A SUNKEN SEAT AND A DEAD DINGHY MOTOR: Tuesday, August 2

The inletUp into Jervis Inlet we motored, beginning at about 10:45 am on Tuesday morning, having been rudely rocked awake by an echoing cannonade of thunder punctuating periods of pouring rain. The clouds descended from the dark skies to swath the mountaintops in swirling gray cotton and the sea in soft fog , and drenching downpours continued off and on throughout our journey up the fjord’s long switch-backs that lead into the mountains that line the BC coast. Tailwinds increased to about 15 knots, but I, being at the helm for the day, wanted to motor and relax rather than raise and fly the spinnaker.
We took pleasant detour around Deserted Bay, with its rocky beaches alternating with smooth sand, and spotted the mouth of the Deserted River along its shore, and we then re-deserted both before arriving in Queen’s Reach at about 4 pm, a good bit before we had planned to be there to await the slackening of the powerful currents at the reversing Malibu Rapids that guard the entrance to the magical, four-mile-long Princess Louisa Inlet. We circled the area until nearly 6:30, spotting waterfalls tumbling into the sea from the mountain heights and observing the activities of those at the boys’ camp at the edge of the rapids. A few boats navigated the rapids before full slack at about 7:15 pm, and Walt decided that he could take Braesail through as well, so into the narrow, shallow-watered gateway, with its myriad undulating wavelets and eddies and spinning whirlpools, we went—Walt said it felt like running down a river flowing swiftly at about 5 knots.
Once safely through the rapids and inside the towering, 3000-feet-high ebony-and-ivory-stained limestone walls of this breathtaking natural “cathedral,” with its cataract-streaked cliffs, forest enshrouded shores, and the lacey, spray encircled, rushing Chatterbox Falls at its terminus (see photo above), we motored gently around the boat-filled dock and the small nearby nooks to find a place to anchor and stern-tie. The cliffs’ feet stand in water countless fathoms deep, and one has to find a place that is sufficiently shallow to allow one to let down enough chain and rope to anchor the bow of the boat securely in the mud through rising and falling tides, while simultaneously being close enough to a shore, accessible by dinghy, where one can find rocks and trees around which the stern line can be tied. We first tried anchoring near the base of Chatterbox Falls, where the force of the falling water pushes an anchored boat backward and holds it in place, but there were too many boats in that area for safe anchoring. I stood in the bow of the boat during this anchoring attempt, and the beauty of the leaping, foaming cascade, the scent of the misty evening air, the music of the falls and the rapids below it, and the grandeur of the setting brought tears to my eyes!
We moved away from the falls and prepared to lower the dinghy from its rack at Braesail’s stern, not noticing that Walt had forgotten to plug the hole in the bow of the dinghy (left open to drain rain water), and after noticing this omission, he had to let the dinghy down from its davits in such a way that water wouldn’t rush in and swamp it (stern first). The dinghy’s stern, bearing the outboard motor’s 100 pounds, splashed heavily into the water, however, and the impact dislodged the plastic seat and sent it into the depths. We expected the seat to float, but it didn’t, and instead disappeared quickly beneath the surface! Now the dinghy had oars but no seat across it to allow it to be rowed—AAARGH!
We towed the dinghy, with the water outlet now plugged, behind the boat, and after many tries over the course of more than an hour, Walt found a suitable spot and let down the anchor and chain, and then he prepared to take the dinghy to shore. He managed to climb from Braesail’s lowered swimming platform into the dinghy while I stood on the platform to let out the stern line, wrapped around a large spindle. But try as he might, he could NOT get the outboard motor to start, and, after many exhausting attempts, centered the large gasoline can in the dinghy, sat on it (in a very uncomfortable position!) and began to row toward the brush-lined shore at the location of what we were sure, from the soothing, swooshing sounds we could detect, was a waterfall or small rapid, hidden at the bottom of the monumental cliff’s mist shrouded, sheer face behind thick forest undergrowth. In my state of anxiety, I forgot to let out ALL of the stern line immediately for Walt to tie, and then Walt dropped the free end of the line after looping it around a log and had to row back to retrieve it, but at about 9 pm, just as dusk was thickening and I was beginning to panic at the thought of the dinghy tipping over and Walt spilling into the water (as has occurred from time to time during our stern-tying adventures) and Braesail drifting onto the rocks, Walt made it back to the boat’s stern and scrambled aboard. We tied off the stern lines and secured the dinghy, and then crawled into the cockpit, Walt wet and tired and gasoline-scented, and I attempting to recover some shred of composure. We ate a very late supper of spicy sausages and broccoli and consoled ourselves with a special treat of chocolate ice cream sandwiched between graham crackers. The boat had a safe resting place, and the only thing we had to add at this point to our growing shopping list of boat-related items was a seat for the dinghy!

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