We cracked 800 miles on this cruise – so far.
Casual start due to timing for tide rapids to be run later in the day. We moved Merva to the fuel dock and filled the starboard tank (to 100%) and added a bit to the port tank (to 75%).
We had not decided exactly where we would drop anchor at the end of the day but we did note some options. The focus was running through the rapids in the Okisollo Channel.
We took turns on the helm as usual. Lukas was on helm as we entered Johnson Straight. I was in my birth reading another wooden boat magazine. The ride seemed to be getting rougher but I decided to ignore this until a large wave came over the bow and water started to come into my birth through the gaps water finds around such things as the skylight. This was a first! I went up to the helm and noticed that the waves were quite significant but that Lukas was handling them well.
We rounded a few corners and passed some islands and soon (1hr) the seas calmed down a bit.
I had the helm into Okisollo Channel and determined we were plenty early for slack and that the rapids were running about the fastest these go – 9 knots. So we drift fished for a couple of hours. Plenty of fish in the water (according to the sonar) but no fish in the boat. I scanned the charts and found plenty of ship wrecks marked along the shoreline in the area leading to and through the rapids. Hmmm. We still had 1-2 hours to wait but I was growing impatient. I noted that the flow was down to 7.5 knots and decreasing so I moved Merva in for a look.
It became apparent that the turbulence was ripping off the shore on either side but that the centre was ‘calm’… so we went for it. I put Matt on the helm while I scouted with the binoculars.
Kayakers were playing in the waves to starboard, significant whirlpools just to port and another 2 boats came out of a bay to join us for the crossing. In all; the whole run was ‘smooth’ down the middle slot. We set a new speed record for Merva of 13.2 knots SOG! We would normally do 6+ knots at our cruising RPM of 1800 so we had a push of about 7 knots just as the tide information suggested.
I took the helm for the last bit as there was a rock in a narrow gap between two islands we had to navigate but it turned out to be less current there and no issue. We decided to anchor in Hjorth Bay. Matt took us the rest of the way.
A little drama in the anchoring. The wind was howling into the bay. The anchoring area (best protection) was small and smack in the middle of it was a fixed mooring buoy of suspect condition. I had the guys toss a rope over the buoy where the rope simply went around the buoy and back to the boat. In this way we could easily draw the rope back to the boat. Merva was being blown hard and there was a lot of tension on the rope/mooring buoy – but it held. I decided that we could not rely on the mooring buoy so I then had the guys run the anchor out using the tender as back up. We skipped the stern tie as we were a bit far from the shore. We had steak on the BBQ in short order.. mash potato and veggies rounded it out.
The weather (WX on VHF) was not sounding great so I considered having the guys run a second anchor out but as dark came upon us the wind veered away and eventually dropped off.
All went to sleep and slept quite well. The plan was to sleep in and cruise the next afternoon.
Calm seas and a full moon at daylight the next morning.