Friday, August 30, 2013

5th July. Toledo Harbor to gut Bay. 36 Miles.

Another sunny day. We watched deer scamper along the beach whilst eating breakfast. Now that we are safely away from the Eagles of Sitka I decided that it was time to replace the wind vane at the top of the mast. I was kindly winched to the top of the mast by Steve and Ben. I don’t know why but the mast always looks taller from the top of the mast than it does on deck.
We prepared for departure and raised the anchor only to find that it was attached to a very large amount of kelp and a very large amount of rope, which turned out to be about 600 feet halibut line with 54 hooks evenly spaced along its length. We kept the line onboard so that no future boats would encounter it.

Chatham Strait from the top of the mast inside Toledo

Steve and Ben removing halibut hooks

As we navigated the very narrow entrance of the harbor Jude, on the bow, let out a long high pitched scream. I thought there was a rock so quickly put the boat in reverse. It turned out to be a whale right on the entrance. We exited and sat and watched it for a while before heading north to Gut Bay.

The sails were raised and we were streaking along in the unpredicted westerly winds. Ben and Steve sat on deck removing the 54 halibut hooks from the line, Ben hoping to exchange them with some fisherman for some beer??

Deep Cove
We stopped off to have a look at deep cove dropping a prawn trap near the entrance on our way to its head. Deeps cove has a lovely waterfall at its head fringed by grasslands. We dropped the hook on a questionable bottom, stayed for lunch but decided that we would press on to Gut bay for a better anchorage overnight. It was a beautiful place, wish we had stayed longer. We picked up the prawn trap before heading out. It only yielded three prawns, not bad given it was only in for a few hours.
We entered Gut Bay and made our way down the south side of the inlet to have a look at the entrance to Mikey’s Basin. The entrance to this very secluded anchorage is only 30ft wide and shallow. We, well I, was prepared to give it a go but Ben kindly decided to paddle through in the kayak to check its depth. Ben waved to show that he could stand his paddle up in the center. We could wait for a couple of hours for the tide to rise but we decided to give it a miss and find an anchorage site at the head of the inlet.    
Prawn trap equipment

The cruising guide mentioned that the charts were inaccurate in this bay which was confirmed by the disparity between charted depths and depths showing on our instruments. At the head of the bay it was shown to shoal to around 50 feet where we could find an suitable place to drop an anchor. We crept forward past the charted depth of 50ft but still in 200 ft. We continued, very slowly, now apparently on the grass according to the chart, still 100 feet. We eventually found a spot, checked it for swing room depths and dropped the hook near the river mouth. High granite walls surrounded us and the scenery lived up to the cruising guide’s description.
I could spot a very light coloured patch in the water about 200feet from the boat, probably a rock which I would have to keep an eye on to make sure we don’t swing on to it.

We sat down to a lovely chicken stew that Jude cooked up. People played cards, Ben played his guitar and Amber and Katya created more artistic wonders.
I awoke in the night to check on the anchor and make sure we were not drifting to that uncharted rock. It was 2 am and pitch black. I could however see some lights at the river mouth. I looked through the binoculars and saw that it was the skiff belonging to the large motor yacht Valkerie  dropping gill nets across the river mouth. Not sure if it legal??

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