Saturday, September 21, 2013

A trip up to Princess Louisa

 Lindsay and I took Altair up to Princess Louisa Inlet last week.  After a summer of working in the wilderness of Alaska, I figured that a trip into Canada was in order.  Altair was lonely for me as well. 
My flight got in Saturday evening from Ketchikan, so Saturday was a night for sleeping and not much getting ready, and sunday wasn't long enough for us to get ready so we had to leave Monday.  I dove and scraped the bottom to give us some speed and we were ready.  The first night we spent on Patos Island, out past Sucia Island, in the San Juans.  There is a beautiful lighthouse on the point that we checked out in the setting sun, and then I climbed up to the roof and found a way in, so we got to check out the inside of the lighthouse as well.  It's neat, but not as pretty as the view from the top.  Mount Baker was throwing some pretty light our way, and the sun sank slowly over Canada. 

There were some other boats in the spot, so we visited as we made our way back to Altair.  I met a neat guy from Saturna Island, who was the master of this small boat in the picture...  He was an architect, and avid wanderer of the islands around here.  We had him over with the promise of macaroni and cheese, but discovered that my cooking pot has a small hole in the bottom, so is unworthy of creating mac and cheese.  Instead we made quesadillas.  I had lured Lindsay out on the trip with the promise that we would not eat quesadillas all the time, and we promised ourselves that we would change our diet once we had got a new cooking pot.  We would change our wayward ways. 
Sadly the mexican flair won out and our resolve did not.  Also I couldn't find a suitable pot to buy. 
 He had a pretty little boat, wide but fast, with the same style rig as I like, where the furler is out on a bowsprit and the smaller jib is kept in a bag in front. 
It was a really nice sunset with all the sandstone blooming in the light, and I got a few shots of Altair that I would like to share with you...

 Upon awakening the next morning, I poked my head up to look around and spied the black fins of Orcas!  they were inspecting the waters right off Patos island and as we pulled up the hook to follow them, they departed to go southwest down the channel.  Happily the winds were in our favor and we needed to go that direction anyways to get to Bedwell harbor to clear Customs into Canada, so we sailed alongside the Orcas for a few hours.

 A few times we got nice and close too.  I want to go to the aquarium in Vancouver now to see them more. 
 We crossed the border, then headed up to Nanaimo, and then crossed over the strait of Georgia towards Texada Island.  We stopped at South Thormanby island for a night and caught our last view of Mount Baker.

 While going up Jervis Inlet we saw helicopters doing high voltage power line maintenance.  The chopper comes and sits next to the line, then a guy taps the line with a lightning rod and brings the helicopter to the same voltage as the line and then clips a ground wire and steps out onto the wire.  He inspects or repairs or whatever and the helicopter can disconnect and fly off and then come back to get him later, or hover alongside.  

 The actual Princess Louisa Inlet is surrounded by towering hills, some of them covered in green, some bare granite.  Its deep and narrow, and breathtaking.  We spent two nights in, one anchored on a precarious ledge and the other at the dock at Chatterbox Falls.  Many people come to this dock and we met some good folks.

Coming back I caught a large Chinook Salmon, and we switched from quesadillas to a more northwest fare. 
 We stopped at Spencer Spit, on Lopez Island, for the last night of the trip, and walked around the lagoon there looking for birds and other pretty things in the setting sun.

 Now I am back in Bellingham and will have to figure out my life for the wintertime.  I am looking for a job still, hopefully driving boats around, and am trying to get Altair snug and set for the winter storms that are fast approaching. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Alaska Final

I am back in the Lower 48, and soon will return to my beloved and neglected Altair for a short trip up into Canada.  The summer was fantastic, and I hope to repeat it next year.  I made this video a while ago but have since modified it a bit and I think its better now.  Here it is:

I also made a slideshow of the crew of the boat.

This week was tinged with sadness because it was my last, but we had a fantastic whale bloom, where we were surrounded by hundreds of humpback whales one evening, as well as some fantastic sunsets and starry nights.  I will miss the boat and the crew, as well as Alaska.  Soon, I will be missing the sun, as it is working its way southbound.  And I have to figure out what to do for the wintertime.