Day 9 - Port McNeill to Fury Cove

Airship Goes to Alaska - Day  9

We left Port McNeill this morning at 5am (that means the alarm went off at 4am!)


We had a 60 mile day and our first exposure to open ocean as we exited Queen Charlotte Strait and crossed Cape Caution (about a mile offshore). The prediction originally was for 1.4 metre waves with an 11 second period, but during our first hour or so that changed to 1.6 metre waves (5.2 feet) with a period of 6 seconds (then 5). The general “rule” is that you don’t want the period to be smaller than the waves are tall…and this was, um, THAT. It certainly was not as comfortable as an 11 second period would have been, but we didn't think it was too terrible. The boat handled it well, and we were never nervous. We knew we could duck into Port Hardy for the night, or anchor out at the Walker Group if it was too rough.


Mark led us through the Walker Group so he could show us the (beautiful) anchorage there (in case we need it on our return trip).



We rounded Cape Caution and now we’ve had our first open ocean experience in our boat. Not bad, not bad. 

Fury Cove -- our anchorage for the night:


Our new view:


A couple sailboats were anchored in Fury Cove when we arrived. They’d been here for two days, and told us they’d seen a mama grizzly bear and two cubs on the beach both days, so we’ve been keeping an eye out for them. 

Some of us met on the beach at 4pm to do a little exploring. (Don't worry, we made lots of noise and carried bear spray.)


The beach is called Clam Beach and is covered with white clam shell:



There’s a shack built just up some stairs from the beach (which is odd, because I think this is marine park property).


Hey look…an eco roof!


Kevin and I had taken our kayak and paddled over to the beach, so after our wanderings we kayaked around the cove a bit more. Here’s Margaret saddling up her dinghy. I love Margaret! (She said that Mark, even with his back to camera, is still pretending not to know her.) :)


Airship anchored (Thelonius in the background):


Opposite direction back out into Fitz Hugh Sound:


Fury Cove, kayak, and Xtratufs:



Next stop: Ocean Falls!

Kayaking Echo Bay


This morning we left Fossil Bay and headed around the corner to Echo Bay for a change of scenery. We grabbed a mooring ball, made brunch, and then inflated our new Sea Eagle kayak for a test paddle. It's fantastic! We paddled 2.5 miles around the bay:




I love getting up close to these alien landscapes out here:



It's so nice to have a kayak again! This one inflates and deflates really fast, and we were 25 minutes from unhooking it from the top deck to fully inflated, outfitted, and in the water ready to go. Not bad for our first time with it. (And that's with the manual foot pump...just wait 'til we get the electric pump out here!)


And brunch was delicious! A bed of wilted spinach, then fresh crab meat, two poached eggs, topped with hollandaise sauce (awwww, no chives), served with a side of leftover roasted potatoes from last night's dinner, and some greek yogurt with blueberries and raspberries. Super yum, and good fuel for the paddle.


It's still pretty choppy in here, so we might head around to the back side of the island to Shallow Bay, and then get in a nice afternoon hike. 

We Kayaked with Manatees

This morning over at Curry Hammock State Park we got up early so we could rent a tandem kayak for a couple hours before we headed out (and before our West Coast office was awake).

We paddled out to the sandbar (about 1/4 mile from shore):


And around Little Crawl Key and through the mangrove tunnel:


..and then out and around Deer Key. We saw some spotted eagle rays (very cool...couldn't get a proper photo but here's the one from Wikipedia:


So then, we headed back over toward where we'd first seen the stingrays, and came upon about a dozen manatees hanging out near where we first put our kayaks in. We paddled around with them for about an hour and it was AMAZING. They'd come up for a breath every minute or two, and the water was really only about 4-5 feet deep so we could see them very well the whole time. They're so cool and gentle and we imagined them down there going "Hey! OMG! There's one of those yellow things, and it's just RIGHT there next to us! How cool!!!" because that's what we kept saying about them.

Here are some of the many photos I took with my iPhone:







This one's my favorite. Look at that sweet face! :)


This is a nice shot of this guys' huge paddle-like tail:



It was one of the coolest things ever. They were probably around 8-9 feet long and who knows how big around (big!!) 

Here's a little iPhone video, too: