<...back to Chapter 3>

<...back to main Journal index>

Barkley Soundings -Chapter 3-

Freya's Adventures, with B&B

24 Jul 2011 - A Tale of Two Waterfalls

Today dawned sunny and calm. We missed the dawn, but revel in the sun and lack of wind. We have high hopes of seeing some sights on land, so into the dinghy we hop, along with what feels like 50 lbs of gear (water, food, two cameras, binoculars, towels, soap, cougar sticks (that's what we call Barb's hiking sticks), sandals, Stealth and battery, oars, bailer, PFDs, empty jerry can). It's a short motor to the mouth of Cataract Creek (not sure if it was named by someone with poor vision, or whether there's a waterfall farther upstream). Neil and Peg tag along in their kayaks with the same destination in mind. Along the way we spy sprawling oyster beds and a rustic looking A-frame cabin. We tie up to a fallen tree poking over the water and balance our way ashore to explore. The cabin looks cozy, with pictures on the wall and a kitten painted on the door, and is in good enough repair that it likely still sees occasional use. Beside the cabin sits a steel bathtub in an overgrown yard with a rhododendron facing the water.

We beached the dinghy at Cataract Creek and tramped up a very slippery creek bed. The going was slow not only from slippery algae-covered rocks, but also because the water was flowing at a good clip. Neil and Peg decided the tramping was not for them so they turned about and headed off in their kayaks to paddle elsewhere. We stubbornly carried-on. Barb's cougar sticks and our sandals helped when fording the creek, though each time we stubbed our toes on the rocks we were wishing for closed footwear. A couple of times it appeared our progress would be faster if we took to the adjoining rainforest, but the open regions under the towering trees frequently gave way to impassable salal and salmonberry thickets, so we alternated between a water and land route. Don't know how the early explorers did it...

After almost an hour, yet likely only 300 metres of progress, we heard tumbling water. Ahead we glimpsed a waterfall, but it seemed impossible to get to by wading through the rapidly deepening creek bed. Some more bushwacking onto the higher ground, which included tight-roping across fallen forest giants, took us to the top of the falls. We thought them the most picturesque in the area (at least until later today, on trip #2). At the head of the falls the creek split into two and neither of the branches appeared reasonably passable so we returned to the pools at the base where we hopped in for a quick swim and bath. Grapefruit-scented soap seems to repel deerflies better than the smell of old sweat. While drying ourselves in the warming sun we watched water-skating bugs zip across the back eddies, and discovered that they enjoyed eating stunned deerflies that we swatted and tossed into the water.

Before leaving the creek we filled our jerry can with fresh water for later luxurious lukewarm showers. Barb spied an eagle feather that she tucked into her cap.

On our return we stopped by to say hi to Night Sky and the just-arrived Magic Lady (Bob) and Explorer (Bob and Brenda). Neil and Peg enthusiastically praised the scenery from their trip and kindly offered to lend us one of their kayaks so we could check out the same neat spot.

We downed a quick snack/lunch, then Barb and I set off across the bay and headed ½ mile up the tidal portion of Lucky Creek. We spied lots of eagles along the way, but the real reward at the head of the estuary was a broad cascading waterfall with deep pools. We hopped in for a swim in the clear fresh water (chilly though) and swung on the rope dangling from a cedar overhanging the larger of the many swimming holes.

After frolicking long enough to get clean we dried out on the sun-heated boulders. Eventually we had to leave for reasons of hunger and a rising tide that was threatening to cover our gear.

A post-dinner (for us) happy hour with cider aboard Night Sky rounded out the evening nicely. We had baked brownies while Bob from Magic Lady treated us to his delicious raspberry crumble.

25 Jul 2011 - To Nettle

Sunny day today!

Leaving, we tried to sail off the anchor (that's what sailors do to show off their boat-handling skills) but an inopportune gust started pushing us toward the nearby shore (that's what Mother Nature does to restore our humility). We quickly fired up the diesel and avoided the approaching pointy-bits. Once past the windshadow from the headland we zoomed up to 7.4 knots, close-reaching in winds up to 26 knots. Woohoo! Lots of whitecaps.

A half hour later we coasted into an anchorage near Nettle I. The rest of the afternoon was quite windy and cool, so we stayed below and read. A movie (How to Steal a Million) rounded out a good day.

July 26, 2011 - Exploding Boat Chores

We enjoyed a pretty good view of an eagle on shore eating a fish. Breakfast was more palatable for us – fresh muffins.

Nearby Reeks Island is similar to Hankin I in having sea caves and plenty of cracks and crevices in the steep rocky shoreline. The southern tip boasts a sea arch long enough to be called a tunnel.

Back at Freya we warmed up with some KD for lunch. Relaxation was followed by each of us tackling a boat chore, or should we say, the boat chores tackling us. In Bjarne's case, he replaced the bilge pump switch (yet again). The switch he got was different than the last one so naturally it did not fit on the old mounting, thus requiring new screw holes. Once mounted and working, he replaced the fresh water filter, which is in the same general area of the bilge. He then decided that the bilge needed cleaning. Finally, he cleaned up his mess, put his tools away and then came into the cockpit with a sigh and settled down to read. Little did he know, the afternoon was not to be so simple.

While Bjarne was puttering in the bilge, I had been taking apart and cleaning one of our winches. Interestingly, it had last been put together incorrectly, which seemed to be the cause of the slippage we noticed when we had had the Red Baron up. That problem was easily solved. However, a larger one lurked around the corner. It started with some trouble removing one of the clevis pins. It was held in place with a split pin that seemed bent in a suspicious manner. With Bjarne's help (disturbing his peaceful reading), we got the clevis pin out of the gear and straightened the split pin. I was a little concerned about why it got bent but figured the winch had essentially been working all along so I guessed it would be OK. I cleaned and greased things up and started to reassemble. However, after I put the barrel on just to mush the grease into the gears, I could not remove it. Those suspicious pins has turned out and were blocking the casing from coming off. I attempted to remove it but eventually gave up in frustration and near despair. The more patient and better trouble-shooter of Freya's complement took over. He tried various tools to spin the hidden pin back in place (I had started with a screw driver; we quickly progressed to zinc plated seizing wire, then stainless seizing wire, then onto a straightened hose clamp). We partly disassembled the matching winch to get a better idea of what we couldn't see. He fiddled, wiggled, jiggled, and pried for a good (or bad as the case may be) 45 minutes, to no avail. He then tried taking the whole winch off the coaming. That job meant divesting the cockpit locker of its contents, so Bjarne could access the nuts. Now we had a cockpit full of odds, ends and various tools and supplies. The nuts were removed but the winch was not budging, even when the other winch was used to help with the yanking. I guess we should be happy that the winch is securely attached. Sometime, probably about 2 hours after my first request for assistance, the casing came off. Sure enough the ^%^#$@&@@ little pin was bent again - obviously it had caused the problem. It had been replaced at some time with one longer than the original. The split pins were lopped off to a more appropriate length and set aside for later reassembly.

Are we done yet? Don't be silly. The cockpit locker apparently needs cleaning out since all the stuff is out. And while we're at it, look at how this scuba tank is corroding under the paint. Better scrape that bubbling paint off and clean the aluminium-whatever powder off it. Hmmm, now we have a mess of yellow paint chips and powder in the cockpit. Better clean that up too! Finally, the cockpit locker was reassembled, the second winch was back together, and I was able to resume the job I had started. From that point on, it was the straight-forward, easy job it was supposed to be.

Dinner (chili prepared by me while Bjarne was winch-wrestling) was late but much appreciated by all. The rum'n'coke really went down well! Dessert was a rice pudding (well, left over risengrød sans whipping cream) topped off with warmed cherry pie filling. This can was left over from the May 2010 trip when Bjarne made cherry cheesecake for my birthday. Definitely time to use it up.

July 27, 2011 - Almost Tropical, and Adrift

OK, here's why the hard times are worth it:

Morning mist cleared into a great sunny day. We left Nettle for Hand Island, arriving in time for a left-over chili lunch with fresh biscuits whipped up by BJ. We hopped into the dinghy, determined to find a beach. The first two beaches sighted were “infested” with campers and kayakers. We continued around Hand island and on the west side found a lovely beach out of the wind. We spent the afternoon on its tiny patch of soft warm sand reading, and in Bjarne's case napping. The sun baking us was a luxury that we have not had much of on this trip.

Back at Freya we used more of our Cataract Creek water to shower up. BJ had a brief swim first but I wasn't interested in the chilly 16 degrees water.

Since bread was being made anyway, and we had some leftover ingredients that were going to spoil, pizza seemed like the best option – that was after a happy hour snack of nachos because the salsa and sour cream also won't keep for too long. Yes, we eat well.

The evening became quite calm and we enjoyed the sun shining into the cockpit without the wind making us cold. Lovely. Aside from reading and looking around at the scenery, we were also following a reality radio program – that is, we were listening on the VHF to a plane (a US Navy P3) searching for a boat that had been reported in distress. Quite a lot of details unfolded over a half hour or so. A small powerboat had been reported out of gas and drifting. That report had come in from a relative of someone on board. The person ashore had been on a cellphone call with their relative before that person's cellphone died. Quite a lot of chatter ensued between the P3 and the Coast Guard as these details were relayed. One listener, who must have joined the episode partway through, tried to give the Coast Guard heck for chatting on channel 16: “this channel should be reserved for genuine emergencies, not for someone stupid enough to run out of gas.” The Coast Guard declined to be drawn into arguing with that wanker. We sided with the Coast Guard that this was indeed a genuine Pan-Pan situation, since night was falling, the boat in distress didn't have a radio (only a dead cell-phone), and there were 4 adults and 2 children aboard. Eventually just before dark the boat was spotted and a USCG vessel vectored to its location. It sounded like everyone was OK, so we even had a happy ending.

Just before midnight, we poked our heads out of the cabin - the night was stunning. Clear sky, no moon, with only a few nav aids and campers' lanterns, but no big city lighting to to dilute the grandeur of the stars. We soaked in the beauty for a bit before the chill in the air and the call of the berth sent us back inside.

July 28, 2011 - Move to Equis Beach

The day began with light winds and fog obscuring the more distant hills and blocking out the sun. It feels peaceful but cool and a little damp.

Just before lunch the fog began to lift. The sunshine inspired us and we headed off to Equis Beach (site of abandoned Sechart village) near the Pinkertons. Because it was a short trip we put up only the main and motor-sailed. On the way, we discovered that cherry pie filling and cream cheese work well together as topping for bread. Because the winds seem to pick up in the afternoon, we headed off on our exploration soon after anchoring. This area tended to be very shallow, with tidal flats and long shoal areas. Getting around in the dinghy was a little tricky since we couldn't resist seeing if we could push through these shallow channels full of sea grass. We ended up poling the dinghy, and at times getting out and walking it along. The water was beautifully clear and we spotted some type of ray fluttering away from our feet. Equis Beach has a history of being used for various purposes, including a whaling station and cannery. Our guide book suggested that one could see remnants of the previous human activities but we had limited success with this. Nonetheless, the beach walk was pleasurable.

July 29 2011 - Bears, Herons and Sharks, Oh My!

Bears! This morning a mom and two cubs were on the beach. Further down the strand there was another large black bear, perhaps the papa. While we had our most excellent breakfast of french toast (alas, no syrup, but brown sugar and butter works just fine), we kept an eye on the beach. Mom and cubs disappeared into the bush but later another adult bear appeared. We couldn't say for sure just who was who, but Bjarne thought Mama Bear may have joined Papa after putting the kids down for nap. After brekky we took the dinghy in toward the beach for a closer look, trying not to irritate our large friend. As Bjarne pointed out, bears can swim probably faster than our dinghy moves. BJ then spied another bear on a little islet so off we went. On the way a heron flew over, landing high atop a tree, creating a lovely silhouette against the overcast sky. So far, this is the only heron we've seen on this trip.

After taking care of the bear necessities, we hauled up Freya's anchor and made our way to the south side of Jaques Island motoring in the light winds. On the way we saw an attractive, even cute, powerboat, white with a nice red stripe. It was a Nordic Tug 33. If one was to go over to the sooty-side, that one might be worth considering.

There was no moss growing on us today. Soon after setting the hook we were into the dinghy, grabbing our left-over pizza on the way out. Our motivation for haste was again to do our exploring before the afternoon winds got too boisterous. Off we went to circumnavigate Dempster Island. We came upon a sheltered lagoon where, lo and behold, there was a small beach.

It was sunny and sheltered from the wind – a perfect spot for lunch. Two more eagle feathers for our collection – we have almost enough now to assemble our own eagle.

A beached log bearing an uncanny resemblance to the rare dogwood shark provided the clown in the crowd with some entertainment.

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