May 31, 2022 Day 4: Port McNeill to Wigham Cove 180 miles. 533 total miles.
We needed to make an early start so we could do our big ocean crossing today, Queen Charlotte Sound. We left Port McNeill at 6:40 AM.
Most of the trip is pretty protected from the main ocean. It definitely can get choppy and bumpy, but we don’t really get the swells of the ocean. Crossing Queen Charlotte Sound is more open and we do get the swells. I had read some trip reports where people were held up for several days waiting for a good weather window to cross. Luckily for us we timed it just right. The whole way to Ketchikan we have had ideal weather conditions. I told Chris we planned our trip and hoped for good weather, but it feels more like we saw a good weather window and we went. Now that we are in Alaska we will slow it down and we will have more flexibility with waiting out weather, so I’m hoping coming home we’ll be as lucky.
I loved crossing Queen Charlotte Sound. I love the rolling of the swells. So soothing to me! Even though where we crossed was more exposed we were close to shore the whole way. We did have a lot of fog. (Sometimes the trade off is no wind, but lots of fog, and in this case I was happy about that.) We have good radar so it makes the fog less scary. We also spent a lot of time last year on the Washington Coast fishing and we got to experience a lot of fog there. It was nothing new, but if fog isn’t something you are familiar with, it can be pretty creepy. Due to the fog we couldn’t see out too far into the open waters, but it did add a layer of mystery to the rock islands near shore. We made it across with no incidents, and also with no marine mammal sightings either.
After we crossed, we had a choice to make. Do we take the straight shot to Bella Bella and get fuel there, or do we take a more scenic way and get fuel a little more out of the way at Dawson’s Landing? We decided this time to go more scenic. And it was so beautiful. I’ve heard the more north you go, the more majestic and grand things get. It’s not an exaggeration. We’ve spent a lot of time boating around the San Juan Islands in the PNW and one might wonder how different can it be? It’s different. Its grand, its majestic, it’s even more awe-inspiring than the San Juans.
Dawson’s Landing is a very remote place to get fuel. They also have a little general store. We didn’t all go in because they only let one person in at a time due to covid. Honestly, if someone were to get sick or hurt there, I don’t know exactly what they would do. Even though we didn’t go to the general store we did use their bathroom. This bathroom has a toilet and a sink, like a good bathroom should. But it’s built right on the dock. You can see through the planks to the water (and land) below. Lillian was not a fan, but I was! I think you can even rent little cottages there as well. I do think its the best view I’ve had from a gas station as well! Well worth the quick detour.
Since we got fuel there we were able to go on another detour to the Hakai Institute. The dock there was only for dinghies. We debated just docking there since our boat was barely bigger than some dinghies, but we decided to follow the rules and Chris dropped me and the kids off. While he was dropping us off another C-Dory owner came to say hi. I wish I had more time to visit with him and hear more about his travels, but we were busy unloading kids and keeping Ellen out of the water. Chris stayed with our boat and debated whether he should unload our dinghy and come join us. Due to time he decided to wait in the boat for us. There are rumored to be sandy beaches here and the kids and I were going to go find at least one of them. But Ellen really wanted to walk. There wasn’t room on the path for us to walk side by side. It was pretty dense forest on either side of the path and there were so many bugs, we called it quits. It’s a place that I think needs more time than we had anyway. We headed back to the dock to meet up with Chris and noticed there were little squids swimming in the water. There was also a lot of things growing on the side of the dock. It was more exciting than exploring tidal pools at low tide. We stayed a while looking at all the sea treasures, and then we were off.
While we were cruising along we noticed Ellen had a splinter in her hand. I think it was from all the knocking on the cool dock bathroom walls. Chris and I made a good team and pulled it right out. She did so good and held still for us to get it out. Injury number 3 for Ellen. (1-When I knocked her into a puddle before we left. 2-when she bonked her face on the boat. 3-sliver in her hand.)
We were hoping to make it to Klemtu for gas, but sadly we just ran out of time. Chris found this really incredible place for us to anchor called Wigham Cove. It was the first time we were completely alone on our trip. Before we left I had assumed that I would be nervous all alone in the middle of nowhere, but when it came down to it I loved it. We were hoping to see bears or a moose, but no such luck. We did hear a really loud noise that sounded like it could be from an animal, but we couldn’t figure out what it was. We all slept that night ready for another long day.
Ryan’s Thoughts: I hate Minecraft but everything else was OK. Otters and squid.
Lillian’s Thoughts: Today was fine I guess. We started going at 6:40 and we saw an otter. We went to pretty places but over all today was just OK. I guess we also saw pretty sea anemones and a star fish! My first time seeing squid…bugs…lots of bugs…sad…itchy…angry.