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Main Menu -> SALTS -> SALTS 2011 Summer Programme -> 2011 Trip 5 - Pacific Swift

2011 Trip 5 - Pacific Swift

Log of Pacific Swift

August 24th 2011 @ 02:00
48°56'27.96 N 125°32'27.60 W

Ship's Log:
Our trainees for Trip 5 boarded in Ucluelet.


August 25th 2011 @ 18:00
49°58'15.60 N 127°14'45.60 W

Ship's Log:
All hands reported aboard the Swift by 1420 yesterday in Ucluelet Harbour ready for the final leg of our circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Our group is mostly older but still a pretty even mix of new trainees and those returning for further adventures. With safety orientations complete, lines were slipped at 1620 and a quick trip out of the harbour past lounging sea lions found us in the open Pacific once
more. The seas were relatively gentle and we decided to push north against wind and sea to explore the bounty of the northern portion of the island. Watch duties were commenced and the trainees acquitted themselves well steering by compass in the swell. The mug-up routine of games and singing was held on deck while we rolled past Long Beach.
While the first strains of ”Farewell to Nova Scotia” rose from amidships, we were treated to a dramatic coastal sunset. The sun slipped below a band of low clouds burning a fiery orange that lit the underside
of the clouds and brushed the mountainous shores of Vancouver Island in rich oily colours. As the sun was plunged into the waiting sea we were treated to a phenomenon know as the green flash. The sun appears a
vibrant emerald green as its light is refracted after dipping below the horizon. The seas built around nightfall, but most coped with good spirits. The night sky was resplendently flecked with stars, a late rising waning crescent moon allowed the stars to shine unhindered, the milky way spilt across the inky dome above and was chased by shooting stars. Bright green phosphorescence hissed of the crests of the waves providing an equally dramatic show of light and colour below. Occasionally humpbacks could be heard to surface and breath nearbye in the darkness.
The morning broke clear and bright as we continued to motor north to Kyuquot Sound to find a gentle anchorage to rest in. At 1330 we anchored behind Rugged Point, the ship settling comfortably into the still waters surrounded by old growth forest. A lonely sea otter busied himself with his post-meal ablutions and humpback whales lazed about in the channel close bye. After an introduction on how to use the shipīs dories, the watches pulled ashore to the beckoning beaches. Much like Goldilocks we passed through several beaches linked by rain forest walks till we found the one that was just right. The ”right” beach was a pristine flat hard packed white sand beach that stretched for a mile before clear sparkling waters. Silvered driftwood edged the beach to where the dense forest emerged. In the warm sunlight a grand game of soccer and frisbee was played. I must admit the port side roundly thumped the starboard side but everyone had fun and there was excellent participation. Following the game some fun was had body surfing, playing land and strolling on the expansive beach. Vigorous appetites drew us back for a tasty supper and chance to rest at anchor. This evening we will start secret friends and enjoy games and singing. Everyone is doing well.


Observations:
anchored, sunny, warm
August 26th 2011 @ 20:00
50°7'14.88 N 127°42'50.40 W

Ship's Log:
Yesterday evening we were treated to another spectacular sunset. Vibrant pink tendrils eased down from the clouds to the purple water and 2 humpbacks breached close bye leaping from the water before crashing down on their backs. This morning was clear and warm and after breakfast we took the time to teach some lessons while calmly sitting at anchor. We weighed anchor at 1000 and slipped up the protected inside waters of Checleset Bay. Otters abounded, dotting the sea as they drifted languidly on their backs amongst a camouflage of bull kelp. We tried our hand at some fishing and were a able to land some few small bottom fish. The wind and sea were calm and we motored to the south side of the Brooks Peninsula. Brooks is a wild uninhabited stretch of land untouched by forestry or glaciation, making it unique on the coast. We anchored off a remote sandy beach and headed ashore laden with provisions to have dinner on land. It was hot out and the white beach with the Swift rocking gently at anchor beyond the clear lagoon felt as if we were on a tropical offshore voyage to Mexico or the Marquesas. We had a nice walk on the beach and did some team building exercises prior to building a fire to roast hot dogs, marshmallows and our fish. The south side of the peninsula is a beach combers delight and a couple glass fishing floats were found amongst the driftwood. A wonderful table and benches were made to sit around and enjoy our meal while enjoying the view of the still Pacific and Vancouver Island trailing into the distance. The sun is again setting dramatically while we are rolled gently in our cradle of the deep.


Observations:
anchored, clear, gentle sw swell
August 27th 2011 @ 20:56
49°47'1.68 N 126°50'16.80 W

Ship's Log:
A steely sky and sea lay around us, brightening slowly in the watery light of morning. The was anchor broken free at 0800 and we headed for one of our favourite fishing holes.Rolling on the sea, a big team effort landed several nice sized cod and snapper, enough to feed our crew of 37. Almost everyone pitched in catching, netting,cleaning, filleting and cooking the fish. Our work on the fishing grounds was complete in less than half an hour and we motored south under a clearing sky. By noon the sun was again warming our backs and several salmon were caught and released including a lovely 20 lb coho. The swells were larger today but everyone seems to have adjusted well to life at sea, comfortably rolling down the coast and fine with work below. The breeze materialized mid afternoon and sail was eagerly set. A couple trainees hurtled aloft to loose the square topsail while the courses billowed out below the yards. We sailed into Nootka Island, it is steep and wooded with otters nestled in its protected waters. A cool wind followed us inland creating bands of fog that trailed amongst the hills and valleys. We are now anchored in Mary Basin and just finished enjoying the fish for dinner lightly breaded and prepared as savoury nuggets.


Observations:
anchored, sunny,
August 29th 2011 @ 13:00
49°28'22.08 N 126°25'26.40 W

Ship's Log:
We departed Nootka Island in beautiful amber sunlight at 0700. Sea
otters dove and collected their breakfasts before breaking them open on
their tummies while they bobbed over the swells. The sun was veiled by a
dense fog bank around 0900 and we spent the next 7 hours cloaked in the
indistinct grey of sea and sky. When we reached the head of Hesquiat
Harbour  at 1630 the sun had warmed a small patch of clear and bright
land. We met up with the Grace and shared a tasty dinner on the beach
and played  a game of soccer. Later we rafted the two ships and spent
the remainder of the evening playing games and singing together.This
morning we slipped away from the Grace and anchored off Boat Basin. Boat
Basin is the site of an old homestead started in 1915 by Cougar Annie.
We headed ashore and there met Peter who now looks after the site. He
has painstakingly reclaimed the original homestead and garden from the
encroaching rain forest. We spent several hours walking our sea legs
along the split cedar boardwalk in the garden and under the towering
cedars that protect the warmer garden from the sea breeze. It was a
wonderful time and a great opportunity to appreciate the history and
ecology of the west coast.We will teach some lessons at anchor early
this afternoon prior to sailing south to Hot Springs Cove. Hot Springs
Cove provided wonderful shelter from the wind and seas in addition to
the temptations of its name. Another winding cedar boardwalk will take
us through the wild forest and along the jagged coast to the springs.
The springs emerge from the rocks steaming to pour over a shelf creating
a waterfall shower that then trails in pools nestled between steep
cliffs. The pools decrease in temperature as they drop towards the sea,
allowing one to find the seat and temperature of their choice.It has
been left totally natural and the open Pacific is visible from the
bottom of the pools. The sun often sets spectacularly over the waves,
bathing the springs in its golden light.


Observations:
anchored, overcast, fogbanks distant
August 30th 2011 @ 18:00
48°54'45.72 N 125°16'48.00 W

Ship's Log:
Yesterday we enjoyed a brisk sail and enjoyed the promised hot
springs as advertised.
Port watch was on deck at 0700 to get underway and take advantage of the
forecasted 25-35 knot NW wind. A low bank of fog lurked over the hot
springs mingling with the steam rising from its pools as we slipped from
the cove. The sun broke through the mist in corpuscular rays
illuminating the water where a mother humpback and her small calf
surfaced in the larger swell. The wind was unfortunately not present so
we patiently motored south towards Barkley Sound. The sun was out and
shining by mid morning but still the wind remained calm. The ship had a
lively roll, plunging scupper to scupper but all aboard are now
weathered sailors and took it in stride feeling fine. The wind never
appeared sadly, but we were rewarded with two nice salmon instead at our
moderate cruising speed. While we were eating the first one (hook to
fork in 45 minutes) the second fish was landed, much to the delight of
those who didnt receive seconds. Lessons rounded out the day along with
various secret friend presents being created, mostly out of the lovely
aromatic red cedar found on the beaches weīve visited. As we entered
Barkley Sound we saw several more humpbacks. One curious fellow was
doing "handstands" raising the lower half of his body clear of the water
and waggling has tail about. We are nestled amongst the rocky and cedar
crowded islets of the Broken Group now awaiting a roast beef dinner. The
delicious dinner is part of our ship Sunday festivities, there will also
be a simple service held in the evening. All are well and in good
spirits.


Observations:
anchored, sunny, smell of cedar shavings and roast beef

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