July 28, 2017: In Port Hardy after a six-week journey

Walt and I have finally arrived in Port Hardy near the northern tip of British Columbia’s east coast, having motored from the delightful Muirhead Islands back through Drury Inlet and across Queen Charlotte Strait with almost no wind to be found anywhere. We have moorage here in “Fisherman’s Wharf” through August 27, will return from Belgium on August 18, and will decide how we’d like to begin our return trip to Everett.

After Morning Prayer, at about 10 am, we raised Braesail’s anchor and motored out of our snug anchorage in the fascinating cluster of islands in which we had enjoyed a beautiful, warm, relaxing afternoon and a restful night. Walt served as helmsman, taking us through a few easily manageable current whorls between some rocks and kelp in mid-channel and a sharp point of land to starboard in Stuart Narrows and then through Wells Passage and out into the wide, silky, morning-glory-blue expanse of ocean that was Queen Charlotte Strait today (where the predicted wind never materialized). We were treated to a marvelous view of the BC Coastal Mountains’ sharp snow-laced peaks behind us as we traveled at about 7 knots (8 mph) for several hours under the gazes of a broadly grinning sun and shy clouds.

View of the BC Coastal Mountains from Braesail’s stern while crossing Queen Charlotte Strait

As we approached Port Hardy, about 25 miles from our starting point, we watched a parade of three huge cruise ships, each part of a different cruise line, as they proceeded southeast, one after the other.

By about 3 pm, having been greeted by four swooping, crying bald eagles, we were looking for space in a Port Hardy marina crowded with fishing boats. When we didn’t see a suitable spot, we exited the area, were finally able to contact the Harbour Authority, and were directed to a temporary space into which Walt maneuvered Braesail with his usual expertise; I was grateful for help with the dock lines offered by another mariner who happened by. Once the boat was secured, Walt climbed off, searched the docks, and found another space vacated only this morning by a fishing vessel. Another passing boater and his friend offered to assist with the dock lines, so we three walked and Walt moved Braesail around to the space he had found through a narrow passage between several moored vessels, and we got the lines tied with no difficulties. I expressed concern that Martin, who, for over a year, hasn’t had practice at maneuvering Braesail in tricky situations, such as backing out of tight spaces and around corners, might have some trouble getting the boat out of the marina when he and his friend Hans (an perhaps another friend or two) take it into the Broughton Islands August 2-7. So Walt, again with assistance from me (trying to handle and then toss the stern line) and another kind passer-by (who stuffed a fender between the stern and the dock and helped to toss the stern line back on board the boat), turned Braesail around in a very snug space and backed it into position against the dock so that Martin can escape by driving the boat forward, a much simpler and safer task. I’m SO thankful that we found a space for August and for the help we received in getting into it!

After a dinner of tasty prepared Indian food, Walt and I continued the tasks we’d begun during our unexciting crossing of Queen Charlotte Strait: reading, responding to, and disposing of the huge quantities of junk mail and articles we’d received since we last had any connectivity (about three days ago). I began to try to post the blog entries I’d written and add pictures–a time-consuming task when Internet connections are very slow. I loved the many distinctive bird calls floating around the wharf that kept me company as I worked. As the last light faded over the marina, Walt and I finished the vanilla ice cream we’d purchased in Sullivan Bay on Tuesday, and prepared to crawl into bed, thankful to have reached this “goal” in our journey after some 40 days on the way.

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