Adventure Cruising on the Coast of BC

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          The early part of this summer was remarkable in a couple of ways.  First, it essentially didn’t rain for close to 3 months.  Second, the sunshine and heat translated into a prolonged period of strong north-westerly winds.  Really strong winds, all right on the nose.  In fact, when we could sail and make distance, it was with two reefs in the main and the genny partially furled.  Even being conservative, we still got beat up a couple of times.  Luckily, we had good luck on the more notorious passages, transiting Johnstone Strait on a couple of fortuitous calm and cloudy days, and rounding Cape Caution on a beautiful moderate wind day.  Still, as we made our way north, it was hard not to get spooked by the endless prognostications from fellow sailors about the beating we were going to get trying to cross Hecate Strait, along with the wildly overblown predictions of 40kt gales along our route put forward daily by Environment Canada.

An end to another amazing day on the way north. Gung Ho Bay, Banks Island, July 9.

By the time we arrived at Banks Island, our planned departure point, I was really quite nervous about the whole deal.  And there was that scheduling commitment.


Arrival in Haida Gwaii. 9 pm, July 10. Still 3 hours to the anchorage.

The vicinity of southern Banks Island is remote.  Even though we arrived there in plenty of time to wait for a weather window, the monotony of the weather report for the 3 months previous easily lulled me into wondering if the forecast would ever moderate into something reasonable.  If it didn’t, how would I let my dad know that we wouldn’t be at the airport to meet him?  The closest town was 2 days away – how would we communicate?  What would he do if he got off the plane in the thriving metropolis of Sandspit (pop. approx 500), and found that we were AWOL?  Would he freak out and assume the worst, relax and get a motel room (was there even one for him to get?), or would he buy a return ticket and leave?  Any option was sure to induce undue worry and stress.   As a result, I thought about the possible outcomes of not making our commitment for way too much of our time on the magical North Coast.  Amazing places, but too much worry.  Bummer.
And then, finally, a change to rain.  The long awaited transition back to the regular north coast weather meant that we had the flattest, most boring motor across Hecate Strait that you could imagine.  We arrived 4 days early, and I finally relaxed and started my vacation.  The irony is that in spite of the crazy dry summer that Vancouver experienced, Lori and I had our wettest year ever.   After that shift in the weather, the long stretches of sunshine we usually enjoy in the summer never re-established themselves in our locale.  We still had good weather, but way more rain than normal, even as we made our way south in August.
In summary: whoever said you should never commit to meeting someone at a given location on a given day was right.  Good to know.