Sea Venture Bight
Updated: Jan 19
The next morning the station flag was calm. We took that as a good sign and got an early start at 6am with the rising sun. We got out into Chatham and had winds from the north at 20 knots with a northbound current. The wind opposing current created huge head seas and we got pretty beat up working our way northbound.
After 8 miles, we came upon Patterson Point and Mist Cove, a bay with a huge waterfall in front of it. Unfortunately, as we approached, it looked like someone had strung a line of buoys in front of the cove and we could not enter. There were 3 fish boats fishing in the lee of Patterson point where there was no wind chop. We didn’t really know what to do. It was untenable to continue, and there were two arms off that point that didn’t have any charted anchorages. So, when in doubt, join the locals. We decided to fish for a bit in the calmer water, and actually spent just over two hours catching a dozen salmon, mostly pinks.
When the tide turned, around mid-day, we thought we would try again to get to Red Bluff Bay. Now we would have 20 knots of wind against us and the current against us. That would hopefully make for calmer seas. But by that time, the wind had been blowing so long, with so much fetch, that the seas were pretty riled up. We were making about 4.5 knots, and the pitching was horrible. We were pounding down with every wake. It one of those times where you know if you continue, something inevitably will break. (Imagine your house is a Yahtzee die, put it in the shaker cup and give it a good shake. Think anything in your house might break?) I think of things like wires coming loose and causing a critical failure, or a hose chafing and leaking fluids—none of those sound like a good plan. Since I was sitting on the floor of the salon trying to keep ‘Mr Sensitive’, freaking out Blake as calm as possible, I was of no assistance to Jim who was trying to manage the beast.
We decided it was untenable and we needed to turn around. We also knew that a gale was forecast for the next day, so we needed a safe place to hunker down, and Red Bluff Bay was not going to be it. We turned around and got back to Patterson Point very quickly. We went into Deep Bay, and found a roaring waterfall at its head, but not a tenable anchorage, or so we thought. We then went into Patterson Bay about 3 miles and found a bight that might be suitable. Patterson Bay is a beautiful fjord with snow-capped peaks, and the bight had a little creek emptying into it. It was just off the main inlet, and we anchored in 90’ of water, and put out 250’ of chain. We got the anchor set and used the dingy to check the perimeter to make sure there were no surprises. When we were satisfied that it would work for the upcoming storm, we got to work cleaning the many fish that we had caught earlier. What an exhausting day. We traveled 32 miles in 8 hours and made it 9 miles in our intended direction. Arghhh!
The next day was lumpy during the storm, however, we were safely tucked in, away from the heavy weather of the strait. The wind was from the south, and the wind and waves blew right up Patterson Bay, right past ‘Sea Venture Bight’ and on to the head of the bay. During a break in the storm, we explored in the tender and checked out a small island across the channel from us. By nightfall, the winds had abated, and we were able to have a comfortable, restful night of sleep. By the next day, we left our makeshift anchorage and headed farther north in Chatham. In the aftermath of the storm, it was foggy, but the waters were calm. Thank goodness!
In hindsight, the Deep Bay waterfall area may have been a more suitable anchorage for the storm. At least it was well out of the wind path. The velocity of the waterfall, and the deeper than expected depths, because of erroneous Active Captain information, heightened our expectations of an ideal anchorage.