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  • Capt. Eric

Port McNeill. Fill Her Up!

We set off from Port Neville in perfectly calm conditions, and within half an hour the tides switched to give us a gentle push all the way up.

The waters were oily calm as we continued our way down Johnstone Strait. and we could see for miles, making for very relaxed navigation.

Going through rocks in fog

That was not to last though: We encountered some of the famous fog the area is known for, with visibility dropping down in places to less than half a mile. Our fog horn sounding regularly, I kept an eye on radar and AIS to make sure we stayed clear of other boats and ships, and stayed on course.

The Port McNeill ferry appearing out of the fog after I stopped it on radar and AIS

In between islands in the fog

Navigating in fog is always a little tense. nothing major, but you need to keep your eyes and ears well opened to make sure you don't miss a crazy kayaker, a small fast boat, or any of the myriad of obstacles that can suddenly appear in front of you.

One of the echo the AIS displayed on my chart plotters was our friend "Raven Song" who'd we met in Surge Passage and spent time with at Octopus Bay.

I called them on VHF: They were only half a mile ahead of us and they would pop in and out of visibility. They confirmed they were also going to Port McNeill, which took away the risk they'd perform some sort of "Crazy Ivan" maneuver on me and suddenly alter course when I wasn't expecting it.

Luckily the fog cleared just as we approached Port McNeill, saving us from having to enter the port in restricted visibility. We had called ahead and they had plenty of space on their guest dock.

We were bringing Enfin back to a dock, some sort of civilization and wanted to fill her up, namely go provision shopping for fresh items, fill up our tender's gas tanks and jerrycans, while at the same time getting full tanks of water. Being connected to shore power would also allow us to top off the batteries properly. The last few percents of battery charge take a very long time to complete, a feature that protects the batteries from damage, so it's always a little difficult to get the batteries fully 100% full purely on generator.

All we need within 10 minutes walking distance

Port McNeill is the perfect provisioning town for us car-less nomads. Everything we need is less than 10 minutes walk from the marina. Small marine shop, groceries, hardware, and even a veterinary clinic to refill Princess' monthly medications.

We spent a busy 2 days "filling her up", and treated ourselves to our first poutine since getting back to Canada.

Our first poutine. Thousands of calories for the cold?!

I even got the perfect Canadian summer shirt: I'd been looking for the perfect one for a long time. I'm rather particular in what features I want and finally found a model that hit all the spots.

The prefect Canadian summer shirt

One of our gas propane tank for cooking had the excellent idea to declare itself empty during our stay. It lasted 9 months, so nothing to complain about. I switched to our alternate and the marina crew kindly arranged a refill.

On top of propane gas, I had the tender gas tanks and water all filled. Fridge, freezer and food cabinets are once again full to the brim, so with Enfin all ready it was time to make further progress towards Alaska.

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