Christmas Cruise 2011: Julia Passage and Snug Basin

Lucky Creek falls

The first time we encountered surface ice on saltwater was back in 2002, on a winter trip to Desolation Sound and Princess Louisa Inlet. We had to break ice to reach Chatterbox Falls. We’ve since seen ice on saltwater many times on our winter cruises, from as far north as Blunden Harbor to the south Puget Sound. And now, in Barkley Sound as well. With freezing temperatures the past two days, we’ve had to break ice to reach our anchorages.

Here’s our log from Julia Passage to Snug Basin, or you can display them on the live map view.

12/21/11: Julia Passage entrance
The south entrance to Julia Passage looks tricky on the chart, but we found it relatively straightforward going slowly with a careful bow watch. On an 11′ tide, we had a minimum of 15′ going through.

12/21/11: Surface ice, Julia Passage
A thin sheet of ice covered the surface in the basin inside Julia Passage. We left a path through it, reminscent of our breaking ice into Princess Louisa Inlet years back.

12/21/11: Float homes, Julia Passage
We’ve never stopped at Julia Passage before. With perhaps twenty floathomes ringing the channel, summers here would be much too busy. But this time of year, wintering seabirds are our only neighbours.

12/21/11: Sunset, Julia Passage
Sechart Channel aglow in the sunset, looking south from our anchorage in Julia Passage.

12/22/11: Frost, Julia Passage
Another cold and frosty, but clear and beautiful morning. So far we’ve had just amazing weather.

12/22/11: Sunrise
Sunrise over the Somerset Range.

12/22/11: MV Frances Barkley
The MV Frances Barkely, a working packet freighter, en route from Uchucklesit Inlet.

12/22/11: Snug Basin
We’re anchored in 70′, with hills all around and a deep, blue sky above. We had to break through surface ice again, perhaps 1/8″ thick. As we drifted about once set, we could hear the ice breaking and crackling against the hull.

12/22/11: Creek from Henderson Lake
The creek draining Henderson Lake reaches Uchucklesit Inlet through a narrow channel with overhanging cliffs. This picture is looking back through the entry after we’ve come through. It felt like a mini version of the Marble River further north. Beyond, the channel opens into a small lake-like basin, where shallows on a 9′ tide blocked further progress.

12/22/11: Frost-covered logs
Looking down-inlet over frost-covered logs.

12/22/11: Dozer tugs
Logging is active on both sides of the inlet. When we arrived these dozers were working a big boom from the north shore to the south.

12/22/11: Sunken barge
About 30′ of this barge was showing in 75′ of water, so it must be a good 100′ long. The sinking appeared recent, judging by the sealife still on the hull. We gave it a wide berth–we wouldn’t want to be nearby if it fell.

12/22/11: Launching logs
It’s an exciting show when logs are transferred from shore to water. Logs are stacked in bundle cradles, two U-shaped holders that stand perpendicular to the shoreline. When the bundle is complete, the logs are wrapped with wire. Then the water-side arms of the cradle are released, and the bundled logs slide into the water with a tremendous splash.

12/22/11: Log dump
Preparing the next load. The outer arms, lying flat against the log on the ground, will pop up to create the U-shaped holder when the logs fall into place.

12/22/11: Shipwreck
This wood fishing vessel was hard aground along the northwest shore. The boat is big and heavy, so that must have taken some wind.

12/22/11: Surface ice
Surface ice stranded by the falling tide.

12/22/11: At anchor, Snug Basin
Looking across the surface ice to Dirona at anchor. A gale warning is in effect for the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. The winds currently are 20-30 knots at La Perouse Bank, but calm here.


Previous log post for this trip: Jarvis Lagoon and Pipestem Inlet

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4 comments on “Christmas Cruise 2011: Julia Passage and Snug Basin
  1. Jennifer Hamilton says:

    Jim and Pam,

    We had a great time in Grappler and were glad to have finally got in. We’d come close a few years ago, but the tide level wasn’t quite high enough. The locals did seem a bit surprised to see our boat in there though.

    Happy New to you both as well.

    — Jennifer

  2. Jim Cave says:

    I know Grapler Inlet well. I remember convincing a local native lad to take me to his house to watch a playoff game between tne Bruins and "Les Canadiens" in 1978. The Habs won handily to take the cup, much to his disappointment.. Sadly, he lost his life on a fishing vessel during a herring opening a few years later.

    Happy New Year to you both!

    Jim and Pam Cave, Lions Bay BC

  3. That does look like a nice little inlet and, you are right, we’ve not bee there yet. However, we are close by in another place too shallow to take Dirona. We’re currently in nearby Grappler inlet.

    Thanks for the feedback on the blog.

    –James Hamilton

  4. Jim and Pam says:

    We are enjoying reading about your travels in Barkley Sd. I haven’t been to Bamfield since I was a TA at the Marine Station ther in 1978 (fish biology course). Check out the Clevlandia ios, appx 48d51.7 N and 125d06.1 W. I see they have net pens in that loc. now. Sad. BTW, It is too shallow to take Dirona in that little inlet.

    Merry Christmas! Jim and Pam.

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