Saturday, June 8, 2013

Troup Narrows to Kynoch Inlet -66nm

We are back in civilaization and an internet connection!

Another long day planned for our passage to Kynoch Inlet meant that we arose early. Getting up at 5am is not as bad as it sounds because it is getting light around 4.30am and the sun streams through the hatches above our heads for quite a gentle awakening. It beats an alarm clock for sure. The mornings are still very “fresh” with temperatures in single digits and some mornings close to freezing. Jude was very judicious, pardon the pun, and has bought us all hot water bottles so we climb into our bunks each night and have warm toes. We hope that as time passes the temperatures will climb although this could be offset by the increasing latitude we are achieving.   

Our early departure was thwarted a bit by dense fog. I turned on the radar but decided that given the large number of islands, shoal areas and rocks we should wait a bit and see if the fog lifted sure enough 45 minutes later the fog started to lift and a beautiful sunny day revealed itself.

The wind was not sufficient to sail so we motored down Return channel and into Seaforth and then decided to head north up Reid Passage rather than going around Rankin Point. Reid Passage is a narrow channel that is relatively easy to navigate. Once through Reid Passgage we went through Perceval Narrows which were flooding and carried us through with an extra 4 knots over ground. There were a few large whirlpools and overflows which we avoided. Once through the narrows we set course for the long trip up Mathieson Channel which at its north end runs along the eastern shore of Pooley Island, known apparently for Spirit Bears, a rare white bear which there are apparently only about 400-500 in existence. We followed the shoreline hoping to see one. We decided to call into James Bay to see if is a place worth a visit but it did not offer a good anchorage and still had scars from logging operations. We went to the head of the bay to see if we could see some bears. No luck but we did see hundreds of seals waiting at the mouth of the river. Presumably waiting for returning salmon?

Kynoch Inlet
Check out the the size of Sarita  - bottom right
We continued up Mathieson channel and just at the entrance of Kynoch Inlet on the Northern side was the wonderful Kynoch falls. We lingered and tried to get close to the falls and took pictures before heading to our destination at the head of Kynoch Inlet. Kynoch Inlet is described as one of the jewels of British Columbia and I believe lives up to its reputation. High sided granite walls rise vertically from the depths of this glacial fijord. It is always hard to convey the scale of such places, photographs don’t seem to be able to achieve it either. We decided to poke our nose into Desbrisay Bay, a short inlet on the north side of Kynoch Inlet. it was a worthwhile detour as the scenery was again magnificent.
Granite wall rising vertically 3500 feet
 Kynoch made me feel so insignificant and slightly nervous. It seems so remote with only one real anchorage along its 10 mile length. You feel truly alone almost in some other primeval world. Waterfalls from spring snow melt throw white water down the sides of these mountains along its entire length. We were all transfixed at the beauty of this place and believe that it deserves its reputation as a jewel of BC.

Kynoch falls

We approached the head of the inlet where it shoals rapidly to mud flats and sought out the anchorage for the night. We immediately spotted a large grizzly bear on the headland of the east shore, just by the entrance to Culpepper lagoon. We watched him for a while before he decided to retreat into the forest having winded us. We dropped the anchor in 70 feet of water on the northern side of the inlet, the best we could find and dropped the dinghy into the water to go an explore Culpepper lagoon. It is possible to enter Culpepper lagoon in Sarita at high tide slack but we decided against it for a number of reasons: firstly high tide was around 9:30pm, it would mean waiting for the next high tide slack to exit and it looked bloody frightening going through its narrow and uncharted entrance. We shot through in the dinghy whilst the tide was still rising and saw large whirlpools and overfalls. Once through the lagoon opened up and we explored. Two dolphins were in the lagoon and raced towards us and darted under our bow a few times before continuing their hunt for food. Are they waiting for the salmon as well? We exited the lagoon whilst it was still flooding in and made slow progress against the inbound current. In the evening we fished off the side off the boat and caught a few rock sole for supper. Kynoch Inlet is certainly a great place to visit.

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