<...back to Chapter 2>

<...back to main Journal index>

Barkley Soundings -Chapter 3-

Freya's Adventures, with B&B

July 22 – Hanging Out In Joe's Bay

The power-boat Bad Company is back, and it is well-named. Their generator is running, again.

Hummingbird at feederThe hummingbirds continue to arrive in droves (flocks?) for their free drinks. On returning from our 8-hour shore excursion, we found the level in the feeder down more than an inch from the wax flower. That confirms that these birds have very longtongues. Their buzzing makes it sound as though one is inside a beehive, and continued past sunset and my bedtime. Finally I grabbed a cloth and hung it over the feeder. For the next ten minutes we had about a dozen visits by puzzled hummingbirds, but they finally agreed to call it a night and retire to whatever sleeping arrangements they have.

Barb's Starfish CompositionWe had earlier heard from our buds on Antares that there is a neat sea-cave/arch on the NW side of Hankin I. It's about a mile away, across open water, which we should be able to do in half or ¾ an hour of motoring provided the waves aren't too big. Partway to Hankin we spotted our first deer of the trip, browsing the shoreline near a kayak campsite.

The trip to Hankin I was smooth – there was only a slight chop on the ocean. There are tons of sea life floating in and under the water, and attached to the rocks; this looks like a great place to go snorkeling or diving. Check out the extensive mussel beds!

Huge Mussels

We proceeded counterclockwise around the shoreline, which was peppered with crevices and indents and a quite steep slope leading up to a salal and tree-covered higher ground.

The promised arch was indeed quite attractive and, had the sun been shining, there would have been a stunning lighting beaming down through the trees into the passageway. Lacking the sun, we contented ourselves by sharing the reddish/yellow sunglasses which lent the appropriate illumination. These sunglasses also brightened up the orange starfish, of which there were many decorating the rock walls, to the point where they appeared luminescent.

The Cave That <Almost) Ate Our Dinghy
The Cave That (Almost) Ate Our Dinghy

The caves on the east side were sheltered from the unceasing Pacific swell, allowing us to practice our manoeuvring to avoid awash rocks and prop-tangling seaweed before entering the west side ones. Despite this experience, we ran into a potentially serious oh-oh situation in our eagerness to see the inside of one narrow sea-cave (see photo). It started quite wide which lulled us into approaching farther into the entrance. There was a deceivingly gentle up-and-down motion to the swell as it slowly swooshed in and out of the cave. After several minutes of taking pictures and ogling the many sea stars, anemones, and huge mussels, we concluded that it might be safe to scoot forward another few boat lengths.

Initially this was OK, and we held our position against the sucking of the sea by bracing against the barnacle-encrusted rock walls with the oars. However, nature prefers us not to get bored and complacent, and she did this by sending us a series of higher-than-usual swells. The first one shot us forward another couple of metres and then as it reversed and started washing us out, the current spun us sideways. Our dinghy is ~ 8 feet long, but there was only 7 feet width at this point in the cave. The dropping water left us suspended with the bow and stern jammed against the sharp mussels and barnacles on either side. Yikes!

The next swell lifted us free, but our spirits sank faster than an anchor as the current propelled us even farther forward into the narrowing shaft. Oh ship! Luckily this time we avoided turning sideways and jamming, but we remained in peril because we were still being shoved into shallower water and breaking waves. On the third large wave we finally were able to hold our position against the push of the current, and then retreat partway out on the ebb. We repeated this manoeuvre on the next couple of swells, until we were back in the more placid outside section. Whew! That could have ended badly had we been capsized by a swell while jammed sideways. Or our fragile inflatable dinghy could have been punctured by the sharp rocks and barnacles. Happily we escaped, this time.

Relaxing In Sun On Beach

We craved a more calming activity and spied a beach in the distance, on Lovett I and motored the ¾ mile over to enjoy granola bars, an apple, and dehydrated mango slices there. It was a pleasantly sheltered driftwood and rock beach and the sun even came out to warm the patches of sand. Barb amused herself by chasing after eagle photos, and I amused myself with a nap in the sun.

Leaving, I managed to step on a barnacle-infested boulder while leading the dinghy into deeper water. This scraped skin from one toe and sliced another one. Once underway I rinsed the injury by dragging my foot overboard and hoped that no sharks would smell the blood in the water.

July 23 – Flying From Joe's Bay

Peeper licking a finger

Our departure was delayed this morning, as we had to say goodbye to Peeper, who flew out to Freya sometime in the early dawn and then was unable or unwilling to leave. Each time one of the adult hummingbirds came to our feeder, Peeper would begin peeping plaintively. Occasionally an adult flying near where Peeper was perched would result in increased peeping and a wide open mouth, but we didn't observe any of the adults owning up to being responsible for the young one.

Peeper With A Great StareWe were initially not sure whether the baby was in distress, or merely unwilling to leave such a wonderful location, but he/she seemed very untroubled by our proximity so we tried holding a finger near his/her mouth with a drop of sugary water on it. Peeper happily licked the finger clean. Next we tried luring him/her closer to the feeder but even when Peeper had the wax flower directly in front he/she didn't seem to grasp the idea of poking a beak into the centre. This despite watching adult birds feeding continuously. Eventually we gave up trying to teach the fine art of flower-sucking (we could hardly model the desired behaviour), so we left Peeper alone while we prepared to get Freya underway. Meanwhile Peeper made occasional flying sorties away from the boat, only to return each time.

Peeper ProfileOnce the anchor was up and we were motoring slowly out the pass several concerted 'shoo' motions resulted in Peeper's permanent departure. We wish him/her luck in learning how to fetch his/her own food from flowers.

Our plan was appropriately flexible: get out from the islands and see whether the conditions suited a long or a short sail. Sun and wind were cooperating, so we hoisted all plain sail (main, genoa, and staysail) and moved along at 3 – 4 knots over calm seas. Most excellent!

EagleWe explored up to the head of Pipestem Inlet, an approximately 4 mile long narrow fjord. Several small waterfalls could be heard cascading down the steep slopes and we were able to approach the creek outlets to within a few metres due to the very sheer bottom that falls off to 40 metres deep quickly. Lots of eagles perched in the surrounding trees, not all of which had been logged – it looked like about 10% of the forest within sight of the Inlet had been harvested recently.

We motored against a small headwind back out to the start of the Inlet as there are no decent anchorages within. It took Barb & I about 20 minutes of slowly circling to locate a spot acceptable to both of us. The bottom contour seems deeper and more complex than indicated on the chart, but after some minutes of deep soundings and shallow tempers we eventually anchored in a reasonable 20 feet.

No sooner had we dropped the hook, covered the sails, and started preparations for Happy Hour, than we spy a sailboat heading our way. Turns out to be Night Sky (Neil and Peggy) whom we hail on the radio. Once they settled we brought over nachos, lime+mango salsa, sour cream, and ciders. The conversation quickly turned to our respective adventures; they had been circumnavigating the Island since the first week of June and enjoying it (though the weather had not been very warm nor dry).

We have not seen much bioluminescence in the water, but perhaps the little critters haven't had enough sun lately to recharge. The stars were brilliant in the clear sky and we reacquainted ourselves with friends like Vega, Deneb, Altair (all part of the asterism 'Summer Triangle') and Ruchbah (in Cassiopeia).

Address S/V Hoku Pa'a
1000 DeCosta Pl.
Victoria, BC
Canada  V9A 6Y3
    Track our current position     Send Hoku Pa'a a message         Go Back to Homepage

This page last updated 6 Jun 2020