Cruising Southeast Alaska - 2009

By Linda Lewis


6. Linda’s Log Encounter – and – Verizon works in Prince Rupert!


I’ll cut to the chase, with my head hanging: Linda hit a log in Princess Royal. Why? I let my vigilance drop.

I had been monitoring the traffic - like this BC Ferry.

And this tug and tow.

This one particularly interested me because we had been playing nip and tuck for awhile. So I was watching him out the window and tracking him with my Electronic Bearing Line on the radar. Then I saw all the birds sitting on a log alongside him that was as long as his tow.

I decided I needed several pictures of that to show how big the logs can be up here.

The siren song of this log was still calling me.

Fascinating, isn’t it? Well - with this last picture I fascinatingly multi-tasked myself right into a log that whacked our bow, tumbled down the starboard side, tangled with the prop, then smacked the Green Devil on its way past for good measure.

I am always preaching "Constant Vigilance Out The Window". I still will. I’m usually very watchful, but not so this time. I need to follow my own advice more diligently. No matter what the experience level of the operator is, the need for vigilance is present in every moment.

We had been running at 7 Knots and the log was about 6 feet long and about 8 inches in diameter. We checked the bilges and tried to assess for any hull damage. There was a subtle but obvious difference in the feel of the boat on the starboard side. We could discern a slight shuddering under our feet as we increased the RPMs. David thought the most likely explanation was shaft and/or prop damage. It was not enough to require running without that engine (we are a twin screw boat). But it was enough to plan on having things checked out in Prince Rupert.

So we continued on our way and once again admired beautiful, sad Butedale.

Yes, it is still its same dilapidated but captivating self.

The Devil was behaving nicely behind us on its temporary spider-web bridle - still waiting for its re-rig parts in Prince Rupert.

We decided things were too rough in Wright Sound so we went up to Bishops Bay and used the dock for a convenient overnight. The next we detoured around through Verney Passage because it is one of our favorite beautiful stretches.

We have encountered more fog on this cruise than in any other year. Even when it’s clear, there is often a fog bank lurking ahead.

The currents were just right for making it all the way up Grenville Channel so we went to another of our favorite spots to anchor: Baker Inlet. Yes, we did get crab; it's a sure thing in Baker.

We wanted to book a diver as soon as possible upon reaching Prince Rupert, so I started checking for a cell phone connection as soon as we left Baker.

Verizon has never worked in this area before, but the promises have come each year that it will. This year Verizon finally does work in Prince Rupert. We have a cell phone booster and antenna and I was picking up a signal just a few miles north of Baker Inlet. That’s still about 30 miles south of Prince Rupert so there must be numerous connecting locations. (We did hear of others with different phone instruments not being able to connect. I have a one-year old smart phone (LG Voyager), my husband's is an ancient 5 y/o simple phone (Samsung). They both worked.

A diver was recommended by the Prince Rupert Rowing & Yacht Club who was just terrific. We pass on his name and contact information in hopes that you never need him:
Aiden Campo – Commercial Diving – Cell: 250-627-6751; Home: 250-6271098

Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club was too crowded to accomadate us even though I had tried to make reservations when I found a cell signal at Klemtu – two days earlier. So we called Fairview Harbour – a predominantly commercial dock – and were able to raft up to this great packer, the F/V Pacific Nomad.

When the diver arrived, Linda was the designated tool passer.

He had a prop puller and was able to get the starboard prop off – with some difficulty – and handed it up to me. The shafts were fine and the other propellor checked out OK. (Sigh of relief.)

Here is what we saw.

It’s hard to see in this photo, but the blade you are looking at head-on is curled forward a small amount. That is enough to cause the shuddering we were feeling and it needed to be fixed. It doesn’t look like much, but when the propellor is turning 1100 RPM and more (on our boat) it is definitely noticeable and will damage the boat over the long term.

The diver took the prop to Harbour Propellor for us and booked a guy to do the job – on a Saturday – with the attendant overtime charges. Now we had to wait. Strolling the docks and seeing the real fishing folks helped divert our minds. This is a serious crabber.

The next day our diver picked up the prop and brought it to the boat. Terrific service from Diver Aiden Campo. Note the price (Canadian) on the prop. The total damage to our budget for the fix and the two dives: $610.

The diver installed it in short order. But before that, Dave wanted another picture of me with the repaired prop. Blackmail material? Ugh. I wasn’t proud of all of this, but I share the story to urge vigilance – mine and others.

We were very happy to be skookum again. Even the Devil has new hardware and a new bridle and lines set-up that Dave rigged while in Prince Rupert.

The weather cooperated nicely as we departed Prince Rupert. We transited Venn Passage at high water slack early in the morning and did the entire 88 mile run to Ketchikan. It was the calmest Dixon Entrance crossing we have ever had. Fog? Yes – lots of it. But calm rolling swells and light winds. We like that. We were fueled up, custom checked, and tied up at the Bar Harbor Marina in Ketchikan by 1640.

Next installment: Ketchikan and beyond



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