Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alaska Trip 2011: Past the rapids and into the Broughtons

Day 3:  Past Yaculta & Dent, through Johnstone and to Lagoon Cove - 93 Miles

LaBelle at Sunrise with Desolation Sound in the background (click to make it full size)

The rapids around Stuart Island set the timing for today's adventure.  Slack water at Yaculta was 9:32am and Dent rapids went quiet at 8:52.  We were coming from the south and Yaculta comes up first and Dent is a mile later, we entered at 8:50am to find a comfortable average for both.  The plan worked great!

Slack water at Dent Rapids - near Big Bay, Stuart Island

Two hours later we were nearing Green Point rapids and it was gushing, we chose to turn and head past Blind Channel and go directly into Johnstone Strait.  Originally we planned to dock at Blind Channel and enjoy the day, the weather was great with no wind so we forged on to make more northerly progress.

Porpoise playing in Cinnamon Girls bow wake

Johnstone Strait is the piece of water that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland.  Most of Vancouver Island has large water around it with many islands, but for about 18-miles it narrows down to form Johnstone Strait.  The current can be very strong here, and when the current meets oncoming wind the waves can really stack up.  Normally I try to go with the current and wind (smoothest ride and great fuel efficiency), today we chose to go against the 2-4 knot current and a minimal wind (very smooth water and lousy efficiency) as this would get us north faster.  As the trip went on the wind built to 20-knots and it got a bit rougher.  Not wanting to put up with a rough ride and the opposing current I decided to play a hunch...that the south side between Kelsey Bay and Hickey Point (7-miles) would be somewhat more protected and may have some back eddies, this shore is sort of in the "lee" of the main flood current.  It worked!  The ride smoothed out and I picked up a full knot of boat speed.  I wanted to prove my theory and to do this needed to compare my ride with that of Sam & Diane aboard LaBelle.  I didn't tell them what I was up to and left them in middle.  Sam said it was rough and he may need new windshield wiper blades from all the spray.  Sorry Sam! 

Our track up the beach.  We stayed on the 20-fathom line, 75 yards offshore.  Smooth!

We finished the day moored at Lagoon Cove.  We put in three good days of travelling and have arrived in paradise.  The weather is beautiful.  Time to start playing!  Tonight we are enjoying a bottle of Rob Warner's Merlot.  Tomorrow is a short day, just 26-miles around the corner to Pierre's Echo Bay Resort.