We left Octopus very early -just after 09:00 in the morning!- which is much earlier than our normal time, but we had to hit the tides just right to go through the next tight passages, namely the Okisollo Channel. 09:00 may be rather late, but to be ready and anchor up by then it means taking Princess for a last walk much earlier, coming back to Enfin, raising and storing the tender on the top deck, checking the engine room and preparing the pilothouse for the passage. A lot of work for this retired crew that normally enjoys staying in bed a little later.
We followed our friend on Nordhavn MS56 "Lolani" for the first part of the trip as he had kindly offered to share his local knowledge with us. We went through the narrow Northern channel out of Octopus Bay. While narrow, it presents no special difficulties as there are no known rocks in it, and it is completely straight. It is a sight to see a large boat like an MS56 in there.
Soon we were out of the marine park and into the channel. We had timed it right, so we had a number of boats following "Lolani" and us. We looked like an elephant procession, trunk to tail in a long line!
There is something good to know all the other boats reached the same conclusion about when to go through the straights.
It was a beautiful day and we settled into a nice rhythm. "Lolani" alerted us to a lone bear in a meadow on Starboard. Observing it with binoculars we could see him rather well, and Di and I were all excited by our first sight of a bear in the wild. We suspect we'll see plenty more as we venture further North, but we celebrated our first with cheers, hugs and big smiles.
Shortly thereafter Ian on "Lolani" went on his own merry way and we found ourselves all alone for the rest of the trip. I had originally routed a passage to a nearby cove, but just as Ian predicted we hit the currents at the perfect time, right so we kept going. After all it's not everyday we find Enfin making a speed over ground of over 10 knots in perfect weather surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Why stop?
With tall snow capped mountains on either side we had a hard time not taking hundreds of photos, and simply enjoying the view.
We decided we'd ride the favorable currents as far as they'd take us that day, and a quick calculation showed it'd probably be allow us to reach Port Neville late afternoon before the tide and currents would turn against us.
Port Neville is an interesting little place where the Hansen family settled down in the 1800s, at one time running all sort of commercial endeavors. They opened a small shop and post office, that closed in the 1960s but remains there at the top of a public government dock.
Arriving late afternoon we found the dock full, so I decided to anchor in the middle of the bay in 50 feet of water. The location was open to the strong currents, but being close to the dock allowed for easy shore transfers with the tender. Having spent time on the Columbia river we are a lot more comfortable with currents nowadays: Laying down plenty of chain we had no trouble getting the anchor to hold nicely and safely.
We went ashore a couple of times to explore the limited spaces open to the public. Most of the area is still owned by the Hansen family and we respected their privacy of course. Princess got to run up and down the beach.
With limited shore access and open anchorage in strong current, Port Neville was a good overnight stay for us, but there would have been no point in staying any longer.
We set off for Port McNeill, the next morning.