Sucked through the Narrows -April Point Cove to-Field Bay - Day 8: June 9, 2022

I was up before dawn to catch the tide at Seymour Narrows.  When I say tide, I really mean current. I had woken up at 3:33 AM.  It was a little earlier than I had planned, but since I was aake, I decided to get up and get going.  Heather thought it was stupid and risky to leave when it was still dark.  But her comment fell on deaf ears, even though she was talking into my good ear.  Once I make up my mind we are going, we were going.   

As we crossed over the shallow bar at the entrance of Apple Point Cove, I looked at my watch.  It was 4:08 am.  Doesn’t everyone get going at O-Ddark-30 on their vacation? 

We headed for Seymour Narrows, which was 6 miles away.  I throttled the motor way back due to the low light visibility.  By going slow I had more time to react if I should see a log or some other obstruction in the water.  Even at this slow speed through the water we were still doing 8 knots over ground.  The current was sucking us toward the narrows in a big way.

Seymour narrows is a notorious cut were the current rips at time over 10 knots through the gap in the land masses on each side. If you look at map of Vancouver Island, Seymour Narrows is at the spot where Vancouver Island almost touches the mainland.  This pitch point has a lot of water volume flowing through the narrow gap as the water rises and falls, with each tidal change.

Right in the middle of the narrows is Ripple Rock.  Or should I say, what is left of Ripple rock.  In the old days Ripple Rock sent many of boats and mariners to a watery grave in the narrows.   In the 50’s or 60’s the rock was blown up, which permanently removed it as a navigational hazard.

By the time we approached the narrows it was getting light.  I throttled up the engine to normal cruising RPMs and headed for the narrows.  I wanted the extra boat speed to help the boat negotiate through the whirlpools at the narrows.  We entered the pinch point at about max flood.  Probably not the wisest idea, but I had been through here before at max current and knew it was should not be a problem for a boat of our size. 

I had plan to go on the northwest side of what is left of Ripple Rock.  But before I know it, the current sweep us right over top of what remains of the rock.  The rock caused lots of whirlpools, eddies, and up swelling of water, just like a boulder might do in a fast flowing river. 

The washing machine effect of the rapids threw the boat around.  I had to constantly make corrections on the helm to keep us from not getting spun around in one of the churning watery vortexes. The max speed I saw over ground was 12.5.  Might have been higher since my eyes were fixed on the swirling water in front of us, instead of looking at the chart plotter.  This speed might not sound like much, but it is twice as fast as I was going through the water. 

After we got through the narrow Heather said “That was anticlimactic”.  With that comment she headed down the companionway and went back to bed.  I piloted on.  I’m sure she still thought it was stupid to get up early, but I was enjoying the current pushing us in the direction we needed to go.  It is never easy to swim upstream.   If you don’t think so, just watch the salmon someday as they swim upstream to their spawning grounds. As they say “Go with the flow”.

It was just starting to rain.  I had gotten a Facebook post just last night from an old co-worker, Jack Wittenborn.  He had informed me the rain was coming. Sure enough just as we arrived at our day’s destination at 7:54 am the rain started coming down.

Before we headed into the anchorage, I wanted to put a shrimp pot down.  Of course that meant digging the pot out of our aft deck lockers in the rain.  I baited the pot with cat food, the white fish flavor variety.  I hope the shrimp like smelly fish flavored cat food. I motored over to a spot that was 250 feet deep and let the pot sink to the bottom. 

With the pot down, hopefully catching some taste critters, we headed into our anchorage. By the time we were anchored it was only 8:30 am in the morning.  It was now time for me to lay down and try to get a little shuteye.

By the time I woke up it was 10:30 am.  It was still raining. I hope it clears up later today.  I really want to do a little exploring and maybe some fishing later this afternoon.  For sure I’ll be checking the shrimp pot rain or shine.  But for now I’m happy in my bunk, writing this morning’s events in my journal.

As I write in the journal, I hear the anchor chain occasionally dragging across the rocky bottom.  Never a good thing to hear.  I check the chart program on the iPad.  I always marked the spot where the anchor goes down.  This way I can see if we are in the same spot, by just looking at it.  Sure enough we are in the same spot.  I’m sure hoping the wind doesn’t arise too much today.  Otherwise we might have to find a less exposed anchoring spot.   

It was a lazy rainy morning and afternoon in paradise.  I made some French bread dough.  I read, slept and looked into my voltage drop issue with the hydronic heater.  As for the voltage drop issue it doesn’t seem like it is happening in the extra 10 feet of wire I had added to the heater wiring harness.  Now I just need to check the voltage at the heater itself. Only problem is it is raining out and my heater is in an aft deck locker.  To check the voltage there I would get wet from the rain, so checking into the low voltage is not happening today.

It is now 6:19 pm.  I just got done rolling out my French bread dough to make chicken calzones for dinner.  It was a tag team effort between Heather and I to fill and prepare the calzone for baking.  I only used ½ the dough, so we have some more for something tomorrow.  We cooked them until they were golden brown. We then ate them with a little pasta salad on the side.  They were yummy.

Calzones for Dinner

After dinner I went out and pulled up the shrimp pot.  Had to put on my rain gear to do it. Once in the gear with fleece lined waterproof gloves it really wasn’t that bad out.   When I climbed in the dinghy, I found it 1/3 full of rainwater.  Out came the handpump for some arm exercises.

Getting my evening exercise

I pulled the pot with anxiety.  All I could think of all the shrimp dishes we could make with a pull of 75 or more shrimp, or prawns as they call them in British Columbia.  I found absolutely no shrimp in the pot.  What a disappointment!

Once back at the boat, it was time to get in my PJ and crawl into for bed.  It was only 8:36 pm.  Tomorrow will be another early morning to run up Johnstone strait with the current, and hopefully the wind will be at our back.