After a 53 NM day, we sailed into Prince Rupert harbour with Darwin Sound. Our log showed we had traveled over 500 NM as we arrived. Al, an avid sailor, will always sail if there is any favourable wind. He will turn on the engine when a destination has to be reached by nightfall or his boat slows to less than 4 knots. We normally follow their cue.

Monty and Al noted that our diesel fuel consumption is about the same when we fill up the boats, a little under 3 litres/hour.

PR was the logical stop to get some provisions and fuel before crossing into Alaska. And to eat the fresh Dungeness crabs we had been gifted in Klewnuggit! Al and Irene joined us and contributed to the dinner as they always do with such generosity.

We docked at Cow Bay Marina in Prince Rupert. The marina has a laundry, (one washing machine and one dryer), showers and washrooms open 24/7. I was glad it was only Irene and me doing laundry while we were there. When a flotilla arrives, it must stress the facilities. We were given a card to access the facilities but our dock was not locked at night.

We checked out the town with a mission to find a bar to watch the upcoming NHL Playoff game with the Canucks and Predators the following night. Nothing much camera worthy in town. There is a historic section of town and some buildings along the waterfront with shops and bars servicing tourists and the cruise ship passengers.

The next morning around 6am, we awoke to a low intermittent rumble. I popped my head out of the hatch to see the source of the noise. It was the bow thrusters of a cruise ship docking a hundred metres from our bow.

We were told that not many cruise ships stop in Prince Rupert so the town is excited for the business when they do show up. Below, Whistler and Darwin Sound staring at The Noordam.

A good pair of hiking boots was on the shopping list. I bought a pair of brown XtraTuff Salmon Sisters, just like Irene’s. It is not about the look but the function! Monty got some green gumboots. Boot are a sort of Right of Passage for cruising in Alaska. Function over style.

We found what we needed for provisions at Safeway three blocks from the marina and Monty found smoked salmon and beef jerky at a meat store. I got a few loads of laundry done and we were ready to go the next day.

With a final between the Canucks and Predators on, we got to watch the game in a busy sports bar near the marina. The bar food was excellent. We chatted with a young fisherman sitting next to us. He was from Whistler too! The win for the Canucks was taken well by the patrons.

About 10 minutes before the fuel station opened, we tied up at the fuel dock. A large fish boat and another smaller one were also there waiting. There was a slight delay waiting for staff to show up to open the hoses. Once filled up, we headed off to meet Al & Irene at the entrance to Venn Passage. It is a narrow channel with many turns. Darwin Sound was ahead and we had timed our transiting to be close to slack to avoid the strong currents.

Al warned us not follow too closely and to pay attention to the various range markers and buoys. We watched Darwin Sound’s AIS on our chart plotter and it was all pretty simple. A few boats passed us in both directions. Here is the description in our cruising guide.

We came across Isabel Islet. It was special to me, as my Mom’s name was Isabel. I think she was looking over us from above, ensuring we had a safe passage.

Bumping conditions lasted for a few hours after Venn Passage. We buried the bow a few times.

Attempting to get in the lee of Dundas Island, we passed west of a 1905 historical landmark, Green Island Lighthouse. Sitting in the middle of Chatham Sound, it has an interesting history which I encourage you to check out online.

Sailing when wind direction and speed allowed, we arrived in Foggy Bay around 1530, about a 50 NM distance from Prince Rupert. US Border Services had given us approval to stop there before arriving in Ketchikan. It was a logical midway stop for overnight for slower boats like ours. Below, entering into Foggy Bay is quite narrow with rocks to avoid on both sides.

We crossed into Alaska, though the exact border has been in dispute for decades, 15 days and 572 miles after leaving Vancouver! Darwin Sound has been a great buddy boat and we have so enjoyed Al & Irene’s company! They even left us with this lovely spot in the little anchorage with a view through the gap to the west.

A 38NM passage in light rain got us to a marina in Ketchikan. Several cruise ships were docked in the harbour. Below, Irene caught us passing a cruise ship with our friend, Otto, at the helm!

Next up, Ketchikan.