Otter Cove

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 6 Jun 2015 06:24
Position: 50 19.43 N 125 27.05 W
At anchor Otter Cove
Wind: west, F2 light breeze
Weather: partly cloudy, mild
Day's run: 48 nm

At last, today we enjoyed a great sail. Despite not getting under way until eleven o'clock (there was no point leaving any earlier as the current would have been strong against us), we covered forty eight miles in nine hours, an average speed of a bit over five knots, with only a couple of short stints of motoring when the winds were light and we were negotiating some rapids.

On departing Boat Bay we had a fair breeze but a foul tide, however we were approaching slack water so the stream was weak and would soon be in our favour, and I wanted to make the most of the fair wind and the tide when it did turn fair. The challenge for the day was negotiating Race Passage and Ripple Shoal, where the tidal stream reaches seven knots. I wasn't sure when we would arrive, or even whether we would get there in time to transit it before the tide turned, but I had a few anchorages planned on either side of the rapids for whatever eventuated.

As it turned out, the wind remained favourable for most of the day, though the winding channels and shifting winds kept me on my toes. I had to gybe eight times during the day and I have no idea how many times I had the jib pole up and down. The current also turned out pretty much in accord with the predictions, so that with the fresh fair wind we found ourselves in amongst the rapids right on the maximum flood, somewhat earlier than I had anticipated. Fortunately the turbulence wasn't too bad and we only got a few splashes on deck as we passed through them.

Once through the rapids it was another ten miles to the nearest anchorage, Otter Cove. The tide continued in our favour and the fresh breeze held such that we rounded Chatham Point, the northern headland to Otter Cove, at a little before eight. Regrettably, just at this point a minor mishap occurred which detracted from a near perfect day. As I went to lower the mainsail the main halyard jammed in the rope clutch due to some chafe that had developed over the last few days. I had not realised that it had deteriorated so quickly and unfortunately the only way I could get the mainsail down was by cutting the halyard. Once the mainsail had come clattering down we negotiated the rocks and islets that lie at the mouth of the cove and made our way to its head to find a suitable depth to anchor, but as we approached my preferred location I spotted a number of deadheads that were sticking out of the water pretty close by . (Deadheads are trees that are partly waterlogged with one end stuck in the bottom and the other floating at or near the water's surface.) This threw me a little but I soon found a spot that seemed clear, and just to be safe I attached a buoy and tripping line to the anchor in case it fouled a submerged deadhead or other obstruction on the bottom.

The next challenge in our path are the rapids in Seymour Narrows, which lie twelve miles to the south of here. According to the pilot the tidal stream can reach a speed of sixteen knots, something I do not wish to experience, so timing will be very important. My tables tell me that slack water for tomorrow is at 08.30, 14.30 and 21.30. The 14.30 slack water is no good as the current will be going the wrong way prior to it. Having studied the chart and pondered the advice in the pilot I think I will stay at anchor tomorrow, repair the main halyard, and aim for slack water on Sunday morning, which will be at 9.20. This will give me plenty of time to make sure I have everything squared away.

Now it is time to get some sleep.

All is well.