Bella Coola to Miles Inlet

The Bella Coola harbour was the best we had seen this trip so far. A lot of money had clearly been spent to upgrade the pilings, floats, ramp, etc. However the fuel station is practically non existent… something I gather they are getting to soon. Even the BC Ferry terminal is being redone to accommodate a larger ferry. It would be nice if the break-water could be extended to better protect the outer edges and entrance.

I awoke early and this naturally lead to an early departure. We left around 04:30 with a plan to cruise all day to get to Fury Cove to be prepared for a weather window to cross Cape Caution. We headed south. We came in via Dean Channel so we took Burke Channel out. Effectively circling King Island. Matt and I took turns at the helm. Lukas awoke at 9:45 and was hungry. This made Matt and I happy as he was cooking breakfast/brunch (and doing cleanup) in payback for the lie-in. A fair trade by all concerned. Lukas turned up the diesel stove to max to get it warmed up for cooking but forgot to consider that it would eventually get too hot. The smoke alarm went off so I went to the kitchen to see how ‘things were going’. Lukas was preparing food on the counter and did not notice that the stove top was literally red hot and the empty frying pan was in danger if melting to it. We turned the stove off, opened a few windows, and cooled the pan off and all was good in short order. As usual Lukas made an awesome breakfast/brunch.

We passed a group of about 5 whales soon after we entered Fitz Hugh. We paused as usual but they were headed north so we did not linger for very long. We spotted seal lions a couple of times during the day.

The weather was gloomy but we were warm and dry inside the boat. It seemed a good day to be doing a long cruise.

I finished reading ‘Curve of Time’.

It was a long cruise but we eventually approached the open ocean and started deliberating on where to spend the night. Fury Cove or? I set the VHF to WX (weather on channel 2). All we heard was doom and gloom. Gails and severe wind warnings and so on. It seemed like the whole world around us was getting a hammering. But we had calm seas and fog? Was the storm coming our way? We decided to believe the reports about bad weather for the next two days and (more or less) ignore the bad weather warning we were getting for later today. We identified fall back locations (for safe harbour) and the conditions which we would seek them and then headed across. We knew we had limited time before dark and that the worse weather would be farther from Cape Caution (for a change) so decided to head for the first good safe moorage on the other side. Wagoneer gave us some comfort by their descriptions of Miles Inlet and Skull Cove. We headed there.

We were right about the weather. It was the expected swells (perhaps 1-2 metres) and not much else. It was minutes from full-on dark as we searched for the opening to Miles Inlet. We noticed that the tender was coming loose and the anchor assist had come loose. The latter was swinging about – mocking me for not tying that down better. Happy that they were fine during the worst seas but still no interest in sending anyone out to sort them. Merva was surfing down the waves and we wondered if we were going to ride surf straight into the skinney entrance of Miles Inlet. It was full on dark. Lukas on spot light, Matt behind me on my cell with Navionics and I on the helm with the Furuno chart plotter. We passed the rocks on either side and then, much to our relief, the swells faded away. Then we spotted the skinney entrance. Matt called out the channel widths and Lukas kept the spot light on. I switched from chart plotter to sonar and told everyone to let me know if they saw any sign of a fallen tree across the channel – it would be bad to have to back out of there!

We eventually entered the ‘T’ junction where there is more room and it was serene. We could not have asked for a better place to drop anchor this night. 18+ hours of solid cruising – everyone soon went to sleep.

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