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Saturday, August 13, 2011

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August 13, 2011
Underway Hecate Strait
Position: 53°37.4N 131°07.7W @ 11AM

Todays 68 nautical mile run will take us West from Absalom Cove on Porcher Island to Skidegate Inlet, Graham Island (Northernmost of the Queen Charlotte Islands). The weather forecast is only so so for the crossing, but the next three days look considerably worse so we'll go with the less bad weather offered today. Low clouds and rain shuttered our snug tree lined anchorage as we downloaded the 4AM marine weather forecast for Hecate Strait. Hecate Strait is fairly shallow and is famous for dishing lots more wind than forecast.

Hecate Strait
Wind southeasterly 10 to 20 knots becoming 15 to 25 this afternoon... A few showers.

Now that were out into the mix I can personally attest that Hecate Strait can get pretty sloppy. We have breaking 4'-6' short period waves out of the SW combining with 2'-3' wind waves out of the SE. It's hard to get in the groove when the seas are thus confused. Winds are fairly steady out of the SE at 20 knots gusting to 25 plus. Started the day with full jib and main and as winds built our boat speed progressed to the 10+ knots, then around 11 knots I seriously started to think about slowing things down. With confused seas the motion was getting a little too vigorous and our margin of comfort was shrinking fast. Time to tie in a reef or two. We donned jackets and boots to brave the slatting rain and not too infrequent wind driven salt spray. About the time we headed out the door the knot meter showed 12.8 knots of boat speed. If not for the confused seas and the wind shifting forward of our beam it would have been nice to keep it rolling. Prudent mariners that we are, we dropped in two reefs throttling boat speeds down to mid 8's to low 10's. As I write we are about halfway across Hecate and making good time. It seems we've found our sea legs as despite the brisk motion of the boat I'm typing away at the helm. Kathy is bravely doing a P90X Plyometrics workout which is more than tough in these conditions and requires some pretty quick feet and cat like balance.

Looking forward to our visit to Gwaii Haanas National Park and exploring Haida culture past and present. To start we need to visit park headquarters pay about $20 pp/day and attend an hour long orientation prior to obtaining our park permit. We may opt for the annual pass so we don't feel rushed as we explore the wilds on our way South.

4PM update: We just arrived in the protected waters of Skidegate Inlet.

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