Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Escape to Pender Harbour - July 5

We were three nights in the Harmony Islands and would have gladly stayed longer.  We continued to have the cove to ourselves, swam in the warm water multiple times a day, kayaked to the falls and lounged in the cockpit.  However, on Sunday morning we woke to an orange glow permeating the boat and a smoke surrounding us.  When Doug looked out he saw that Ka’sala was covered with black soot and ash – what a mess!  The day before we had noticed smoke on a far mountainside, and later discovered that a forest fire had taken hold near Sechelt, making its way up the inlet.  In addition, two more huge forest fires raged unchecked in the Pemberton area.  We thought we might get out of the smoke closer to the coast, but as we neared Pender Harbour it became apparent that the smoke was everywhere.  We later learned on the radio that the smoke was dense over the entire coast from Vancouver and Victoria to Port Hardy and the Broughtons.  Because of fires in the Port Alberni area, the west coast of Vancouver Island was also under a smokey cloud.  There would be no escape.

What we woke up to - the mountain in the smoke is the same one you can see in the picture below of our anchorage

Fuzzy shot, but you can clearly see the ash

On the way to Pender Harbour - weird morning light - straight out of a science fiction novel
There was also no wind so we motored down to Pender Harbour arriving late morning.  After anchoring in Garden Bay, we pulled out the buckets and washed down the boat in salt water.  The black soot was greased on to everything, but came off relatively easily.  We had all the portlights and hatches open that night, so we had some cleaning to do inside the boat as well.  Meanwhile, a smoky haze and a blood orange sun settled around the harbour as big powerboats gradually surrounded us.  According to weather reports, the wind will come back in a day or two, but no rain in sight.  It is hard to know how long this smoky world will last.

Smokey Sunset over Pender Harbour

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