British Columbia The Broughtons

Crease Island

Wednesday, July 11, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

Crease Island, The Broughtons

Our goal is to reach Port McNeill, a small logging town that lies off Johnstone Strait on Vancouver Island, to refuel and provision before we move north.  We’d hoped to take advantage of the most direct route – up the strait itself – but have no confidence that we can make the 30 nautical mile trip before the winds are too strong, so we decided to take the inside route and left Port Harvey yesterday morning to time slack at Chatham Channel (a narrow passage lined with kelp where the currents can run up to five knots).  We then motored down Knight Inlet and into Broughtons Marine Park where we dropped the anchor off Crease Island just as the afternoon winds were filling in. 

It blew all day but died out some time after sunset and we woke up to flat seas and fog which stuck around until two o’clock.  Once it lifted, I launched my kayak and paddled around the anchorage and the surrounding islets.  There wasn’t any marine life to speak of, not even a seal, but I did manage to send a pair of Kingfishers off in a panic.  David took to the kayak shortly after me and spent some time lounging in a cove where he had a “come to Jesus” meeting with himself.  He wasn’t the only one.  I had a similar conversation with myself and we’d both come to the same conclusion: we’ve been too relaxed and it’s time for a mental gear change.

The forecast for the area is difficult and has us both questioning our options.  There’s a strong wind warning in effect and they’re predicting winds up to 40 knots in Johnstone Strait on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (possibly weakening by Monday).  The forecast for Queen Charlotte Strait, which we also have to cross, isn’t much better and making any progress over the next week won’t be easy. 

But on summer mornings Johnstone and Queen Charlotte Straits can be surprisingly calm.  By late morning, a sea breeze typically develops which regularly increases to 20 or 30 knots before dying out once again in the evening.  Learning to work your way around these patterns is key.  We don’t doubt the forecast – surely we’ll see 40 knots over the next few days –but we should be able to make Port McNeill tomorrow and cross Queen Charlotte Strait Friday morning before things get really ugly. 

We were sitting on the deck after dinner talking about this when an old-timer who looked like he walked straight off the set of the movie Deliverance came by the boat in an old wooden skiff.  He’d noticed that we have a dog aboard, a fact that requires us (and by us I really mean me) to go shore, and wanted to warn us about all of the strange happenings on Crease Island.  His speech was difficult to understand due to a lack of teeth but, from what we could make out, he was saying that he’d seen Sasquatches and a strange light on the island over the years.  He claims to have a photo that was published in a local paper to prove it but, of course, didn’t have it with him.  We were speechless and had absolutely no idea how to respond.  Between the "oh really"s and "that’s interesting"s, we politely made our excuses and went inside.  Fortunately, I’d already taken Sally to shore.

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