Friday, November 9, 2007

2003 SF to Alaska

From the Log of Safari
Sea Safari to Alaska

Sunday, May 4, 2003 Safari severed her tether to SFYC at 5:30 a.m. on a dark and stormy morning after a one-day wait for better conditions. The hearty crew of four (Captain Wyman Harris, First Mate Gay Harris, Crew Dave Dury and Crew Don Bekins) filled with anticipation saw the first light of day as Safari steamed out of the Golden Gate and met sizable swells left over from yesterday’s storm. As the day wore on the skies cleared and the 20-knot wind dropped to the predicted 12 knots where it stayed for most of the day. One crewmember recovered quickly after losing his breakfast to mal de mer. Today’s wildlife of choice was an albatross that spent several hours entertaining us with his graceful flight as he disappeared behind the swells only to reappear again looking ever so much like a giant toy glider built of balsa wood and paper. For dinner: poached salmon, asparagus, rice, and brownies with ice cream for dessert which one mate donated to Neptune.

Monday, May 5, 2003. The wind continued to drop during the night as the high pressure filled. With the sunrise, we experienced relatively smooth seas with some storm residue still evident. The kindly seas solved the mal de mer of our hearty crew. A beautiful sunrise and a strong cup of coffee brought a cheery crew on deck to observe the abundant birdlife flying near Safari: crossing under bow were numbers of shearwaters as flocks of storm petrels flitted from wave to wave, picking up plankton far out at sea. Then we were greeted with black and white murre’s, loaded with food, trying to take off, flapping their wings with frenzied paddling of webbed feet, bouncing and skipping from wave tops until finally airborne. Other avian visitors were diminutive pigeon guillemots, whose wings are so small, that, like the bumble bee, should not be able to fly --- but they do!
During the day we encountered large rafts of floating jellyfish called velela-velela. These interesting 2-inch diameter creatures have a small vertical fin on their backs that acts like a sail, pushing the little jellies across oceans in vast numbers.
The calm seas allowed Safari to put into Brookings harbor’s narrow, rocky entrance for fuel (375 gallons). This quaint southern Oregon town is home for a large crab and fishing industry. As we were fueling the Coast Guard dropped by to do a boat check and inspection. These nice and efficient chaps were taken in tow by 1st mate, Gay, who very capably answered all questions about Safari while showing them all the boat’s safety and cruising equipment.
Since this town is famous for its crab, 2nd mate Don went off to search the town for fresh crab, not easy because it is the end of crab season. He brought back four crustaceans for a special lunch treat.
Seas continued calm through the night.


Tuesday, May 6, 2003. Most of the day was spent traveling on one course heading for 16 hours, as we made our way up the coast of Oregon and into Washington State. The seas were very calm in the morning, with light winds. As the day progressed, the winds increased slightly, to 14 knots by early evening. Throughout the day, however, the seas were calm, with 2 to 4 foot swells and no wind waves. We continued to pass large colonies of velela-velela, and noticed a surprising amount of non-native wildlife—plastic bottles, large chunks of foam, etc. A straight course up the coast, hopping from major land point to land point, basically left us about 30 miles off-shore for much day. For appetizers the ever-resourceful First Mate provided oysters and crackers with cheese (typical sailing fare?). Dinner consisted of a ziti pasta casserole with tomato sauce, salad, and the seemingly always-available ice cream and brownies. After dinner, as the watches began, the winds increased to 14 to 17 knots and the swells grew. Throughout the night the wind held in the high teens, and the swells made for some rocking and rolling all night long. However, the Offshore made it seem easy and the stabilizers substantially dampened the rocking. We again ran past the fishing fleet in the middle of the night, causing several watch keepers to alter course to avoid fishing boats. As morning dawned, we entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Captain and First Mate began to realize that their summer adventure is really at hand.

Wednesday, May 7, 2003, 3:00 p.m. Happy Birthday to Captain Wyman was a successful 800 nautical mile ocean voyage in 79.5 hours (including one three-hour fuel/crab stop), one-half hour ahead of schedule. During the last two hours of the trip we changed our planned landfall from Port Sidney, B.C. to Roche Harbor, San Juan I., WA because the airlines in Canada required a passport or birth certificate to make reservations for Dave and Don to return to the U.S. They had assumed that the past practice of using a driver’s license would work, but apparently not in the post 9/11 world. Isn’t it ironic that now you can travel throughout Europe without stopping at borders, but North American security is tighter. That’s OK with me if it keeps the bad guys out.

Thursday, May 8, 2003 Dave and Don departed the Roche Harbor dock via floatplane while Gay and Wyman made the one-hour trip to Port Sidney and cleared customs without incident. Next guests are waiting at the harbor office. Lovely day to provision and refuel for the adventure ahead. Gay guided the new guests (Carol and Ken Jesmore) through the charming Sidney streets where a handsome man (Glen) greeted her, proving once again that a beautiful woman might be expected to know a man in any port. Careful comparison-shopping resulted in a shiny new coffee pot. Glen and Penny, owners of the Sunnfjord, Burnaby, reviewed in the May 2003 Sea magazine, joined us for cocktails. Dinner at the wharf side Pub restaurant.

Friday, May 9,2003. Safari motored over to the Van Isle Marina for a morning fuel feast (634 gallons) and then began her trek through the marine veldt. Careful navigation led her through the oft treacherous but now peaceful Dodd Narrows to the booming town of Nanaimo. Small sailboats passed us going east toward distant weekend regattas. We anchored close to Newcastle Island. A hearty hike on the island led quickly to serious recovery (cocktail) time on Safari’s sunny aft deck, accompanied by pan-fried oysters. We dinghied the dinghy to the Dinghy Dock restaurant where we enjoyed fish and chips and a fine nighttime view of the Nanaimo lights.

Saturday, May 10, 2003, departed early to traverse the quiet Strait of Georgia, enroute to Desolation Sound. The computer directed Safari to motor across Sarah Point but the human elements on board corrected her course. An eagle soared overhead, welcoming us to Desolation Sound and to our anchoring spot in Prideaux Haven where we anchored alone. We explored the quiet coves, discovered ancient pottery on the seabed and dined elegantly on fresh halibut as the sun set on magnificent snowy peaks.

Sunday, May 11, 2003, Mother’s Day. Gay, on early morning watch at 5:00 a.m., spotted an eagle as it swooped in to capture a fish. The on-board eagles dined on fine eggs and bacon, building up strength for the challenges to come. Safari faced and conquered many legendary rapids as the day progressed: Yaculta, Dodd, Greenpoint and the infamous Whirlpool Rapids soon fell behind. In the early evening she motored slowly into Forward Harbor, looking for bears, eagles, seals and Douglas Bay, where her able crew firmly set her anchor. A fine cocktail hour commenced on the upper deck with superb views as the snow-covered mountains turned from white to pink to grey. Early to bed for we will be…

Monday, May 12, 2003, …early to rise, 5:30 a.m. to be exact. After seven straight sunny, cloudless days, the goal this gray morning is to quickly attack Johnstone Strait before the tides, currents and winds create havoc. Good planning indeed, for the winds averaged 3 knots and our wake separated the glassy waters with ease.


Monday, May 12, 2003 (continued) a group of tiny porpoises played in Safari’s wake en route to Port McNeill where we learned of the terrorist attack on the housing compounds in Saudi Arabia, including Al Hamra where our daughter and her family lived until February of this year. According to reports from friends who still live there the compound was totally destroyed. One friend was shot and killed by the terrorists and his wife and six-month old daughter were badly injured by the blast. The boys’ school has been closed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 spent the day at Port McNeill performing minor maintenance and gaining local knowledge from Alaska bound veteran cruisers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 unsettled weather and rain didn’t deter an easy cruise to Port Hardy where as in Port McNeill the people seem to go out of their way to be friendly and helpful.

Thursday, May 15, 2003 after seeing the Jesmores off to the airport we prepared for the next leg in rain off and on all day at the marina in Port Hardy. Concluding a three-week sail from San Francisco, Bob van Blaricom and crew aboard 32-foot Misty sailed into the harbor on schedule at noon and tied bow-to-bow with Safari. We regaled each other with sea tales and talk of Alaskan adventures ahead.


Friday, May 16, 2003 update from our daughter . . .

“As many of you know, one of the compounds that was bombed on Monday was Al Hamra Compound, where we lived. Sadly, the death toll from our compound alone currently stands at 13. One of our friends was among those lost, and many more are injured. Several people have sent me still photos of the compound and it is completely and utterly destroyed. Our friends who are still living there are now homeless. To say we are in shock is an understatement.”As expatriates, the people on our compound became like family to us. Even if we weren't close friends, we saw most of the residents and workers on a regular basis and knew them at least by face, if not by name. The news media keeps focusing on the fact that eight Americans were killed, but the people of other nationalities are just as important to us because they were our neighbors and friends. Obviously, we are all grieving and feel a profound sense of loss. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words. It means a lot to us.”

After three days of rain the forecast is for a high to move on-shore bringing better weather and strong northwesterly wind—time to cross the Queen Charlotte Strait that at times can be merely cantankerous to downright dangerous. Luckily our timing was perfect with only 10 knots of wind and giant swells left over from the storm that made the crossing interesting but not challenging. The greatest hazards to navigation are hundreds of logs and trees that float off the shoreline during the full-moon high tide. Some of these logs must have been moving around for decades picking a different spot to rest until the next full moon when they come out to do their mischief.

Small squalls and rain showers moved around most of the day but missed Safari until just before we reached our destination. Again our timing was perfect in that the shower washed off the salt spray and then cleared just as we prepared to anchor in Pruth Bay on Calvert Island. Hakai Beach Resort, a luxury fly-in fishing resort, is at the head of the bay. A trail leads from the resort across a narrow neck of land to West Beach, a spectacular fine-sand ocean beach on the west side of Calvert Island. The resort was deserted except for the housemaid and caretaker who have been here since September and are awaiting the floatplane to bring their replacements today.

Saturday, May 17, 2003 we awoke to see that a tug had towed in a floating ranger station for the Hakai Recreation Area, an indication that we may eventually have some company in these lovely, remote spots. Brilliant sunshine revealed fresh snow on the mountains and hills enroute to a quiet anchorage in Codville Lagoon, latitude 52 degrees North. A whale sighting seemed to make the day complete, but there was to be more excitement. Upon returning from a 75-minute hike to a lovely mountain lake, alas, we found the 1000-pound dinghy high and dry with the tide dropping rapidly. As we began to contemplate the options (a long swim in 50 degree water, spending the night in the woods, calling for help on the vhf radio) a dinghy came around the corner from another cove and gave us a ride back to the mother ship. The water will drop 23.5 feet before coming back again at 3 a.m. at which time we have an appointment with our new friends to give us a ride back to a happily floating dinghy. That’s the plan; let’s see how it works out.


Sunday, May 18, 2003 as planned, the middle of the night tide did raise all boats including our stranded dinghy. But dinghy troubles were not over. After watching a mink scamper on the beach (his coat may have been synthetic but it looked real), taking a dinghy tour of Codville Lagoon and waving goodbye to our new friends in Bald Eagle, the davit motor failed while retrieving the dinghy. It was suspended a few feet out of the water bow up, stern forward such that progress by Safari threatened to swamp the craft. After several hours of contemplating ways to raise or lower it we finally were able to turn it around and secure it to the side of Safari such that we were able to proceed slowly to Shearwater, 18 nautical miles away. Once we were safely secured to a dock with reportedly the best boat maintenance capability in the 280 mile stretch of wilderness between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, another new boat buddy, fisherman Fred from Shona Girl, and I dismantled the davit motor and gearbox, but couldn’t spot the gremlin. Great dinner with new dock friends, Dick and MaryJoe aboard 44’ DeFever, Lady MJ, making their third trip to Alaska, this time via the Bahamas, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the Panama Canal and up the West Coast.

Monday, May 19, 2003 thanks to sat phone and FedEx, a new stronger davit motor and gear assembly will hopefully be waiting for us in Ketchikan, so off we go again through pristine fjords with snow covered peaks and cascading waterfalls galore, destination: Windy Bay. Logs have become an ever-increasing hazard sometimes requiring us to slowly weave our way through vast fields of monsters while listening for show-stopping thunks. At Perceval Narrows a logjam moving along on the ebb appeared to block our passage, but we found a way around the end of the jam and made it through. On the positive side, this is good training for the ice fields and icebergs to come. Anchor for the night at Windy Bay all alone. Surprisingly, we still get sat TV reception even though we are well outside the advertised reception footprint in a remote area with high mountains all around.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 became the best day so far as we planned to go to Bishop Bay Hot Springs but stopped at Khutze Inlet for lunch and never left. The featured wildlife of the day was a grizzly grazing on the beach spotted by Gay while Cap’n Wyman was setting crab pots with Fred from Shona Girl. Four pots captured 60 large Dungeness crabs in about two hours. Only 24 got the royal treatment while the rest were set free. We are anchored in a stunningly beautiful spot at the foot of a waterfall that cascades thousands of feet from snow capped peaks.


Wednesday, May 21, 2003 rain started last evening and continued non-stop as the weather forecast is for gale force winds coming ashore tomorrow but we are snug at anchor in Lowe Inlet off Grenville Channel. Again, Safari is anchored at the foot of a waterfall with flow so great that the bow always points toward the falls and there is a wake continuously streaming from the stern. The 12kw Northern Lights generator overheats and shuts down—probably from an impeller failure in the seawater pump.

Thursday, May 22, 2003 rain continues. The gale is delayed but upgraded to a gale/storm. It’s fairly calm now so Safari and Shona Girl press on to Prince Rupert and dock at the Prince Rupert Yacht Club. After Wyman replaced a disintegrated impeller, the generator is back in business.

Friday, May 23, 2003 rain continues and the gale/storm is upgraded to a full storm with winds in Dixon Entrance (our destination) 45 to 55 knots and 12 to 15 foot seas. We decide to double our dock lines and stay in Prince Rupert. Commercial fishing boats return to port.

Saturday, May 24, 2003 another pleasant day in Prince Rupert. A blustery day with leaden skies and little rain as the storm stalled and was slammed by the next weather system creating high winds and seas on our 85 mile route to Ketchikan. Camaraderie builds as more Alaska bound Americans (four sailboats and seven powerboats) crowd into the harbor awaiting better weather to cross Dixon Entrance. Wyman bought fishing gear and caught a flounder from Safari the instant the lure hit bottom.

Sunday, May 25, 2003 a small cruise ship, the first vessel to cross Dixon Entrance in several days, arrives from Ketchikan and reports 55-knot winds. A crewman said that it was like a carnival ride. Many of the guests don’t want to get out of bed to clear customs. The forecast improves to gale force winds and 10-foot seas. Apparently this is as good as it is going to get so talk on the dock is all about when to cross. At noon we are part of a mini-exodus of four power boats who decide to go part way to anchor at Brundige Inlet on Dundas Island so that we can make an early morning crossing to Ketchikan the next day when winds are due to ease before strengthening again in the afternoon. The 35-mile passage to Dundas was a piece of cake with only 22 knots of wind and four to six foot waves. We had time to catch enough yellow and black rockfish for dinner.


Monday, May 26, 2003 hello Alaska. Beautiful sunny, warm day in Ketchikan. We counted 48 bald eagles on a rocky islet as we entered the USA. Very symbolic.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 installed new davit motor in the rain in Ketchikan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003 more rain. Installed a new DVD/video player. All systems now working.

Thursday, May 29, 2003 a beautiful day. Enroute to Misty Fjord both Safari and a humpback whale were surprised when the whale surfaced less than a boat length away on a collision course. He took one look and with a slap of his tail dove under never to be seen again. Caught five large rockfish and three crabs, enough for lunch and dinner for three days. Anchored all alone at Carp Island. The next morning the crab pot was gone, probably carried into deeper water by the current, or possibly carried away by giant crabs.

Friday, May 30, 2003 our best day so far with beautiful weather, abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery. Loons gave a wake-up call; harlequin ducks provided breakfast entertainment, while a family of tree swallows inspected Safari’s every nook and cranny looking for a nesting place. The harbor seals were curious; the sea otters shy. Escorted by harbor porpoises Safari moved on to tour Rudyerd bay and then anchor all alone in the Punchbowl surrounded by 3,500 foot sheer granite cliffs and waterfalls in every direction. It’s like being anchored in Yosemite Valley next to Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Today was Bear Day-four grizzly bears and one large, fat black bear. I left two fish carcasses on shore for the bears but a bald eagle stole them first. With bears patrolling the shoreline, we passed on the opportunity to hike to the mountain lake that feeds our waterfall.

Saturday, May 31, 2003 anchored all alone at scenic Fitzgibbon Cove where three black bears grazed on the beaches.

Sunday, June 1, 2003 anchored at Smugglers Cove all alone again. Our boat buddies who congregated at Prince Rupert, B.C., waiting for a weather window to cross Dixon Entrance, have dispersed into Alaska’s vast wilderness. Since we left Ketchikan three days ago we have only seen one other boat, a small adventure style cruise ship that cruised through Rudyerd Bay. Otherwise, it seems that we have the entire 2.2 million acre Misty Fjord National Monument to ourselves. No fishing boats, logging operations, fish farms or any indication of human activity, just deeply cut fjords and glacier-fed streams and waterfalls that careen off 3,000-foot sheer cliffs, plummeting directly into the icy sea. In the past 150 miles there hasn’t been a time when we couldn’t look up and see at least one waterfall, often a dozen. Today Misty Fjord is indeed misty as rain replenishes the waterfalls.


Monday, June 2, 2003 we were visited by five Red Throated Loons, caught enough fish for the next several meals and then moved on to the dock at Meyers Chuck, a quaint settlement built on islets surrounding a deep water lagoon with a year-around population of five or six and a summer population of about 25. On Mondays you call Shirley at 8503 to open the craft gallery; and then take the dinghy to the post office on an island across the lagoon (normally open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but Cassie, the postmistress, saw us coming and came down to open the post office in case we wanted to buy a stamp or mail a postcard). Shortly after we tied up, Adventuress, a Fleming 55 out of Friday Harbor came in. Doug and Sandy, the owners, are good friends of our friends, the Wildens, and their guests, Barbara and Sheldon, are friends of the Kasanins in Belvedere. A beautiful day.

To take advantage of the 30-foot tides in these parts most docks have a grid for bottom work. To use the grid simply tie your boat at high tide to a series of pilings about six feet apart; when the tide goes out the boat gently settles onto a series of horizontal timbers attached to each of the pilings. Once the boat is completely out of the water, you have about eight hours to paint the bottom or fix a prop or rudder before the next tide refloats the craft.

Now one month into this delightful adventure we have traveled 1,730 nautical miles (almost 2,000 statute miles), spent three nights at sea, anchored in 14 spectacular spots and docked 14 nights to provision, repair or wait for weather to improve. The wildlife viewing has been good but meeting many special people along the way has given the trip an added dimension.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003 on another beautiful day we proceeded thirty miles to Frosty Bay (which wasn’t frosty) but decided that it wasn’t special enough to spend the night so we continued on another 40 miles via the scenic route to Wrangell. A friendly and playful pod of Dalls Dolphins escorted us from Seward Passage into Blake Channel taking time to ride our bow wake and pose for photos. Wrangell, not a normal cruise ship or tourist stop, was a pleasant surprise. With a harbor full of fishing boats, we rafted alongside Passerpartout, a Stevens 47 sailboat that we met in Shearwater, and then had dinner at Zaks with Peter from Pippin, a Catalina 30 sailboat that we met in Port Hardy. Originally Russian, then British and finally American, Wrangell has ridden out the booms and busts of the fur trade, gold mining, logging and fishing to be a solid working town with very friendly folks. To top it off, a native Alaskan Tlingit Indian and his life-long fishing buddy from North Carolina gave us a 25-pound king salmon so fresh that it was still wiggling as I cut it into steaks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003 traversed 42 miles via Wrangell Narrows to Petersburg. During the 25 miles of narrow winding passage we met only one boat, a huge ferry with a 50-foot beam. Fortunately, we communicated in advance by VHF before we saw him come around a bend and found a wide spot to pull over while he passed. Petersburg, the most prosperous town we have seen, is populated primarily by people of Norwegian decent and is sustained by a very successful commercial fishing fleet.


Thursday, June 5, 2003 today we encountered our first icebergs! As we began to pick up icebergs on the radar it occurred to me that the movie would have been really boring if Titanic had better radar. Because of the heavy flow of ice from Le Conte Glacier we anchored all alone in Ideal Cove on Mitkof Island and took Cheetah, our fast dinghy, about seven miles across the south end of Frederick Sound to Le Conte Bay. Even though it is the southern-most tidewater glacier in North America, cruising boats seldom visit Le Conte due to its remoteness, difficult entrance, and lack of large-scale charts or aids to navigation. The area is not well charted so the guidebooks say that you are entirely on your own. The problem is that the 3- to 5-knot current can put you between truck sized bergie bits on a direct collision course with temporarily grounded house-sized bergs. So we left Safari in a safe spot, lunched amongst icebergs hundreds of feet across and several stories high and gathered a bucketful of 1,000-year-old ice. As we arrived a small guide boat departed leaving us alone with some of the best examples of Mother Nature’s artwork. The most striking thing about the icebergs is their intense neon blue color; their shapes appear to have been carved by an ice carver gone berserk. Melt from overhanging ledges was like heavy rain. Unfortunately, heavy pack ice kept us from getting near the face of the glacier. Although there may have been some slight risk involved, I am never afraid as long as I have the SFYC Yachtswoman of the Year by my side.

Friday, June 6, 2003 Safari moved on to anchor at Ruth Island Cove in Thomas Bay where first mate and champion bear spotter quickly found two big beach-combing black bears. Thomas Bay is shaped like a “T” about seven miles long and seven miles across the top with the entrance at the bottom and Baird Glacier at one end of the top and Patterson Glacier at the other end. Both of these glaciers have retreated so that they are no longer tidewater glaciers that calve icebergs into the sea. Since there was no ice flow we were able to explore the entire bay with the dinghy including a visit almost to the face of Baird Glacier. Surprisingly, the water is not clear, but an opaque milky green apparently from the tons of powdered granite carried by the glacier as it grinds canyons from the mountaintops down to the sea. The water temperature dropped from 55 degrees where we anchored to 39 degrees as we approached the glacier making the air noticeably cooler. During our exploration we found two Canadian boats anchored in Scenery Cove that we had first met in Port Hardy so we invited them to our end of the bay later in the day for refreshments cooled with antique ice. Caught 17 crabs including five big male keepers.


Saturday, June 7, 2003 pressing ever northward Safari found refuge at anchor alone in Sandborn Canal, a place rarely visited by cruising boats due to it’s remoteness and lack of large-scale charts. We came looking for moose, but found none, only one crab and three fish. The place is dominated on one side by Washington Peak (4052 ft.), Lincoln Peak (4750 ft.) and Grant Peak (4500 ft.). On the other side are four equally imposing but unnamed mountains. Well, let it be known that they will no longer suffer the indignity of being nameless because from hereafter they will be known as Connor Peak (5150 ft.), Cooper Peak (4393 ft.), Charlie Peak (4156 ft.) and Brooks Peak (3873 ft.) named for our four grandsons.

Sunday, June 8, 2003 has to be the best day yet on a warm, sunny day anchored in Tracy Arm Cove with picture postcard views in every direction. Tracy Arm is a stunningly beautiful fjord with 4,000 to 6,000 foot vertical granite walls, waterfalls too numerous to count and two glaciers at it’s head. After meeting many large icebergs for the last 20 miles in Stephens Passage, an excursion boat departing Tracy Arm confirmed to us that there was a lot of ice in Tracy Arm. So we left the Mother Ship in Tracy Arm Cove and took the faster, more maneuverable Cheetah on the 54 mile round trip to North Sawyer Glacier and South Sawyer Glacier. A wise decision it was because for the entire trip we had to zigzag to find clearings through the icebergs, bergie bits and refrigerator sized chunks. For the last mile or so we had to slow to idle to find a path. As usual we were the only humans in this paradise wanting so badly to share it with everyone we know. Mother and baby seals slipped off slabs of ice as we passed. Eagles found the highest icebergs to survey the majestic scene. Back at Safari, we watch the parade of icebergs just outside of the cove heading out to sea. They will stay there unless the wind shifts to the south during the flood tide in which case we will have lots of company.

Monday, June 9, 2003 today is even better as we lie at anchor on a warm and cloudless day in Fords Terror, a magnificent area off Endicott Arm. The name alone keeps most people from coming here, so I propose that the name be changed to Chevy’s Delight or Plymouth Rock or anything less intimidating. Fords Terror was reportedly named in 1889 for a crewmember of the Patterson who entered the narrows, got caught inside, and spent a terrifying time until the tide reversed. The rapids at the entrance forms a reversing waterfall on flood and ebb tides and is only 1.5 feet deep at low water, so safe passage can only be made at high water slack. The entrance and shoals outside the entrance are uncharted except for a hand drawn rough sketch in Don Douglass’ guidebook. We weaved our way between icebergs from Dawes Glacier at the head of Endicott Arm and arrived an hour before high slack water. Refrigerator to Volkswagen sized chunks of ice were floating through the rapids on the flood tide while larger icebergs lined up to pass. Even though it was still flooding at over two knots we found our place in the queue moving ahead of a large berg that might become grounded and block the entrance. We passed without incident with about five feet of water under the keel. Once inside the only place shallow enough to anchor is on a narrow shelf at the foot of a cascading waterfall at the head of the canyon about five miles from the entrance. We dropped the hook in 95 feet of water and with only 200 feet of chain out our stern is swinging in 40 feet of water about half a boat length from the drying sand and gravel. It’s a pity that we are the only boat here on this warm cloudless day where the surroundings are spectacular—high granite mountains with snow bowls and hanging glaciers, vertical cliffs and hundreds of waterfalls. It’s as if Yosemite Valley were filled with water and we are anchored at the foot of Yosemite Falls, except there are a dozen half domes here, more waterfalls and no other people. If Yosemite were a 10, this is a 15.


Tuesday, June 10, 2003, after spending 25 hours all alone captured and captivated by Fords Terror, we departed on the rising tide, picked our way through the bergs and glided on a mirror-like sea 66 miles to Juneau. As we approached Juneau people were swimming at the beach and boaters were shirtless or wearing swimsuits. During the past 14 days we have had only one day of rain and one cloudy day. Otherwise, it has been bright and sunny with increasing temperatures. Docked at the cruise ship dock between the Coral Princess and the Norwegian Sun.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003, the captain spent the day in the engine room changing oil and doing other periodic maintenance necessary to keep the machinery functioning smoothly in remote areas. Meanwhile, the first mate did periodic maintenance on hair, toes and fingers and restocked the larder. Dined ashore with Canadian friends from Branta II. It appears that there are about 10 boats cruising Alaska so far this year and we have met all of them. Most are from Washington or British Columbia--no other California boats so far--although we know that Bob and Jane Van Blaricom are on the way.

Thursday, June 12, 2003, in Juneau Viviane and Martin Gordon joined the happy Safari crew. During the night Lady Lola, 200 feet, crew of 16, tied up across the dock and provided much entertainment and speculation.

Friday, June 13, 2003, a light drizzle as we stirred around seven a.m. to the aroma of coffee and sight of Lady Lola still moored alongside--unfortunately no sightings of the Lady herself. Breakfast began the special celebrations of Gay and Wyman’s 40th anniversary –1963/2003 - with many best wishes and congratulations. At 8:30 a.m. we eased into Lynn Canal and computerized our way towards Skagway with anchorage overnight at Rescue Harbor where gathering and hunting instincts exploded into crab pots and bottom fishing. Weather was generally fair with blue sky gaining ground in the afternoon and seas flat. After a wonderful anniversary dinner of white salmon the crab pots are raised to reveal four large keepers and later a small flounder caught by Viviane Gordon who was clearly more surprised than the fish, all skillfully dressed by Wyman as we looked the other way. Other sightings included, by Wyman: two wild dogs better known in Alaska as black tail deer, by Gay: whales and dolphins racing the waves and by Martin and Viviane: several bears also known here as large boulders on the beach. I understand that cleaning out the cooked crabs is now complete so I can conclude the Log, in closing it has been an outstanding day and a real pleasure to share with Gay and Wyman this very special moment. Mg

Saturday, June 14, 2003, early activity in Rescue Harbor as a narrow anchor shelf and low tide around 5 a.m. had Gay alert and drawing Safari up on the anchor chain to keep us clear of the mud now exposed by the 24 ft drop to low water. Bacon and eggs over easy and a cup of coffee in preparation for more hunting and gathering of the overnight crab pots produced, in the end, outstanding crab cakes for all at dinner. Pre-departure viewing included yet another “wild dog,” black oystercatchers and a bald eagle scavenging for low tide opportunities. Our travel to Haines provided an extraordinary one-hour stop to watch three pairs of humpbacks feeding along with Dall’s porpoises cruising the shoreline. Weather forecast of 60% rain and 15-knot winds produced scattered clouds with mainly sunshine, little wind, no rain and flat seas. In the afternoon we explored Haines, population 2000, a hard working fishing town with friendly people and a decommissioned 1904 army post surrounded by snow covered mountains. Sunset at 11.00 p.m. and to bed shortly thereafter. Mg

Sunday, June 15, 2003, seven in the morning brought fruit and granola with coffee under an overcast sky, low tide and building winds as we slipped out of a narrow harbor channel and over to check on our Humpbacks from yesterday. Following a brief sighting of two of our friends Wyman gently pushed NAV which promptly delivered an easy cruise down the Taiya Inlet to Skagway a historic town nestled between majestic mist covered mountains. An afternoon walk around town inspired imaginations of the gold rush and a Skagway frontier town you see in western movies that had make-shift buildings with false fronts, gambling halls, saloons, dance halls and bandits. The most notorious outlaw was Jefferson ‘Soapy’ Smith. His gang of bandits were experienced con men and thieves, many of whom were veterans from other gold rushes. Skagway was an outlaw’s haven and ‘Soapy’s’ gang conned, cheated and stole from stampeders at will. A gunfight eventually followed leaving Soapy dead. Mg


Monday, June 16, 2003, Safari crew and guests relived the Klondike Gold Rush by riding the narrow gauge White Pass and Yukon Route railroad from Skagway to White Pass at the international border. Built in 1898 during the gold rush, it climbs nearly 3,000 feet in just 20 miles and provides a “breathtaking panorama of mountains, glaciers, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trestles and historic sites from the comfort of vintage parlor cars.” Guests departed via Wings of Alaska.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003, having reached the northernmost point of the trip (60 degrees North, 135 degrees West) Safari retreated down the Lynn Canal past whales at Haines with peaks shrouded by low hanging clouds and light rain enroute to anchor alone at Crab Cove in Funter Bay. After harvesting a dozen large male crabs (I wonder why they call it Crab Cove?) the First Mate invoked a crabbing moratorium until consumption catches up with production while the Captain issued a call for more crab recipes to increase consumption and contemplated a new career as a crabber.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003, on the way to anchor at Neka Bay Safari stopped to give right-of-way to a large humpback whale at the intersection of Chatham Strait, Lynn Canal and Icy Strait. Harbor porpoises on a mission raced by without a glance as two bald eagles fought in mid-air.

Thursday, June 19, 2003, docked in Hoonah, the largest Tlingit community in South East Alaska. Bald eagles are as thick around the harbor as seagulls normally are. The eagles have chased all of the seagulls away; only crows and ravens can hold their own. The town is not much to look at but the people are friendly and it has a pretty good grocery store, hardware store and marine store.

Friday, June 20, 2003, the Hoonah assistant harbor mistress brought a bouquet of fresh flowers from her garden.

Saturday, June 21, 2003, encountered many humpback whales enroute to Glacier Bay where we anchored at Bartlett Cove. After checking in with the Glacier Bay National Park Service we were contacted by Hope Rieden (Steve and Evon Riedon’s daughter) who works at the park. Hope and her boyfriend, Steve (who also works at the park), graciously gave us a comprehensive tour of the nearby village of Gustavus, provided taxi service for our next guests, Phil and Sharon Gardner, and filled us with local knowledge. This magnificent area with high, permanently snow-clad peaks and over 20 large and many smaller glaciers (12 of which reach the sea) is included in the 4,400 square miles of Glacier Bay National Monument. It is 45 miles north to the head of Muir Inlet and 54 miles northwest to the head of Tarr or John Hopkins Inlets. The wedge-shaped peak of Mount Fairweather soars to 15,300 feet. Regulations aimed at minimizing the disturbance of humpback whales which feed in Glacier Bay permit no more than 25 private vessels, two cruise ships and 3 tour boats in the Bay at any one time. At our briefing we learned that including Safari there are only 12 private vessels here now.

Sunday, June 22, 2003, now that the crab moratorium has been lifted we awakened early to check the crab pots (yes we will have fresh dungeness crabs for dinner) and fished for halibut but had no luck. Upon lifting anchor and heading into Glacier Bay we saw many active whales and met sea otters feasting on clams right off our bow that loved frolicking in our stern wake. Then we spotted Puffins for the first time with their bright yellow bill and interesting coloring as well as a noisy rookery of Steller sea lions. At anchor in beautiful North Sandy Cove Wyman and Phil caught a Pacific Cod suitable for frying and a red fish suitable for crab pot bait. Meanwhile chef Gay prepared fantastic crab cakes for dinner. During cocktails topside while awaiting the arrival of the fishermen, Sharon and Gay watched two brown bears on two different beaches when Sharon saw something strange in the water that turned out to be a moose with a full set of horns swimming head-high across our channel. What a surprise! On this warm sunny day we were able to enjoy Alaska in shorts and a tee shirt. This is a truly amazing part of our country. SG


Monday, June 23, 2003, the hunters retrieved the crab pots while the gatherers cooked breakfast. When Phil pulled up the crab pot he found that he had caught his first fish without a pole. A five-pound Sculpin found its way into the crab pot and became crab bait. It was a real thrill to see our first Orca killer whale. We named him Knobby because the tip of his huge dorsal fin was folded over. We poked our nose into Tidal Inlet before anchoring in Blue Mouse Cove where Steve Wilson at Wilson Air agreed to land his pontoon plane next to Safari to give us a tour of Glacier Bay. From the plane we saw a large male Orca, a young male, a female and her baby as well as 15 mountain goats on a steep mountainside. The extensive glaciers remind us of how small and insignificant we are on this planet. We are really at the mercy of our climate and its changes. PLG

Tuesday, June 24, 2003, after a good night’s sleep fishermen Wyman and Phil caught a large Pacific cod that became dinner. During a great breakfast of hot cranberry muffins and melon Wyman suddenly jumped from his seat, grabbed his fishnet and rescued his new fishing pole that was pulled overboard by a large fish who then escaped. We hoisted the anchor and headed north, dodging icebergs and smaller pieces of ice and huge cruise ships in Tarr Inlet as we approached Margerie Glacier. This is a very tall glacier with lots of calving and beautiful blue hues. Adjacent is the very large, dark Grand Pacific Glacier on the Canadian border that looks like a mountain levee. As the sun started to appear action took place in front of Lamplugh Glacier when Captain Wyman asked that “Cheetah” be launched for a close-up photo shoot of this beautiful glacier. All went well and we towed “Cheetah” to our night’s anchorage at the base of Reid Glacier. At low tide a small beach at the snout of the glacier caught the calving ice and provided a place for us to beach the dinghy so that we could climb on the glacier to examine it up close and personal. We also explored an abandoned gold mine where a bear had spent the previous night and left a large deposit. This is truly an amazing area with many challenges and changing weather patterns, all making for a wonderful, fun adventure. SG

Wednesday, June 25, 2003, during a windy night the tide lifted ice from the beach at the base of the Reid Glacier and carried it into the anchorage requiring the First Mate to fend off chunks that occasionally bumped into and scraped alongside Safari. On a rainy day we moved on to anchor alone in beautiful Shag Cove in Geikie Inlet (Glacier Bay).

Thursday, June 26, 2003, during a dinghy ride a large humpback whale shot straight up out of the water about 75 feet in front of us, then porpoised, slapped his tail and went under. Just as I said, “Let’s watch the fish finder to make sure that he’s not under us,” there he was, directly below us on the fish finder filling the whole screen about 100 feet down in 340 feet of water! He followed for a while as we picked up speed and headed toward a nearby island. The screen cleared as we approached shallow water and we never saw him again. Later we anchored in Bartlett Cove (Glacier Bay) and took a hike to search for a mother and baby moose reported to be in the area. No moose, but we did see a fat porcupine waddling along smelling the flowers. Trapped five crabs.

Friday, June 27, 2003, for a final bit of excitement Phil landed a three and a half foot shark into the cockpit before Hope Rieden kindly picked up Phil and Sharon at the Bartlett Cove dock for their flight from Gustavus. Then, as Gay and Wyman departed Glacier Bay the humpbacks gave Safari a grand finale extravaganza! Some 20 to 25 of the giant leviathans along with hundreds of artic terns surrounded Safari in a feeding frenzy, spouting, snorting, jumping, tail slapping and otherwise doing what whales do. At one point as we slowly tried to move out of the group we had to slam the gears into reverse to avoid a whale that surfaced less than half a boat length ahead.


Friday, June 27, 2003, (continued) by early afternoon Safari was rafted to a fishing boat in the small quaint village of Elfin Cove that lies in a beautiful setting on the south side of Cross Sound. Elfin Cove clusters around the edge of a harbor where the post office, general store, laundry and most of the houses are connected by a boardwalk along the steep, rocky edges of the cove. In winter, the 30 or so hardy permanent residents have little contact with the outside world; but now, when we look across to Brady Glacier beneath the tall peaks of Glacier Bay, the lure that takes people north and draws some to stay seems all too clear.

Saturday, June 28, 2003, a rainy day in Pelican, a colorful, remote fishing community with about 100 residents that like Elfin Cove has no cars or streets but instead has a boardwalk around the harbor connecting all of the homes, post office, general store, fish processing plant, school (3 graduates this year), Brown Bar and the world famous Rose’s Bar and Grill. Thirty years ago Rose (half Tlingit, half Irish) traded her fishing boat for the bar and became the community’s leading citizen while raising 11 children, 39 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Meanwhile, four of her best girlfriends took her four husbands off of her hands so that now at the age of 70 she has a 42-year-old boyfriend/bartender who meets her needs. She entertained us for several hours with colorful stories after we spent most of the day chatting with the librarian, two guys carving totem poles, the lady shift supervisor at the fish plant who gave us a tour, various fishermen, 75 year-old Sky who was packing for a move to Kawai, seasonal workers, students in summer jobs, kids watching eagles dive for fish scraps, other kids picking out videos at the library. Altogether a very satisfying day with happy, friendly, engaging people who have chosen to live in a unique and challenging place.

Sunday, June 29, 2003, after five rainy/cloudy days a dense morning fog burned off to reveal a brilliant warm sunny day for travel out of Lisianski Strait into the Gulf of Alaska down the outside coast to anchor in Kimshan Cove. Featured wildlife: a black tailed deer mother with two babies and sea otters sleeping while floating on their backs with babies on their chests.

Monday, June 30, 2003, the path from Kimshan Cove to the coast passed many tiny islets and winding passages where sea otters hiding amongst the kelp found us a curiosity. After almost two months in mostly protected waters the sight of waves breaking on rocks and the roll of the sea felt good as we re-entered the Pacific Ocean. Then, as the wind at our back built to over 20 knots the sea became frisky with 6 to 8 foot waves just right for Safari surfing. With the commercial salmon fishing season due to open on July 1 we met a parade of fishing boats heading out to be in their favorite spot at the stroke of midnight tomorrow night. In a few hours the 50-mile trip to Sitka put us back into civilization, with cell phone coverage, two local TV channels, shopping malls and a large, modern harbor with space for us left by the departing fishing boats. Great sunset.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003, explored Sitka, population 8800, considered Alaska’s most beautiful seaside town with the distinction of having been settled for thousands of years and until 1849 the largest city on the west coast of North America. Ancestral home of the Tlingit Indians, captured by the Russians, sold to the Americans – Sitka carries the legacy of each. Until over-hunting diminished the number of sea otters, the Russian-American Company was the most profitable fur trader in the world. Then in 1867, the Russians lost interest and sold Alaska to the U.S. for $7.2 million.

Wednesday, July 2, 2003, visited historic Castle Hill, site of: the first Tlingit settlement, Russian governor’s mansion, signing of the transfer of Alaska to the U.S. and raising of the first U.S Flag with 49 stars.


Thursday, July 3, 2003, toured museums and other cultural sites in Sitka once known as “Paris of the West.” Guests Carol and Jerry Gregoire, long-time friends from Wilton, CT who now reside in Tonto Verde, AZ, arrived.

Friday, July 4, 2003, the day broke dank and wet. Left port after breakfast and proceeded up Neva Straight to Beehive Cove about 9 miles. Following lunch, first mate was dispatched to a nearby low tide – exposed beach for clams. Captain and rest of crew set crab pots and teased the fishes. Clouds broke, sun came out and a beautiful afternoon set in. Box score: one bucket of steamer clams, one lingcod, assorted rockfish and one keeper crab. Dinner: all of the above. A little ‘Spite and Malice” following dinner and a good night in a snug cove. JG

Saturday, July 5, 2003, Morning arrived cloudy but dry. From Beehive Cove sailed northwest up Neva Straight into Salisbury Sound where a humpback whale was spotted. Then he spotted us, came to within 25 feet and stuck his head out of the water to look us in the eye. He gave us a wink and circled the boat before swimming away. Proceeded to the end of Fish Bay. Anchored, set crab pots and settled in for lunch. Teased fish for a while – no luck. No keepers in the pots. Pulled anchor and sailed to Sukoi Inlet. Enroute spotted one grizzly, another humpback and more eagles than seagulls. Anchored for the night at Sukoi Inlet. Finished off the day with “Spite and Malice” and a goodnight kiss from a curious sea otter. Sailed 35 miles today. JG

Sunday, July 6, 2003, grey morning – promise of rain. Pulled anchor after a great bagel and smoked salmon breakfast and headed south back down Neva Straight, through Olga Straight into Sitka Sound. Found an anchorage for SAFARI at Promisila Bay. Following a crab Louis lunch, dropped the crab pots and headed into De Groff Bay to check out the wildlife. On the way back saw a humpback. Back on SAFARI entered into more fish teasing and hit the jackpot! Seven nice rockfish! Ate ‘em half an hour later along with some wonderful crab cakes courtesy of the first mate. Beautiful evening, sun on the snowcapped mountains. Only a few sprinkles today and a promise of good weather tomorrow. Logged 22 miles plus 14 in Cheetah. JG

Monday, July 7, 2003, sightseeing in shorts in Sitka. Visited the raptor rehabilitation center.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003, bid Carol and Jerry a fond farewell and departed Sitka via Olga Strait, Neva Strait and Peril Strait to Chatham Strait where we anchored in Takatz Bay at the foot of a waterfall after checking out and rejecting Ell Cove because three boats were already anchored there. In the process we covered 82 nautical miles and had to stop or change course six times to avoid whales including one who was sleeping on the surface directly in our path. Fortunately, the master bear and whale spotter saw him in time to avoid giving him a bad dream


Wednesday, July 9, 2003, on a warm cloudless day we traversed from Chatham Strait through Stephens Passage to Frederick Sound ending in Petersburg, 81 nautical miles. This was marine mammal day: too many whales to count, a porpoise escort, barking seals. Petersburg, our favorite town in all of Alaska, was especially friendly on a warm sunny day.

Thursday, July 10, 2003, when we awakened to a brilliantly sunny day we decided to take an early morning helicopter ride over LeConte, Patterson and Baird Glaciers and the vast mile-thick ice field that feeds them. We even landed on a glacier, looked down into seemingly bottomless cracks and holes with the sound of water gushing below and drank from pools of pure melted glacier water. At the top we skimmed by Devil’s Thumb, a 9,600-foot spike so steep that it has only been climbed 13 times and has claimed even more lives. Immediately adjacent is Witches Cauldron that drops away to sea level with hanging glaciers all around the edges. The pilot claimed that in 14 years he has seen only two other days with such clear skies and unlimited visibility. We still had time to cover 61 miles down Wrangell Narrows across Sumner Strait and into Zimovia Strait to anchor alone in a pretty cove called Thom’s Place with water warm enough for a swim—and we got some crabs and had a pretty sunset and moonrise to boot. Our best day yet.

Friday, July 11, 2003, on another warm sunny day we anchored Safari at Anan Bay on a narrow shelf and tied the stern to a tree, then anchored Cheetah with a line to shore (no chance of being stranded by a falling tide this time) so that we could hike half-a-mile up a trail alongside a stream where it seemed there were more pink salmon going upstream to spawn than water going downstream. They had sex on their minds, but some hungry bears were doing everything they could stop the fun. Meanwhile, the bald eagles enjoyed the carnage by cleaning up after the bears who thought nothing of taking one bite out of the middle of ten pound salmon and then going for another one like a kid wanting to sample each chocolate in the box. A rather inept brown bear had positioned himself in the middle of the stream and alternated between sticking his head underwater to try to spot his next victim and leaping out of the water to try to catch a whole armload full. Had the odds not been stacked so overwhelmingly in his favor he would have starved. With only a million or so fish available he didn’t want competition from a mother and her young brown bear who kept their distance from all of the commotion but got plenty. Meanwhile, two baby black bear cubs climbed a tree behind us and had to be rescued by mom before she could get back to the main task. All the while three highly skilled big black males (who were clearly intimidated by the grizzlies) repeatedly climbed down the steep bank across the stream to quickly dip out a fish that they carried back up the rocks to devour. Out of necessity the black bears were better fishermen and less wasteful than the comical brown bears. Since I haven’t caught a salmon yet and the bears made it look so easy I decided to try my luck in the lagoon at the bottom of the stream. Not only were the salmon not interested in my lure (really, I was hoping to just snag one with a triple hook) but when I stepped out of the dinghy to free the hook caught on the bottom a slippery rock caused me to take a dunking, new digital camera in its’ belt holster and all. Did you ever see a bear laugh out loud? By the time we got underway again a 20-knot breeze kicked Clarence Strait into a nasty chop before we got to Meyer’s Chuck for the night. Our best day yet—what short memories we have.

Saturday, July 12, 2003, if you need a movie set of an outback Alaskan settlement including the ruggedly eccentric characters Meyer’s Chuck is here waiting for you. But the safari must keep moving so it’s back to Ketchikan for now.


Sunday, July 12, 2003, Safari traversed the 83 nm passage from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert, B.C. via the often cantankerous Dixon Entrance and Chatham Sound without incident.

Toward the end of June you could feel the excitement and good cheer in the air as the July 1st opening of the commercial salmon season neared. On July 2nd and 3rd the radio chatter foretold of a good catch in progress, but by July 5th when the boats had to offload their catch and take on a new load of ice the fresh market was flooded with a record catch and the price dropped from $1.35 per pound to 65 cents at the canneries. The talk turned morose with good catches of 800 to 1,000 pounds per day barely covering fuel costs. Such is the life of commercial fishing in Alaska. While some fishermen are going to sit out this season or switch to halibut, few will quit because fishing is a way of life here. At the same time the charter boat captains are all smiles as they return to port each day loaded with king salmon or halibut and happy clients. The trawlers can’t switch to the charter business because the investment in boats and equipment is different and more importantly the personality type is different.

Monday, July 14, 2003, back in the Land of Logs after a full moon, collision avoidance became the name of the game as hundreds of fishing boats with nets blanketed an area with strong currents, rocks, shoals and drifting logs and trees. There were so many radar targets the radar looked like it had a bad case of measles. So we decided to avoid the beaten path and head for the wild outer passage that is infrequently visited and still natural. Anchored alone in Patterson Inlet, another beautiful remote spot with waterfalls where we caught eight fish and one crab.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003, anchored at Bishop Bay Hot Springs and went ashore to the natural hot springs.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003, Crunch! I took my eyes off the water ahead for no more than five seconds, looked up and saw a medium sized log dead ahead. Instinctively, I pulled the throttle back, shifted to neutral, switched off the autopilot, turned the wheel hard to starboard and took a glancing blow. Without saying a word we both held our breath, looked back to listen for a second collision with the props. Hearing none, we both looked at the bilge pump lights. Seeing none, we took a breath. Damage assessment: negative.
Anchored at Bottleneck Inlet off Finlayson Channel, a typically pretty, peaceful little place with the sound of unseen waterfalls. One crab. Dreamed about logs.

Thursday, July 17, 2003, down Finlayson Channel through Jackson Pass and Jackson Narrows out Mathieson Channel through Perceval Narrows across Milbanke Sound into Seaforth Channel past Bella Bella across Lama Passage into Fancy Cove for lunch, on down Fitz Hugh Sound out Hakai Passage to anchor at idyllic Goldstream Harbor, 82 nm in all. Caught a 24” pink salmon (about 8-10 pounds) that went from water to dinner in less than an hour. While fishing a bald eagle plucked a fish out of the water no more than twenty feet from the dinghy.

Friday, July 18, 2003, crossed Queen Charlotte Sound to arrive back in Port Hardy a day earlier than planned in order to beat gale force winds forecast for tomorrow. We covered the 712 nautical miles from Sitka to Port Hardy in only eleven days thereby leaving a few stones unturned in Alaska. Not many, but a few, giving us a reason to return.


Saturday, July 19, 2003, FILOMI Day parade honoring Port Hardy’s three primary industries (fishing, logging, mining).

Sunday, July 20, 2003, FILOMI fireworks.

Monday, July 21, 2003, fishing skills have been greatly refined such that the captain caught his limit (4) of pink salmon. Unfortunately, salmon production has exceeded consumption to the point that a salmon fishing moratorium has now been imposed by the first mate.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003, the McCubbins arrived from Naperville, IL, including our daughter, Lisa; our son-in-law, Brent; and grandsons, Connor and Cooper.
Connor and Cooper felt like VIPs riding in the stretch limousine from the airport to Port Hardy. Soon after the luggage was stowed, Safari left for a three-hour journey to Telegraph Cove.

As we docked, a salty old Canadian sailor told us about the Whale Museum at the end of the dock in this tiny little cove. There were skeletons of an orca, sea lions, dolphins and other sea mammals. The curators were in the process of putting together a 60-foot Fin whale that had been killed (accidentally) by a cruise ship several years ago and the size of its’ bones were impressive. This tiny museum had a wealth of information about the whales we might see over the next few days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003, we set out early in the morning to beat the projected gale force winds. Within twenty minutes, we spotted a pod of about six Orcas (killer whales). From what he learned at the museum, Connor was able to tell us there were two females, one male and several babies. The whales were all within inches of each other and appeared to be giving us a water ballet show as they rose gently out of the water so we could see their dorsal fins, then dove under the water, rising up again within a few seconds in small loop. We assumed they were eating the smaller fish that were swimming against them with the current.

Then suddenly, we saw another pod and another, swimming together in the same circular loop motion. At one point three different pods –one of which had about twelve whales swimming tightly together - surrounded us and we estimate there were about 30 to 40 whales around us. They didn’t seem to notice that we were there until two whales started swimming directly toward our boat! They were moving along at great speed, then suddenly disappeared underneath the boat and came up on the other side. (Lisa captured it on video in case you don’t believe us!) At that point we had been idling for about half an hour – the maximum you’re supposed to watch whales – and decided it was time to move towards our destination. All in all, we saw at least 60 Orcas – a truly amazing sight.

We cruised for about four and a half more hours to our anchorage at Forward Harbor where we spent the night. It was a popular anchorage because of the gale force winds in other areas and, with twenty other boats around us, Gay and Wy said this was as many boats as they’d seen in months. LM

Thursday, July 24, 2003, Big Bay

We were awakened at 7:00 am to the sounds of the anchor being pulled up by Gay. We had to leave early to time the series of cross current rapids to get to our destination of Big Bay. We heard that a couple of years ago a 65-foot yacht was knocked over by the hidden whirlpools beneath the surface and was sucked in stern first, obviously destroying the boat and killing the crew. As we passed by the Nordstrom family’s Dent Island resort, Lisa went outside on the forward deck to take some pictures. Suddenly, we hit one of the swirling rapids – remember this is a 54-foot, 60,000 pound boat - and the force of the water turned the boat 90 degrees, without warning, tossing it like a plastic toy. Lisa slid across the front of the boat from the turbulent jolt, but was held on board as she grabbed the railing. Above on the fly bridge, Connor and Cooper were tossed off their seats onto the floor, and down below Gay heard the crashes of unsecured items falling off shelves. Fortunately, our fearless captain remained calm and guided Safari safely through the rest of the rapids without another massive tumble, but we all breathed a sigh of relief when we made it through the passage.

At Big Bay, the boys were able to fish off the dock and we were able to hike through the woods. Later in the afternoon, Wyman, Brent and the boys went out for a fishing trip in the dinghy. Connor caught the first fish – a Whitespotted Greenling about 18 inches long. Then Cooper caught a foot long Kelp Greenling and proudly proclaimed that the hook had gone through its eye first, then poked out from its mouth. Just as they were reeling in the lines to head home, Brent realized he had a huge fish on the end of his hook and reeled in a three foot Lingcod! Simultaneously, Wyman reeled in a twelve inch Red Snapper. Needless to say, we had delicious fresh fish for dinner.

Bitten by the fishing bug, Connor and Cooper spent the rest of the evening, nearly till dark, fishing off the dock for small herring to use as bait for future fishing excursions. ---LM

Friday, July 25, 2003,

Today, we journeyed to Walsh Cove in Waddington Channel and arrived at low tide. We could see the masses of oysters and mussels waiting to be plucked from the rocks on the tiny island in our cove, so we quickly anchored and set out in the dinghy to collect our dinner. Within fifteen or twenty minutes, we easily filled a five-gallon bucket with 48 oysters and several hundred mussels– more than enough to feed the six of us.

With the sun beating down and the water temperature at a balmy 68 degrees F., we decided it was time to take our first swim. Connor, Cooper and Brent took the plunge into the 50-foot deep water from the top of the boat, trying to outdo each other with cannonballs and dives. Afterward, the boys had a great time driving the super-fast dinghy through the calm, empty waters of the channel. LM

Saturday, July 26, 2003,

We moved from our great spot to an even better anchorage called Prideaux Haven. There was a long rope attached to an overhanging tree where people were swinging from the rocks and jumping into the deep water below. Connor decided not to risk hurting his recovering broken arm, but Cooper and Brent eagerly joined the small crowd. Brent impressed all the onlookers by swinging out into the water and flipping smoothly into a headfirst dive. From then on, he was dubbed “Circus Boy.”

There was also a beautiful swimming area in a small cove where we all went in for a refreshing swim after which the boys entertained other boats anchored nearby by jumping off the top of the boat again. LM

Sunday, July 27, 2003, moved to April Point Resort and Marina where we docked next to the 160’6” Floridian recently purchased by Wayne (I didn’t catch his last name) who also owns the Miami Dolphins. Last year we saw the same boat when it was named Attessa and was owned by Dennis Washington, an Idaho industrialist. The boys were impressed by the helicopter that took off from the upper deck and then came back to get someone’s sunglasses. The helicopter is brand new and hasn’t been painted to match the boat yet. To keep guests from getting bored the boat has an indoor movie theater and an outdoor movie theater with a screen that comes down from the radar arch.

Happy Birthday, Nana!

Monday, July 28, 2003, the crew of Safari and the crew of the Floridian spent much of the day cleaning the interior and exterior of their respective boats. Floridian owner and guests arrived by turbo jet seaplane (Beaver?) painted to match. They pulled out of the harbor after a quick boat tour and refreshments just as the April Point dock crew began to measure space for a 330’ yacht hoping to dock here. Their request was ultimately denied. It seems that you can have a boat that is too big.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003, haircuts and shopping in Campbell River.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003, at anchor at Rebecca Spit on Quadra Island. Caught red crabs.

#19 Desolation Sound

Thursday, July 31, 2003, in the glow of a magenta sunset a family of Red-breasted Mergansers with 15 youngsters in a perfect line with mom and pop at front and rear completed a circle tour of Safari’s anchorage in Quartz Bay on Cortes Island in Desolation Sound. Earlier what appeared to be a whale’s tail thrashing near shore turned out to be a bald eagle that caught a fish too big carry. With his talons locked onto the fish the eagle used his wings to awkwardly breaststroke to shore where he took a long rest before beginning his evening meal. Quartz Bay is unusually pretty but off the beaten path so we have the company of just one other boat. When we took a dinghy tour an old gentleman who was painting the bottom of his boat grounded at low tide motioned us over to the dock, invited us to tie up and suggested that we stretch our legs by taking a walk around his property that surrounds the bay. Around his kitchen table we got to know Ray Sharpe and learned the highlights of his 78 years. Later he left by boat to pick up his wife, Joy, at Heriot Bay.

Friday, August 1, 2003, this place, Quartz Bay, is so pretty and Ray and Joy Sharpe are so hospitable that we stayed another day and night. After several hours with Ray and Joy first at their place, then on Safari and finally back at the rental house one of their sons built and used to live in we know them well enough to call them friends.

Saturday, August 2, 2003, after cruising by to say goodbye to the Sharpes we anchored at the head of Teakerne Arm and hiked in for a long swim in beautiful Cassel Lake that feeds the waterfall. Even though a common loon seemed content to share his swimming hole the resident raven gave us good scolding.

Sunday, August 3, 2003, anchored at popular Squirrel Cove, no squirrels sighted but two families of Canada Geese cruised by to admire the boat and check out the our name and port of call. If they were merely begging they didn’t complain but just moved on to another yacht when we didn’t contribute to their delinquency. The floating bakery fulfilled our order for yummy blackberry and strawberry/rhubarb pies and cinnamon rolls. Met and exchanged boat tours with Shelly Golison and Joy Blair aboard Offshore 55 Catrina.

Monday, August 4, 2003, in our quest to find new and different vistas Safari ventured into Roscoe Bay where a drying shoal must be crossed at high tide to enter. Our timing was good with five and a half feet of water under the keel when we entered. With at least 40 boats already inside on a long Canadian holiday weekend this was a good chance to demonstrate our anchoring skill in tight quarters. Down went the anchor just off the stern of a couple of rafted sailboats. Then just as the dinghy was being launched the wind shifted 180 degrees and piped up to about 15 knots. By the time I got the stern line to shore and around a tree Safari had swung around requiring Gay to rotate the boat under power against the wind. As I was admiring her skill while rappelling down a rocky cliff the line suddenly slacked causing me to cartwheel into the water scraping a knee and splitting a couple of toes on oyster shells in the process. After a refreshing swim to the dinghy, good boat handling by Gay and tugging by Wyman we were finally secure, but the dinghy and cockpit looked like we had butchered a hog. We did get a round of applause from nearby boats. The folks in the next boat had punctured their inflatable on oyster shells so we gave them a lift to the trail leading to Black Lake where we spent a pleasant afternoon swimming in the clear, warm fresh water.

#20 Garden Bay

Tuesday, August 5, 2003, on our 16th straight cloudless day it is easy to understand why Prideaux Haven is the most popular anchorage in Desolation Sound with its’ many islands, nooks, vistas of high mountains, swimming holes, rope swings and warm water. When we were here in May we were the only boat; now in peak season, there must be at least 150 boats with room for twice that many more. The favorite pastime seems to be cruising around in dinghies or kayaks to socialize with old friends. We spent time with Bill and Rebbie Bates aboard Offshore 48 Rebozo and with Penny and Glenn Byrd of Sunfjord 54 Burnaby. SFYC members Ed and Rosemary Mein came by Safari to introduce themselves. St. Francis YC members Tom and Holly who we met last year at Mamalilaculla also dropped by.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003, anchored in Tenedos Bay where we hiked up to Unwin Lake.

Thursday, August 7, 2003, Mother Nature used only one color (blue) in 50 or more shades as we crossed Desolation Sound enroute to anchor in Malaspina Inlet at Grace Harbor in brilliant sunshine. It’s an easy hike to the lake.

Friday, August 8, 2003, Grace Harbor is such a pleasant place we stayed another day and explored Lancelot Inlet, Wooten Bay and Theodosia Inlet by dinghy with a lunch stop at the Laughing Oyster Café overlooking Okeover Inlet.

Saturday, August 9, 2003, after a three hour lunch stop at Lund where I installed a new bilge pump switch a 20 knot breeze kicked up quite a chop in Malaspina Strait enroute to anchor at Fox Island across from Nelson Island in Blind Bay. After a late afternoon swim we watched the sunset while playing dominos on the flybridge until it was too dark to see the spots.

Sunday, August 10, 2003, following a dinghy ride through Ballet Bay we cruised on to Pender Harbor where we docked at the Garden Bay Marina and Hotel (there is no hotel but the title makes it seem better than it really is). After almost two weeks at various anchorages and no rain for a month Safari needed a top to bottom washing. A clean boat is a happy boat as they say. Local Garden Bay residents Fran and Art whom we met last year came by for a visit and arranged a walking schedule with Gay while Wyman attended a board meeting in Chicago.

Monday, August 11, 2003, Wyman departed by floatplane to Vancouver for a connection to Chicago. Gay walked with her friend, Fran and caught up on the past year. She watched boats fill up the marina. GH

Tuesday, August 12, 2003, Gay walked to Fran and Art’s place, which is quicker by dinghy, but she needed the exercise. They were canning 12 salmon that their son had caught on a fishing trip. She was asked to stay for a fresh Dungeness crab lunch. GH

Wednesday, August 13, 2003, Wyman rejoined Gay at Garden Bay and socialized with some of the people Gay met while he was gone.

#21 Gulf Islands

Thursday, August 14, 2003, after a long hike to Garden Bay Lake and Katherine Lake we moved on to the marina in Secret Cove. Then, we dinghied across Welcome Passage to the beautiful sandy beach at Buccaneer Bay between North and South Thormanby Island for a picnic lunch. On the way back we cruised through the Surrey Islands and into intimate Smuggler Cove that resembles an alpine lake with granite outcroppings and evergreen trees to the water’s edge. Smuggler Cove derives its name from a time when “assisting” Chinese laborers across the border into the United States was profitable. For future reference, steel rings have been installed in the rocks along the shoreline, which simplifies the task of fastening a stern line to shore.

Friday, August 15, 2003, crossed the Strait of Georgia without incident to anchor behind Kendrick Island where we harvested oysters and watched boats struggle or zoom through Gabriola Passage depending on their direction relative to the current. When the current began to really rip I went fishing in the passage and caught a fish so big that it stripped 600 feet of line off my reel and kept going. When we anchored at low tide Kendrick Island was connected to Valdes Island forming a quiet cove like so many others we have anchored in. However, by 6:00 p.m. when I decided to take a swim the rising tide had separated the island and a current was running through the anchorage. I dove off the swim platform and swam a boat length or so away from the boat when I realized I had to swim very hard to get back to the boat. At dinner we discussed how lucky we were that Gay who is not a strong swimmer didn’t go in because I would not have been able to pull her back to the boat against the current and the rapids at Gabriola Passage are only 300 yards away.

Saturday, August 16, 2003, sailed through Gabriola Passage, squeezed between Decourcy and Ruxton Islands, crossed Stuart Channel and docked at Ladysmith Harbor on Vancouver Island. It appears that the 20th Century didn’t have much impact on the town of Ladysmith which looks like a 1920’s movie set with it’s Victorian homes and storefronts. Since Ladysmith is on the 49th parallel I guess we are halfway to San Francisco (latitude 38) from our northernmost point (60 degrees north). In our continuing quest to live off the fat of the land we picked a gallon of blackberries.

Sunday, August 17, 2003, we took the dinghy from Thetis Island Marina in Telegraph Cove across Stuart Channel to the charming seaside village of Chemainus that is almost too cute for words. To keep from becoming a ghost town when four of it’s five sawmills closed, Chemainus invited internationally known artists to use the town as a canvas. Today, more than 34 murals and 12 sculptures depict the town’s history, people and future. Large flower baskets hang every 20 feet or so and every house and building is brightly painted. Thus, it claims to be the world’s largest outdoor gallery and has an active professional theater company and music program.

Monday, August 18, 2003, securely anchored and stern-tied to shore in pretty Princess Bay on Wallace Island in preparation for a gale, hiked and swam.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003, stayed another day at Wallace Island Marine Park, hiked and harvested six red crabs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003, on our 31st consecutive sunny day we pulled into the bustling village of Ganges on Saltspring Island to browse the galleries and grocery shop.

#22 Autopilot problems

Thursday, August 21, 2003, anchored in scenic Long Harbor, Saltspring Island.

Friday, August 22, 2003, anchored in Montague Harbor, Galiano Island, hiked, met a couple (Jim and Darlene Allan) from Victoria on the Hummingbird bus to the Hummingbird Pub and took in a cute play, “What the Butler Saw.”

Saturday, August 23, 2003, stayed in Montague, hiked, met Jim and Jan, Offshore 48 “Sprig” from Bodega Bay.

Sunday, August 24, 2003, docked at Van Isle Marina in Sidney. Jim and Darlene gave us the grand tour of Victoria and then we had dinner with John and Sue from San Antonio aboard Nordhavn 40 “Uno Mas,” last seen in Sitka.

Monday, August 25, 2003, at Van Isle fixed the small generator that had overheated.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003, at Van Isle, Philbrooks changed the engine oil and completed other minor maintenance in preparation for the journey down the coast.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003, at Van Isle went to Butchart Gardens in full bloom on a beautiful day.

Thursday, August 28, 2003, as we crossed the border into the United States our autopilot began to malfunction. After we phoned the dealer in Anacortes, Washington, who concluded that the gyrocompass had gone haywire and agreed to make the 20-mile boat trip to meet us in Friday Harbor on Tuesday, Gay pushed on some wires and it magically began to work. (We later decided it would be better to go to the dealer in Anacortes rather than have him come to us). Now we don’t know what went wrong, but we must have it working properly before we head down the coast. Customs entry at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington went smoothly. We then docked at a private home a few blocks from the ferry terminal offered to us by John Mifflin. The traffic in Friday Harbor is quite amazing with float planes landing and taking off and ferries coming and going along with pleasure and work boats of all descriptions in a fairly confined space.

Friday, August 29, 2003, when two screw holes didn’t line up on the swim step handrail that had been rebedded by Philbrooks we returned to Sidney. The autopilot didn’t work on the 20-mile trip back to Canada.

Saturday, August 30, 2003, the autopilot began to work on the trip back to Friday Harbor. We cleared customs by phone enroute.

Sunday, August 31, 2003, we went to Turn Island by dinghy for a picnic with John Mifflin and Betty and had dinner in Friday Harbor with Bill and Rebbie Bates who live aboard Offshore 48 “Rebozo” in Roche Harbor.

Monday, September 1, 2003, the autopilot worked perfectly on the trip to Anacortes to get it fixed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2003, a new autopilot controller circuit board is being sent from the factory to Anacortes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2003, with a new compass and controller the autopilot checked out OK in a sea trial.

#23 Homeward Bound

Thursday, September 4, 2003, at Roche Harbor Safari was docked next to Bill and Rebbie Bates’ Offshore 48 Rebozo. Safari’s wireless mouse and keyboard began to act squirrelly due to a wireless Internet service available to boaters in the harbor that used a frequency close to that used by the mouse. The problem went away when we left the harbor.

Friday, September 5, 2003, delivery crewmember Jerry Knecht arrived via Kenmore Air floatplane in anticipation of a departure on Saturday morning for the passage to San Francisco. Jerry is a seasoned sailor who completed a circumnavigation of the planet aboard his 43-foot sailboat and was the first recipient of the SFYC Cruisers’ Trophy. (Gay and Wyman are the current holders of this prestigious award.) Although weather reports began to sound somewhat dicey, Safari and crew (Wyman and Gay Harris, Bill Bates and Jerry Knecht) are ready to go.

Saturday, September 6, 2003: Planned departure of 05:30 was delayed while weather information was received from various sources including a weather routing service. Net result was a decision by skipper Harris to depart at 07:30 for Neah Bay only, and to await further developments in the weather situation there. General prognosis for the next three days is poor – two lows, converging in the Alaska/BC waters combined with an offshore high off Oregon are expected to produce uncomfortable and perhaps dangerous seas and SW winds in the 25 knot range.

So, tonight at Neah Bay we had a great Gay-made dinner, and will see what tomorrow brings – other than a visit to the local Indian museum, which is one of the best. JK

Sunday, September 7, 2003,

After a long nights’ sleep, Safari crept out of glamorous Neah Bay at 0730 before the office opened, so the skipper and his wife are currently on the financial bad side of the Makaah Nation! Wyman assures us that he will settle-up when he gets home.

We rounded Cape Flattery with grey skies, quite smooth seas, and soon plunged into a thick fog that surrounded us like a grey sock for many hours. The Princess of this cruise line fed us all with hearty breakfast and a fine lunch. For most of the day the wind was less than 6 knots, which made for an exceptionally pleasant trip including one humpback whale spotting and a porpoise family that frolicked in our bow wave.

Dinnertime approached, and as soon as crewman Bill finished his first shower in two days (yea!!), Wyman discovered the generator would not start because of a low battery and therefore Gay would not be able to cook the evening dinner. Wyman and Bill removed the battery from the dinghy, disconnected the generator battery, replaced it with the dinghy battery, started the generator and then reconnected the dinghy battery back into the dinghy. This small amount of effort allowed Gay to cook and Bill to get sweaty and stinky again--just like the rest of the crew!

The evolved steaming plan was to reach Newport, Oregon the morning of the 8th, and after evaluating available weather inputs, perhaps continue onto Coos Bay, another 90 miles. Night watches were set, the seas nearly calm, and we literally drove down the moonbeam as we continued to head south. BB

Monday, September 8, 2003, based on our analysis of the weather forecast Safari bypassed Newport at about 7:30 am and raced the perfect storm to Coos Bay—32 hours and 319 nautical miles at sea since leaving Neah Bay. This apparently made Neptune angry because the seas immediate rose up in protest. Along the way we sailed through a pod of about eleven Orcas including one big male and one or two babies. One albatross effortlessly skimmed the waves nearby while shearwaters soared and dipped looking for a tasty morsel. Looking ahead, the weather doesn’t look good for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003, the crew of Safari spent another pleasant day enjoying the wonders of Coos Bay while the ocean continued to be unfriendly. The local community is mourning the loss of one of its’ own 30 year veteran fishermen who failed to return in his well equipped 65 foot fishing boat. Hope for his safe return dimmed when his life ring was found. This event confirms our decision to sit out the worst of the weather in a secure harbor but with full knowledge that the most hazardous part of the trip around Cape Mendocino lies ahead with 25 to 30 knot winds and 13 to 16 foot seas forecast through Saturday. Thus, the date of our arrival back to SFYC is indeterminate.


(From Jerry: On a rainy evening at the dock in Coos Bay, I encountered a group of about 15 people who stood at an empty berth across which they had strung colored lights diagonally. I then understood those lights – they closed the berth in honor of their patriarch master seaman who was lost this week. There were: wife # 1, wife # 3 (best of friends) and various sons, daughters and other family members. Silent hugs included me, and I left them, arriving back on Safari in tears.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard escorted Safari across the bar out of Coos Bay through steep, but not breaking, 6 to 8 foot waves. At sea, wind built to 20 knots and westerly swells increased from seven to ten feet. We increased boat speed to 15 knots to achieve a better ride and to possibly reach Eureka before afternoon wind driven swells closed the bar, but decided to pull into Crescent City when seas began to build dramatically.

Thursday, September 11, 2003, the wind veered to the northwest on a beautiful day in the ocean as we approached Trinidad Head enroute from Crescent City to Eureka where we plan to sit out the next gale before rounding Cape Mendocino. Current weather forecasts indicate that the earliest opportunity to safely round Cape Mendocino will be on Sunday.

#25 Final Approach

Friday, September 12, 2003, at Woodley Island Marina in Eureka, CA we are able to walk to the NOAA Eureka weather station to talk to the forecasters and see their weather models on big screen TV. It’s not a pretty picture with 45 knots of wind offshore generating 15 to 17 foot swells for several days into the future. Onshore it’s a beautiful day to enjoy Eureka, which owes its charm and fascination to the many Victorian homes, which are a legacy of the lumber baron era. After breakfast, Wyman, Gay, and Bill took a taxi to downtown. Jerry elected to take a short walk around the marina. Bill went to Costco to purchase various essential supplies, and the Harris’s were the sightseers of the group. They report strolling around gaping at the beautifully restored lumber baron houses. Gay almost bought several shoes, but decided against it as they probably all would not fit. Also, they took the responsibility for purchasing more victuals at the local Safeway for the unknown duration of Safari’s sojourn in Humbolt Bay. The afternoon was spent reading, polishing stainless steel, and still another visit to the NWS office (a block from the marina office), where we determined that a weather window would not open for the conclusion of the trip until Monday. Gloom. After a fine dinner, it was decided that an episode of “Sex and the City” followed by a short segment from “Mr. Bean” would put the troops in a better frame of mind for the possible additional day in Eureka. BB

Saturday, September 13. 2003, the Coast Guard closed the Eureka bar due to high waves and breaking surf but Sunday is looking better.

Sunday, September 14, 2003, Hooray, conditions permitted leaving Eureka at 07:30. Crossed the bar with 10-12 foot swells; Safari handled them very well. Rounded Cape Mendocino with about the same conditions and then adopted a more comfortable course, with seas dead astern, for Pt. Arena. Sunny until 1:30, then dense fog. Crew happy to be headed for SF finally. Estimated time of arrival is 07:00 Monday morning. JK

#26 Safe at Home

Monday, September 15, 2003, heavy fog continued from early Sunday afternoon through the night until daybreak as the swells became lumps and finally flattened. Then, after almost 24 hours at sea Safari steamed under the Golden Gate Bridge, crossed the bay and eased into her familiar berth at the San Francisco Yacht Club at 7:15 am. Suzanne Knecht (author of “Night Watch: Memoirs of a Circumnavigation”) was on the dock eagerly waiting for Jerry’s return. As we backed into the slip, our daughter, Stephanie, and grandsons, Charlie and Brooks came running down the dock for hugs and kisses. Brooks summed up the situation by saying, “Nana, you’ve been gone a long time!”

With four and a half months of mail and two cars with dead batteries we quickly wished to be back in the cruising mode. Before the pressures of life on land consume us we must give thanks for another wonderful trip to the best cruising ground in the world. The spectacular landscape and interesting wildlife were great, but the friendly and helpful people made it special. We didn’t encounter a single disagreeable person and made many friends. The sunny weather in both Alaska and British Columbia set records. Fifty-five straight warm, sunny days from July 20 to the end of the voyage was particularly impressive and welcome. The comfortable, reliable and seaworthy Offshore 54 Pilothouse was a delightful home for our occasional guests and us. Careful planning and good judgment regarding weather and sea conditions minimized risks and anxiety.

Statistical Summary:
Elapsed time: 134 days
Sunny days: 99
Rainy days: 21
Cloudy days: 14
Distance traveled: 4,562 nautical miles or 5,253 statute miles
Diesel fuel consumed: 5,012 gallons
Nights at anchor: 57
Nights at a dock: 72
Nights at sea: 5
Number of different locations: 103
Equipment failures: Davit (crane to launch dinghy) motor/gearbox, generator seawater impeller, autopilot compass, and DVD player.

#27 Post Script

Before and during the voyage to Alaska I had to deal with certain computer software and hardware issues that were too technical to include in the daily log, but need to be documented as part of the record.

(1) Safari’s on-board computer used solely for navigation was custom made by Ocean PC (no longer in business). A dedicated 1,000-watt inverter connected directly to the house batteries powers it. The operating system is Windows 2000 Professional. User interface is via wireless mouse and keyboard backed up by a second wireless mouse and keyboard as well as a wired mouse and keyboard. Navigation software is Nobeltec Visual Navigation Series with Nobeltec Passport World Folio electronic charts. GPS input comes from a Raymarine 120 backed up by a Furuno 31 that kicks in if there is no signal for 15 seconds. The computer is interfaced with the Simrad/Robertson autopilot and Furuno radar.
(2) An IBM laptop loaded with the same Nobeltec software is used as a backup to the main computer. This computer is also used for email, business, word processing, etc.
(3) A Raymarine L760 plotter/sounder can also be used for navigation.
(4) Paper charts were aboard.

Situation: the above system worked flawlessly during our cruise to British Columbia last year. Over the winter, I upgraded the IBM laptop operating system from Windows 98 to Windows XP.

(1) The Canadian raster charts from NDI used last year would not work on Windows XP. Solution: Purchased newly developed Canadian vector charts from Nobeltec available on Passport World Folio 17.
(2) I discovered (surprise to Nobeltec) that the Canadian charts on Folio 17 had a “geo-referencing” problem. Solution: Nobeltec programmed a fix into their about-to-be-released VNS 7.0 and sent me a CD that I installed on both computers the day before departing on May 4, 2003.
(3) While underway, I began to find a number (7 or 8) of serious flaws in VNS 7.0. Solution: Nobeltec programmed fixes that they emailed to me enroute. I was able to burn a CD and install the fixes on both computers. These fixes have now been released as VNS 7.0.702 and are available as upgrades on Nobeltec’s website.
(4) On the laptop, Windows XP recognized the GPS input as a second mouse input causing the system to repeatedly overload and crash. Solution: while underway, a Nobeltec technical person helped me diagnose and solve the problem.
(5) After hitting some rough water in the ocean off the west coast of Alaska the navigation program on the main computer began to malfunction. Solution: switched navigation to the laptop and paper charts while a Nobeltec technical person helped me determine that there was input coming from the backup wireless keyboard that had been dislodged in its’ storage location due to the rough water. Removing the batteries in the spare keyboard solved the problem.
(6) At Roche Harbor input from a wireless Internet system competed with the wireless mouse and keyboard causing instability in the navigation program. Solution: leave Roche Harbor. Caution: similar wireless Internet systems are being installed in many harbors that could cause similar problems.

Overall assessment/lessons learned: All of these problems were solved while underway and did not cause any changes in route or timing because we had:
(1) Backups for mission critical systems.
(2) Good communications with technical support via sat phone, cell phone and email.
(3) Good knowledge of the systems and how they should operate.
(4) Awareness that computers on boats suffer from some of the same maladies as computers on land so you’d better be able to fix them or do without them.

2002 SF to the Pacific Northwest

From the Log of Safari-
Transit from SFYC to the Pacific Northwest

Saturday, May 11, 2002 SAFARI departed SFYC at 1:45 p.m. as planned (The plan was to depart on Monday, May 6, weather permitting. Well, the weather didn't permit and we didn't depart). After ten days of gale force winds (40+knot wind and 13 to 15 foot waves) along the Northern California coast finally abated, a more favorable forecast gave hope for a more pleasant passage. The crew (Hal McCormack, Jerry Eaton, Gay and Wyman Harris) being of good spirit and ready for adventure on the high seas proceeded around the clock and arrived at our destination, Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, traversing some 800 nautical miles in 75 hours including two fuel stops. On Saturday, winds built from 10 to 15 during the day to 20 to 25 in the afternoon and evening then eased during the night and throughout the next day.

Sunday, May 12-pulled into Crescent City, CA for fuel at 1:45 (24 hours, 279 nautical miles and 591 gallons of diesel). Light winds and small seas prompted us to pick up speed to 15 knots for the next 24 hours though increased fuel consumption forced us to stop for fuel at Astoria, OR 14miles up the Columbia River on Monday afternoon. No problem at the infamous
Columbia River bar.

Monday, May 13-after refueling in Astoria the port engine wouldn't start. A call to Cummins Northwest in Portland helped us isolate the problem to the start button solenoid. A jump across the button started the engine and solved the problem. Since we couldn't replicate the problem we canceled a service call scheduled for the next morning and headed down the river and out to sea once again.

Tuesday, May 14-heavy rain and wind during the night but shortly after sunrise we rounded Cape Flattery and entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca ona strong ebb with 15 to 20 knot winds that built 8 to 10 foot swells. The big following seas made for an exciting roller coaster ride requiring alternating engine power to maintain course while surfing down the waves. After 4 or 5 hours the tide turned, the seas flattened and we entered our cruising ground 72 hours after departure. By 5:00 p.m. we were in a slip at Roche Harbor.

Wednesday, May 15-cleaned the boat, said good-bye to Hal McCormack and welcomed Karen Eaton who had traveled by taxi, plane, shuttle, rental car and ferry to join us. As she came aboard we started the engines and moved to a quiet anchorage across Roche Harbor.

Thursday, May 16-moved to anchor at Reid Cove at Stuart Island where we hiked, picked oysters and counted our blessings.

Friday, May 17-moved to Friday Harbor Marina, San Juan Island for poking around town. Restaurant meal at Vinnie's with a nice view of the harbor.Saturday, May 18, 2002-put Jerry and Karen Eaton on the ferry to Sidney, BC and moved to anchor at Indian Cove at Shaw Island where Gay and I spent aquiet sunny afternoon all alone contemplating a successful voyage to a beautiful cruising area. Throughout the trip all systems worked, we were able to check and send email several times daily, had uninterrupted cellphone, sat phone and satellite TV coverage.

Part 2. Cruising the San Juan Islands

Sunday, May 19 – Negotiated a very tricky entrance to Fisherman Bay, Lopez Island. Nice anchorage. Hiked through Lopez Village and to the end of the Island and back through the farmland at the center of the island past vineyards and working farms. The Lopez Islanders always wave. Sometimes it’s just a slight raise of the index finger from the wheel of their car along with a nod. Or they raise two, three or four fingers. The really outgoing types actually move their hand from the wheel and give a full open handed wave with a smile. It reminded me of my boyhood days in Oklahoma when not only would a driver wave, but slow down to keep from splashing a walker with mud or asphyxiating him with dust. It was also a good time to stop to talk about the weather . . . “I heard that they got three-quarters of an inch north of town but we didn’t get a drop at our place.” Great Coconut Shrimp and Fish & Chips at the funky Fisherman Bay Resort.

Monday, May 20 – Decided to slow the pace and spend a second night on the hook at Fisherman Bay.

Tuesday, May 21 – Motored to Blind Bay on Shaw Island. All alone except for a derelict 65-foot wooden boat. Our entertainment was to guess the motives of a gent who tied up next to the junker in a 24-foot cuddy cabin, put on a new registration sticker and pumped hundreds of gallons of water from the bilge with a gasoline engine driven pump connected to a fire hose. I wanted to go over and tell him that it was a lost cause, until I realized that he probably won it in a poker game and might be able to get into boating for a lot less than we spent.

Wednesday, May 22 – Orcas Island, breakfast at anchor in Massacre Bay, lunch and hike at West Sound Marina, dinner on the hook between Victim Island and Double Island-great spot.

Thursday, May 23 – Jones Island State Marine Park dock, watched the Sea Otters dive for dinner, met some friendly native boaters and made Smores around a bonfire.

Friday, May 24 – Back to Roche Harbor Marina to welcome and have dinner with Bill & Rebbie Bates who will make Roche Harbor their home for the next two years aboard Rebozo, an Offshore 48 Pilothouse. Took the short cut by Pearl Island at a minus tide. The depth sounder showed 3.5 feet but we didn’t hear any expensive sounds-won’t do that again.

Saturday, May 25 – At anchor in Roche Harbor.

Sunday, May 26, 2002 – Garrison Bay –negotiated the tricky, narrow and winding Mosquito Pass to Garrison Bay despite a full moon minus 2.5-foot tide and strong currents by carefully plotting a course and letting the computer and autopilot figure out the drift and set. The effort was well rewarded by having several dozen barbequed oysters for lunch and another couple of dozen for a mid-afternoon snack. Didn’t feel like having oysters for dinner so we will keep a bucketful in reserve for tomorrow. Hiked from British Camp to the top of the mountain for a great view of the San Juans, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in Canada. Site of the British marine garrison during the Pig War between England and the U.S. that was finally resolved peacefully after a 12 year stand off and established the U.S./Canadian Border with the U.S. getting the San Juan Islands.

Part 3. More Cruising in the San Juan Islands

Monday, May 27, 2002 – Roche Harbor Marina – I told Gay that we would go see the Killer Whales today and sure enough just as we were exiting Mosquito Pass into Haro Strait Gay saw a pod of Orcas right in front of us – a very large male and half a dozen females and at least one baby. We were with them for a couple of hours as they fed and frolicked along the coast of San Juan Island. After we got back to the harbor, I spent two hours disassembling the seawater wash down pump because Gay had poor flow when she washed down the anchor and chain. I couldn’t find anything wrong so I put it back together and discovered that the problem was a kinked hose. So much for my troubleshooting expertise.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 – I boarded the Kenmore Air seaplane 50 feet from our slip at Roche Harbor for a flight to Lake Union in Seattle where I caught the free shuttle bus to SeaTac to connect with a flight to Chicago while Gay stayed aboard Safari. I got to ride in the co-pilot’s seat with a great view of the islands below. We made one on-the-water landing at Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island to pick up another passenger before continuing on to Seattle. What a fun and convenient way get to the airport.

Thursday, May 30, 2002 – returned via NW Seaplanes to Friday Harbor.

Friday, May 31, 2002 – at anchor in Fossil Bay on beautiful Sucia Island. We took the dinghy to visit all of the other bays on Sucia Island and to Matia Island. Lots of sea lions, a few bald eagles but no oysters.

Saturday, June 1, 2002 – Hunter Bay, San Juan Island – quiet anchorage, beautiful day, changed water maker filters and missed a lovely sunset in a frustrating, unsuccessful attempt to restart the water maker.

Sunday, June 2, 2002 – Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes. Busy day, changed fuel filters, lined up a water maker serviceman. Dinner at a restaurant next door to Wyman’s Marina.

Monday, June 3, 2002 – happily started the water maker and cancelled the serviceman after receiving an email tip from fellow Offshore 54 owner Larry Swanson on how to purge air after changing filters. Thanks, Larry. Superior service still exists: West Marine didn’t have a part I needed so an employee called a competitor to locate the part, drove me there and dropped me back at the marina. After another busy day at Cap Sante Marina, we provisioned for the next leg and were in a good mood to welcome landlubbers Bruce and Sally Campbell, long-time friends and neighbors back in Wilton, CT, who arrived from Baltimore.

Tuesday, June 4,2002 – toured Rosario Resort on Orcas Island, got a massage, continued on to West Sound between Victim Is. and Double Is. for the night. With full batteries, full water tanks and a warm evening, there seemed to be no need to run the generator. But the next morning when Sally & Bruce showered in cold water and came up to breakfast with blue lips, I realized that with four people showering and using hot water it is necessary to run the generator a little each evening and again in the morning. I assured them that we were not on a survival mission.

Wednesday, June 5, 2002 – anchored in Roche Harbor; took the dinghy to Garrison Bay for oysters. Gay, Sally & Bruce went ashore to see the outdoor sculpture display but Wyman stayed aboard due to high winds, which eased overnight.

Thursday, June 6, 2002 –gathered more oysters at Reid Harbor, Stuart Is. and hiked to the Turn Point Lighthouse, the northwest most point in the continental US. Stopped along the way to talk to the schoolteacher at the one-room school. She had five students in grades K-8 this past year and expects only three for the coming year, but is nevertheless preparing lesson plans for the possibility that more kids may move to the island over the summer. The “store” operates under the honor system: take any of the handmade note cards or t-shirts and mail a check back at your convenience. “Please close the door to the card rack and lid to the t-shirt trunk to keep out the sun and rain.”

Friday, June 7, 2002 – cleared Canadian Customs at Port Sidney and continued on around the Saanich Peninsula to anchor at Tod Inlet. Along the way as I throttled up to stay well ahead of a ferry moving at 20 knots, a killer whale suddenly surfaced immediately ahead. Fortunately, as we pulled to a stop to avoid a close encounter with the Orca, the ferry changed course. After lunch of barbecued oysters we took the dinghy to Butchart Gardens, the world-renowned 55-acre flower garden.

Saturday, June 8, 2002 – Port Sidney Marina – browsed the bookstores, marine stores and other shops before dinner at The Bistro, a Greek restaurant with one tiny salt and pepper grinder shared by all the patrons and the chef.

Sunday, June 9, 2002 – said sad good-byes to the now seasoned boaters, Sally & Bruce, who ferried to Vancouver. Alone again, Gay and I anchored at Sidney Spit, along with perhaps a hundred local boaters who were taking advantage of a sunny Sunday afternoon at the beach. By the time we hiked the island trail and headed back to Safari, the locals were departing. No more that two or three boats spent the night.

Monday, June 10, 2002 – spent the morning on business phone calls and email waiting for the tide to turn before motoring to an anchorage at Bedwell Harbor, South Pender Island. Sleepy Bedwell Harbor was virtually deserted and unchanged since we last visited in 1995 on the first day of our first charter trip to the Pacific Northwest, except for a sign announcing the soon-to-be-built resort complete with condos, villas, swimming pool, tennis courts, and expanded marina. Better buy now before it’s too late.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002 – back to Port Sidney Marina where we will leave Safari for two weeks while we reluctantly go home to check the mail, make a business trip, attend a wedding, get hair and nails done and wish for our return to possibly the best cruising area in the world.

After one month of cruising we are fully in the groove and ready for more. All systems continue to operate flawlessly while we live in comfort and style.

From the Log of Safari – Part 4

Wednesday, June 12, 2002 – We flew back home for two weeks to attend a wedding, check the mail, get haircuts, tend to business in Tennessee and Texas, see friends, etc. Safari got a good polishing at the Port Sidney Marina while we were gone. Decided that cruising is more fun than being at home.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002 – Arrived back to Sidney with guests.

Thursday, June 27, 2002 – Provisioned in Sidney, anchored in Glenthorne Passage, Prevost Island. Picked oysters and pigged out.

Friday, June 28, 2002 – Such a lovely spot to spend a rainy day, decided to stay another night. Took the dinghy to Ganges on Salt Spring Island, came back in the rain with poor visibility and found Safari thanks to our foresight in taking a handheld GPS along. Found time to pick more oysters, play dominoes and watch a video of Roger Swanson’s voyage by sailboat to Antarctica.

Saturday, June 29, 2002 – anchored at Ganges to visit the bustling Saturday market and continued on to anchor at Montague Harbor, Galiano Is.

Sunday, June 30, 2002 – back to Port Sidney to drop guests at the airport, went to Canada Day Street fair and boat race by 15 boats built in two hours with $60 worth of materials each. Great view from the boat for the fireworks show.

Monday, July 1, 2002 – went to Canada Day parade and took the Bus to Victoria, the beautiful capital city of British Canada. Nice museum.

Tuesday, July 2, 2002 – Genoa Bay, Vancouver Is. Hiked to the top of a mountain for view and picture.

Wednesday, July 3, 2002 – Maple Bay Yacht Club, Vancouver Is. Met Guenther, a fit 74-year-old sailor, who took us to Duncan where he was going to find an impeller for his water pump. He didn’t find the part there, but upon our return I found the exact part including new gaskets left over from Wild Duck and gave it to him.

Thursday, July 4, 2002 – at anchor tied to shore Bahamian style in tiny, charming Pirates Cove, DeCourcy Is. Quiet day with rain off and on. Watched a gray heron patiently standing on a rock staring into the water for hours, before striking out to make a good catch that went down his throat backwards and got caught. After many attempts to wash it down with sips of water, he worked the prey back up to his beak where it struggled to regain freedom before the heron flipped it into the air and finally swallowed the spiny morsel. The next morning as we glided out of the narrow opening to the cove, a raccoon was feasting on oysters. We marveled at the great variety of creatures that share this beautiful planet.

Friday, July 5, 2002 – at anchor in Silva Bay, Gabriola Is. Met Gwen the pie lady delivering pies to the little grocery store-Gay asked her if she was the one who baked the delicious pies we bought eight years ago-she was, so we bought cinnamon buns and two pies, one bumble berry and another blackberry-apple—delicious! Hiked to see the 5000-year-old petroglyphs and 4000-year-old graffiti. Apparently the distinction is who came first. Dinghied to Degnen Bay where we saw new sailboat friends we had met at Maple Bay and brought them back to Safari for pie and ice cream. Found an oyster bonanza.

Saturday, July 6, 2002 – at anchor at Newcastle Is. near Nanaimo, the second largest city, after Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Pretty spot in a semi-urban setting. Had great fish and chips at the Dinghy Dock Pub.

Sunday and Monday, July 7 & 8, 2002 – Refueled and moved to a side tie at the Nanaimo Yacht Club. Took the dinghy to town to explore and shop.

Tuesday, July 9, 2002 – washed the boat and provisioned in preparation for the next set of guests who arrived by floatplane. Picked them up at the plane by dinghy and went directly to Safari. Cruised a couple of hours north to Schooner Marina and Resort where we had the best restaurant meal of the trip. The area looks like Belvedere.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002 – Crossed the Straight of Georgia and went up the Agamemnon Channel where we decided on the fly to stop at the Egmont Public Wharf so that we could hike to see the Sechelt Rapids, the biggest salt-water rapids in North America. The Sechelt Rapids at Skookumchuck Narrows run at 16 knots at each change of tide creating 8-foot overfalls and standing waves and a boiling cauldron of water that can be heard for miles. The Canadian and U.S. national championship kayaking teams were practicing along with a photography crew. As the rapids built to a peak most of the kayakers were afraid, so only a few of the best and bravest pitted their skill against the rapids. They were able to surf on the standing waves for minutes at a time before being caught by the curl and sucked under only to surface far down stream. Obviously, boats can only make a safe passage at slack water during the change of tides.

Thursday, July 11, 2002 – proceeded up Prince of Wales Reach to Malibu Rapids (basically a waterfall that runs in alternate directions) which marks the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet arriving an hour before slack water. After motoring in place for an hour we decided to make our move. Halfway into the dogleg course we could see that there was still whitewater running at over five knots creating a huge whirlpool that threatened to swing the bow around. Too late to change our minds, it took every bit of our 1270 horsepower to make it through. A bit breathless, we entered the inlet surrounded by mile-high mountains that drop almost vertically into the deep water (1,000 feet deep) below. Entering Princess Louisa Inlet is like entering a great cathedral with dozens of beautiful waterfalls flowing everywhere you look. At the head of the box canyon, Chatterbox Falls flowed in full glory from high sheer cliffs. We tied to the government dock and took the dinghy on the four mile trip back to Malibu Rapids where we ran the rapids, now flowing in the opposite direction, and visited Camp Malibu, a Young Life Christian summer camp for teenagers, that overlooks the rapids. On the way back we saw a huge brown bear eating oysters on a small beach. We were able to drift quite close, all the while making sure the engine was running so that we could depart quickly in case he decided on a change of diet. As we pulled away, a bald eagle swooped overhead, but sadly did not pull a salmon out of the water as they normally do in the PR shots.

Friday, July 12, 2002 – anchored at the base of Chatterbox Falls to get some Christmas card photos, motored to the rapids and waited until we were sure we could exit without incident. This time of year with all of the waterfalls at maximum flow, slack water seems to be about an hour later than indicated in the tide tables. Anchored at the Harmony Islands Bahamian style with a line to shore. Found the most delicious oysters yet, a colony of small native oysters, perfect raw on the half shell.

Saturday, July 13 – anchored behind Fox Island in Blind Bay tied to shore – a really neat little spot. As the tide dropped 20 feet, big piles of uncharted rocks began to appear.

Sunday, July 14 – dropped our guests off at Westview Marina near the Powell River airport and continued on to Desolation Sound where we anchored in Squirrel Cove. Passed Lund without incident. (On each of our two charter trips to Desolation Sound we limped into Lund on one engine.)

Monday, July 15, 2002 – timed our departure to transit Hole-in-the-Wall at slack and proceeded to anchor at the Octopus Islands. We hiked to a deserted cabin where for many years cruisers have left wonderful driftwood artwork mementos of their visits. Our contribution, made of kelp, is there for you to see on a future visit. We found a route back to the dinghy on the other side of the island that was marked with orange plastic tape tied to tree branches. The path wound through a dense forest with huge ferns and a mossy carpet, but alas ended in the middle of the island – someone’s idea of a joke – we guessed. Not only were we lost but also the high brambles, undergrowth and vegetation made it difficult to move. Next time we will take the handheld GPS.

From the Log of Safari – Part 5

Tuesday, July 16, 2002 – anchored in Owen Bay in a choice spot near a bald eagle perched on a rock. Startled by loon calls unfamiliar to us except for the movie “On Golden Pond.” Walked through the woods to see the rapids, which were unremarkable, but became spooked by the feeling that we were being watched from the small survivalist shacks and pot gardens in the woods along the path. The few people we met on the path appeared to be Viet Nam draft dodgers who are still high and not interested in contact with the outside world—right out of “Deliverance.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2002 – anchored in Small Inlet, Kanish Bay like an Alpine lake with the sound of a waterfall that we could hear but couldn’t see.

Thursday, July 18, 2002 – came down Discovery Passage from the north to enter Discovery Harbor Marina in Campbell River to provision for the next guests. Time to change the oil in the generators. Ran the small generator to warm the oil while the dipstick was removed, thereby spraying oil all over the rear third of the engine room. After two days of painful cleaning, the engine room looks like new again.

Friday, July 19, 2002 – more boat maintenance and re-provisioning.

Saturday, July 20, 2002 – more guests arrive.

Sunday, July 21, 2002 – departed for Desolation Sound past Cortes Is. up Lewis Channel over the top of West Redonda Island via Deer Passage and Pryce Channel into Waddington Channel to Walsh Cove, one of our favorite anchorages. The water was warm enough for a good swim. Just before sunset one of the most interesting rigs pulled into Walsh Cove to anchor for the night. A homemade tugboat was pushing a barge loaded with a travel trailer and a shipping container with a helicopter on top. Along one side was a patio float complete with outdoor fireplace and patio furniture plus an aluminum fishing boat with an outboard. On the other side was a small landing craft loaded with a personal watercraft and other paraphernalia. After the skipper dropped anchor I took his line ashore to a convenient tree and learned that he and his pretty companion were coming from a logging jobsite with all of their toys. We named it OkieYacht.

Monday, July 22, 2002 – loaded up with oysters and clams before moving on to a choice spot in Prideaux Haven with a great view of snow capped peaks.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002 – anchored in Gorge Harbor, Cortes Island. The water was warm enough, but millions of jellyfish made swimming unappealing.

Wednesday/Thursday, July 24/25, 2002 – dropped our guests back at Campbell River and prepared for more visitors.

Friday, July 26, 2002 – guests arrived but had to delay departure from Campbell River due to gale force winds in Discovery Passage. This gave us time to walk to the Campbell River Museum, well worth the visit if only for the video of the blasting of Ripple Rock in Seymour Narrows in 1958, the largest non-nuclear blast in history. Over the years hundreds of lives and many large and small boats were lost in the rapids at Ripple Rock prior to blasting it to a depth of 40 feet. Even now tidal streams attain 16 knots and the guidebooks say to navigate during the 12-minute slack water.

Saturday, July 27, 2002 – at the dock at Cordero Lodge for Gay’s BIG birthday dinner of Weiner schnitzel. Dinghied to Blind Bay and hiked to an 800 year old cedar tree left by the loggers.

Sunday, July 28, 2002 –departed Cordero at 6:30 a.m. to traverse Greenpoint Rapids and Whirlpool Rapids at near slack enroute to a secluded anchorage in Boughey Bay. The guidebook said that we would see bears, but we didn’t.

Monday, July 29, 2002 – Lagoon Cove for potluck appetizers, all the prawns you can eat, marshmallow roast, singing and storytelling around the fire. If you go, be sure to ask Bill about the problems he had teaching a bear to water ski and about the time a bear bit through his gas pipe.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - anchored in spectacular Kwatsi Bay with high sheer cliffs (no satellite TV) and hiked to a picturesque waterfall.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002 – tied to Pierre’s dock in Scott Cove. Pierre cooked a great dinner and Dick won the no-talent talent contest.

From the Log of Safari – Part 6

Thursday, August 1, 2002 – Sullivan Bay, legendary among cruising boaters--with floating homes (one with a helicopter on top, several with float planes), floating restaurant, and one-hole golf course. We lost all of our balls in the water hazard without ever hitting the floating green.

Friday, August 2, 2002 – anchored in Burley Bay and took the dinghy to Nimmo Bay Helicopter Resort ($5,000 per person for four nights or you can have all nine rooms for only $87,000 for four nights) – gourmet chef, helicopter to a glacier for lunch, see the killer whales, fly fish, hot tub by a water fall, all in a spectacular setting. Craig Murray, the owner, gave us a tour and told us how to get Safari past the rocks into their lagoon.

Saturday, August 3, 2002 – took the dinghy through Roaring Hole Rapids to the head of spectacular Nepah Lagoon past the 51st parallel, the northernmost point of our cruise. Anchored all alone in Steamboat Bay where we saw bear tracks but no bears – great spot nevertheless, but not mentioned in the guidebooks. Guest declares that she isn’t leaving Safari until we find bears.

Sunday, August 4, 2002 – Claydon Bay, definitely bear country with tracks on the beach AND a black bear turning over rocks to eat the crabs.

Monday, August 5, 2002 – dinghied around the corner and found the same bear snacking at the beach at low tide and then motored to Greenway Sound, where we hiked up to the beaver dam and later had a fine restaurant meal. Good camaraderie on the dock with boaters that we have met along the way.

Tuesday, August 6 - Our guests for the past eleven days boarded a floatplane for their trip back to civilization. Anchored in beautiful Waddington bay surrounded by many small islets – we’ll come back to this place and spend more time next year. As usual, the place was patrolled by a bald eagle.

Wednesday, August 7 – anchored in Native Cove by Village Island and dinghied to the abandoned Indian village at Mamalilaculla where we saw several ancient totem poles. By the time we got back to the little dock where we had tied the dinghy, Tom, the Indian caretaker/guide/entrepreneur/showman had arrived back from a night of salmon fishing. We were so charmed by him that we decided to change our plans and spend the night. The lagoon was too small for us to anchor but he let us tie to his dock even though our boat took the entire dock. Tom put on his native dress, gave us a guided tour of the village and told stories for hours before cooking dungeoness crab and fresh sockeye salmon on a stick next to a wood fire – best crab and salmon we’ve ever tasted. The next morning as we were pulling away from the dock I asked Tom if he would sell us one of the salmon that he was cleaning. As I maneuvered Safari alongside Tom’s little aluminum fishing boat I missed a great photo op of Gay reaching out to take a 15 pound sockeye salmon from Tom with fish blood dripping from his elbows.

Thursday, August 8, 2002 – after dropping the anchor in a little bight near the entrance to Forward Harbor I picked out a tree for our stern line only to be surprised by a black bear coming out from under the tree. We waited for him to continue eating berries along the shoreline before approaching the tree again.

From the Log of Safari - Part 7

Friday, August 9, 2002 – Good planning got us through Whirlpool Rapids, Greenpoint Rapids and Guillard Rapids and into Big Bay without incident early in the day. Big Bay is a relative beehive of activity with float planes and charter fishing boats coming and going (invariably with their limit of big salmon), boats returning from Alaska, etc. Hiked to a point where we were above the bald eagles diving for salmon in the rapids.

Saturday, August 10, 2002 – Although we couldn’t get space at their dock or dinner reservations, we were able to get lunch reservations at Dent Island (Nordstrom family summer home open to a few paying guests). Tides were such that we were able to traverse the three or four miles to Dent by dinghy from Big Bay at slack, have a wonderful lunch, sit in the sun on their hot tub deck as the flood tide built to a boiling cauldron and return to Big Bay after the peak. While Gay was sunning I decided to mimic some of the hotdog fishing boat jockeys by shooting up the rapids in the dinghy. It was quite a rush on the way up but I had to wait and follow a local fast fishing boat through a safe course on the way down.

Sunday, August 11, 2002 – got a massage, took the dinghy through Arran Rapids looking for bears, and departed Big Bay via Yuculta Rapids to anchor in Forbes Harbor in Homfray Channel Desolation Sound. The guidebooks say that it is too deep to anchor here so we had the place all to ourselves (oops, I spoke too soon; two sailboats are in sight). Billions of oysters.

Monday, August 12, 2002 – this place is just too beautiful for words so we decided to stay another day, dinghied over to a teepee on the far shore where someone had been teaching traditional Indian skills. Through the woods behind the teepee the bubbling brook below a waterfall coming from 6,000-foot peaks was picturesque and had a good swimming hole. We had the nice Canadian sailboat couple over for pre-dinner refreshments.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002 – 48 nautical miles to anchor at Thunder Bay for a good swim in warm water.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002 – on to anchor in Garden Bay in busy Pender Harbor. Picked a couple of gallons of blackberries. Moved to a dock after deciding that I needed to fly home for a business meeting in San Francisco. Luckily we got the last dock space as the harbor filled up due to gale force winds in the Strait of Georgia outside of the harbor. A professional fishing boat capsized killing five of seven family members aboard.

Thursday-Saturday, August 15-17, 2002 – caught a 7 a.m. floatplane to Vancouver for connection to SF. Gay met a local lady on her morning walk and became fast friends. When I returned on Saturday they had us to their bayside home.

Sunday, August 16, 2002 – 41 nautical miles to Snug Harbor on Bowen Is. We marveled at the Northern Lights that filled the sky with beams of light. Perhaps this phenomenon has been occurring every night but up to now we have been going to bed as soon as it gets dark at about 10:00 p.m. Now as we travel farther south and as it is later in the season it gets dark earlier.

Monday-Friday, August 17-24, 2002 – Coal Harbor, downtown Vancouver. Enjoyed all that this world-class city has to offer. Lunch at Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, biked around Stanley Park, saw a three-week old white Beluga whale nursing its mother at the aquarium, great restaurants, changed oil and refueled, saw our old Bristol 38.8 sailboat Wild Duck and owners, Jeff and Beth Hoffman.

Saturday, August 24, 2002 – anchored at Dog Fish Bay behind Kendrick Is., took the dinghy to Silva Bay. Offshore 58 Aurora was out of the water getting a bent prop repaired after hitting a log. Spent the afternoon cleaning shrimp given to us by local shrimpers whose catch was less that the 1500 pounds needed to make a trip to town worthwhile.

Sunday, August 25, 2002 – our last anchorage of the cruise – at Glenthorne Passage, Prevost Is. where we spent two delightful rainy days back in June. Four wonderful months of cruising were coming to an end without a single boat or system malfunction

Monday, August 26, 2002 – after retrieving our dinghy for the last time, the davit motor went out with two feet of cable left to rewind. Gay broke the toilet seat hinge by standing on the toilet to close a porthole. The toilet overflowed after clearing U.S. Customs while awaiting a berth assignment at Roche Harbor. The Vacu-Flush pump wouldn’t shut off. One of the bilge pump float switches shorted out.

Tuesday-Saturday, August 27-31, 2002 – FedEx delivered a new davit motor and toilet seat hinge. All systems operational except for my cell phone, that eventually gave up after a seawater dunking. Enjoyed a mini-Offshore Rendezvous with other Offshore yacht owners and Chris Murray salesman extraordinaire from Offshore West-Newport Beach. With great skill and finesse Chris, Bill Bates and I customized and installed cockpit scupper flaps (hereafter known as the Harris flap) to keep most of the ocean on the outside of the boat on the voyage down the coast.

From the Log of Safari – Part 8 – The conclusion of a successful voyage

Sunday, September 01, 2002 – 6 a.m. departure for the 800 nautical mile transit to San Francisco with Bill Bates (Offshore 48 owner), Chris Murray (Offshore West salesman extraordinaire), Gay and Wyman aboard. Fog in Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rounded Cape Flattery at 2:19 took a left turn down the coast. Light wind, patchy fog, and 4 to 6 foot ground swells.

Monday, September 2, 2002 – Smooth seas, light wind, 3-5 foot swells. Refueled at Newport, Oregon.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002 – More of the same, met two whales heading north and paralleled a pod of six blue whales headed south. Pacific bottlenose dolphins welcomed us to California by playing in our bow wake for about an hour. Their favorite game was to swim under our bow in a group of four until a buddy came racing in from starboard to join the formation while knocking the port dolphin out of action. I tried to reach down from the bow sprit to see if they would jump up to give my hand a kiss but they would just swim on their sides with one eye out of the water to get a better look. When I hung my feet overboard they quickly departed apparently offended by the soles of my feet. Later, off Cape Mendocino, afternoon tea and brie on the fly bridge was interrupted as winds built to gale force (35 to 40 knots) and the seas piled up to 15 feet with large breaking waves. Even with the engines throttled back we surfed down the waves at over 15 knots. We changed course and headed toward the beach 20 miles away to gain some relief. Within two hours the wind eased but the seas remained lumpy and confused for the rest of the trip. Throughout this period of excitement the stabilizers and autopilot held the boat on a steady course. The only casualty was the wireless mouse that took flight and landed lifeless outside the forward stateroom. In addition to paper charts, a backup mouse with tail was pressed into service and the IBM laptop and Raytheon plotter were brought on-line to make sure that we didn’t get lost as darkness fell and we headed into a fog bank near shore.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002 – our schedule of two-hour watches served us well as the crew awoke well rested to a sunrise with clear skies, a normal 15-20 knot breeze and five to seven foot seas. It’s a warm and sunny day as we round Point Reyes and head for the Golden Gate.

For the record, we covered 2721 nautical miles (1600 during the two ocean passages and 1121 in cruising mode). We overnighted in 70 different spots, every one worth a repeat visit – 52 nights in 45 different anchorages, 49 nights at 19 different docks or marinas and six nights at sea. We flew home for two weeks in June and I made two other two-day business trips.

Gay says, “Big seas, big thrills, fantastic boat. And I love my crewmembers.”

Bill Bates remarks, “The graciousness of Gay and Wyman, an excellent boat, a mostly cooperative crew and generally fair weather made for an outstanding safari.”

Awakening from a long morning nap, Chris Murray comments, “Good ship, good trip, great sleep.”

Wyman quips, “This four-month cruise aboard Safari has been a dream come true. I wish we could have shared it with everyone we know.”