This morning we got up to sail down to SGang Gwaay, the UNESCO heritage site just off the south west tip of Moresby Island. Our weather radio reception on VHF Weather 8 was just barely copyable, but we were able to just make out “Gale Warning” and “Hecate Strait”. We knew that we had a small weather window to make it down to Anthony Island, but things appeared to be deteriorating. After spending some time with PredictWind, we figured out that the low pressure system that we knew was coming was going to be lower and bigger than we were expecting.
Our plan was to run down to SGang Gwaay in the morning, get back into Rose Inlet, and hole up while the low blew over. However, the system was starting to look like Rose Harbour wouldn’t give us the protection we wanted. As we looked at that possibility, I was finally able to make out what the weather radio was telling us:
- Monday: 2 meter seas, swells at SW, wind waves at SE, 15-25 kt SE winds (this is popularly known as a “washing machine”)
- Tuesday: 2-3 meter seas, even more confused, 20-30 kt SE winds. GALE WARNING
- Wednesday: 2-3 meter seas, 30-40 kt building to 35-45 kt SE winds. GALE WARNING
- Thursday: 25-35 kts SE, building to 35-45 SE winds. GALE WARNING
- Friday: 30 kts S
To me that looked like we’d be riding a bucking bronco in Rose Harbour for four days. That wouldn’t be fun. We already knew that Ikeda Cove, where we were, was solid, and really nice, so we could just hang out there. But we could ride out a storm at anchor in the San Juans; there’s no need to go this far to find one. So we looked for somewhere that was “bomb-proof”, but close to something we wanted to see. We found Bag Harbour, on the inside of Burnaby Island, and it’s very well protected. Bag Harbour is just at the entrance of the Dolomite Narrows, one of the richest intertidal zones in the entire world. Off we went!
We dropped hook at about 2pm. When we left Ikeda Cove, winds were about 5kts and temp was around 11C. Two-and-a-half hours later, it was 7-8C, and the wind was in the 15 kt range. We got a chance to look at the big picture once we’d arrived, and there was a great honking winter low pressure system centered at 47N, 148W (about 1000 miles south of Kodiak, AK), slowly heading toward Juneau, AK. That would normally be a “pineapple express,” except that the remnants of T.S. Agatha (off the west coast of Mexico) were forcing the low to get its air from the Bering Sea. BRRR!
I’ve decided that winter will never end this year. This is a February/March weather pattern, not a June pattern.
We’ve got the hook down, and we probably aren’t moving until Friday or Saturday. Time for lots of reading, writing, sleeping and cooking!