July 23, 2009
Away from Bella Bella we go, northward ever northward. When visiting new ports, they say you should stay long enough to make new friends and enjoy what it has to offer, but leave before it looses its charm. We came, we worked, we packed our cooler full of fish, we caught up on our sleep and a little "so you think you can dance".
Now, today, we are landlocked in a paradisiacal prison! After a beautiful sail in 15 kts of wind and blue skies we have come to a hard to reach cove nestled between two treacherous passages. Higgens passage bears a scar, a little blue paint on one of the rocks that encumber that narrow channel.
The tide rises (floods) and lowers (ebbs). In some places the range the tide ebbs and floods is smaller or larger. The tide is controlled by the gravity of the moon and the moons stage controls how high the tide will flow. Where we are, and because of the new moon last night, we are going to experience what is called a spring tide, which means the tidal range is going to be very large. The passage we have come through is only passable at the highest of tides. We timed our entrance for low slack (the change between ebb and flood) water because in these channels the currents are so strong entering the channel that we could not even motor against it when the tide is running. You'd think by now I would know that when the depth sounder reads 0.0, that's not going to be good! When that is the reading, you just clench your teeth and wait for the sound of grinding as your keel comes to rest on something its not supposed to. We had to wait an hour for the tide to rise enough to get us off and the current to push us into deep water. The crux still lays ahead, even shallower water. The tide was so low this morning that I walked the path we have to get our boat through this afternoon. But the moon and the tide are with us today. There is going to be a 17 foot tidal flux today, meaning that where I walked on dry ground today should be under about 14-16 feet of water in a few hours, then we will attempt to get our boat out of this land locked lagoon.
This trip of ours has not been all fun and sunshine. Like I have said before, living on a sailboat is not convenient. Its small and cramped, there is no place to store what you want and everything is a compromise. I cant stretch out in bed and its even worse in the intermittent shower! Everything you own must be packed in so that it can take earthquake force shaking for hours or days at a time. You live with diesel engine in your living room and have a storage tank for your feces that is under your couch! Which today is the cause of my wrinkled brow. What is that smell and where is it coming from? Instead of enjoying this beautiful lagoon we have pulled everything out from under the sink in the head (bathroom) and have been scrubbing the bilge looking for what I fear may be a leak in the worst place on earth! I would rather have a hole in the bottom of the boat than have to deal with raw sewage again. My one consolation is that at least is my shit and not the last owners crap that I have to deal with this time!
And finally, we are supposed to be out to sea, why are there so many dam horse flies?
The test is done, the passage made. The depth sounder barely fell below 8 feet, it may as well have been a mile. We are now nestled in a cozy corner with 40 feet of water with a mud bottom, good holding ground for our hook. While I was walking the dry passage this morning, my face down, boots up to the max in mud and fingers wrestling a wriggling beastie, I was surprised to hear a voice say "there is a man over there". I looked up to find another dingy filled with two people and a dog. The usual pleasantries exchanged and conversation on how to cross this bar ensued. I asked if they liked halibut and told them of our abundance of fish and rapidly decreasing supply of ice. Her eyes perked up and she merrily replied: do you like pork chops? Four whopping marinated spicy Thai chops, a bag of ice and a dinner invitation seems like a fair exchange to me! While halibut is a pleasant fish, 3 days in a row and the threat of 4 more looming over me before that fish is consumed can takes its toll on ones appetite. While Hyo has a good supply of spices, I think a more general diversity will be appreciated. As they say: "diversity is the spice of life".