Khutze Inlet

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 28 May 2015 06:27
Position: 53 05.33 N 128 31.06 W
At anchor Khutze Inlet
Wind: Calm.
Weather: mostly sunny, mild
Day's run: 66 nm

I awoke with the sun, but there was no wind so I rolled over for a while. At a little after six I heard the sound of a halyard slapping against the mast, a sure sign of a breeze, so I jumped out of my bunk, got dressed and immediately weighed anchor. The breeze was light but sufficient for us to sail out of the inlet without the aid of the motor. Once out into Douglas Channel the winds were initially light and fluky but after an hour it soon settled into a steady breeze, albeit a head wind. Taking back and forth, it took us until midday just to regain our track from yesterday off Promise Island, where we detoured in search of a safe anchorage for the night.

We had a couple of options as far as which way to take to continue south. The most popular is the inside passage through Princess Royal Channel. The other option was to head out towards Hecate Strait. My initial inclination was to take the latter route as the winds were likely to be more reliable, but as we approached the decision point in Wright Sound, the wind was fair for the inside passage, and the appeal of calm seas and a more scenic route won me over.

There were two options for anchoring for tonight. One was in a small bay off an abandoned village called Butedale. It has a large waterfall cascading into the bay which makes it a popular stop, but unfortunately the bay is exposed to the north and as we sailed past we did so with a moderate north westerly breeze making the anchorage untenable. Consequently I opted for the second anchorage, where we are now anchored, in Khutze Inlet. The cruising guide “Charlie's Charts”, recommended two spots, one off a shoal patch called Green Spit, and the second at the head of the bay near a waterfall. Looking at the chart the second anchorage looked very deep, so while the waterfall would have made for a nice background, I opted for Green Spit. Another advantage of Green Spit was that it was that much closer to the channel.

About five miles short of Khutze Inlet the wind abandoned us, and as it was by now getting quite late, and I wanted to get to anchor before dark, I started the engine and motored the rest of the way. At 20.30 I dropped anchor in nine meters of water but I was not very happy with our position. We were quite close to the shore and there was a log snag sticking out of the water about thirty meters from us. I was concerned that as we swung to the anchor we might touch bottom if we swung close to the shore, or foul the snag if we swung in its direction. I decided that running a line ashore at an oblique angle would obviate both problems so I put the dinghy in the water and soon had Sylph secured to a large fallen tree ashore. Back on board I took out the slack but then it became apparent that there was a major flaw to my plan, namely a strong ebb current was running and my shore line was holding Sylph athwart it creating a heavy load on the anchor and causing it to drag. This was clearly only making things worse, so I let go the shore line, weighed anchor and reset it a little further away from the snag. I was now not so concerned about swinging into shallow water because the tidal stream was running parallel to the shore line and I felt confident that it would prevent us swinging into shallow water.

With the anchor reset, I got back into the dinghy and went back to the fallen tree and recovered the shore line. That has now been stowed away, the anchor alarm set and Sylph secured for the night. I have looked at the plan for tomorrow and think we have some better options for anchoring tomorrow night. I suspect we will experience light winds this deep into the inside passage, especially as much of the channels are steep sided and quite narrow. Consequently it will likely be a day of mostly motoring. I hope the scenery will be worth it.

It is getting late and is time for some sleep. RC is well ahead of me.

All is well.