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Featured

ADVENTURES

ALASKA: 2015 LEG 6 – FURY COVE TO PORT MCNEIL

We left Fury Cove early today, before sunrise, to take advantage of the uncommonly good weather. Gentle long period swell caressed the hull as the smell of coffee and frying bacon filled the cabin and the sun began to brilliantly light up the peaks and clouds to the east.

George Vancouver, who extensively explored this region in the late 1700’s gave cape caution its name after his ship Discovery was nearly destroyed on the jagged storm swept coastline in the vicinity. The rocks here are menacing, and even in today’s mild condition they present an aggressive visage. The trees on the windward slopes are utterly disfigured by the harsh winds and the cliffs have a surly sort of air about them.  The bacon is done and the eggs are about to go into the pan when a small cabin cruiser just south of Dugout Rocks reports that it is in distress, with its dead batteries, unable to start their motor. Deception is the closest boat to them, and responds, the rest of the fleet continuing on slowly towards more protected water. Within minutes we launch our dinghy, and the first mate Rowan motored over to the disabled vessel with our portable jump starter. The engine fails to start, and as the swell pushes us inexorably closer to the rocks, we take the small boat under tow. We motor slowly south to the protected lee side of Table Island, where they put down their anchor. A Good Samaritan offers them a tow north to their intended destination Bella Bella, and we leave them to tinker on their motor while they wait. The sun beats down and we remark that they could not have picked a luckier day to break down in treacherous waters.

As we finish cooking breakfast a pair of Sea Otters feast on crab off our port side and humpback whales feed in the swirling waters around Iron Rocks. Egg Island passes to starboard, It is the isolated home of a weather station and lighthouse with a dark history. Ravaged by constant bitter storms, the seas off Egg Island have repeatedly destroyed the station and claimed the lives of three lighthouse keepers, two who drowned while fishing off the rocks, and another who was driven to suicide by the bitter conditions. Today however, the picturesque light tower gleams in the sun, belying its grim history.

The swell drops away as we approach Vancouver Island, and by the time we pass through the Storm Islands and make for Bolivar Passage it is flat calm. Eldean swings wide to the west and encounters a small group of orcas outside Port Hardy, and even from several miles away the crew of deception can see the huge dorsal fin of the male knifing through the water’s surface.

The marina in Port McNeil is very nice, and Steve Jackman, the hard working manager has saved us spots. We take on fuel, an easy task here because the fuel lines reach every slip in the marina, and then set off to stretch our legs in the warm afternoon air. The sunset is stunning and lasts for hours as the sun sinks over the north end of the island.

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