M/V Cloud Nine

M/V Cloud Nine
A 1973 North Sea 38' pilothouse Trawler, made in Osaka, Japan by Kita Trading Co. Ltd.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This will be a quick post.  We are currently in the Broughtons, at Pierre's Echo Bay Lodge & Marina.  We have limited wi-fi, so are unable to upload photos at this time.  We will update blog with photos and video as soon as we can, which may be awhile as we are pretty isolated here.  

Just this morning I was thinking how blessed we are.  We've had a beautiful trip so far, traveling safe, and meeting wonderful people.  We've had people we know cruise with us, said good-bye to them, only to have another couple we knew show up at the same place where we were, which led to a few more days of cruising with a companion boat.  Safety is certainly enhanced when traveling with another boat.  So, I'm thinking, we've seen beautiful panaromas, had encounters with a couple of pods of killer whales, had (mostly) everything work right, and we have the beauty of the Broughtons right at our fingertips.  It couldn't get any better ... right?

Well, it certainly did today.  As we were traveling Tribune Channel in the Broughtons, stopping to do some fishing, we spied 7-8 porpoises swimming around, looking like they were feeding.  We weren't catching anything, so we decided to move along.  All of a sudden there was a big splash and the porpoises were headed our way.  For the next 15 minutes, the porpoises swam in and out of our bow wake, sometimes turning sideways to look up at us as we hung over the bow.  They jumped along the side of the boat, and then ran back up to the bow again.  It was an amazing experience--one I will never forget.  Yes, we have video, which we will post to this blog when internet bandwidth allows.

Then, as we were headed to our spot for the night, a call came in over the VHF radio.  A boat, 1/2 mile behind us was in need of assistance.  We turned back to see if we could render help.  Seems a small Nordic Tug's hydraulic steering went out and they were dead in the water.  The loan of a funnel for pouring in hydraulic fluid, along with some ideas, had the boat motoring alongside us as we guided them into a safe harbor where they could get some mechanical help.  As we docked our boat alongside, they quickly came over to shake our hands and tell us what a blessing we had been to come back and help.

Blessings ... so not just the ones we've received.  Nice to pass one along!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Desolation Sound and Cortes Island


We've been slowly moving northward with our buddy boat, M/V Sound Venture.   High clouds moving in, so we know our good weather will soon be behind us.  We'd been watching three large red blocks on the water, wondering what they might be.  As we got closer, we could see one tug pulling three large barges, one containing sawdust.  We thought a picture might be fun, and had no idea that in the middle of the picture between ferry and the barges that a large pod of killer whales had popped up.  


What we had were three groups of killer whales, obviously feeding, moving southward in the middle of the channel.  


We couldn't move closer, but hoped they might move closer to us.  No such chance, but we managed to get some good photos anyway!


Cove in Tenedos Bay, Desolation Sound

We knew our weather wouldn't hold all summer, but the weather turning back to rain hasn't dampened our spirits.  We entered Desolation Sound with the clouds low and the rain starting.  We anchored out in Tenedos Bay, choosing a small cove where we could stern tie.  Our first stern tie was successful!  Of course, as Jerry rowed back to Cloud Nine, the skies opened up and he was drenched.

Cloud Nine at anchor in cove at Tenedos Bay - beautiful spot!
Rain and wind continued off and on that afternoon and evening, but we held steady where we anchored and tied.  Sound Venture, however, had a rough evening, with  neither Chris nor Donna getting much sleep.  Seems their anchor chain ran across a rock all evening as the boat swung back and forth in the winds.  With Chris & Donna anxious to move the next morning, we picked Chris up off Sound Venture and headed out to pick up the shrimp pots we put out the day before.  No luck this time!

Canadian C.G. Helicopter with Rescue Boat below
While picking up the pots, a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter hovered over Tenedos Bay, circling and circling.  We finally turned on our VHF radio to hear a call from a sailboat anchored out in an inner cove of Tenedos Bay.  They had a medical emergency on board and the Canadian Rescue Boat was on their way.  


They arrived about 20 minutes later, but we left them to their business as the inner cove was not visible from where we were in the Bay.

We left the area heading over to Prideaux Haven and Melanie Cove.

Entering Melanie Cove
Entering Prideaux Haven is quite breathtaking.  I've seen many an aerial photo of this area filled with boats, and now here we were with one boat anchored in Prideaux Haven, one in Laura Cove, and no one in Melanie Cove.  We had the whole cove to ourselves the first night.  A sailboat joined us by the second evening.  We went exploring in the dinghy, and put down another shrimp pot.  (The next day, after searching and searching, we finally found the pot about 1/4 mile east of where we had dropped it.  Three, count them, three shrimp in the pot.  Sigh!  We allowed them to get harvested by another by throwing them back in.)  We'll hold out hope for more shrimp later in the trip.

The next morning, Donna was out rowing, and Nancy got in her dinghy to join her.  It was a brief respite between rain clouds, though, so they both headed back to the warmth of their boats.

Leaving Prideaux Haven, Chris and Donna led us over to the east side of Cortes Island for a visit to Squirrel Cove.  We had to pause during our crossing for a tug pulling a long line of logs.

The narrow entrance to the inner harbour at Squirrel Cove.

We continued on shortly thereafter toward Squirrel Cove.   A very well-stocked grocery store, even with gluten-free items, awaited us and we first docked at the dock below Squirrel Cove Trading Company.  This dock is right out at the edge of the cove and on a windy day, with choppy seas, it was a little challenging bringing her to the dock.  After stocking up, we moved the boats into the inner cove for a night of anchoring.

Next day we moved over to the west side of Cortes Island to Gorge Harbour. 

We had the marina to ourselves mostly the first two days.
Gorge Harbour Marina & Resort  is a delightful stop.  New owners have totally renovated the grounds and the marina (so we hear from other boaters) and we found it to be a beautiful area to rest up for a couple of days, catch up on laundry, and do some repairs.   Nancy's computer, which had done the "dreaded blue screen of death", needed repair and we were lucky to have Dino, a local businessman on the island, available for a run to the marina and a temporary repair job so that Nancy could at least get files off of her computer.  To everyone's surprise, two days later, the computer is still functioning, allowing this post.  No promises on the ability to update this blog as we move northward, however.  A new computer is on the list of supplies needed when we hit Juneau.

Their hot tub was visited every afternoon for a good soak.  We are here before the summer season, so we paid a reasonable $1/foot for the beautiful surroundings.

Nancy read by this pond while waiting for laundry.

The resort has houses to rent, in addition to four rooms above their well-stocked store.  Clean laundry and shower facilities were a plus.  We loved the detail to the grounds, and staff were planting flowers for the summer season.  

We said goodbye to our traveling companions, Chris & Donna, as they headed back to Sequim, WA for their summer.  They were excellent guides showing us their favorite spots here in British Columbia.  

We'll continue our journey northward, now alone, getting through the rapids of Yucalta and Dent and will then move into the Broughtons area.  This is an amazingly beautiful area and with two weeks of our trip now behind us, we are amazed that it's only been two weeks.  It feels closer to a month with all that we've seen and experienced so far.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Victoria to Pender Harbour, British Columbia

Some of the houseboats in Victoria

We continue to be blessed with clear skies and warm weather!  It’s been a spectacular start to our trip.  Leaving Victoria Inner Harbour early, to take advantage of the beautiful morning, we headed north toward Sidney Island Marine Park.  

As we neared the park, it was clear that being a Sunday, and a hot day, everyone from Sidney who owned a boat had gone over to the marine park.  Hundreds of boats were in the park boundaries, so we chose to go into the marina in Sidney.  Jerry wanted electricity anyway to work on a couple of projects, so it worked out the best.  Coming into Port of Sidney is tough because it’s extremely difficult to see the opening to the breakwater.  Even once you see the marker, making out the actual opening is tough until you are almost on top of the opening.  The marina is nice, well protected, and has an exceptional laundry facility, with numerous machines, leather chairs, and 4 televisions to catch up on news, weather, or your favorite daytime show.  Downtown Sidney is just a short walk from the marina, and we strolled down the main drag looking for new tennis shoes for Jerry.  The day was extremely warm and so we hugged the shady side of the street, sipping iced mochas.  Success with the shoes, along with getting fishing licenses for the trip, we headed back to the boat and met up with a nice couple who helped us dock.  Dick & Susie, from M/V Changing Tides, own a Pacific Trawler 37.  Pacific Trawler used the Blaine Seeley design of the North Sea, but the kitchen and head are flipped.  Dick & Susie gave us a thorough tour and we got some good ideas for ways to improve Cloud Nine.

M/V Sound Venture

Next morning we met up with Chris & Donna from M/V Sound Venture who were patiently waiting for us outside the opening to the Port of Sidney.  We’ll spend the next several weeks with them cruising up to Princess Louisa Inlet and through Desolation Sound.  They have cruised both, extensively, and are anxious to show us their favorite spots.  We let them take the lead through the Gulf Islands, which were beautiful.

Montague Harbour

 Winds were calm and it was a glorious passage up to Montague Harbour.  This harbor is a major stopping point for boats heading north and contains a marine park on the north side of the harbor with many mooring buoys.   

Rafted up in Montague Harbour

Sound Venture dropped their hook, and when we came into the harbor, they were ready for us to raft up.   

Dinghy successfully in the water!
Chris and Jerry worked on getting our dinghy down into the water, which was more like watching an Abbott & Costello skit.  Donna and I were giggling through it all, but the topper was once the dinghy actually got to the water, it quickly started to fill up with water because Jerry had forgotten to put the plug in.  Good thing that man is quick on his feet!  Once the plug was in its “correct” spot, the bailing commenced and the giggling from the women continued.  We obviously need to figure out a better way of storing the dinghy for the remainder of the trip.  Once the little boat was dry, we headed out for a quick trip around the harbor, finding another Pacific Trawler anchored out. 

Seals enjoying the sun!
Next day the winds picked up as we got ready to leave Montague Harbour headed for Dodds Narrows, which we wanted to hit at slack water.  With the wind and waves at our back pushing us northward, we made good time, too good actually, and backed off the engine to hit the narrows at the right time.  I got to drive through the narrows, which were quite narrow.  We’ve been through Port Townsend Canal at times where the current was so strong it was pushing us close to 10 knots and two boats could easily pass, but the Dodds Narrows are so narrow that for safety sake only one vessel should be in the narrows at a time.  We did a 360 at the south end of the narrows to allow a sailboat coming south to enter first, and then we continued northward.  I enjoyed maneuvering through the Narrows, but the problem with me driving the boat is that no photos are taken of the surroundings, hence, no photos of this impressive passage.  I teasingly suggested a return trip the next day just so we could get some photos. 

We were moored in Nanaimo in time to catch the 5:10 Dinghy Pub Restaurant ferry which takes you over to Protection Island, where you can catch dinner at the restaurant or go for a walk.  The food was good, but I would take my own dinghy over the next time (its plug in its right place) and save ourselves the $17 round trip cost for the two of us.  The next day was our first “rest” day, where we headed to a great chandlery to pick up parts to more easily hoist and lower the dinghy, and Chris was looking for a remedy for his house battery problems. While Donna and I walked town, the “boys” worked on Chris’s house battery issue, getting a new battery in place.  Later that evening we enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant and on the way home, Jerry realized that his jeans had a rip in them.  A few steps later and the rip increased in size.  A moment or two later the light bulb above Jerry’s head went off when he realized that battery acid had spilled on his jeans earlier in the day.  Let me just say that he’s lucky we were as close to the boat as we were and not still sitting in the restaurant.  Oh my!!!

This morning we took off from Nanaimo headed for Pender Harbour on the mainland side of British Columbia.  Crossing the “Big Grumpy” (Georgia Strait) can be uncomfortable, but we were in for a great day on the water and no problems crossing over.   


We lucked out spotting a pod of killer whales, but they were headed away from us, so we couldn’t get any closer.  We nestled into Pender Harbour with plans on hitting the local pub for dinner tonight. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It Could Not Have Started Out Any Better

Ready or not we left on schedule and could not have had a better first day on our cruise north to Juneau!

Leaving Port Townsend at slack tide, we were halfway across the Strait of Juan de Fuca when the water calmed; eerily so for the middle of the Strait.  We were treated to a spouting whale, but that was the only look he would give us.  We had snow-capped Olympic Mountains to our south and snow-covered Mount Baker to our east.  It was a beautifully clear day!  Glorious way to start our trip!



Just outside Victoria is Trial Island, along with the lighthouse that sits at the edge of Trial Island.  Nancy loves lighthouses and this one had her camera clicking away.  


We pulled into Victoria Harbour after a 5 hour cruise, and two cruise ships were at dock, one getting ready to leave because another was due in later today.


Float planes were landing and taking off and so we stayed as far over as we could to allow them their space.

After clearing customs, we were given a slip right in front of the Empress Hotel.  What a kick!!  The day warmed and allowed us some "sun" time, and after two weeks of hard work on this boat, we needed a day of no work with basking in the sunshine.  We walked the inner harbour area and enjoyed all of the street vendors and performers.  

We finished off our evening talking with mooring neighbors who were from Linden, WA, where we also have friends.

We're leaving Victoria tomorrow morning heading for Sidney Spit Marine Park where we will anchor out.  Then the following day, we will meet up with friends from Sequim, Chris & Donna, on their boat Sound Venture.  They have extensive experience in Princess Louisa Inlet and in Desolation Sound and are excited to show us their favorite places there.  We will spend the next several weeks with them.  I'll do my best to update as internet is available.

Safe travels to all!

Back in the Water and Headed for Canada and Alaska!

The boat went back in the water the other day, with a new hull color and metallic gold boot stripe.  The crew at Haven Boat Works were skeptical at first about our color choices, but after three coats of the green, she starting looking rather sharp and we had some "thumbs up" from some of the workers.  (But then when you ARE in their yard, what else are they going to say?  Really!)    The housing will stay the sandstone color, but we still have some painting to do on the housing, including our new pilothouse doors.  Thanks to J.D. at Haven for his excellent work in making these doors.  Nancy has three coats of primer on them, but ran out of time to get the first coat of sandstone on them before going back in the water.  While we'd like to have had the money and time to replace the blue canvas covering the flybridge, that project will have to wait.  Nancy has about 20 yards of dark green Sunbrella to make a cover for the bimini and start work on the flybridge cover.

Haven replaced a thru-hole and repaired a few places in the planks where caulking had come loose and where planks needed refastening.  Thanks to Dave at Starboard Tech for repairing the freezer.  It is once again loaded with food and we're hoping to have no further problems with the contraption.  Turns out the valve was frozen shut and an overnight delivery got us a new one the day before we were leaving the marina.

And now???  Our adventure begins.  We leave today for Victoria!!  Weather is supposed to be beautiful for the next 7-10 days, with winds calm and temperatures in the upper 60's to low 70's.  Definitely cruising weather. We will check in and update this blog as we have access to the internet along the way, posting photos of what we see and hopefully some of the fun we'll be having.  We are both excited and look forward to sharing this with whomever is out there.

Safe journeys to all!