British Columbia Dean Channel

Cascade Inlet, Dean Channel

Tuesday, July 24, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

I was really disappointed that we weren’t able to get into the hot spring pool yesterday, so we went back this morning to give it another try.  The water had cooled down overnight and was warm, but not scalding, so we soaked until our fingers looked like prunes and our heads were light from the heat.  David, who is definitely not a morning person, kept saying it was the perfect way to start the day.  I had to agree – a hot bath being a real luxury for any sailor.    

We got back to the boat just as the flies were coming out, so we quickly got ready and upped anchor.  The thing about Cambria is that we carry a lot of anchor chain, so it doesn’t fit in the locker unless I’m at the bow flaking it with a boat hook as David brings it in from an electric windless remote in the cockpit.  Normally when we leave an anchorage, we’re focused and quiet until we clear any obstacles. If there are underwater rocks or shoals, I’ll stay on the bow to look for them and direct David with hand signals. But because we didn’t have a problem coming in yesterday and, according to the charts, the entry is clear, I went straight back to the cockpit to get away from the flies and we started chatting about how great the hot spring was and how annoying the horseflies were.  Before the alarm on the depth meter had a chance to go off, we were aground … again!  Unbelievable!  We go eight years without an incident and this year we have two within a month of each other!

Fortunately David was able to back out of it and, once in deeper water, re-anchored to take a look at the situation.  But I could already clearly see the problem.  Silt has been filling in from a stream fed by a waterfall located on the west side of the bay and a sandbar has formed so the depth is no longer 5.5 metres as charted, but less than 1.7 metres.  Had we favoured the eastern shore more (and had I not been so anxious to get away from the vicious flies), we would have been fine.  The tide was coming in so we decided to give it a half an hour and had lunch before we tried again, this time successfully.  With the delay, the boat was covered in horseflies once again, so David continued his killing spree – there were blood and guts everywhere!  But thankfully, most of the flies left us once we cleared the entrance to Eucott Bay.

Just off Dean Channel, a few miles south of Eucott Bay, lies Cascade Inlet, a narrow arm that runs 13 nautical miles and is lined with steep, snow-capped mountains, beautiful glacial valleys, and spectacular glacial bowls.  About every half-mile, there’s an impressive cascade or waterfall crashing down from the summer melts ... so many, in fact, that we lost count early on.  We slowly motored down the inlet – the absolute highlight of the season so far – while sitting on the deck and enjoying the view, the auto-helm keeping the boat on course.  When we reached the end, we reluctantly turned around and went back to Eucott Bay for the night, enjoying the view for a second time along the way.

I can honestly say without hesitation that it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, which prompted tonight’s conversation.  Since arriving in the Central Coast, I’ve been contemplating whether or not I ever want to leave the Pacific Northwest.  We have grand plans to cruise the east coast of the US and the Mediterranean, but how could they possibly compare to all this:  Remote anchorages.  Wilderness.  Fresh air.  Dramatic scenery.  If you’ve found everything you’re looking for, is there any reason to move on?  As it turns out, David’s been asking himself the same question.

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