Johnstone Strait Sum It Up Sunday

Adventures in Johnstone Strait

Sunday, November 30, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

Port Neville general store.
This week brought a lot of changes – the biggest being that, after two months, we separated with Salubrious.  We’re going to miss them, but it was time.  They needed to go into Port McNeill for provisions and we simple didn’t have the heart to return to the place where we said good-bye to our Sally.  Not now.  Maybe not ever.  So we continued south with one thought on our minds – making miles.  And that’s exactly what we did.

Sunday morning started off slow as we motored down Queen Charlotte Strait in the fog and mist.  There were logs and kelp patches everywhere, and it was a challenge to avoid hitting the debris in the poor visibility – in fact, we may have nicked a log or two.  But things picked up by the afternoon and we went screaming down Blackfish sound at 9 to 9.5 knots.  Screaming is a relative term, though, because a little later we found ourselves motoring at a whopping 12.2 in Blackney Passage before hitting a wall and dropping down to 5.5.  We made it all the way down to Port Neville – 58 miles, not a bad day’s work – before the tide turned and we ran out of steam.  Currents are amazing things! 

A tug towing two apartment buildings or lodges down Johnstone Strait.

The forecast for Monday called for a ridge of high pressure to pass over Vancouver Island with gale-force northwest winds ahead of the front.  Johnstone Strait was looking at 20 knots increasing to 30 late in the morning.  It looked much better for Tuesday but, after a horrible night’s sleep, I really wanted to get out of Port Neville (never good reason to leave) so I deferred to David.  We decided to give it another day . . . and then changed our minds 30 minutes later. 

In hindsight, we should have waited.  We had a fantastic run down Johnstone Strait, reaching over 12 knots through Race Passage, but had our hands full with a spring tide, strong winds, rough seas, major currents and debris.  The weather was from behind us but, had we waited until Tuesday, we probably could have put a sail out and had a more relaxed ride down the strait.  But we were anxious to put the miles behind us, so we did.  And by early Monday evening, we were tucked inside the Discovery Islands at one of our favourite anchorages – Octopus Islands Marine Park


We spent four really nice nights anchored in Octopus Islands enjoying the sunshine and paddling around in the kayaks watching the raccoons feed at low tide and finally making a visit to the kayakers’ cabin where passing boats leave their mark behind, most in a very artistic way.  I hiked up to Newton Lake a couple of times for a quick swim while David stayed on the boat and tended to some maintenance (he doesn’t like to hike).  The water was really cold, but refreshing and I managed to have the lake to myself both times.  I also managed to put a hole in David’s kayak when I snagged it on a crusty rock.  We love the inflatables, but they definitely have their shortcomings!

David enjoying lounging in the sunshine at Octopus Islands Marine Park.

Watching the raccoons feed along the shore at Octopus Islands Marine Park.

David reading the guest book at the kayakers' cabin in Octopus Islands Marine Park.

Newton Lake on Quadra Island.

David lubricating the windex while at anchor in Octopus Islands Marine Park.

As much as we enjoyed our time in Octopus, we were running low on fresh provisions so we made the trip down to Rebecca Spit Marine Park on Friday.  And with nowhere to go and nothing to do, we dropped anchor, pulled out the Air Chair and called it a week. 

Rebecca Spit Marine Park

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