We departed Big Bay Marina on Stuart Island at 6:20am to catch the slack tide through Dent rapids. The approach to Dent rapids is flanked by two islands both of which were crowded with bald eagles, estimated at over 100 eagles were diving for fish in this rich water. It was quite a spectacle. The water was calm as we approached the rapids but soon became turbulent with large whirlpools that got my adrenalin going. We transited the rapids just 5 mins after slack and already the transit was a challenge. I would not have wanted to leave it a minute later.
Once on the other side of the rapids the channel expanded and the water was calm again. We were immediately joined by a pod of white sided dolphins playing in our bow wave. The dolphins then veered off to starboard and started to chase salmon which were leaping out of the water all around us. We quickly changed the lure on the rod and dropped a line in the water to try our luck.
We stopped at Mink Island to wait for the next slack water, dropped the anchor and caught up on some sleep. The rain has started and is promised to remain for the next few days.
Today’s destination is the Blind Channel Resort, reportedly to be a small but clean and friendly marina with a store, restaurant and good water to fill our tanks.
Katya and I went for a walk in the forest to see the large cedar tree which was 16 foot in diameter and 800 years old. The sign at the trail head warned of bears, wolves and cougars and reports form a local warned us that a recent visitor had his dog taken by a cougar whilst walking.
Jude and Sandy spent the afternoon doing the week’s worth of laundry. They seem to have commandeered the building and all of the machines. The laundry also seems to be the best place to meet people and get advice and recommendations on where to go next.
Roger cooked 1/3 of the ling cod that we caught the day before. There is so much there is should provide good sized meals for 18 people. Cooked with garlic and rice it was a welcome supper for us all.
Steve and Sandy are eager sailors and are great crew to have aboard. Leaping into action whether it be on a winch or on the dock to tie the boat up. Steve has been sharing the helm, even when it rained!
Luda, our dog has been amazing. She has a good routine and knows that she has to do her business as soon as we get a shore. We have had no mistakes yet. She also loves all the walks in the forest and meeting other people and dogs on the docks.
This morning we saw six or seven sea otters playing on the docks near our boat. They were very shy but inquisitive. Hiding under the docks but peeking out to see what was going on. They made the strangest noise which only Steve can impersonate. Perhaps a video demonstration later?
We are now awaiting our long passage up the Johnstone Strait, which is reported to have strong currents and high winds so passage planning is crucial. From here on in it becomes more remote with fewer towns and places to provision.