get a look to see if it would work later when the tide was rising. The problem was, we had too much water at the head of the basin to see exactly where the river was, but it was too shallow to find our way successfully over the drying flats. After kicking up some stones, we stopped, paddled to deeper water and abandoned our exploration.
Our next mission was to go investigate East Creek, outside the Basin, with the same intent of trying to come back on a rising tide when we know the conditions would be more favorable. Here again, it was difficult to see the course of the river, but the large bar that guarded it was clearly visible as the waves broke over it, seemingly blocking any approach.
As we returned, the couple on the sailboat hailed us over. We talked for a while from the dinghy and then Paul and Nancy invited us onboard their 34 foot Pacific Seacraft. The name of the boat was Nisku and its hailing port was Honolulu, Hawaii. Paul explained that he lived his whole life on the islands, but was now retired. He sailed Nisku from Hawaii to Kodiak Alaska, and the worked his way south, ultimately finding a slip in Port Townsend.
He now spends his summers cruising in the Pacific Northwest and winters at his new home in Oregon.
Nancy, now living in British Columbia, grew up in Connecticut as a sailboat girl, but moved to central British Columbia where she is now a guide for hiking in the summer and works avalanche control in the winters. We had a really pleasant visit.
We invited them over for drinks and snacks around five, and crowned the invitation with my willingness to shuttle them in our dinghy. They gladly accepted (as their dingy was “manpowered only”) and we had a great time telling of our travels and similar experiences along the coast.
It was a very peaceful night with not a cloud in the sky and the breezes soft.