Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cleveland Passage to Sandborn canal 26.7nm

I checked the weather on the VHF when I woke up and they were forecasting 25knots from the north and 3ft seas increasing to 5ft seas with gusts of 40-45 out of the inlets. Although it was sunny it was not looking like a pretty day ahead. Our original plan was to try and make it up to no name cove at the entrance to Tracy arm. The wind in Cleveland passage where we were anchored was 10 knots with a light chop and it was only 9am. We decided to see what it was like so we raised the anchor and proceeded towards Stephens passage. As we proceeded down Cleveland passage the wind and waves steadily built 15, then twenty and then 25knots. We battled against the short waves and wind on our bow, 6 knots, 5 knots, 4 knots 3.5 knots. At this rate it would be 8pm before we would get there and we would have to deal with the 40knots winds from the inlets. About turn. We went back to Cleveland passage but it was now blowing 16-20 knots in there and likely to increase further. We need to implement plan B. Plan B was to reach the nearest protected anchorage but still involved going back into Stephens Passage. Or revised destination was Sandborn canal about 8 miles down port Houghton. So off we went, we battled the oncoming waves which had built. We raised a bit of sail to give us some power through the waves which worked nicely. Once we turned east into port Houghton we raised more sail killed the ending and had a lovely broad reach towards the canal. It’s amazing the difference. Although the seas were still 5-6ft and on our beam we had a great sail to the entrance of Sandborn Canal.

At Anchor Sandborn canal

Sandborn Canal

On entering we saw that we would be sharing the anchorage with a 52ft Nordhaven called Samba who were tucked into a bay on the west side of the canal. We continued down a bit wanting to give them space and dropped the hook in 50ft of water. The water was relatively calm but the winds were still gusting to 16 knots. We had a good set on the anchor but we were swinging a bit with the gusts.

The anchorage was long and about 1/3 mile wide and we could see potential bear territory on both sides of the anchorage although it would mean getting the dinghy out.
Later in the day the couple from the Nordhaven came past in their dinghy. They were off to explore the river at the head of the canal. They very kindly invited us to tea on their boat at 4pm which sounded great. Jude was pleased to learn that the lady was Russian! We mentioned that we were swinging a bit and they said that they would not mind if we moved closer to them which is more protected. So we did and the winds were much better.

We went to tea and meet Josh and Natasha on their wonderful Nordhaven. What a wonderful boat. The engine room alone was something to behold. Jude liked the fact that it had a washer and drier and Katya liked the expansive cabins. We sat and chatted and Josh very kindly imparted his experience of cruising in this area and advising the best anchorages and highlights. Naturally the Vodka had to come out as well. It was wonderful – that is the afternoon with them - as well as the vodka. We retired to back to our boat and watched the sun go down and fished.                  

The following day was spent by bear watching, reading, schoolwork and Jude preparing dinner for the return visit of our recently acquired acquaintances. We were looking forward to it.

The weather has continued to be amazing. Cold at night, getting down to near freezing but it quickly warms up to around 15-17 degress c. not quite short weather but not far off. Long may it last.

We had a wonderful evening chatting with Josh and Natasha, Josh played the guitar – he is great and Jude cooked a lovely salmon supper and we retired for a planned early start tomorrow. We hope to meet up with Josh and Natasha later on in our trip.

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