Battling Wild Mountain Winds Sailing into BC's Largest Fjord | A&J Sailing S3Ep.8
A huge gust came, hit the boat, the main slashed over.. All of a sudden from this thunder system building over the mountain here. It came down straight out of the North and hit the boat wing-on-wing, flipped the main back over and buried the rails.
[Music] You're joining us in this remote fjord cutting deep into the heart of the Pacific Coastal Mountain Range. This crater-like anchorage is the only safe refuge in this 100 km canyon, carved out by glaciers of the last ice age. Lined with towering snow-crowned peaks and massive ice fields, the mountains here generate their own unique weather systems making sailing around these parts a little dicey.. and although we journeyed up here during a period of stable conditions, we've learned that when sailing into the mountains you have to be prepared and ready for anything.. It's been fun scrambling around these rocks here, it's very like subalpine terrain. You can
definitely tell that in the winter the wind rips through here it would get that Arctic outflow, you can see that huge debris, dead heads, giant logs have been washed up on the beach on the southern side of this anchorage and then also that the trees are so windswept, it reminds me so much of the terrain in Newfoundland or like any sort of subalpine environment but we're at sea level so yeah definitely a harsh environment in the winter would not want to be sailing up here then or if you were you'd be one tough *MF* You want to really check the weather carefully yeah but it's beautiful here now. True to the summer weather patterns it was completely calm overnight so we weren't too worried we slept really well and had full trust in the stern tie anchor situation definitely a good stopping off point when you're traveling up Burke Channel yeah otherwise it's a whole like nearly 70 M slog to do in one day, it's nice to break it up into 30m junks mhm I was really anxious this morning when I woke up thinking that it was just going to be like steady headwinds the rest of the 30 miles up the inlet and that would make the going really hard, but I am delighted to see that it has turned right around and we have a lovely little inflow breeze again yeah so it should be a very similar day to yesterday we sailed from Kisameet Bay all the way up here to Cathedral point so was about 30 nautical miles and it was perfect downwind sailing the entire day. We were not expecting that, so go and check that video out because that one was phenomenal but yeah so we're halfway up the inlet and we're going to continue on today. Yep I
think we're going to go to South Bentinck arm and maybe go explore and see if we can't find some hot springs down there. So it's another 30 nautical miles so if we get going it's now before midday around 10:00 in the morning and we should get there for dinner time I reckon! So getting out of stern tie situations is always a little bit fun because at the moment we're pulled really hard on the stern tie so as soon as we cut it loose the boat's going to start to swing out across the bay so I'm going to untie it we'll put the dingy in the water ready to go I'll try to hang onto the boat and see if I can hold it and if I can, I'll bring it down here we'll jump in the dingy, pull ourselves back and bring in the anchor rode before we swing into the other shore [Music] [Music] yeah yep we're going to fall off the wind here Well we're back under sail, sailing downwind at 3.2 knots. The big rock formation just up the channel here is called Gibraltar point I believe because it kind of resembles the rocks of Gibraltar which is pretty cool! it's a big granite face that comes right down to sea level and looks absolutely phenomenal. Generally you only see things like that above 1,000 M up in
the alpine so it's really cool to see such a huge granite slab just come right down to level, and I imagine that below the ocean it just continues going down 1,000 ft to the bottom of the inlet. These Granite Cliffs are are so spectacular, you usually have to get up pretty high into the alpine to see rock formations like this, just so steep plummeting into the ocean, it's just super dramatic to see them just at the water's edge and this is all carved out by glaciers thousands and thousands of years ago. Really when you think about it, what we're looking at is the tops of the mountains and they go for another thousand meters below the ocean so, we don't even know how deep it is here, our depth sounder is off the charts so it's it's probably more than 1,000 M it just goes straight down. Some big mountains! [Music] So we just hit 5 knots which is aces, not expecting to travel down wind this fast today but I freaking love it. I was just having a fun little thought contrast of all of the crazy forces involved in carving out this Inlet with a ratio and the erosion of the earth and all of that big powerful physical forces and yet here we are sailing downwind in a casual 10 knots of breeze on a beautiful sunny day! Just what a crazy juxtaposition of environmental forces.
Really fun to think about! Anyway that's one of the things I keep my mind interested in while sailing. I am slowly getting burnt on one side of my body because yesterday all the sun was over here and today all the sun is over here so I have like a one side tan - it's not like a farmer's tan it's kind of like a trucker tan when you have one arm out the window and it's always burnt the other one's white. You need a bigger hat yeah probably need a bigger hat and some linen long sleeves or something. Stoked to be doing such a great speed 4 and a half five knots we're only just coming through slack at the moment and it's turning to a flood so the current will be going with us in the next couple of hours so hopefully we'll be even making better ground which is phenomenal. What a lovely lovely sail up this channel. Burke channel, would recommend! Some of the most dramatic scenery I've seen on the BC Coast! We are careening along right now at an average of 6 knots speed overground. We've been surfing some waves as well, the channel is a little bit narrower here and the mountains are steeper so I think the wind is really channeling through and getting sucked upwards pulling us with it! we're noticing that the color of the water is starting to change so it's a little bit more turquoise due to the glacial silt - we've got about six or seven more miles to go before we reach the head of Burke Channel where it branches off to North and South Bentinck arm. North would
take us to Bella Coola and South would take us to Tallheo Hot Springs. I think we're itching for a little Hot Spring Hot Soak action. So I think we're going to take the South Route and head to the South springs for a little bit before we continue North to reprovision. How's it feeling up there? A little rollier.. yeah i feel that, the sea state's builidng.
Okay, there it goes you go pull it in Back to making lunch! Thanks Al! Between the back and forth of running up into the cockpit and helping James with sail changes I'm down here making some burritos. I have to use up some mushrooms carrots salsa and stuff like that as well as our cheese so sauté some mushrooms and onions threw in some carrots and peppers some spices.. they are vegetarian burritos so they're made with black beans.. at first I was like oh no I overpacked these burritos and I didn't think I was going to be able to roll them but I managed to. They are huge but my thinking is we can sort of eat half and then
in a few hours when we're hungry again we can eat the other half that way that minimizes my time down here in the galley sloshing from side to side and leaving James up at the helm by himself. This is is amazing, like the color of the water mhm [Music] wow [Music] All right let's just get through this little squally spot.. Wow I just finished eating my burrito and James and I were talking about putting the Drone up because it was so calm and we were going wing on wing and then all of a sudden a huge gust came hit the boat, the main slashed over, the preventer line flew out of the winch all the stuff on the port side of the boat hit the starboard including the rest of my burrito.. we didn't really get down but we did put the rails in the water.. We did! The wind basically did like a 120° shift and instead up coming up Burke Channel it came all of a sudden from Little Thunder system from the mountain here and came down straight out of the North, hit the boat wing on wing, flipped the main back over and buried the rails. That's a really good reminder not to be complacent in these places.. I mean you're
getting winds rushing down from the mountains there's a lot of different systems that build over these mountain peaks and yeah you just have to be ready for anything really. We got lucky on that one but we got to keep 'on awares' we're not in Kansas anymore.. No but we are now traveling at 6 and 1/2 knots with the wind on a beam directly off the next channel so hey [Music] We've been getting some real spicy gusts coming down off this little bit of weather so we just put the first reef in the main just in case they get a little bit intense we uh decided this time just because it was a little bit windier that we're just rolling the headsail, put the motor on put the boat up into irons properly so that we can tie the reef in nice and securely while we had good control of the boat. So we did that that we let the main sheet back out turned back down wind and now we're sailing 4 and 1/2 knots down wind again on the first reef without the head Sail out so still making good gains.
[Music] James and I just checked the updated weather forecast cuz we are at the head of Channel deciding whether we want to go north or south Marine forecasts really aren't very accurate for up here at the head of these inlets so we just checked the forecast for Bella Coola which is the nearest closest city or town and it said for tomorrow they're expecting thunder showers sort of all day with 20 km an hour winds gusting to 40.. so 40 is a little bit steep! We assume that if it's going to be gusting like that up there it'll likely be the same just south of here in Larso Cove which is where we wanted to stage ourselves in order to get to the hot springs. We're not familiar with the anchorage in Larso Cove, there's not a lot of information on it.. there used to be a logging operation there with a log
boom that you can tie up to but who knows if that's still the case and we're not quite sure what the holding is like or the swing room and we don't want to be caught in 40 knots of wind in an anchorage like that. Too many unknowns so I think we're going to head north of the Bella Coola, we'll position ourselves safely in there and that way if tomorrow's storm rolls in we can always put ourselves on the dock but we're closer to civilization if anything were to go wrong.. but yeah that's some spicy weather in the forecast.. we definitely want to be caught with our pants down in that so yeah.. If this is like a little thunderstorm I can only imagine what a system would be like that's twice its size or even bigger. I mean we're sailing just on the first reef with the the main and we're doing 5 and a half six knots so I think we're better off to go in where we're a little bit more protected a little bit more safe and just kind of keep an eye on the weather forecast for the next few days and make a better game planed decision. But I think we're making the right choice by changing plans
avoiding getting stuck down a very remote Inlet. Good on us for changing our minds constantly! We have moved up here into North Betinick arm, there was a dramatic change in the water line from Burke Channel coming up here and that's where the salt water hits the fresh water trapping some of the fresh water up here in the arm and it's just a deeper shade of milky turquoise because it has an increased amount of glacial sediment in it. The wind seems to be funneling straight down South Bentinick so we would have been sailing hard all the way down to Larso, but coming in here is really quite protected and pretty chilled out. There is a little bit of a downdraft wind coming out of the channel and we were going to try to sail up wind but we can't get the Genoa out at the moment because the UV cover which you've probably seen by now, has been ripped and has been flapping around like crazy.. it's somehow wrapped itself around the forestay and is kind of constricting the head sail from coming out when it's furled so that'll be a job for the morning when hopefully it's calm, we can take a look at the sail and see what the heck's going on there. Bit of a pain in the ass cuz we can't sail upwind at all um
without a head sail so I'm glad that we're going into Bella Coola so that we can deal with uh some of these problems and fix some of the problems that we're having on the boat to make it sail better! It does look like the Northern sea wolf is steaming up our asses - that's the ferry that runs from Port Hardy up to Bella Bella up to Prince Rupert and then back - it also makes a stop in here at Bella Coola and yeah we'll probably be seeing it Go by in like 3 2 1[Music] [Music] [Music] wow [Music] [Music] wow here you go Nice! yay! awesome yay, it's untangled! That thing had like formed a proper slip knot around so there was no way that was going to come undone on its own but luckily it was just within reach of the gaff so that's fabulous. So now we can take down the sail and clean it all up cut it off or stitch it back up! Thank you, laundry time! We're on the quarantine dock mhm you got to paddle everywhere. I mean you can't walk but this is funner. [Music] 0:23:57.880,1193:02:47.295 [Music]
[Music] Well we are currently hoofing it into town to get some provisions. I'm in the frame now hey we're going into town because that gusty wind blew up and it's pretty bumpy down at the anchorage.. well at the marina I guess. The forecast was pretty accurate and that gusty thunderstorm sort of weather did spike up here so we ended up taking our laundry off the boat rather than leaving it blowing around like that and we're currently walking the kilometer and a half into Bella Coola. Yeah there's some thick cumulous clouds building that are moving in so I reckon we'll get a storm later this afternoon, tons of white caps out on this part of the bay so I'm sure it's howling further down the channels so we're glad that we're not down in a bay anchored up with questionable holding and slightly exposed to the wind.. good choice to come up here to Bella Coola yeah yeah we're heading into town hopefully go see what groceries and knickknacks and fishing supplies they have up here so we'll uh catch up with you when we get into town [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] oh [Music] This is our second day of sewing the UV cover back onto our sail.. it's probably been 6 hours or so in the making and I've sewn probably 2/3 of the sail so there's parts of the sail where the sail's reinforced and it's like six or seven layers of Dacron thick and for the life of me, I cannot get a needle through it. So because I don't have an awl l I have found this little piece of steel,
sharpened one end with the trusty Dremel, blunted the other end and made a punch so that I can punch holes through many layers of Dacron and then sew up the last little bit of our sail! If you don't have the tool you make the tool because you are the tool. The tool is your brain! The tool is you. Really handy to have on a boat is a portable Dremel because you can do so many little jobs with these things they have cutting discs and grinding discs and sanding discs and just Ultra handy for any small task like making an awl. Is the Dremel in your top 10 tools box? Well I am all of top 10 of my 10 tools so it's on number 11. We did fix two rips that were in the panels of Dacron so that's been good and we've tied sewn down pretty much the entirety of the edge from the top of the sail down to the bottom panel so almost there! Should be able to finish it up today and then hopefully it'll be still enough that we can put the sail back up on the forestay [Music] Thanks for watching folks! Give it a thumbs up if you enjoyed this one and don't forget to subscribe if you're new here! And a super big thanks to our newest Patreons Caroline Larry Juan and Paul you guys are absolute Legends! We'll see you all next week, cheers!