Klaus and Elizabeth Loehr, owners of Nordhavn 40 hull number 20, Chinook, departed Dana Point, CA in May 2001 and headed to Poulsbo, WA, in what was their new boat's first significant pass. With sales rep Dennis Lawrence as their crew, they powered up the coast alongside Nordhavn 35 hull number 5, At Ease, driven by George Glenday and the 35 Project Manager, Jeff Merrill, and PAE's own 40#21, captained by VP Jim Leishman. Despite some rough weather, it was a smooth cruise - Nordhavn speaking - and all three crews had an enjoyable stay in Poulso. For the Loehrs, it provided a sense of security for their plans of taking the boat to Alaska.
After Trawlerfest, the Loehrs headed out on their own. They had a pleasant five weeks cruising southern BC, Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands and stopped to see family members living in these areas. The break afforded them the time needed to provision and prepare Chinook for her next journey. What follows is Klaus Loehr's log detailing their Alaskan adventure.
On 21 June we departed Sidney, BC heading northwest to Alaska.
Sat 21 June: we crossed the Strait of Georgia, a 60-mile run, and docked in Secret Cove. We had a lumpy ride because of strong winds, but we felt safe and cozy in our comfortable "Chinook".
Sun 22 June: we followed the mainland coast passing Powell River and Luanda and entered Desolation Sound. On route we enjoyed the sunny weather and especially watching our first bald eagle fishing nearby. We anchored in Predial Haven, "the quintessential anchorage in all of greater Desolation Sound". We had spectacular views of snowcapped peaks, cascades, and daylight till 10.
Mon 23 June: we awoke to a rainy morning and decided to reward ourselves With a lay day. We still spent most of the time reading and preparing our difficult inside route taking the rapids passage instead of Discovery Channel and Johnston Strait, the usual route for cruise boats and tugs.
Tue 24 June: We took the day to do a grand tour of Desolation Sound cruising the different fjords in perfect weather. Mid-afternoon we anchored in Squirrel Cove in Cortis Island, part of an Indian Reservation. We took our dinghy to the little Indian village and bought some provisions.
Wed 25 June: Day one of the Rapids Route. Timing was critical. We left at 6:00 am to arrive at Yuculta Rapids at the last of the flood current against us, Gillard Passage, 20 minutes later to arrive at Dent Rapids with its potentially dangerous Devil's Hole right at slack at 10 am. We encountered eddies and small whirlpools but never felt threatened. We were relieved to be clear of them. An easy two hours later, we arrived at Cordero Lodge, in Cordero Channel. The lodge, a floating house and docks are operated by a German immigrant couple who keep up the tradition of offering the best German dishes. We dined with a boating couple from Colorado whom we had met 3 days earlier in Prideaux Haven.
Thu 28 June: another day for rapids and critical timing. Off the docks at 9:30, we crossed Greene Point Rapids at 10:00 with the current still against us and one and a half hour later Whirlpool Rapids where the current was now 2 knots in our favor. We bombed through at over 9 knots. We saw many whirlpools on each side but were not bothered by any too close. By noon we entered Johnstone Strait, the essential passage westward, between Vancouver Island and BC mainland. By 6 pm we were docked in Port McNeill on Vancouver Island.
Fri 29 June: One of our more critical passages was to cross Queen Charlotte Strait and round Cape Caution. We had a very good crossing and a lovely cruise up the FitzHugh Sound. We found a delightful anchorage near Addenbroke tucked behind small islands. (80 nm)
Sat 30 June: in some patchy fog, we continued up the Sound, met the huge cruise ship Statendam of Holland Lines, and saw our first whale following close behind. We then stop for lunch and telephone calls at Bella Bella. In the afternoon we navigated through intricate Reid Passe and Percival Pass to anchor safely in Rescue Bay. (75 nm)