Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, July 30, Hakai Pass to Port Hardy – Dead In The Water!

A lot has happened since my last update. Mostly good, but one major bad! Let’s start with the good… Tuesday morning, we made the short run into Bella Bella/Shearwater and took on fuel, water, got caught up on communications, had lunch, etc. By the time we got cruising again, it was 2:30. It seems like every time we stop at a marina, we burn so much time that could be spent exploring or fishing! We ran about 10 miles before we just couldn’t stand it anymore and just had to fish. Within 30 seconds we had a real nice Coho on board. We fished for about 45 minutes longer and landed another and threw a few Pinks back. We needed to keep cruising so that we could get to Fury Cove by dark as we wanted to make the big Charlotte Sound crossing on Wed. morning. But, nature called and an hour later, we were fishing again. We were catching Cohos left and right! We landed 4 more nice size fish in about an hour and half. We lost at least that many too. What a blast! But, once again, we knew we needed to keep cruising. Val had to pry the pole out of my hand and give me a “time out” in the captain’s chair. We promised the boys we’d stop at a beach and we were flat running out of day. We cruised for an hour or so and went into Hakai Pass and anchored in Pruth Bay. We decided that we couldn’t spend time on the beach and still make it to Fury Cove…it just would mean an earlier morning on Wednesday. That turned out to be a great decision. We walked across a narrow forest between our safe little cove to the wild west coast beach! It was so pretty there. The beach was sugar sand, the waves were crashing, the sun was warm, the driftwood was stacked high…it was just plain great! The boys and dogs were off running, laughing, playing in the waves. Within minutes, they braved the initial chill of the water and were body surfing. Tanner wasn’t to be left out. He doesn’t miss much adventure and this was no exception. He sucks the marrow out of every drop of life. He would roll end over end in the big waves and keep right up with the boys. Once again, we all laughed and laughed at him.

Lucky and Mom built a nice beach fire for when the boys got done swimming. I ran around with cameras in hand capturing all the fun. We watched the sun go down, while we roasted sausages, and talked and talked. They boys wanted to stay another couple of days and so did Mom and I, but we need to cross Queen Charlotte Sound and Straight and I wasn’t sure the weather was going to cooperate. Being we needed to be home by Saturday, I wanted to allow a day for holding up for weather. So, at 5:30 Wednesday morning, we were anchors up and heading back out of Hakai Pass with hopes of returning again someday.

We did OK making the crossing but the swells were kind of scary. It was dark, foggy, and we were taking them right on the starboard beam. Climbing them, we’d slow to a snail’s pace and then we’d go surfing down the other side. We were running in fog, dodging the blips. It was the most white knuckle crossing we’ve had so far, but it looked much worse than it actually was. We made it to Port Hardy a couple of hours later and saw lots of fishing boats working Duval Point. We simply couldn’t let that opportunity pass so we dropped our gear and put two nice Coho in the cooler and caught a half dozen Pinks, which we released. What great fun. I had a monster on the line, (no doubt a trophy King, haha) but it spit the hook, NUTZ!

Near noon, we landed in Port Hardy fueled the boat, ate lunch, and set sail again mid-afternoon. We were planning on doing some more fishing at Malcom Island and then heading to Pierre’s Bay for the evening. I mentioned to the family that there was a certain sound in the engine area that didn’t seem quite right. No one else thought they could tell any difference and thought I was just overly cautious and paranoid again. I inspected the engine room and the outdrive; everything looked fine so we started cruising again. Within a couple of moments we were dead in the water. The boat just quit. I suspected right away that the outdrive had blown. My heart leapt into my throat! Now what?

I ran to the back, threw open the engine room hatches…no leaks, thank God. I knew we’d be ok as we were within 9 miles of Port Hardy. My cell phone was getting a strong signal. A phone call to the folks at Island Marine Center yielded no good news. With a strong current and the wind, we were slow poking our way back to Port Hardy on the kicker engine, making a whopping 2.8 knots…ouch! We all thanked God for the nice weather, that we were close to town, and that we were safe. We also prayed that we’d have enough kicker fuel to make Port Hardy. It was a long, contemplative ride back to Port Hardy. I worked the phone along the way and got Volvo Penta and Islands Marine Center working on the problem. They were very accommodating and got on it right away.

We got back to Port Hardy around 7PM and were very glad to be tied to the dock, safe and sound. We all praised God that this happened when, where, and how it did happen. It could have happened in the big waves and the fog in Queen Charlotte Sound earlier…that would have been terrifying!

This morning, (Thursday) Ron from Islands Marine Center had a new drive on the airplane into Seattle, transferring to Port McNiel tomorrow morning. I’m glad to have a reputable dealer backing me. Ron speaks highly of Volvo Penta and the dealer in Port McNiel. I am optimistic that this will all be behind us tomorrow, Lord willing. Thankfully, this is still covered under the Volvo Penta warranty.

So, today, we’re paying bills, making calls, etc., Unfortunately, we’ll have to high tail it home from here with no more fishing! Nutz!

Well, send up a prayer of praise for us, if you would, and also ask the Lord to bless our repairs and that we’d make it home safely. Blessings to all of you. Thanks.