Desolation Sound

Frances Bay

Wednesday, July 06, 2011S.V. CAMBRIA

The infamous log boom in Frances Bay.

Today was d-day (departure, that is), so we went to shore this morning to say our good-byes.  We'll be back the first part of August, but it was still difficult to leave.   Even Sally seemed to know what's going on and didn't want to come back to the boat.

We were running low on water, so David prepped the water-maker before leaving and we slowly made our way down Cordero Channel (at 4 to 5 knots) and made water.  We transited Dent, Gillard and Yuculta Rapids and then looked at each what?  We hadn't picked a destination.   It was already getting late in the afternoon, so we chose one close to the rapids: Frances Bay.  We'd never anchored there before and decided it was a good opportunity to have a look.  It's not given a very good write up in any of the cruising guides so I didn't expect to see many boats, but there were already two there with five more arriving after us.

This is the point in the story where it gets interesting.  And if you've been following our blogs, you already know that interesting isn't always a good thing.  I didn't care for David's first choice in anchorages because the closest beach area for shoring Sally was too rocky, so I wanted to take a look at the head of the bay where the other boats were anchored.  He wasn't happy about it, but did it anyway.

When upping anchor in Shoal Bay, a few of the links of anchor chain had kinks in them.  David dropped it back in the water to straighten it out but, come to find out, this wasn't enough.  He started to let down the anchor from the cockpit while I was at the bow calling out the length.   And then it happened.  After putting out about 25 metres, the chain kinked up again and wouldn't budge – up or down –tripping the electric windlass.  He had to take our snubber (a line with a steel hook at the end designed to take the stress off the anchor chain and give it a little spring), slip it around a link, bring the line back to a winch and grind until he was able to get some slack in the chain in effort to get the kinks out.   Meanwhile, I'm at the helm trying to make sure we don't hit rocks, land, log booms or boats.  Fun times.  It took some doing (to the point of taking the cap off the windlass and loosening up the gypsy), but he freed the chain and started to bring it up.   And then it stopped again.  But this time it wasn't kinked.   We were hooked on something, so we changed places – me at the bow and him at the helm.  With the amount of abandoned logging equipment around, I assumed it was a cable on the seabed.  But it wasn't.  It was the chain leading up toa log boom.   I could feel it, while sitting at the bow, as we pulled it closer.  And that's when it happened.  Our first log hit.  The boom came crashing into the starboard side of the boat.  How we managed to untangle ourselves from it, we'll never know.  We were just lucky.   Even luckier because there was no damage.

So back to Frances Bay.  It's picturesque and beautiful, not unlike many of the anchorages in the area (if you can overlook the abandoned, rusted logging equipment on the west side of the bay in favour of the sheer granite cliffs on the east).  Among it's best assets, a hose is set up for showering or filling jerry cans on the beach at the head of the bay and a view into Raza Passage, most of which disappears.  But the bottom's rocky and the wind blew all night making the anchor chain grumble.  Sally and I slept like babies but, for David, it was a long night.

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