Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jerry and Claire soaking their feet in the warms springs at Ahauset.

Bread rising as it sit on the diesel motor.

Whale Tale

After spending Sunday afternoon in the Broken Group Islands we decided that it was high time that we actually clear customs into Canada…this meant that we needed to pull up anchor and make the 11 mile treck north, in thick fog, to Ucluelet. This is a small fishing port at the North West corner of Barkley Sound. We spend the night tied up to the government dock, while Claire made fresh bread. The trickiest part of bread making on a boat is finding a warm place to let the dough sit and rise. As long as we are not underway we have found that perfect place…sitting on top of the Volvo diesel motor in the engine compartment. Thislace stays very warm for a long period of time after motoring for while. Claire has now baked two loaves of bread, and each has not lasted longer than a day.

Monday provided the Osprey crew a day to make the next leg of our journey up to Tofino and beyond. We all agreed that Tofino did not provide the shelter that we wanted from the upcoming gale so we would continue up the coast about 15 miles more to Clayoquot Sound and Flores Island where there is a small village named Ahouset that was just what we were looking for. Good anchorage, not swarming with tourists, and a small general store to restock essentials like bananas, flour, and butter.

The sail started of quite nicely. The sun was out, we had between 9 and 12 knots of wind and it was coming from the east which would provide us with a chance to fly the asymmetric spinnaker. But the typical finicky Pacific Winds died just as we had the sail up and were starting to get comfortable, and we were forced to bring down the sail and motor the majority of the 40 plus miles up to Ahouset. Just under 2 hours into our trip (9:45 am) we were all peacefully enjoying the ride when out of no where the boat came to a sudden jarring stop and the water exploded from underneath us. Instantly there was a second equally forceful collision and a giant plume of water, about 10-15 feet high, burst out of the ocean from the aft port side of the boat. WE HAD HIT A WHALE!

We all quickly spring into action. Jerryde-throttled the motor, and Grant and Claire went below to make sure that no water was coming into the boat. After running the boat through its paces we concluded that no significant damage was done to the rudder, keel, or prop; no water was coming into the bilges and everything seemed to be where it should be.

The rest of the journey to Ahauset was uneventful. We pulled into Ahauset, docked at the general store and did a walk around of the boat to see if we could find any damage. The starboard aft portion of the boat had a large scratch and the port aft portion of the boat had a large splatter mark on it. Both seem to have come from the whale, but neither are very serious. After stopping by the general store and then dropping anchor we went to the warm springs at the end of the bay and soaked our feet in the 77 degree water. All of us were very tired and relieved to have made it to our anchorage all in one piece.

Currently we are resupplying and using the internet at Tahsis, a small logging town deep in Nootka Sound.


  1. Holy Moly - what else can the three of you experience. Perhaps I shouldn't even tempt fate by stating that! Amazing! Glad your bread is productive and tasty Claire.
    Enjoy the calm.........Carol

  2. Glad you guys came through another experience! Saw Carol today at my Grandma's memorial. We talked a bit about your trip so far!

  3. OMG! Glad the boat and crew survived another close encounter with nature. What about the whale?

  4. You know what we say over here? Welcome to Whales

  5. Wow i wonder it Jonah was inside that whale, the Good Lord would need to rewrite the book! Well glad to hear you guys are all okay, Grant the Cougs laid a serious egg at Qwest on saturday. You missed nothing, sans delicious chinese food from V Garden following the game. Seriously you guys take care of yourselves. We'll keep checkimng your updates and feel a part of your journey from afar.


  6. As a representative of Canadians Offering Whales Sacturary, (C.O.W.S) we here by strongly protest your actions, eh.

    Da Ol' Man

  7. Claire, the bread looks great! You are all in my thoughts and prayers! I love hearing your updates and seeing your pictures. Glad the boat and the whale are doing okay. Love Carly