Just a few miles from our anchorage in Coghlin Bay is the Grenville Chanel. This 45 mile long canal is also referred to as “the ditch” by many cruisers. We find the scenery stunning on this bright clear cloudless day with sheer mountain cliffs tumbling down to the shoreline. When we transited this section both coming and going last year, we were in thick fog with zero visibility. We are also thankful for the clear skies today as there are huge logs meandering in the last of the ebb tide. We are on constant lookout for these logs. Hitting one of these could do substantial damage to our boat. We bypass several nice anchorages in the canal as we decide to push on to Prince Rupert. Our weather window for our next open water passage is rapidly closing. By making Prince Rupert today, we should be able to cross tomorrow before the winds come up. We chat briefly with Ed and Jolene on Benu ( a Krogen 42) who are anchored in Low Inlet.
Cow Bay Marina is our home for the evening. The dock master was waiting for us on the float to catch our lines. He had graciously stayed after hours to make sure we got in ok. This is our first marina since leaving Sidney 10 days ago. It is nice to drop off our garbage, do some grocery shopping, laundry, and fill the tanks with water. Tomorrow will be another early morning as it looks like our weather window will hold for the crossing of Dixon Entrance. If all goes well we should be in Alaska by tomorrow afternoon.
We check the 4 am forecast before venturing out. Seas at Dixon Entrance are one meter and all of the other reporting stations show little wind. Our route takes us between Dundas and Green Island before entering the open 40 mile stretch of Pacific waters. The Green Island Light House is an important weather forecasting station for boaters. It is one of only a few remaining manned lighthouses. We are now committed to the crossing as Dundas Island was our last bail out anchorage. Today we find the seas calm with only a two foot chop.
At 11 am, we enter Alaskan waters. After setting our clocks back one hour to Alaskan time, we make a phone call to Ketchikan Customs. Even with our Nexus, we may have to report in at Ketchikan. Up until a few years ago, it was mandatory that all boaters, even those with a NEXUS, stop in Ketchikan to clear customs. We are hoping they will let us bypass Ketchikan and go directly to the Behm Canal. The Customs Officer says he will run our NEXUS numbers and call us back before deciding our fate. We stare anxiously at the phone as our cell service comes and goes. Our attention is diverted as we watch a Humpback Whale breaching repeatedly just ahead. We watch the show for ten minutes as he breaches then lolls on surface catching his breath, and then makes a deep dive before breaching again. This is repeated several times. Our cell service returns and we see a missed call from Customs. Anxiously returning the call, we are happy to hear the officer clear us without having to report in.
Nearing the end of our crossing, the seas are starting to build just as forecast. We are relieved to reach our anchorage of Bullhead Cove and into the protection of the bay for our first nights stay in Alaska for the 2019 season. We have reached Alaska this year in record time of only 10 days. The weather has been very cooperative and we have not had to wait on a single crossing. Now we are ready to slow our pace and enjoy SE Alaska. We will start our first exploration of the area tomorrow as we enter Misty Fiords Wilderness. Stay tuned!