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Friday, 25 October 2013

The Inside Passage

No part of the of the 9000 nautical miles or so from London to Victoria is quite like any other. And so the last 500 miles, from Prince Rupert to southern British Columbia, are different again.

There are few weather worries; and if weather were to threaten there are a myriad of places to hide. With a few exceptions, the passage between high mountainous islands is deep from shore to shore such that the mariner must be inattentive indeed to collide with rock. Even the exceptions to this general rule are well marked and charted. In fact our principal worry has been the large [and therefore heavy and solid] floating logs washed down the steep slopes by mountain streams. A collision with one of these can [and does] cause serious damage to small vessels. It is this hazard, along with the greater complexity of coastal navigation compared with offshore, which discourages us from travelling at night and thus halves our average speed.

The feeling of sailing a passage on this coast reminds me of treks I made long ago in Nepal. Every day we rise before dawn and move until dusk; in Nepal it was a walking pace; here it is a medium jogging pace. There is a seemingly endless supply of miles such that, mid-trip, the start seems far into the past and the perception is that the voyage, made up of an endless succession of days, need never end. Aboard our boat life is simple - there is no money and no shopping - our only daily concern, among the trees and mountains, is to add more miles to our tally.

We have seen eagles and whales each day; towns only on some days. Even those were very small towns and we stopped at none of them. We prefer the ease and simplicity of anchoring in small tree-cocooned wilderness coves to rushing around rigging lines and fenders for docking. Having lots of fuel, water and food aboard, we need nothing.

In a way we move too fast but we have other things to do in Victoria. We are reminded daily that in our nine years of voyaging we have seen few cruising grounds as rich in beauty and possibilities as this one. ... we will be back this way soon to spend more time and to travel more slowly.

In a few days we have to move on to another part of our lives but there will be a twinge of disappointment when the lines are tied to the Victoria dock and Traversay III comes to rest.


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At 25/10/2013 20:31 (utc) our position was 51°12.86'N 127°50.42'W

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