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Main Menu -> SALTS -> 2010 SALTS Summer Programme -> 2010 Trip 3 - Pacific Swift

2010 Trip 3 - Pacific Swift

Log of Pacific Swift

July 31st 2010 @ 19:30
49°57'3.96 N 124°46'48.00 W

Ship's Log:
Yesterday marked the beginning of the Swift´s annual
circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. The first leg from Victoria to
Port Hardy began with the embarkation of 28 trainees. There is an
overwhelming amount of returning trainees coupled with several fresh
faces. It is great to see the mix of the experienced and more familiar
trainees working alongside and encouraging  those new to the programme.
Yesterday we wasted no time pushing north towards Desolation Sound. We
found a small favourable breeze once clear of Active Pass and out into
the Strait of Georgia. We spread our canvas in the evening´s coppered
light and drifted gently during mug-up, which nightly consists of games
and singing. However the breeze was fleeting and we lowered sails along
with the sun and continued north under power. It was a gentle starlit
night, with a beautiful harvest moon on the rise. Late overnight the
wind turned fresh against us and  the building steep seas of the Strait
were not the most kind to our 18th century lines. The wind died down mid
morning and we were able to gather speed again towards Savary Island. We
anchored off it´s sandy shores around 1430 and wasted little time in
rowing the ship´s dories ashore to play games on the beach.  This
evening we will select "secret friends" and carry on with the regular
mug-up programme.


Observations:
overcast, 20 C, anchored
August 1st 2010 @ 18:30
50°11'53.16 N 124°50'52.80 W

Ship's Log:
Today has been an excellent day so far. Everyone awoke refreshed
from a still night at anchor ready to make the most of the day. After
breakfast fore watch got the ship underway and we headed north into
Desolation Sound. Shortly after entering the Sound we picked up the
breeze and set courses, square top, main and main top to take full
advantage. It wasn´t long till we were sailing nicely and it was a great
challenge for everyone to work together handling all the sails. Trainees
did all the work aloft with the topsails which was fantastic. Behind us
we saw the Pacific Grace set sail as well as a smaller schooner from
Port Townsend and we sailed in company up to Teakearne Arm. It was a
great sail and the intermediate and senior trainees did an excellent job
of taking leadership with the sail handling. We are now anchored
alongside the Grace with the waterfall off our quarter. We have also
been joined by the Alcyone and it is a treat to see the 3 schooners
anchored together in such a scenic locale. Desolation Sound is always
stunning with the distant sharp peaks raking the sky and dense wooded
hills dipping into the water´s edge. We have just returned from a
refreshing dip in the warm waters of the waterfall and it´s lake source.
Tonight we will have mug-up with the Grace and enjoy a big game and
singing together. All are very well and meshing together well as a
community.


Observations:
sunny, 24 C, anchored
August 2nd 2010 @ 18:30
50°29'57.84 N 125°15'18.00 W

Ship's Log:
Today we had a set of rapids to transit so we slipped away from the
Grace a little early this morning. Desolation had a more forlorn look
this morning; gray skies and cloaks of cloud wrapped around the peaks
and hills, stubbornly clinging against the efforts of the rising sun.
Our journey through the rapids was uneventful apart from the natural
beauty of the narrow channels,  lowly draped trees and eagles perched
for careless salmon decorated the nearby shores. This morning juniors
and intermediates both worked through lessons on navigation safety as we
traveled north. The air is already noticeably cooler and the vegetation
is slowly changing as well, with the last of the southern arbutus
slipping behind us. Our day´s anchorage is the head of Frederick Arm. It
boasts stunning views of glacial peaks and deep valleys. The watches
piled into their dories for a grand expotition to explore the fresh
water basin at the head of the inlet. The first stage was a semi portage
up the warm river which connects the arm to the lake. It was exciting to
plunge upstream hopping in and out of the dories as the depth dictated.
Once clear of the river the 4 mile long lake lay before us. Sheer 1600m
cliffs drop straight into the lake and glaciers are visible down it´s
length.  There was a brisk following breeze as we set off to explore the
lake and fore watch´s use of their sailing rig prompted the other two
watches to fashion jury rigs of oars, towels, shirts and sarongs,
speeding everyone down the lake in a motley armada of patchwork brigs.
Every watch found adventures and had an excellent time bonding. The
journey back was challenging and fun with a stiff row up to windward
followed by drifting down the river till the Swift appeared around the
final bend. This evening we will spend some time developing community
through various activities and talks. Everyone is having a great time
and becoming comfortable in life aboard.


Observations:
sunny, 20 C, anchored
August 3rd 2010 @ 18:30
50°29'3.12 N 126°0'25.20 W

Ship's Log:
We awoke again to overcast skies that showed some promise of
lifting, however they persisted through the day like a thin gray veil
drawn across the sky. We had one final set of rapids to clear and we
passed through them mid-morning. The scenery is beautiful, narrow
channels give way to open valleys and glacial peaks with the evergreen
trees completely covering the shoreline. We set full sail this morning
and beat our way up the narrow channels. Everyone did an excellent job
again working the ship, especially as we were tacking ship every 10 to
15 minutes. It was an enjoyable way to spend the day interspersed with
the final lessons. All hands are applying themselves very well to
getting the most out of the trip, whether with studies, ship work,
friendships or other areas of importance. There was a fine moment today
where a group of trainees were presented with all the variables of trip
planning and decided the course and programme for the day´s destination.
There is  a great feeling of everyone aboard working together for common
good. We are anchored now in Blenkinsop Bay, it is another scenic
anchorage looking on to Johnstone Strait and still more distant and
mighty peaks. We are alone in our anchorage for the first time this
trip, it is nice to feel that we are pulling away from the business of
the southern cruising grounds.


Observations:
light overcast, 20 C, anchored
August 4th 2010 @ 18:30
50°32'22.92 N 126°46'48.00 W

Ship's Log:
The morning sun rose behind a watery sky, creating a vibrant orange
light that bathed the Swift in a warm glow. The same warmth couldn´t be
said of the air which was chilly enough to see the emergence of long
buried pants, socks, scarves, toques and warm coats from below.
Johnstone Strait is lined with beautiful steep mountains and the high
mist clung to their wooded sides as we motored along in the still
morning. We have anchored in a new spot at Blinkhorn Peninsula, it is
beautiful and wild with a view down the Strait. We went ashore to
explore the beach and play some games. A distant black bear was spotted
snuffling for his supper under the rocks along the shore. We did an
initiative task with the group and it went very well. It was a good
challenge in which everyone worked together and accomplished the task
and learned some life lessons further building the strength of the
community.


Observations:
hazey, 18 C, anchored
August 5th 2010 @ 18:30
50°54'30.24 N 126°54'10.80 W

Ship's Log:
Early in the afternoon the dense fog finally lifted as we closed land
off the north coast of Queen Charlotte Strait. We were able to set sail
and make our way up Wells Channel to Carriden Bay. We seem to be blessed
with an abundance of beautiful anchorages of late and today´s is no
exception. The bay is secluded, calm and framed by steep wooded hills
now bearing the tired and weathered countenance of the north coast.
Ospreys and eagles sweep and soar overhead occasionally swooping down
for their supper. The view beyond the bay is composed of overlapping
islands, hills and mountains culminating in a tri-pointed summit that is
the best selling feature of this anchorage.  We mounted an expotition to
explore a creek in hopes of finding the lake at it´s head.  The creek
was nestled in dense temperate rain forest with vivid greens and patient
cedars. We were unsuccessful in our quest for the lake but everyone
enjoyed the element of adventure and the scenery. The return to the
Swift was...swift, as the scent and promise of roast beef dinner lured
us back home. Today is ship Sunday and after the yorkshires and mashies
are polished off we will conclude the day with a simple service.


Observations:
overcast, 19 C, anchored, roast beef
August 6th 2010 @ 18:30
50°50'48.12 N 126°51'39.60 W

Ship's Log:
This morning we were granted a little sleep-in and had bosun made
pancakes for breakfast. The varnish can in the galley was a little
unnerving, but it was apparently for another endeavour. We ghosted out
of our anchorage under a granite sky, clouds obscuring yesterdays peaks,
to further explore the inlet we are in. We set full sail again and the
trainees are now very comfortable handling the ship and her rigging with
many of them swarming aloft to work the topsails. They are also
completely independent tacking, hauling and loosing lines as we beat up
the narrow channels. The wind died late in the afternoon and we tucked
into a narrow inlet to settle in Napier Bay for the evening. This
afternoon the intermediates wrote their chartwork and navigation safety
exams, all indications are that they will do well as they have applied
themselves very well in their studies and preparations. Everyone is very
relaxed aboard now, with games of cards, dice, backgammon, fishing,
talking, study, craft making all interwoven with pleasant conversation
and companionship. Everyone is well and trying not to look towards Port
Hardy looming on the horizon.


Observations:
overcast, drizzle, 18 C, anchored

sailing
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