Gulf Islands to Princess Louisa Inlet

August 18, 2001

Well, as I read the last update I sent out (from the Gulf Islands), I think I was a little bit too smug about all that sunshine.  Now, of course, we are  sitting in the pouring rain in Princess Louisa Inlet.  But I really shouldn't complain -- we had about ten days of glorious sunshine, and I plan on this rain being only temporary.  Of course we can't get an official weather forecast here, because Princess Louisa Inlet is surrounded by sheer granite walls that go up 3000 to 6000 feet.  We can get some ham radio transmissions, but we can't get the official weather forecasts, or most other types of radio.

When we came in, it looked like Yosemite, but with water in the bottom, and without all those tourists.  There are dozens of waterfalls coming down the cliffs, falling thousands of feet.  At the head of the inlet is a much shorter (perhaps only 150 feet high) waterfall, but it's much more full and dramatic.  Presumably, after this rain (if we can see it), it will be bigger yet.

The sheer rock walls continue down under water, making anchoring extremely difficult, if not impossible.  There are metal rings that have been placed into the rock, and the idea is to tie one line onto the metal ring, to pull against your anchor in the other direction.  But it would be nice to have the anchor hooked onto something.  We tried numerous times before we finally got the anchor to hook on something.  But here we are, about 20 feet from the rock wall, backed up near one of the many waterfalls.  The anchor is so secure, that I hope we'll be able to get it up this morning!

Ashore, there are trails through the rain forest, and a big shelter with picnic tables.  (Everything says rain, doesn't it?)  Quite a beautiful place.

The Neunteufels, from Austria, are with us this week.  Cori was an exchange student who lived with us for a year six years ago.  Yesterday, after we went  ashore, Cori and I rowed around the edge of the inlet (in the sun) looking at the cliffs and the vegetation.  At one point a blue heron flew in and settled on a log about twenty feet away.  We sat there and drifted, watching the heron.  He used his long beak to clean the downy feathers on his chest, and we were close enough to see wisps of down hanging from his beak.  The current carried us closer and closer, until the rowboat actually touched the log the heron was on.  He was not more than four feet away -- I almost could have reached out and touched him.  Finally he got nervous and flew away.  I've never been so close to such a large bird in the wild.
 
We had sun all through the Gulf Islands, but there were lots of boats.  We stopped at Montague Harbor Marine Park, and walked around the peninsula on the trails, and on the beach.  From a distance, the beach looks like it's white sand, but when you get close, it turns out that it's all pieces of shell.  The natives lived there for thousands of years, discarding shells close by.  It's those shells that have made the beach.  On one side of the peninsula, an ultralight floatplane had landed, and beached itself.  It looked like an overgrown mosquito, and we watched as it finally took off down the channel.
Sid and Julie Blachford left us in Nanaimo, where the Neunteufels joined us.  Nanaimo was HOT, and we were glad to get sailing across the strait.  We sailed and then motored up to Egmont, which is near the famous Skookumchuck Rapids.  We took a short hike to the rapids.  Four times a day the flooding or ebbing tide is forced through a very narrow channel, making dramatic rapids and whirlpools.  Very impressive!
On the Northwest Boaters Net this morning, people from the Gulf Islands and Georgia Strait are reporting sunshine.  So we think we'll be heading out that way this morning.  We have to wait for slack water at Malibu Rapids (the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet), and that doesn't come until about noon.  Princess Louisa is gorgeous, but we'd like a little more sun, please.

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