As we travel through the rabbit’s warren of channels that comprise the Inside Passage, the navigational chart shows nearly sheer shorelines for the vast majority of our travels – mountains that plunge directly into the sea, with water depths commonly 1000′ or deeper. We’ve seen some bigger hills that have the word “cone” in their name. I’ll have to look up more information about the geology of this region, but these formations certainly look like very old volcanic cones now covered in a thick layer of evergreen trees. We’re cruising through a number of long, fairly straight channels, the PNW equivalent of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in a way, but these channels are very deep where the ICW is very shallow. There are very few anchorages in this area because it’s so deep right up to the steep shoreline, but there are waterfalls EVERYWHERE! Tall ones, short ones, wide ones and narrow ones – all roaring today as we cruise on by. It’s too rainy to get really good photos, but if we tried to photograph them all we’d do nothing but run from one side of the boat to the other.At this point we’re taking advantage of some rainy weather to just make miles – we plan to spend time in this part of BC later on, but right now we need to stay focused on getting to SE Alaska. By the end of today we’ll be about 120 nautical miles south of Ketchikan, and the closer we get the more exciting it is. It’s a “pilothouse” kind of day – where we’re warm and snug and comfortable in the boat despite the misty-rainy cool weather outside.
It’s not fun setting and retrieving the anchor in this kind of weather, but it doesn’t take very long and the rest of the time underway we can take turns running the boat and watching for logs and wildlife. Once in a while we get a little surprise on the anchor chain – the sun starfish seem to like to clamp on, and they only let go when they get to the surface. We’ve found these hitchhikers a few times now.We anchored in Lowe Inlet, halfway up the long and narrow Grenville Channel for the night and to wait out some ugly weather for a day. There is a small but dramatic waterfall at one end of the anchorage, but the best holding is around the corner from the waterfall so we chose security over scenery and anchored well in 101′ of water – a big first for us! We are growing accustomed to the deeper anchorages here in the PNW, but 101′ is quite deep and we’re glad we got a longer anchor chain last fall. We had the anchorage all to ourselves, and we spent a rainy Thursday getting lashed by hard rain and gusty winds, even tucked as far back as we were. We saw a peak gust of 37 knots, but the anchor held just fine and we got the chance to catch up on some trip planning. We got a quick look at Verney Falls as we were pulling out of the anchorage – it was really roaring with all the rain.
Accustomed as we are to deep anchorages in the PNW, we’ve never heard of anyone anchoring in 101′ and especially with a 37 knot gust; yikes! How much rode do you have/what was your scope? Adventure indeed!