Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sitting out a Storm

August 24, 2011

Yesterday a huge low pressure system was forecast to pass over Haida Gwaii bringing winds to 40 knots and heavy precipitation. Since the low was going to really begin unleashing her furry starting in the afternoon we decided to move South into the Gwaii Haanas National Park and attempt to visit Hotsprings Island beforehand. Winds were only 15 knots when we raised anchor at Thurston Cove, Talunkwan Island. By late morning winds began to build quickly with gusts to 30+ knots in driving rain. Heading South into Juan Perez Sound we knew we'd have to bail on the plan to Hotspings Island and seek a harbor of refuge. We tried out an unnamed bay with a raging waterfall at the head about a mile North of Kostan Inlet, Moresby Island, but found it a bit too shallow. Next we sailed into Kostan Inlet negotiating the dangerous rocks at the narrows in blinding rain. Once in Kostan we set the anchor as quickly as possible near the head of the inlet and found very good holding. However, the down drafts of wind from the high peaks that line the bay jostled the boat wildly as they whipped the waters into a torrent of high velocity spume. Not sure how powerful the down drafts were as our anemometer only measures wind blowing parallel to the waters surface and does poorly with wind pouring down from above. We found the down drafts to be disconcerting so we pulled anchor in the teeth of the storm, treaded our way back out of Kostan Inlet and motored into the howling wind about an hour further South to Haswell Bay, Moresby Island.

Straining to see anything through the blinding rain we approached the head of Haswell Bay, Moresby Island only to find another yacht in the preferred anchorage location. We eeked out a suitable spot not too close to the other Yacht s/v Georgia B and not too close to the rocky shore that lined the bay. Before we had the anchor set we got blasted by more down drafts and as darkness fell the blasts got stronger and stronger. Very disconcerting to be sitting in steady 20-30 knot winds and driving rain then get one of these super sized blasts of wind that tear the water to shreds sometimes shoving the boat deeper in the water, sometimes lifting the bows and always giving us a good spin. Yikes. The holding (suitability of the bottom of the seafloor to allow the anchor to set deeply and resist a strong pull) was excellent at the head of the bay, but still these downdraft winds were wild. It was a long night wondering if the anchor was still set after being rudely awakened time and time again as the boat shuddered under the blasts of wind.

Happily the low pressure has passed and the North Pacific High is reestablishing itself for a few days which give us the opportunity to sail South towards Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island lies about 180 nautical miles to the South East and with the forecast NW winds it should be a nice sail if not for the leftover seas from this last 998mB low pressure system.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

No comments:

Post a Comment