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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Day 5 – The holy grail

July 20, 2005

     

This morning I got up, and ouch, ouch, ouch.  It hurts to walk on the outer toe of my left foot.  Oh my.  Look at it – broken for sure.  All black and blue.  Thank goodness I don’t really need that toe or I’d be in trouble.

Dave was up at the crack of dawn.  We were due to make it all the way to what the guide book calls the “holy grail” among boaters otherwise known as PrincessLouiseInlet.  5000 ft mountains surround a small inlet at the end of which there is a huge waterfall.  Trick is that to make it into the inlet you have to first pass through Malibu Rapids.  It’s an 80 ft passage through which all the water from the inlet flows in and out with the tides.  Currents in there can reach 9 knots.  Given that the sailboat only does 7 knots – this is a problem.  You can only traverse it during slack tide.  Today slack tide is scheduled for 12:08.  We got there 20 minutes ahead of schedule.  Didn’t seem like the current would be moving THAT much only 20 minutes before slack tide so we went for it.  Bad idea.  Really bad idea.  Melissa is a white knuckled sailor anyway – but when Dave said “we aren’t going to make it” she knew this was serious.  Dave couldn’t control the boat even with the wheel turned full one way or the other.  We were going through the rapids sideways and that means getting bashed up against the sides.  Somehow though in an 80 ft passage Dave managed to get a 44 ft boat (55 ft if you count the overhang on both ends) turned around and out of there before we got bashed into the rocks.  So Dave waited (Melissa fretted) 30 minutes.  Are you sure its going to be ok?  Are you sure you’re sure?  Are you sure you’re sure you’re sure?  Dave assured me the water couldn’t come running out forever.  Had to turn around some time.  Sure enough we passed right through at slack tide no trouble at all.  Whew!  Can’t imagine what would have happened had Dave not found that steering problem and not had full turning ability.

The guide book doesn’t do this place justice.  Absolutely amazing.  85 degrees, water warm enough to swim in, and surrounded by sheer cliffs going up to snow capped mountains.  Little waterfalls everywhere along the inlet.  Only a few boats – you would think it would be busier.  But it’s quiet as can be.  Ahhhh.

Though even quiet as it is, Dave still manages to find things to do.  The boat next to us was trying to move their stern tie on shore.  But he couldn’t pull the rope taught with his dingy.  So Dave went to rescue them.  Ended up using our skiff like a tug boat and pushed their big cruiser into position.

So here we are quietly minding our own business – feeling like we live in the lap of luxury on a 44 ft sailboat.  Ahhhhaaa.  Next thing you know a 120 ft yacht, the Nova Spirit pulls in to the inlet.  Simultaneously, we hear the buzzing of a sea plane.  Sure enough the sea plane was dropping someone off here to get on board that boat.  Somebody with a ton of luggage.  Hey, Bob, you mind taking the boat up to Princess Louise for me?  The wife and I’ll meet you there after work.  All the deck hands are outfitted in shirts and ties.  Sheesh.

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