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Author Topic:   BC Whaler Expedition 2003
jimh posted 08-25-2003 12:11 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Hi Gang,

Here is an update on our recent trip which is about half over.

We left just before the power black out: good timing, eh?

I am writing this from the Minstrel Island Resort, British Columbia. We hauled the Whaler about 2,500-miles on the highway to LaConner, WA, put her into salt water, and headed north. That was 11-days ago.

We survived 107-degrees across Montana, towing, uphill! Guess the GMC Suburban can take it!

We are almost at the tip of Vancouver Island--the northern tip--but it is time to turn around and head back!

See you in a week or two. We have several hundred miles of water and another 2,500 of highway to go!

Best regards,


adaps4 posted 08-25-2003 12:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for adaps4  Send Email to adaps4     
Now that is a heck of a road/water trip. Wish I was there- it is too hot in Tampa right now.
tabasco posted 08-25-2003 07:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     
WOW! .....nice trip How are the gas prices? Have they gone through the roof up there? Take lots of photos.
Taylor posted 08-25-2003 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
$0.95 (Canadian) per liter for marine dyed fuel. You do the math. I just pulled out my credit card.

Jim - if you get this in time make sure you check out Mamalacula, an old Indian village site, and Robson Bite now well known as a killer whale gathering location. Both are at the north end of Johnstone Staight.

lhg posted 08-25-2003 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Jim didn't tell you that yesterday 12 Killer whales swam DIRECTLY under his boat while in the Johnstone Strait.
Draftmanswife posted 08-25-2003 06:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Draftmanswife  Send Email to Draftmanswife     
I jealous!!! How you are feeling good, boat is running good, and you are safely arriving home soon..
peetmin posted 08-25-2003 08:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for peetmin  Send Email to peetmin     
Hey Taylor, did you get up tp Desolation last week? We just got back. My gas card is still burning from the beating it took. I Probably saw you up there as there were a ton of whalers. I was suprised at the amount.
We put in at Cap Sante and motored to Prideux haven aprox. 130-140 miles North. On the way we came across J-pod the resident pod of killer whales on the north side of Pender Island. Probably a differnt group than the ones Jim saw as it sounds like he is farther north than that.
The next highlight was seeing the Tatoosh that runs around 225-240' reciently purchased by Paul Allen from Craig McCaw. We saw it while in Squirrel Cove. This boat had the nicest 38' Henckly built into the starboard side a beautiful 35-40' racing sailboat built into the port side a Grady white in case the bite is on and a jet chopper on the fan tail in case your in a hurry. I will post pics on my profile if anyone is curious. What a spectical/circus.
The last bit of excitement was while returning southbound, I was making a beeline between the south tip of Texada island and Nanimo (aprox. 35 miles open water)A large Canadian Nave plane buzzed me. After the third pass I noticed 2 navy ships about 5 miles S.W. of me and they were signaling me with a red spot light. I switched the VHF to channel 16 to contact them and ask if they needed to speak to me. The radio operator was very polite and informed me that they were performing excercizes using live ordinance and unless I wanted to be involved I should head hard right (west) and hug Vancouver Island. So I did.
Hope Jim gets the same Royal treatment pretty exciting stuff. He is having a great trip with great weather. It was a good attitude adjustment for me. Regards, Pete
peetmin posted 08-25-2003 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for peetmin  Send Email to peetmin     
P.S. I just noticed your thread...Guess that anwsers my question great pics. Regards, Pete
jimh posted 09-03-2003 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hi again,

We just got home. Chris and I are both pooped out from the drive. We condensed it a bit on the return highway trip--cut out about half a day--even though we lost three hours going eastbound.

The trip was great. I will have a long narrative and pictures available later.

Gas prices peaked about $0.94/liter (Canadian) which is about $3.68/gallon (Canadian Dollars/US Gallons). That translates to about $2.66 per gallon (US Dollars/US Gallons).

I know we went over 700 miles, and our fuel economy was about 2.5 miles/gallon. This implies we bought about 280 gallons of gas. I will sort out the details later, but it sounds like about $700 in gas, or about a dollar a mile. As the old saying goes, "you can't buy a good time like this, and if you could it would be expensive."

On the road we averaged about 11-MPG, and we drove 5,000 miles. That sounds like another 450 gallons. The highway price was about $1.90/gallon on average, so another $850 in gasoline.

Chris keeps saying, "good thing the VISA card payment period splits this trip into two bills."

I guess we burned some hydrocarbons, about 4,400 pounds of them. That makes up for fifteen years of sailing.

The three weeks were great fun.

I have to go back to work tomorrow--boy that will be a challenge.


kingfish posted 09-03-2003 09:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Welcome back guys - can't wait to see the photos and read the accounts.
ryanwhaler posted 09-03-2003 10:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for ryanwhaler  Send Email to ryanwhaler     
Welcome back,

Glad you had a good time.

Eagleman posted 09-04-2003 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eagleman  Send Email to Eagleman     
Glad the trip went well! Pictures and narration will be worth the waiting.Welcome home ET.
jimh posted 04-03-2004 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am still working on getting my notes organized from the trip and starting to write a narrative. Between LHG's film camera and my digital camera, we have about 400 photographs. I wish I could show you all of them!

Some better numbers are in for fuel expenses.

On the highway we travelled 4919.2 miles and burned 419.4 gallons of gasoline at a total cost of $748.45. We got an average of 11.7 MPG and our fuel was $1.785/gallon.

On the water we don't have a firm number for the distance, but we did consume about 325 gallons of gasoline for which we spent $773.80 US dollars. Marine fuel averaged about US$ 2.388/gallon or CA$ 0.883/liter.

The fuel in Canada averaged about US$ 2.415/gallon or CA$ 0.893/liter.
Fuel we bought in the United States cost us $ 2.269/gallon or CA$ 0.839 liter.

Typically we get about 2.5 MPG in the boat, and this seems to be about right for our estimated distance covered of about 800 miles under the keel.

The fuel was a major portion of the expenses of this trip. All on the water overnight accommodations were in our own boat. In several of the remote resort areas we visited it was not unusual to find overnight lodging was more than CA$400/night, and in one spot was as high as CA$ 1100/night/person! These were at very genteel lodges who clientele would typically arrive by sea plane. Bringing your own bedroom in the boat is a major savings!

At literally every stop, I am certain we were the smallest cruising boats. Our 18 and 20-foot Boston Whalers were often moored along 100-foot luxury expedition yachts. Even the local fishing boats were generally larger than our trailer boats.

We were able to stay at most docks for about CA$20-30 per night, which included shore facilities with showers as well as access to many excellent restaurants.

Our most expensive dining topped out at about CA$ 80 per meal, but this was the exception. Often we had simply wonderful meals at delightful shore side restaurants for very modest prices, CA$ 25-30 being more typical.

For someone like me who has grown up in the midwest and is accustomed to a rather limited vertical scale in his surroundings, boating in British Columbia was a majestic expansion. Cruising on the waters of the Pacific Ocean at sea level along a coast with 6,000 foot peaks right to shore was a new experience. It is something not to be missed!

The boating was generally very easy, as we were blessed with fair weather and light winds during the twelve days we were on the water of the 21-day trip.

Throughout the trip we were aided by a foreign exchange rate of $1.40 Canadian, which helped assuage some of the high prices we did encounter. However, every cent we spent purchased the trip of a lifetime. We regret not a single penny of it.

I truly hope to have more material to present, but it has been a slow process and your patience is appreciated. In the interim I offer this detailed itinerary:

By Highway
08/14/2003 Beverly Hills, MI to Black River Falls, WI
08/15/2003 Black River Falls, WI to Bismark, ND
08/16/2003 Bismark, ND to Bozeman, MT
08/17/2003 Bozeman, MT to Ellensburg, WA
08/18/2003 Ellensburg, WA to La Conner, WA

By Waterway
08/19/2003 La Conner, WA (FUEL) to Friday Harbor, WA (route?)

08/20/2003 Friday Harbor, WA via San Juan Channel, via New Channel,
across Haro Strait to South Pender Island, BC,
Camp Bay/Poet's Cove (PORT OF ENTRY, LUNCH);
and thence via Swanson Channel to Active Pass;
thence via Trincomali Channel, Stuart Channel,
and Dodd Narrows to Nanaimo (FUEL);
and thence via Horswell Channel to the
Strait of Georgia and across, and thence via
Welcome Passage to Sechelt Peninsula and Secret Cove.

08/21/2003 Secret Cove (FUEL) via Strait of Georgia, Agamemnon Channel,
Jervis Inlet and Skookumchuck Narrows to Egmont, (FUEL);
and thence via Prince of Wales Reach to Saumarez Bluff (LUNCH);
and thence via Princess Royal Reach, Queens Reach,
Malibu Rapids, and Princess Louisa Inlet to the Marine Park
at the head of the inlet.

08/22/2003 Marine Park via Princess Louisa Inlet, Malibu Rapids,
Queens Reach, Princess Royal Reach,
Price of Wales Reach to Sydney Island (LUNCH);
thence via Jervis Inlet and the Malispina Strait to Lund.

08/23/2003 Lund (FUEL) via Thulin Passage and Desolation Sound to Prideaux Haven (LUNCH);
thence via Homfray Channel and Waddington Channel to Pryce Channel (STOP);
and thence via Raza Passage Calm Channel, Yuculta Rapids,
and Gilliard Passage to Mermaid Bay, Dent Island (Dent Island Lodge).

08/24/2003 Dent Island via Dent Rapids and Cordero Channel to Blind Channel (FUEL);
and thence via Mayne Channel to Johnstone Strait and
Current Passage (ORCA STOP); and thence via Johnstone Strait
(on and on and on...) to Vancouver Island, Telegraph Cove;
and thence via Johnstone Strait to Cormorant Island,
Alert Bay (LUNCH and FUEL); and thence via Pearse Passage,
Blackfish Sound, and Knight Inlet to Minstrel Island.

08/25/2003 Minstrel Island (FUEL) via Chatham Channel, Havannah Channel,
Johnstone Strait, Sunderland Channel, Wellborn Channel,
Chancellor Channel, Cordero Channel, Dent Rapids, and Gillard Passage
to Stuart Island (Big Bay Lodge).

08/26/2003 Stuart Island (FUEL) via Yuculta Rapids, Hole in the Wall,
Upper Rapids, Okisollo Channel, Discovery Passage,
and Seymour Narrows to Quadra Island, April Point Lodge.

08/27/2003 Quadra Island via Discovery Passage to Campbell River (FUEL);
thence to Mitlenatch Is. (SEALS);
thence via Malaspina Strait and Nelson Rock to Pender Harbour/Garden Bay.

08/28/2003 Pender Harbour (FUEL) to Texada Island, Anderson Bay (LUNCH);
thence via Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island, Schooner Cove.

08/29/2003 Schooner Cove to Nanoose Bay; thence to Nanaimo (FUEL);
thence via Dodd Narrows to Round Island (LUNCH);
and thence via Stuart Channel to Kuper Is., Telegraph Harbour;
thence via Houstoun Passage to Saltspring Island, Ganges Harbour.

08/30/2003 Ganges Harbour via Moresby Passage, Prevost Passage, and Haro Strait
to San Juan Island, Friday Harbor, WA, (PORT OF ENTRY);
thence via San Juan Channel, Upright Channel, Obstruction Pass,
Towhead Is., Bellingham Channel, Guemes Channel, Padilla Bay,
and the Swinomish Channel to La Conner, WA.

By Highway
08/30/2003 La Conner, WA to Columbia River (RINSE TRAILER), thence to Moses Lake, WA
09/01/2003 Moses Lake, WA to Bozeman, MT
09/02/2003 Bozeman, MT to Moorhead, MN (Swore we'd never stay in ND again!)
09/03/2003 Moorhead, MN to New Buffalo, MI
09/04/2003 New Buffalo, MI to Beverly Hills, MI

jimh posted 04-03-2004 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is one interesting image from the trip. This is a composite of 10 images to create a 180-degree panorama view. This was taken from north of Dean Point in the Pryce Channel, about ten miles up from the Desolation Sound area. It shows the view from roughly east through north to west, where it looks down Pryce Channel to Raza Island in the distance, about 6 miles west.

You can see Homfray Channel and Toba Inlet, as well as Channel Island, Double Island, and Elizabeth Island.

Many of the peaks seen are above 5,000 feet. We spent about 45 minutes just sitting here, drifting, with the engines off. It was extremely quiet. The scenery was inspiring.

A sharp eye will see two sailboats coming out of Toba Inlet, about two miles away from the camera in this setting.

jimh posted 04-03-2004 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh
jimp posted 04-04-2004 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
jimh -

Looks familiar.


LHG posted 04-04-2004 06:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
When cruising this area in an 18 Outrage or 20 Revenge, 2500 miles from home, this is why you want twin engines on these small boats! I don't think it's an absurd idea.

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