Sunday, 13 October 2013

The last offshore?

On leaving King Cove, the pleasant sheltered-water sail to the northeast was slightly marred by the need to find shelter from a coming storm. We wanted to be out-of-town so we chose uninhabited Coal Harbor. This small offshoot of Zachary Bay seemed, from our reading of the Coast Pilot book, to have the right combination of shelter and sticky mud bottom to keep us safe from Friday's weather.

Unlike many mountain-rimmed bays, Coal Harbor did not seem to promote gustiness and variability in wind direction [williwaws], but neither did it block out the wind. Friday afternoon, we decided to keep an anchor watch. That is as the night grew blacker we took turns watching chart plotter and radar to allow a rapid response if the anchor dragged and the boat started to move. Of course re-anchoring in a gale is not much fun - particularly with our damaged anchor windlass. It is better if the anchor does not move.

The wind peaked at 60 knots around ten o'clock Friday evening and then dropped to 30 knots or so by one AM. For the non-nautical reader, the wind reached 70 miles per hour or 115 km/hour! ... but the bottom WAS sticky and the anchor did not budge. The last time we saw winds close to this strength in an anchorage was at Caleta Martial near Cape Horn as we awaited favorable weather to cross to Antarctica. By two o'clock in the morning the wind had died away enough for us to feel secure. We canceled the anchor watch and used the rest of the night for sleeping.

Saturday morning, there were still gale warnings [as opposed to the more serious storm warnings] all along the coast. These were however from a favorable direction and, importantly, there seemed to be no storms or contrary winds predicted for the week or so it might take to get across the Gulf.

So we are now on our way toward the other side. As the week unfolds, time along with revised forecasts will reveal exactly where we are going: Sitka, Alaska, Prince Rupert, Canada or perhaps even north to Kodiak Island.

At 13/10/2013 23:48 (utc) our position was 55°10.00'N 155°24.91'W


  1. Go for it, Queen Charlotte or better Victoria Is. west coast. Only one boat made it is far this season coming from Russian NEP in hurricane conditions.

  2. Victor, it is easy for you to say "Go for it." sitting on the beach... But I really think this crew and sailboat are tired after so many miles of voyaging and wish them well in making homeport soonest for rest and good repairs.