Tuesday, June 23, 2009

May at Chatterbox Falls

Rikki-tikki-tavi began his cruising season at his very favorite spot– Princess Louisa Inlet! His crew, Clark and Nina, reveled in the serenity and beauty of this most spectacular of places while Rikki-tikki rested quietly at the dock behind Seaweed. The first two weeks were typically drizzly and misty, which only accentuated the splendor of the mountains that stream with a myriad of waterfalls. Then the sun came out! The weather was deliciously warm and bright, the skies and waters pellucid. Chatterbox Falls is the glorious centerpiece of Princess Louisa. The flow of the falls constantly changes throughout each day in response to temperatures and rainfall. Fascinating. We kayaked, harvested shellfish (which is open until May 30th), visited with cruisers, and bathed in the sun.
Nina made four hats– one for granddaughter Eva, one for Clark, a special "9ah hat" for Sandy who was having a birthday, and a sunhat for herself. Rikki-tikkii also celebrated a birthday. May 10th was the fifth anniversary of his launch into the Sacramento River! Nina scrubbed the sail cover and polished windows in preparation. Sandy and Loren contributed a bottle of champagne to our meal of prawns, pickled oysters, and steamed mussels. Clark blew out five candles inserted into cashew/coconut nut balls. It was a perfect day.
The 22nd through the 28th brought some large tidal differences with one large ebb during the day. This means that the ebb currents through Malibu Rapids were delayed significantly due to the huge volume of water exiting the inlet. Most boaters depend on the Canadian Hydrographic Tables' corrections for the timing of the slack current at Malibu, which is taken off of the tide station at Point Atkinson. The corrected time is, we want to emphasize, an average of all the current slacks over time. Folks were not taking the tidal differences into account and many entered the rapids too early only to face unexpected strong currents and turbulence. Boaters came to the dock with horror stories. Two boats actually aborted halfway through and turned around! They were traumatized along with other boaters (not only small boats, mind you!) who made it through by the skin of their teeth, so to speak. Thankfully, there were no tragedies. We want to remind those who travel the distance to lovely Princess Louisa Inlet to pay attention to the tidal differences. In times of large tides, Malibu Rapids may be up to an hour-and-a-half late on the ebb. Take care.
There are no more BC Parks mooring buoys at MacDonald Island. The anchor chains had all rusted completely through and the buoys floated freely away from their stations. We learned that three large powerboats had tied to the last two that had stopped near shore on the north side of the inlet. A Nordhavn rafted to a second yacht shared one of these overnight. Yikes! Fortunately there were no strong inflow or outflow winds during their visit.
Rikki-tikki-tavi plans to make annual visits to Princess Louisa Inlet. Clark and Nina find it the perfect starting point for a season of cruising in British Columbia. Long live "The Princess"! Thank you, Mac. Photographs copyright 2009 Nina Courtney Wagaman and Clark Wagaman. All rights reserved.


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