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Our motors rumbled to life just before 8 am today, our departure tied to high slack water. Just around the bend from our anchorage we entered the preposterously narrow Spitfire Channel, a twisting, rock strewn, and gorgeous cleft between Spitfire and Hunter Islands, in several spaces less than two boat widths wide. Despite our best efforts to raise their heartrates, the fleet’s skippers did a wonderful job and we emerged unscathed to pass through the myriad small islands which lie north of Hakai Passage, where again we rolled gently in the smooth slow swell of the pacific. Eagles wheeled high over the wave battered cliffs and stood perched on ragged rocks surrounded by swirling kelp.

Slipping in to the protected strait between Hecate and Calvert Islands we pass remote floating fishing lodges and anchored salmon boats in Pruth Bay. Mergansers and murrelets fished in Kwakshua channel, which runs west to east, opening into Fitzhugh Sound, a broad reach of water with a fierce reputation for wind and steep waves. Today however, our luck held and the swell was barely perceptible, lolling across the surface making our coffee mugs clink lazily in the cabinet.

Fury Cove on Penrose Island is one of the last good anchorages north of the infamous Cape Caution and Queen Charlotte Sound, and so it is often full of boats waiting for a good weather window to cross the unprotected barrier between north and south. Today it is no different, and sailboats, trawlers, and fishing boats lay at rest behind Fury Island. The sun breaks through the clouds as we secure our boats, and many of us set out to kayak or stroll on the extensive white beaches composed of crushed clamshells, almost certainly a human-created “midden” beach- the result of thousands of years of clam dinners.

Thousands of tiny crabs scoot between the rocks at low tide, and ravens quork in the tree tops. In the distance, a barred owl calls from its hidden perch. We light a bonfire on the beach in the waning day, and despite intermittent rain, we pass an enjoyable evening watching humpback whales spout out in the sound and roasting marshmallows.

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