Sunday, May 1, 2011

Early Start for Seymour Narrows

Here we are in Campbell River, BC, ready for an early start tomorrow. High tide in the morning here is 0319 in the Canadian Tide and Current Tables. But you have to read the small print, because one tiny sentence on Page 5 says that you need to add one hour for Daylight Savings Time. I'm sure that thousands of people buy these tide tables and never find that out! Why on earth they don't print in the tide tables the actual time on the clocks here in Canada? We will set our alarm early since the plan is to leave on the tide and head the 7.2 miles North to infamous Seymour Narrows. Slack tomorrow is at 0506; it is essential to get one's timing right since by 0833 the current reaches 10.6 knots. Our plan is to pass through the narrows and travel a near 68 mile passage into the Broughton Archipelago, a veritable maze of islands between Vancouver Island and the Mainland, and the guardians of Queen Charlotte Strait. Weather tomorrow is 10 to 20 knots from the South East, essential for a transit of Johnstone Strait on an ebb tide - a North West against the ebbing tide makes for a choppy passage. Tomorrow is our weather window since the wind veers to the North West from Tuesday. And Campbell River doesn't quite have that charm that would deserve a longer visit (sorry CR! - although Dick's Fish and Chips is excellent).

Eagle and seals hitching a ride

Eagle at Campbell River

Our two weeks with the youngsters on board was superb. It was the first time that we had experienced six people on board and we discovered that there really was plenty of room. And plenty to do. Spring has been very uncertain this year here in BC so we opted for a circular cruise around the Strait of Georgia and it was a memorable itinerary. So many good times and great memories; can't wait for the follow up visit soon, especially since we now have a fully honed and drilled Last Mango team. Last week we spent a few days in Vancouver as guests of the RVYC (thankyou!) and enjoyed the top hospitality of the Crosbys (thankyou also!). Finally the weather looked promising so we headed up the Sunshine (!) Coast for an overnight at Secret Cove. We had been spotted there before by Nordhavn Dreamer Mike Pearce so we called him up and gave him the tour with a spin around the cove. Hope to see you around, Mike, maybe in the Gulf Islands later in the year, you never know.

When we approach Seymour Narrows we will remember Captain George Vancouver's words "one of the vilest stretches of water in the world". Ripple Rock (or "Old Rip") claimed 119 vessels and many lives in the period from 1875 to 1958. In the mid 1950's a team of 75 miners and drillers made a 570' shaft, a 2,500 passage under the sea, and two 300' ascending shafts into the twin canines of Old Rip itself. On 5 April 1958, after the largest non-nuclear explosion of the era, Old Rip was lowered from 9 feet under the surface of Seymour Narrows to 47 feet. Phew!

Last Mango is ready to go!

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