Phil and Trish Wright on Jabulani and Tom and Jane Surles on relax met in Amsterdam, NY on the Erie Canal in July 2017. There had been a lot of rain and parts of the canal were closed due to high water, swift currents and debris. The following photos were taken along the way to Ess-Kay Yards in Brewerton. Phil and Trish will be hauling out and doing some land cruising in the US and in Europe. Tom and Jane will continue on to the Rideau Canal and Ottawa.
Jabulani (lower right) and relax (left edge) in Canajoharie
Southbound Camanos at Dismal Swamp Welcome Center in N.C.
Onward to Alaska, 2013
May 31, 2013: With Linda Fulginiti & Dave Stone of Jasper, OR., and two dogs aboard Bucket List
Two and a half years ago, when Linda told me that she wanted to go to Alaska by boat, my first reaction was "this crazy sweetheart of mine is having a kooky moment."
Before long however, I realized that she was serious and, always a boating lover, I quickly agreed and we started researching – a project that never ended up until yesterday when we finally shoved off and headed North.
When I told my haircutter that we were going to Alaska by boat, she simply asked "Did you get directions from someone?" Yes and no, I guess; two years of planning (and reading everything relevant that I could get my hands on) gave me "direction", though I've come to realize that weather and the seas will determine many of our turns.
Planning a 2,500 mile eight week trip through some of the most remote and wild waters on the planet was a bit daunting, but much our knowledge was gained bit by bit; over two years and 140+ days and 6,000+ miles of cruising and exploring in the Salish Sea and along British Columbia's intricate and wild shores. The balance of my planning was spent pouring over electronic charts and entering over 3,000 marks – mostly anchorages but also special or historical places, dangerous rapids, fuel stops, restaurants, good crabbing or shrimping spots, marinas & public docks, hiking trails, Indian ruins and interesting places that looked fun to visit. But now we are ready and finally heading North!
The first part of our trip – through the San Juan Islands of northwest US, the Canadian Gulf Islands, the Georgia Strait, over Ripple Rock and "down" the Johnstone Strait – are familiar and no longer intimidating. But 250 miles along our route lies the frequently gale-whipped Queen Charlotte Strait - and even more worrisome, 300 miles along is Cape Caution; a rocky windswept, reef-laden and remote part of the BC coast requiring an open-ocean crossing with seas often reaching 10-15'. I know I'll sleep better once we get around that and (hopefully) avoid a Gilligan's Island scenario!
But today, we confirmed that every adventure has a bit of mis-adventure mixed in. Guido was supposed to be on the bow watching for debris (there is lots of that in these tree-lined and river-fed waters) but alas he missed something… we hit that something and dinged our prop slightly! That's unusual because our prop is 3' down and protected by a keel but a piece of wood must have been lurking just beneath the surface. In Guido's defense, the water was a tad rough at the time, making seeing small debris all the harder. The captain was busy avoiding a collision with ferries heading in and out of the port of Nanaimo. No problem as we are still able to maintain 8 knots of speed and we'll get to the town of Comox late this afternoon where we have a diver ready to get under our boat and swap out the dented prop with our spare (Linda's good idea). Perfect, it turns out, as Comox is also the home of one of our favorite restaurants in BC (really – I didn't do any of this on purpose!). We'll then have the prop repaired and re-join us next week in Prince Rupert, another scheduled fuel stop along our path.
Eat your heart out Gilligan and onward to Alaska!!
Linda Fulginiti & David Stone plus two dogs head north aboard Bucket List
June 4, 2013: Around Caper Caution and North of Vancouver Island
With a new prop on the boat and light winds and seas, we forged ahead up the northern third of the Strait of Georgia against a strengthening current. Then, passing through the narrowing Discovery Channel, we passed the last large town for many miles -- Campbell Island – and pushed "uphill" against the 3 knot ebb current finishing its push into the Discovery Islands and northern most Salish Sea. We glided across Ripple Rock, timed nearly perfectly as the current came to a standstill at high tide – the most fearsome and respected rapids on the Inside Passage reduced to nearly (and merely) smooth water.
The tidal surge had completed its cyclic transport of immense volumes of water into all the channels and fiords now to the south of us (over 14 feet of water covering thousands of square miles), and – with the force of the moon's gravity – slowly began ebbing back towards the sea, over 120 miles NW of us. A powerful force of nature, the current was a speed boost "downhill" and north through the beautiful and immense (70 mile long and 1 to 2 mile wide) Johnstone Strait. We gladly rode this 2-3 knot "river" through this beautiful glacier-carved canyon until the late afternoon winds picked up and turned a peaceful stretch of water into a frothing and pounding wave pool we yearned to get out of! Mariners in this area know that a wind against current doubles or triples the size of the waves very quickly, and pushes the wave faces into steep sided menaces.
Luckily, there are numerous interwoven channels and fiords that empty into the Johnstone and we decide to escape into one of these. The scene almost immediately transformed itself into a calm, nearly idyllic picture of smooth water and steep, green, tree covered islands with wispy clouds clinging to the hills all around. We pushed on only a ways further before finding a beautiful cove with a sandy bottom, dropping a crab trap before dropping the anchor and calling it a day after 101 spectacular miles.
Retrieving the trap in the morning and seeing eight large Dungeness crab inside was thrilling – until we realized that they were all female and had to be tossed back into the sea! Easy come, easy go! Curving and meandering through channels and past island after island and rocky islets, we felt dwarfed by the wilderness surrounding us and lucky to be able to see it firsthand. Every turn brought a new view which unfolded slowly as we chugged unhurriedly along. We finally got just about to the Queen Charlotte Strait, but because the currents were still emptying (ebbing) into it, causing exaggerated seas, we dropped anchor in a secluded cove for a quick break and to get ready for some more rough riding. Queen Charlotte Strait runs NW for 50 miles, opening gradually wider until the open ocean is met at the northern most tip of Vancouver Island. And rough the "Queen" was; we went just a few miles, and when the closely packed waves built to over four feet (with so much salt water blowing back over us that the windshield wipers almost could not keep the windows clear enough to see), we decided that the last cove looked pretty good after all. The forecast also said diminishing winds and seas tomorrow so we settled in and slept knowing the Cape Caution was waiting for us just around the bend.
Understanding that the winds might again increase later in the day, and that the inlets just around Cape Caution would begin ebbing in the early afternoon, I headed out of our comfortable cove at 5:30 AM and into the Queen Charlotte Strait while Linda and the dogs slept soundly. And I was surprised, when the seas built first to 3-4' then to 6-8', that they all kept sleeping! The captain was piloting around reef after wave-swept reef, through huge debris fields of logs and sticks and bark and seaweed mixed together. And still they slept. Finally, woken by my constant changing of speed and direction – and the pounding the sea was now providing – they awoke as the sun came out and started to push the fog off the mountains along the headlands.
We passed Cape Caution and immediately I felt the stress of its threat lifted from my shoulders; months and months of worries had disappeared behind me and I was nearly overcome with satisfaction. Very quickly, we crossed the south end of the Fitz Hugh Sound and cruised back into calmer waters and into a nearby archipelago surrounding the Klaquaek Channel; a seemingly random collection of three large (2 square mile) islands with hundreds of smaller islands and islets, with meandering and confusing channels between them. Occasionally a view opened up and snow covered mountains peeked out at us in the distance. It was low tide so everything just above the waterline was rocky – with a barnacle and seaweed covering – and a dense evergreen tree canopy covered the rounded island hills, with cedar and hemlock branches draping down to the high tide level. As the wind died completely and reflections of sky and trees blended into one incredible picture, we realized that our real adventure was just beginning.
MIKE NEMETH AND CREW ABOARD AREYTO CRUISE THE 'CAROLINA LOOP,' AND MORE, IN MAY 2011
A Small (Camano) World
From Mary Jo Nagel,Recovery Room:
We completed the Champlain Triangle (small loop) from our home in Orange Park, FL (Jax area) this past summer (2007). We really enjoyed our cruise and realized what a small world it is. Our paths crossed with the Tuschicks while we in Albany and they were headed for New York as part of the PDQ convoy. Tom Clare "Sea Knight" greeted us as we reached the top of Erie Canal Lock 11 and invited us to join them overnight at the Lock 11 Yacht Club and share a movie with them. We visited with Fred and Lori Phelps, "Nomad" in Deltaville, on our last night on the Chesapeake Bay. We had borrowed navigation maps for the Hudson River and Canada from the Phelps and we were looking for them but we didn't have any kind of detailed itinerary for us or them. We also had conversations with other Camano owners that we saw at bridges or fuel docks. It's a very nice community!