- Capt. Eric
Fjords and Mountains
We left Pender Harbour after the usual morning walk and grabbing a replacement zinc from the local marine store, heading for Malibu Passage.
Malibu Passage is well known locally for it's narrow entrance and fierce currents, which can reach up to 12 knots. Enfin's slow speed cannot come close to matching that. Needless to say that makes it a passage to undertake carefully and only when the currents allow. That is when the tide is slack, either high or low tide. For extra safety in the narrow and shallow passage, Di and I had elected to only go on slack high tide, to give us that extra margin. Tide tables showed that the best passage time would be around 09:30 in the morning that day, so we would have had to leave Pender Harbour around midnight to give us plenty of time to get there.
That never really made sense to us, as the journey itself is a treat, so we decided instead to find an anchorage on the way. Easier said than done, as the mountains on each sides are very steep and continue underwater into very deep canyons. We had identified 3 possible anchorages, none of the high class and high protection we generally prefer, but they should do in the prevailing weather conditions and forecast.
We followed Agamemnon Channel with wind and currents helping us so we reached our first possible anchorage early afternoon. We decided to push on to our next possible about 4 hours further up North through Prince of Wales Reach, Princess Royal Reach then Queen's Reach. The scenery was absolutely spectacular, the mountains kept getting higher and higher as we advanced deeper into the fjords. It felt like we were sailing in a high mountain lake in Switzerland, and it was almost hard to believe we were at sea level at times.
Later in the afternoon the winds started picking up, providing us an extra assist. But by the time we arrived at our possible second anchorage it was clear that it wouldn't provide sufficient protection from the 20 knots wind and waves that had come up.
Luckily, our 3rd potential anchorage was just behind the corner in a spot that would provide complete shelter from both wind and waves. The only problem was that there was only a small spot of sufficiently shallow waters before the depths fell again. That spot was close to the shore, so required a bit of precision anchorage. Nothing difficult overall, and we ended up in a nice and well protected spot where we could see the white caps rolling in the distance.
For extra safety we deployed a line to shore -a first for us on Enfin- before using the tender to go to a nearby abandoned logging camp to walk Princess.
Next morning we had planned to transit Malibu Passage around 10:30, but as we made our way we heard on VHF a number of boats going through starting at 09:30. That told us (as per the calculations anyway) that the current wasn't strong so we headed for the passage ourselves.