Dreaming About Haida Gwaii

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Chinook
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Dreaming About Haida Gwaii

Post by Chinook » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:42 pm

The cruise around Vancouver Island has gotten my enthusiasm up for a trip out to Haida Gwaii. The 75 to 80 mile open ocean crossing of Hecate Strait is daunting, however with the right weather, and the boat/engine in proper condition, it's certainly doable. Ferrying the boat out there is another option, however with a $1000 + price tag for round trip with truck and trailer. Once out there, the cruising would be similar to the West Coast of Vancouver Island, with lots of sheltered waters to explore. I'm wondering if anyone here has had experience going out there. I recall a Mac owner who posted here from time to time actually lived on Haida Gwaii. Don't recall his name, but would like to get in touch. The fall and winter seasons are always great times to dream and scheme.

dougba
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Re: Dreaming About Haida Gwaii

Post by dougba » Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:35 pm

I am looking forward to viewing your replies. I am considering doing the same next summer. I was looking at the cost of the ferry and was unsure if the posted price was one way or if I would be charged both ways. I don't have your experience sailing and an experienced friend said he wouldn't take his ranger tug across without a very good weather window.

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Chinook
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Re: Dreaming About Haida Gwaii

Post by Chinook » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:19 am

The posted ferry fares are one way, so it ends up being a very expensive ferry ride. According to Waggonners Cruising Guide, the distance from the jumpoff anchorage out of Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii is 65 miles, so I figure an 11 hour run. Considering that as you near the island, you begin getting the benefit of a protective landform, it seems to be a reasonable run, given a good weather forecast. Nice stretches of weather usually occur in mid summer, so I'm definitely encouraged. I most likely would motor or motor sail, since sailing out there at 3 to 4 knots would take much longer. Sufficient wind to sail faster would also generate higher seas, which I would tend to avoid by waiting for more settled weather.

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mac n cheese
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Re: Dreaming About Haida Gwaii

Post by mac n cheese » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:55 pm

Congratulations on your circumnavigation of Vancouver Island by the way. I enjoy reading your blogs.
Are you dealing with currents also when crossing the Hecate Strait? I suppose it could turn into a waiting game
until the weather window opens up.

If you like seafood then the scallops on the haida gwaii archipelago should fill you up. :)
These are weathervane scallops, the largest in the world. I've heard them being compared to the size of hockey
pucks.

They should be incentive enough to make the crossing. :)


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Chinook
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Re: Dreaming About Haida Gwaii

Post by Chinook » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:25 pm

The middle and northern part of Hecate Strait is relatively shallow, 115 feet or less, and the currents run strong through it. If a wind is blowing against the direction of current, it quickly gets rough out there. This condition is made worse by the shallow water. Given the length of the passage, I assume that a boat traveling at 6 knots would experience both a northerly and southerly current during a crossing. This increases the importance of having a good settled forecast.

Those scallops are amazing. I've also seen some remarkable tidepool photos of starfish from out there. The colors are incredible, from bright reds to deep blues, and every shade in between.

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