Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Stop in Refuge Cove...and on to Big Bay

Some things don't change!
We jump across the channel to Refuge Cove and find the perfect place on the dock.  A tight fit, but a fit.  Yay!  Groceries, as in green things, mostly plants....even here!  And laundry!  Yay!  And electricity and water!  What more could you be looking for after three days of anchoring out?  We plug in, start charging everything we can think of to charge, check out the store, and start those washing machines going.

Pretty full shelves!  

Good thought
We decide to stay the night.  Did I mention internet?  Yes!  Even a great wifi connection.  Moorage here is .70 cents a foot, which is cheap.  Years back we paid .35 cents here.  So, not too bad considering it's 2013.

That night the fuel barge pays a visit.  It backs in with the help of a tug...and in... and in.. some more...right toward Kairos!  Here's the view.....and yes, it's still light at 10 p.m.

Big, big barge....slides in at 7 p.m. and stays all night off loading fuel
The next day we are off to Big Bay on Stuart Island, just past the Yacculta Rapids.  Our timing computations say we should leave at 11:30 to arrive at the rapids just before slack water at 3:38 p.m.

About to enter Calm Channel
Little channel at the end is entry to Yuccalta Rapids
We arrive early.  Drats!  Usually early is fine, even, good.  But early for slack water means the water is not slack...yet....still running with strong currents.  Captain and First Mate have a sorta long, sorta short of words...about when the currents will be "slack enough" for transit.  First Mate gets "one loop around" before entering....a much smaller loop than her definition of "LOOP"....but, a loop just the same.  Our chart track on iPad shows a neat circle before the channel.  The electronic charts show just 1.3k of current will be going with us, when we arrive at the rapids.  That's something that the hard copy book Ports and Passages can't just gives you a way to compute the time of no current.

We arrive at the Stuart Island Community Docks in Big Bay at 1500 hours or 3:00 p.m.  Yes, a little early and it is fine.  There are only six boats here on this night.

Stuart Is. Community Docks

Steve gets this shot: Lovely Evening 

We decide to stay here two days.  We have only been here for overnight stays on our way up to The Broughtons, which required early departures for the next two sets of rapids.  This year we will go no further north, so we decide to see what's here.  The wharfinger tells us that the hike to Eagle Lake is worth the trip.  The locals leave a skiff at the end of the trail and you are welcome to jump in and row out to the swimming dock at the other end of the lake.  By afternoon the next day it's hot enough that we are ready for it!

Off....and on...and on...and off...we go
The hike up the road is short, but then the path through the forest takes off to the right.  We almost miss it, but I look up just in time to see a small carved wooden sign.  This part of the trail is narrow, just a foot (and paw) type of trail, surrounded by intense green.  GREEN.  The trees are tall and barely let bright sun in...and they keep things cool.  Moss coats big old stumps and giant boulders as if it is fabric growing right out of wood and rock.  A few tidy bridges make walking across muddy parts of the trail easy.  Not much water running today in the creeks and streams that feed all this greenery.

Your skiff awaits madame!
More up hill, more turns and twists and just when I think, ok, this is far enough....the "maybe a mile or so" comes to an abrupt end with the sight of this skiff!  Just as promised a small boat is tied and waiting for the next visitor.  It almost seems too nice and I wonder for a moment if there is a mistake?  Right where the words "Property of" are written on the boat....the rest is erased.  I guess this is it!  

Lovely green, cool water

See the swimming raft?

Steve's impressionist photo of lilly pads and water
We all pile in the skiff and row out to the swim raft.  We watch another family depart.  They are towing their small child behind the row boat while he kicks away in his life jacket, mom swimming behind him, dad rowing.  Our dog children hope they are not to meet this fate.

 Once at the raft we tie up and crawl onto the platform.  Now for the business of watching and photographing....eagles!  There are eagles everywhere!  Soon bored with the little freedom granted...a 12X12 wooden platform surrounded by....water, we find Skipper and Sparky have jumped back in the boat, un-noticed by the photographers spotting and snapping perching and flying eagles.
Can we leave yet?
Sporting some white!
Show off!
There's another one!
What's that you say?
After enjoying the eagle show, Steve actually jumps in and swims a few laps around the raft.  Much excitement from the dogs about this.  I finally get in...YIPES!...and out...but truthfully, it did feel wonderful.  We dry quickly as it's a warm breeze and the sun is still hot, even at 5:30 p.m.  

The walk back, as so often the case, does not feel as far or as tiring.  Of course, I notice, it's all downhill.  And we are cool from our jump in the lake.  So today was explore by land, tomorrow by sea.  We will spend the hours around slack water, exploring Big Bay by dinghy.
A long dock adds to the "dog walk" each way
Another sunny day greets us on Tuesday....and we get ready for the dinghy exploration.  It lasts all of 30 seconds.  As we turn the engine up it spurts loudly and quits!  Steve re-plugs in the gas line and as he starts the engine, gas spews out everywhere.  Oh dear.  A quick inspection tells him the connector is bad.  A quick inspection by Nan tells her the tide is still running and we are swiftly being pulled away from the dock and out into the bay!  Row, row, row your boat, Nan!  And with inflatable dinghies...that's not easy!

No dinghy ride for us today....
This dock seaweed shows lots of current....even at almost slack water!
             Ahhh, a day for reading says Steve.  Yes, and editing photos, and writing in journals!  

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