Thursday: Today is beginning sunny and warm. We leave at 0800 to time Race Pass so we go through at slack or a slight flood. Currents can run up to six knots and the wind promises to be from the northwest. This combination can result in lumpy seas during the ebb. Moreover, at ebb we would hardly make any headway and also have little or no control.
We arrived at Blind Channel Marina, a lovely spot with good facilities and tied up for the night. A group had happy hour on the upper deck of Raven Magic, while others hiked up to see the old-growth cedar, then some went for supper in the restaurant while others cooked on board.
We are expecting wind and weather tonight and the waves and wind are building already. The marina is open in the direction of the wind and waves and the halyards are already slapping, so we may be in for a rocking time tonight.
Friday: The night turned out to be quiet.
Today we are off to Big Bay Public Dock and the departure is to be mid-afternoon to ride the tide down Cordero Channel and arrive at the Gillard Rapids at slack.
The day proved to be rainy and grey, but people wandered around and entertained themselves until departure. The flotilla pulled out on schedule and motored down through the currents in Cordero Channel, arriving right at slack.
At slack, we all went through Gillard Passage without incident and tied up at Big Bay community dock. We then had a final barbecue and called it a day.
The slack in Yaculta Rapids tomorrow is at 0520 and we want to be there right on time as that opportunity is very short before the the whirlpools start up again as the current increases to as much as ten knots at flood.
The next slack tomorrow is noon, and most of our boats chose that departure, but that late departure puts arrival at Powell River into evening hours.
Saturday: Three boats traversed the Yaculta Rapids without incident and motored towards Powell River, encountering twenty-five knot winds and chop on the nose after leaving Calm Channel. Two persevered to Powell River and one decided to sit out the blow in Lund, along the way.
Intrepid is back at the dock in Powell River now and the other boats will be arriving as the day wears on. We have one last get-together tonight and that is it for the 2014 Cooper Dreamspeaker Broughtons Flotilla.
This was a record turnout with ten boats and thirty people participating.
Today, roll call was at 0730 and we all left the dock at eight as planned, then we motored as a group out of the harbour and around the west end of Malcolm Island. Destination: Claydon Bay.
After yesterday's gale, today's conditions were remarkably calm. We occasionally encountered winds of five to ten knots crossing Queen Charlotte Strait and Intrepid sailed all afternoon but most boats headed straight to Claydon Bay and anchored in a well-protected corner. A few of our group went to Sullivan Bay to enjoy the floating town and marina an extra day. The flotilla is loosely organised, with boats proceeding according to their own wishes, but keeping in touch by radio and planning in face to face meetings whenever we are in ports.
In spite of few small mechanical issues here and there, all boats are able to keep up. With this many people an boats travelling together, each is secure in the knowledge that we are being led by experienced explorers and supported by the considerable combined wisdom and experience of the other skippers and crews.
Tomorrow's destination is Sullivan Bay on North Broughton Island, a mere 4.2 nautical miles from our present anchorage. We are now halfway through our time and as far north and east as we will go. These days, we are enjoying the Broughtons region, but from here, each stop will be a little closer to our home base at Powell River.
We've finally officially arrived at The Broughtons, even though we are actually passing them to the south and spending the rest of the day and night at Port McNeill, just south of our target area. The plan is to fuel up, provision, and rest up tonight; then travel the 30+ sea miles to Turnbull Cove on the mainland north of the Broughton Islands tomorrow. From then on, we'll just do short daily trips from one bay or marina to the next and enjoy the area.
We all arrived at Port McNeill mid-afternoon and tied up at North Island Marina and went ashore. At 1700, we had a skippers meeting and the plans changed. The forecast is for winds up to 35 knots tomorrow, so that is a good reason to stay put and enjoy Port McNeill.
The decision now is to stay in Port McNeill a second day to wait out the gale, then cross to Claydon Bay which is a bit closer and better sheltered from the expected winds than Turbull Cove.