Coracle runs the rapids

When Walt raised Braesail’s anchor on Tuesday afternoon in Turnbull Cove, he saw that a good-sized crab was grasping the chain, but it let go and escaped before it could be snatched up to become part of a meal. On Wednesday, September 14, when we left Turner Island Cove (also called “Anne Cove” by the authors of one of our cruising guides about the Broughton Islands), the anchor chain was bare, and the rocks outside the anchorage were free of seals, but the waterways through which we motored back through MacKenzie Sound to the head of Grappler Sound and then to a cove near Broughton Lagoon were teeming with rocks, islets, and islands of all sizes and shapes.

Islands in and around Anne Cove as we left on a cool, cloudy morning

Wednesday’s skies were pouty and gray until early afternoon, but the clouds kept any rain to themselves and meandered away later on. After motoring around the head of Grappler Sound and observing the roiling tidal rapids near one end, we decided that we had lots of travel time and thus would rather go on to a group of islands near the entrance(s) to vast, granite-and-forest-lined, very lake-like Broughton Lagoon. Since there was little wind, seas were smooth, our course was straight, the shores were distant (meaning that there wasn’t much outstanding scenery to enjoy), and the engine was generating plenty of hot water, I took a shower in the aft head while we were motoring and Walt was on duty at the helm. Looking out the shower stall’s window at the water and hills “passing by” as I was performing my ablutions was rather fun!

We found a good anchoring spot not far from an energetic tidal rapids that guarded one of the gates of the lagoon beyond, and didn’t need to stern-tie this time. After doing some reading and enjoying refreshing naps, we climbed into Coracle and headed for the main set of rapids at a distance from Braesail’s anchoring location. The tide was high and supposedly nearing slack water, and the rapids were running at a good pace into a stretch of swirling water on the other side, but Walt decided that the currents were not dangerously strong, and —WHEEEE!–down the rapids we splashed and swerved!

Looking back at the rapids we’d just run through
A second set of rapids
The rapids sometime later
The rapids not long before we were finally able to return to Braesail–the currents were calmer but still too strong to motor through

We visited two other sets of rapids that were also plunging from our anchorage into the lagoon and spreading sea foam, leaves, twigs, and other surface debris across the water. We spent the next two hours touring some of the perimeter of Broughton Lagoon as we waited for slack tide and then the change in direction of the rapids that would propel us back into our anchorage, trying one set of rapids and then another, and finding that the currents that were still running against us in all three were simply too strong for Coracle’s Honda small outboard motor to fight successfully, and we had to let the currents spin and shove us back into the lagoon. The sun was warm when it wasn’t playing hide-and-go-seek among the hills near the rapids, but the small breeze ruffling the water was quite cool and I was glad I was wearing my windbreaker over my sweatshirt as we bounced across the wavelets near the rapids and greeted a sleek, black seal whose head popped up very near Coracle’s side.

After some half-dozen attempts, brave little Coracle finally struggled through the rapids nearest Braesail, and we happily returned to the “mother ship” after an exciting afternoon; the rapids’ currents at this point STILL were not completely slack. At last, the tide in our anchorage fell low enough to cause the rapids to reverse and pour water from the lagoon into our anchorage. We fell asleep later on with the rush-sh-sh-sh of the rapids accompanying the rocking of our dream-boats.

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