Ship's Log
Saturday, July 29, 2000
Rebecca Spit to Francis Bay


    I awoke at 9am to a funny sound. Almost like someone sweeping the deck with a whiskbroom. I went out on deck and noticed all the boats that were anchored around me left already. Then I looked down to see the sandy bottom about 4 feet below the surface of the water. The problem is that my keel drafts about 4 feet, 6 inches. The boat was leaning to one side and I realized that the tide had lowered 16feet from when we arrived yesterday afternoon. Low tide was another two hours away and I knew I had to do something quick. Deb and I tried to rock the boat loose, but the keel was stuck in the sand. I thought of attaching a line to a halyard and rowing the dinghy using the leverage of the mast to pull me off. Just then a guy motored over in his inflatable dinghy. I tossed him a line and he motored out pulling the top of my mast over and I could feel us lift off the ground. I began to motor toward deeper water. Then all at once, the line snapped and we crashed back to the ground with a loud thump. Stuck again. I couldn’t help but wonder if this caused more structural damage than just waiting out the tide. Now there was at least one other guy buzzing around in his dinghy. The second yeahoo decided he would try and retrieve my anchor. In the mean time, I rigged a stronger line and we tried again. He motored out to the side, his outboard strained and finally, we were free. I realized I would have never been able to get us loose by rowing the dinghy. We backed to deeper water as the second guy struggled to get the anchor. I was tempted to grab my camera to capture the image of this guy. I appreciated the help, but this guy didn’t know what the heck he was doing. He sat there tangled in my anchor rope and his own rope with his outboard smoking and sending him in backwards in all directions. Finally he struggled to get my anchor on board. I hauled him over and he dropped it. We thanked them both and held the laughter in until we were out of earshot. So…we were off—underway without coffee, a plan, or my wits.

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For some unknown reason, I chose to head northwest around Read Island toward Whiterock Pass. After an hour, we began to catch our breath and figure a game plan. The sun was hot and we were looking for a nice place to swim.

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campbell07.jpg (42132 bytes) Soon we were approaching the King Islets. I set the anchor just inside the largest island. The wind was picking up and the current was rushing a bit. But I thought a nice pit stop on this tiny uninhabited island would be just what the doctor ordered. We rowed to shore and Debbie saw her first purple starfish. We walked around to the other side of the island and explored the dense forest. The trees and ferns were amazing shades of green.

Just after I took this picture of Deb, we hiked up to find ourselves perched on a high rock. I looked through the trees for the boat, but it didn’t seem to be where I remember it. My heart skipped a beat. "Oh wait…there it is" I thought as I saw it. Then I asked Deb if that is where it was. We watched it slowly drift with the current wondering if it was the illusion of the waves going by it or if it actually was dragging. Then we realized it was about 50 meters from where I had set the anchor. We scrambled down the rocks, through the bushes to the dinghy. Debbie threw our stuff in as I untied the little rowboat. I pushed us off and rowed faster and harder than ever before. It took only a couple of minute to reach the boat, but it seemed like I was rowing that boat for a long time. 

While I franticly rowed I told Deb, "First I will start the motor, then you will determine if we are hung up on a rock or have run aground. I will get the boat in gear then you steer us away from the rocks while I pull up the anchor." Once onboard, we determined that we weren’t aground. Deb steered us into the channel and I pulled up the anchor. There were two big rocks stuck in the anchor flukes. I smacked them loose and secured the anchor. There we were, underway again…without our wits or a plan. I searched a chart for a dock. I was loosing faith in my anchoring ability. There was a small dock and store at Surge Narrows (The Heart of Read Island) about an hour away. campbell10.jpg (38472 bytes)Soon we entered the bay as wind and current subsided. The little dock and store were a welcomed sight. It felt like we had been at sea for days. And here it was 1pm on Deb’s first full day with me. Once securely tied to the dock ( I think I used four dock lines ), we went into the store. There was a sweet man in there, offering us fresh eggs and bread from the island. 

We got a few things and went for a walk on the dirt road…the only road. We passed the school, a couple of houses and after a while ended up at a dead end. As we turned to go back a voice called out, "Hello there, who are you looking for?" We said, "Oh, we are just out for a walk, sorry to bother you." He introduced himself and began telling us about life on the island and the big adventure he had in a taxi the last time he was in Seattle. He told us that there are currently 12 students in the school. They come from the surrounding islands to go the their new schoolhouse. That’s 12 kids total k-12th grade. He gave some advice about how to negotiate Whiterock Pass. Everyone has advice. But given the type of day we were having, I decided to take all the advice I could and sort it out later. 

We went back to the store and bought a few more things, then headed down to the dock. There was a guy living in his boat there who was working for the store and very interested in what kind of boat I had and where we were from. We chatted for a while. Then we shoved off to catch the high tide to motor through the pass while we could. This passage was very narrow. There was a range on land with two markers one in front and below the other one. Once you had them lined up you were in the channel, about half way down the channel there was another range behind you and once they were lined up you had to turn to follow the channel out.

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After the pass opened up, we set sail and sailed around the Rendezvous Islands. The terrain was really changing. The cliffs were becoming more dramatic and the trees much bigger.

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The forests came right down to the water. It looked so unnatural—like a manmade lake.
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The snowcapped mountains were closer than ever.
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We anchored at the head of Francis Bay.
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I sat and stared at the amazing surroundings. I had to keep going towards the mountains.
Deb agreed, so tomorrow we set a course for Butte Inlet.

It's a small world after all. It's a small small world.

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