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Featured

ADVENTURES

ALASKA: LEG 1 – PORT MCNEILL TO LAGOON COVE

May 14th, 2016 | By: Gregory Smart | Leg 1: Inside Passage

Our alarms went off early this morning. Very early. To beat the wind around fearsome Cape Caution we pulled our lines just after five A.M. and slipped out of the silent marina. It was all well worth it however to be greeted with an impressionist’s sunrise that looked like it could have slipped off of Monet’s palette dappling the eastern horizon with streaks of lavender and orange.

They sky brightened as we turned north and the sky stayed clear until we drew abreast of the Pultney Point Light and we plunged into a dense fogbank. Fog in these northern waters is a fact of life, and skippers use their radar a whole lot more than they use their sunglasses around here. With our Furuno whirling, Deception plunged into the gloom, with each of the Mother Goose boats following in turn, each just in sight of the stern of the boat ahead.

Fog has near magical qualities, seemingly magnifying and shrinking objects at will – great distances seem foreshortened, and a rock dangerously close off your bow can appear to be a half mile off. We are thankful we don’t have to navigate as the early explorers did – feeling ahead blindly with lead lines and hoping that the next rock they hit wouldn’t send them to the bottom ten thousand miles from home. We pass the time quite a bit more enjoyably than those that did that hard work long ago, and instead peer out from heated helms over mugs of coffee.

The weather forecast holds true, and the whole day we coast around the Cape on glassy seas on a smooth one-foot swell. Sea otters appear in great numbers from the mist and cavort and dive in the rocky waters around the many low windswept islands that litter this region. By early afternoon we rounded the worst of this exposed coastline with only occasional glimpses of the wave battered coastline far off the starboard.

Fury Cove lies on the southeastern tip of Penrose Island. It is a well-protected and popular anchorage which serves as a natural arrival or jumping-off point for anyone heading around the cape. On its western edge a broad bar of white shell hash studded with black basalt boulders provides an excellent setting for an evening bonfire. Nearly everyone came together to share in the warmth and good company of the fire, and to take part in a small land moving ceremony by Captain Brian to dispose of the fleets worn American flags and to remember those who have passed on in the last year.

Tomorrow will take us farther into the remote islands of the central coast of British Columbia, but for now we are happy to be safely anchored in a gorgeous cove on the edge of the world in the company of new friends.

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