August 27, 2005

Some additional thoughts - at Oleo's

Hello again everyone!

We love hearing from you during our travels. Please feel free to send us an email and let us know what you're up to, how things are going, etc.

If you REPLY to our messages, PLEASE DELETE the text of our message to you. This connection is over a slow speed high frequency single sideband radio connection and only runs at a few hundred characters A MINUTE. You can find out more about this way of sending a receiving email at or

If you have any problems getting through on the address, please drop me a note on our address and I'll fix it from our end.

Quite of few of you have commented that we talk about food a lot. Hey, we're foodies! The concern is that we must be gaining weight and blowing up like blimps! Good news, we're not! In fact, since I (Bill) retired I've lost weight and my waist is down from a 38+ to a loose 36. Mary's lost weight too! While we don't have a scale on board, clothes fit is the major indicator we use between weigh ins.

Also, in yesterday's email, I forgot to mention that as we stopped at Blind Channel and Oleo's on the way up to the Broughton's, you can read about those locations in our past postings:

Blind Channel:


Also, during this visit to Oleo's we met the mom, Ruth and had a lovely chat.

You can see all our old postings on our Web Log at:

We hope you're all having a great weekend!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

August 26, 2005

Port McNeill, Johnstone Straights and Points South

Hello Everyone!

We posted pictures, yesterday on our website of our August adventures. Be sure to check them out at

When we last emailed, we were anchored out at Dickson Island on Saturday Morning, Aug 20th. We left that morning in Fog and overcast and headed over to Port McNeill.

Mary was planning to fish, but we had to cancel that side excursion when the autopilot insisted on steering the boat in starboard (right hand) circles. With the fog and no auto pilot, there were enough hands on board to steer, watch for logs (there were lot's!), fish and land the fish if we caught any.

So, with "Car Talk" and "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" on Sirius Satellite radio - we hand steered the four hours over to Port McNeill.

After tying up in the Marina - we delved into the depths of the transom to figure out what was wrong with the autopilot. To get to it, we had to empty the lazerette, then take out the port propane locker. A quick look showed that the autopilot ram was fully extended with the wheel not even centered, but to starboard (right). Hmmm, out also came the starboard propane locker.

This one is more troublesome to remove as it's the locker with the active propane bottle. So we not only have to remove the vent/drain hose from the bottom of the locker, but also disconnect the propane solanoid wiring, and clip the tie wraps retaining the coiled propane hose that's extra length so we can remove the locker without totally disassembling the propane line.

Finally, with both lockers out, I could get below the rudder quadrant to the autopilot drive arm to fine the set screw and bolts holding in position had loosened and the arm had shifted from position.

First we tried centering and tightening the bolts. No, that wouldn't work. The whole drive arm assembly had slipped down on the rudder shaft and now the autopilot ram was abrading the stern through hull hoses (not good).

So, loosening the whole shebang, raising it on the rudder shaft and re-tightening was necessary. Done, now the test. Yes!!! The autopilot now could move freely! Task done (or so I thought).

Since we rarely have both propane lockers out, I took care of some other chores while in the transom area.

Our Seafrost refrigeration unit's "sight glass" is only accessible with the lockers out. So, I gave it a look. Hmmm, foam going by! That indicates an incomplete charge of R-22 refrigerant, we must have a slow leak (we had the service fellow, recharge a bit of R-22 in it before we left Alameda last September after 4 years - so it's a real slow leak).

The only repair person in Port McNeill doesn't have equipment for R-22 (one of the "sort of green" Freon replacement refrigerants). We have a "cruising kit" with the fittings and two cans of R-22 to use to recharge the unit when out on a cruise - but no instructions!.

Fortunately, Port McNeill has cell phone coverage and double fortunately, our service fellow back in the bay area answered his cell phone on a Saturday and talked us through the process of adding the gas to our unit. Two successes!

I also added an interference filter to our Marine SSB antenna tuner (also in the transom and only accessible with both propane lockers out), this was a project that I've had on the back burner waiting to do when I was in the transom. Without this filter, the transmitted signal from the Marine SSB gets into some of the boat systems and causes them to act up (e.g. the Autopilot does "S" turns, or "Snake Wake" as it's called). The filter is supposed to keep the transmit power going out the antenna and not running around the boat. We'll see how it works...

Buttoning everything up, that killed our Saturday.

Sunday, we had a great visit over to Alert Bay where we visited the U'Mista cultural museum and walked around town. See our website for the pictures.

Monday, we did laundry and other chores.

Tuesday, we did shopping and got ready to leave at the crack of dawn on Wednesday. Doing last minute boat checkouts, a strange noise was coming from the rudder assembly when turned from stop to stop. Oh boy, back into the lazerette and out came the port propane locker. Hmmm, the rudder cable seems a bit loose and the ends are "snapping" on the autopilot drive arm. tightened them up and buttoned up the locker and lazerette.

Wednesday, we left Port McNeill in overcast cold conditions at 6:15. Sunrise was at 6:30. We caught favorable currents until we were past Telegraph Cove and into Johnstone Straights. With virtually no wind, the sometimes fearsome Johnstone Straights were a piece of cake. We also had Neap Tide currents, so things were not bad in the current category either.

Plan A was to anchor at Forward Harbour. Conditions were so benign however that we continued the extra 20 miles onto Blind Channel where we spent the night.

On our trip down, we went from long underwear weather in overcast and cold conditions to warm, shorts weather in only 60 miles. We also saw multiple pods of Orcas - one male with an enormous doral fin, pods of dolphins and Minke Whales (we think, we need to get a whale book for positive ID).

The autopilot wasn't happy during the passage - so, at Blind Channel, into the transom/propane locker for the third time. I had over tightened the rudder cables. Ahhh Perfection!

While working away, we changed the engine oil and filter as it was due.

Thursday, we updated our website with pictures, fueled up, then motored over to Oleo's.

Today, Friday, we spent the day with Paul fishing for Salmon. Skunked again.

Tomorrow, we'll be heading back through the Dent and Yuculta Rapids, heading back to the Desolation Sound area.

That's the latest from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

August 19, 2005


Hi Everyone!

We left Sullivan Bay, Tuesday in rain showers. This Pacific Northwest weather is pretty depressing, a totally sunny day is pretty rare. Most days it's also fairly cool, only reaching the high 60s by mid-afternoon.

A short distance from Sullivan Bay, we anchored in Claydon Bay up Grappler Sound. We had a pleasant night at anchor and the Wednesday morning, Travis and Barbara on Bar-T-Na, joined us. Mary and Travis went off crabbing with Travis's lucky crab trap and finally success! the first pot had 4 keepers out of 7 total (the other 3 were real close to keeper size). Re-setting it with some bait fish, it had 3 the Thursday morning and a huge sun starfish. These were Mary's first successful catch of keeper dugenous crabs.

We also arose early Thursday morning to look for bear. They like to hunt on the beach at low spring tide. Claydon Bay is on the BC mainland coast, North of Broughton Island and is prime bear country.

Travis and Barbara spied a mother and cub from their boat, but by the time we got dressed and on deck they were gone.

We got in our dingy and went exploring.

In the next lobe of the Claydon Bay is an abandoned logging trestle and a broad beach at low tide. We slowly motored by, being very quiet, searching the beach and tree area. Nothing...

We went almost completely around the bay and started back.

Looking back, I saw a black spot emerge from the trees. Quickly changing direction, we crept closer...

It was a mother and cub!

When we got within a few hundred yards, we cut the engine and let the slight breeze and tide carry us closer. Fortunately, we were not directly up wind of the bears, so they remained oblivious to our presence.

We got within 30 feet of the shore where the bears were happy turning over rocks, some very large, noisily crunching their clams. The bears were about another 20 feet from the shore so we were at a safe distance. Bears can swim well and a mother and cub are not to be trifled with, but they showed absolutely no signs of distress or alarm.

At one point the cub wandered back into the woods and the mother, happily continued munching clams for another 20 minutes before she noticed he/she was gone and went huffing into the woods looking for her progeny.

They both returned 5 minutes later to the beach and continued hunting. After watching the bear for over an hour, we left them to their breakfast and went back to ours.

We had a great rest of the day Thursday, having breakfast with Travis and Barbara and cooking up our crabs. That night they came over for dinner. Mary made her world famous Crab Cakes and I made Pork Marsala.

This morning, it was very foggy, but when the fog lifted around noon, we left and went about 7 miles further up Grappler Sound to Turnbull Cove. Another lovely anchorage, with the usual trees, etc. Yawn...

We had lunch and decided to head down to Dickson Island to get ready to head across Queen Charlotte Straights in the morning to head either to Port McNeill or Sointula.

That's the news from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

August 16, 2005

Sullivan Bay Marina - The Broughton's

Hi Everyone,

Here we are in Sullivan Bay, North Broughton Island at 2:15PM, Monday, August 15th and waiting for the sun to come out. It's a little late today. Usually around 1PM we'll see some sun. Sometimes it's not until 4PM.

When we left Pierre's, we went just a short distance to Echo Bay. We met another couple, Ken and Carol Whitaker, on a Valiant 42, Whisper. Carol was not interested in fishing. So Ken and I went out to catch dinner. We did well with a couple of rock fish and several black cod, plenty for a couple of meals for the four of us.

Meanwhile Bill had several boat chores in mind. Usually each boat chore takes three times as long as expected. Bill completed these in record time, without tripling it. Even the ever popular boat chore: "Rebuilding the Head" (marine toilet). So we had time to check out the neat pictographs on the rock face. It was hard to imagine what they were meant to be but interesting even so. The "Bead Lady" also had a shop with all sorts of beautiful bead work, leather, paintings etc. in Echo Bay at Windsong Sea Village. It was a treat.

Then there is the "Crab Saga". We were still hopeful and placed our trap in a recommended area. No crabs took the bait but we did have a small flounder in the trap. Surprise, surprise! Naturally we reset the trap, 80' deep at high tide with 150' of sinking line and extra floatation. The trap was gone when we returned to retrieve it. It seemed suspicious, since it was not near a ledge or where a boat might snag it accidentally. We decided not to invest any more money in seeking crabs.

That night we did get together with other boats for a pot luck dinner. A couple of boats brought their fresh cooked crabs. So we did have our taste of local crab. It seems the crabs here are not as flavorful as those we buy at home from Northern California. It could be the different diet. Another thought was that most boaters clean the crab before cooking it but that it has more flavor if cooked before cleaning.

We discovered that many boaters in B.C. come prepared with a good sized freezer. Then they fish (salmon and halibut especially) and catch prawn and package and freeze their catch for the winter. Some had a near production line going freezing buckets of prawns.

It was here that we went to visit Bill Proctor and his museum. It was an interesting afternoon. Bill's museum contains all sorts of artifacts, from fishing lures and bottles to large lumber saws, all collected on the beach by him. It was quite an array of "junk". Bill is a local legend and author of some local best sellers, including "Full Moon, Flood Tide" a history of the local folks and folk lore of the area in the last 100 years or so.

The highlight in this area was the humpback whales we saw on three different days. "Show us your white bellies". OK, well it worked in Tonga!

It was time to move onward. we were overdue for some anchorage time. So we continued north to Berry Cove, Cypress Harbor, Broughton Island. We had this lovely little spot to ourselves. We thought we might see some bears but I think we get up after they have gone back to sleep for the day. Also we hoped to see the meteor shower but the sky was completely overcast.

Next Stop was Greenway Sound Marina, Broughton Island. I noticed going in that the water temperature was 64 degrees. Mentioning this to the owner, he said that is why the salmon have gone. They like 52 degree water. Also there is a greater concentration of Atlantic Salmon fish farms in the Broughton Islands than elsewhere in Canada. You all probably know what that means.

The best thing about here was the Greenway Sound Broughton Lakes Park. A dingy dock was right at the trail head. From there we hiked/climbed to the first lake, then continued on a "corduroy road" to the beaver dam and second lake. The corduroy road was very impressive. It is large logs laid horizontal on the long path. Originally it was to help shuttle the cut tree trunks down the hillside. It was a nice work out and we finished the day with a feast of pork Marsala and mushrooms with all the trimmings.

Onward to Sullivan Bay. This used to be a great fishing destination. They still seem to be doing fine as a marina, but the fishing has died out. There have been very few catches reported in the area. We have met some fine folks here. Yesterday Tom (5 years old) and Corey (maybe 10) spent the afternoon aboard with many question and much enthusiasm. They were a joy! We heard of Corey's plan to become a boat designer and Tom's, to become a spy. We had a fine time with their parents too.

We got to know another couple, Travis and Barbara Wills on BAR-T-NA. Travis really took me under his wing and gave me a lot of help on fishing...when to fish, what to fish with, where to fish for what type of fish, how to decide what depth to fish, what music fish like, etc. What a great help to me and he was so enthusiastic. This morning at 8:30 he and I went out fishing with salmon in mind. Barbara was happy to stay behind and continue painting (She is an artist and writer) and Bill was happy to catch a few more ZZZ's. Nope, Salmon weren't biting, no surprise. Pulling in the line, I caught another black cod.

Though the fish weren't biting, when I got back I found Bill byte'n! The public Internet computer in the restaurant was not working so Bill fixed it for another free meal. He also fixed Travis's computer which had a virus.

That's the news as of Monday. Tomorrow we head out to anchor again.

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill

August 11, 2005


Hi Everyone,

We haven't gotten very far since the last E-mail. We stayed at Pierre's for three nights. We had such warm greeting, we couldn't just run off. Pierre was right at the dock to greet us and help with our lines. What a wonderful smile he has!

It was a delight to find cleats instead of just the wooden rails to tie to. We have gotten used to tying around the wood on the dock itself but the cleats seemed luxurious, especially since they are so rare here.

Tova, who is much more than "just a pretty face" (as she calls herself) is full of energy and a lot of fun. She and Pierre know that folks come into the marinas for more than just moorage. They come to be social and have some fun. More about that later.

"Lady Di", Diane, the marvelous baker came right out to greet us too and chat a bit. As we walked into the lodge we were greeting with the aroma of freshly baked bread. Yum! As we looked further, we saw that there were cookies too. We didn't see the other treats because they were all gone. But there was a sheet available to place your order for the next morning... sticky buns, To-Die-For brownies, white or wheat bread, a variety of cookies and a luscious variety of pies. Double yum. They had a big sign on the front of the lodge saying, "Bakery". Many a boater cruising by has made a sharp turn into Pierre's, at the sight of that sign.

Another unusual thing they have here is a gathering room inside the lodge. We did use it one night when we had the (very local) grand Canadian National Backgammon Tournament. Ian from Fore Play won that. Also available was, wireless internet (Bill was happy), TV, games, a lending library, and laundry facilities. The water is colored the shade of tea by the leaves. So I decided to wait on doing the wash.

We had a little happy hour at 5 and got to meet everyone. I felt doing something different. So I made crisp tomato polenta squares with Parmesan cheese. Tova was reminding everyone that the next night required "appropriate attire". Everyone needed to wear a tie and/or a hat. This was for the pig roast pot luck dinner and karaoke. Sounds like a big night, doesn't it?

The tie thing went right to Bill's funny bone...his head. We still had his Halloween costume, a hat and tie of thick white unlaid braided rope. Everyone loved it! After asking what he was, Bill was ready with his reply. "I'm a frayed knot!" All of you who know Bill, know it is SO him.

I wore one of my nicer hats from on board and a scarf made of a pair of Bill's black socks (work leftovers) for a tie. Got lot's of complements. Other folks used duck tape, aluminum foil or a sail tie to make ties.

Now the karaoke, that was fun for awhile. It was good when everyone knew the words. But we didn't have many folks who were willing to give it a go on their own, maybe that's OK. I always sing much better in the car, driving down the road with the radio on loud. So we had the bit of karaoke but everyone was really more interested in the pig.

You should see the huge barbecue. It was donated by th Des Moines, Washington Yacht Club. It is an old huge tank lined with bricks. The spit is a boat's stainless steel prop shaft.

This was a good size pig. It was actually an elaborate process removing the pig and carving it. They have been doing this almost every week now. So they have the process down pat. It is a long day for Pierre and the pig. He starts roasting him at 7AM and it's ready around 6ish. There was plenty for everyone and even some to take for sandwiches the next day. And naturally everyone brought very nice side dishes. A good time was had by all. We highly recommend the pig roast and Pierre's.

So much for all the food stuff. When we arrived, Diane mentioned she had a problem with her computer. Aha, A challenge for Bill. He thought he would take care of that in a few minutes but it proved to be more complicated than he thought. And then one thing lead to another and hours later, all was well.

We kept hearing,"The salmon are coming. The salmon are coming". So we had to give it a try. Neither one of us is an accomplished fisher person. And one of us has no interest...Bill. So I am the designated fishing expert on Raptor Dance. I have a long way to go to expert though. The way it has worked out, Bill drives the dingy or the boat and I fish. So far, I know I can catch bottom fish, rockfish etc. Other people have been bringing in salmon, so we know that they are out there. Thus far the salmon have eluded me. Soon. After all, they are coming.

We felt very welcome here. We left feeling like we had made friends and look forward to returning. Check out their website at:

That's the news for now. We're now in Cypress Bay after stopping in Echo Bay. We'll tell you about those adventures next time.

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill
Raptor Dance

August 5, 2005

Pierre's Bay

When we last left our intrepid travelers, they were hunkered down with 2 days of pouring rain in Blind Channel Marina.

Since then, the sun came out and we've been on the move.

If you're interested, you can always find our current location on our website: under the "Where in the world is Raptor Dance? - Current Position" link. We undated that location as soon as we get to a new spot.

You can also go there directly via
You can zoom out for a broader view or scroll down for a satellite picture of our current location. Right now, we're in such a remote location that you need to zoom out 4 or 5 times (the "-" button) to get a sense of where we are.

We've met many new people along the way and run across some folks who we've met in other locations. Most of the boats up here are power boats, but there are still quite a few sailboats. There are lot's of boats up here designed by Bob Perry, who designed the Valiant line. There are quite a few Baba's and Tayanas and an occasional Valiant.

Blind Channel was pretty nice, with all the amenities: nice docks, water, electricity, restaurant, small store, gas dock, laundry, hiking trails, Internet access, etc. The restaurant had some nice dishes with a German flair. We'd avise not picking the spetzle as a side dish, though it was heavier than it should be and not quite the right "bite". The flavors were good though.

After leaving Blind channel we headed up through Green Point Rapids and Whirlpool Rapids. After Whirlpool Rapids, we decided to continue instead of stopping for the night in Forward Harbour. Listening to the weather, Johnstone Straights Fannie Island reported only 12 knots of wind, so we continued on.

They lied, when we got there it was blowing 25 knots. Still no big deal though. Johnstone Straights was less bother than a typical summer afternoon on San Francisco Bay, where it often blows 30 knots at 3:00 PM every afternoon in the slot between the Golden Gate and Berkeley.

At 8:00 PM we anchored in Port Harvey, just up Havannah Channel from Johnstone Straights. It was a lovely calm anchorage and we had a very quite night.

Next morning we up anchored and motored around East Cracroft Island to Lagoon Cove Marina. Another funky, fun place. The owners, Bill and Jean Barber have a very rustic little marina with a store (fishing gear, chips and candy) and gas dock. Water was available. Lagoon Cove Power and Light was available 7AM to 1030AM and 4PM to 1030PM daily. One unique thing there is the happy hour. The owner, Bill, provides his daily catch of shrimp for Happy Hour and everyone adds to it with their dishes.

There are many opportunities for getting together on the docks and marinas. So when you head out cruising, go prepared with recipes and ingredients for appetizers and pot luck fare. One of our frequent appetizers is a plate of quesadillas. Tonight it'll be crispy tomato polenta with Parmesan cheese topping.

After our night at Lagoon Cove, we crossed Knight Inlet and up Tribune Channel to probably the most scenic place we've been so far, Kwatsi Bay. Max and Anca and their two children have a very nice little marina at the end of the bay. Kwatsi bay is a fjord, surrounded by very tall mountains with multiple waterfalls running down its sides. You can dingy over to a short trail to a great little waterfall. You're given an air horn in case you encounter a black bear.

We were at Kwatsi for two nights. The first night there was a happy hour pot luck (we did quesadillas). The second, there was a pot luck dinner. Lee and Diane on Sonata (an 85 foot home built steel motor yacht) caught 10 crabs (we're still skunked) and shared them with the group. Mary did a wonderful vegetarian Balti and pine nut couscous. There were lot's of other tasty dishes too. The food was definitely a few notches up from the usual pot luck fare.

After 5 days of sun, we woke up to a very foggy morning. It's now almost 4 PM and it cleared a bit to overcast skies. This was the first time since arriving up here that we thought it was a good idea to turn on our Radar.

We left Kwatsi just before lunch and motored over to Pierre's Bay where we are now. When we docked, we were met by Pierre and "Ms. Pierre Bay", his wife Tove. There's a lot going on for this little place off in the middle of no where. Check it out on the web at

This is also the first marina with cleats! All the others have these dock rails that are a pain to tie and untie to.

We'll be here for two days as we're staying for the "Pig Roast" tomorrow. I wonder if it will be anything like the "Pig Pickin's" they do down in North Carolina.

More news later.

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary