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Walt Drechsler

June 2-3 – Harmony Islands

Harmony Islands had been on and off our list several times. There was “some” information but much of it was sketchy. The descriptions of possible anchorages did not have a lot of detail and we really did not know what to expect. We knew there were falls and that is always an attraction.

yup, there were falls!

As we were a little ahead of schedule we decided to make the the run into Hotham Sound and check them out. It was close enough that if it did not work out we could always come back to Egmont. We did not turn around.

The Harmony Islands i believe are made up of two seperate islands until the tide rises then they become more. The reviews were mixed as I mentioned earlier as to wether they are private or not. Going ashore seemed to be discouraged in most of the reviews with the exception of anchoring a stern tie line.

We chose the “bay” (actually an indent), in the NE side of the northern most island. Let me tell you it’s tight. It was a new moon so the tide swing was about 13 feet. We anchored very close to low tide in about 12′ of water. We could see the anchor on the bottom!

We could do an anchor watch from the bow!

G2 wanted to help with the stern tie. He rowed over to the shore…

G2 rowing to shore

Than he crawled up to secure the stern line

G2 securing the stern tie

While G2 was busy on shore he found an old anchor and thought we could use that. We had to tell him thanks but no thanks

“Look what I found!”

Our postition in the bay was sketchy at best. The wind picked up and the back of the boat began to vere just enough to make us very nervous. There was a large rock lying just off our port quarter that was giving us the willies.

Things were a little tight and they did not seem to be improving.

Damon was not very comfortable with our location and rightfully so!

At least we could walk to shore if we had to…

We did end up making an adjustment to the stern tie before evening and got the stern pulled a little more toward starboard. This gave us a some breathing room.

We spent the afternoon in the kayak and dingy just messing around. As the tide moves up and down the scenery changes and you have access to areas that were dry just a few hours before. I think we all slept with one eye open the first night!

Morning dawned bright and beautiful. We slept late and made a real breakfast. No travel planned for today so we had a leasurely morning. Damon and Leslie got in the kayak to do a little exploring while Linda and I took the dingy. It was not long before they discovered the kayak was one paddle short! The paddles when not in use are stored alongside the kayak by a small bungy cord. Somehow it got dislodged and had fallen off. They still went exploring. Damon had to be the horse power for this trip.

The tide had been pretty low so I felt there was a good chance if we went down wind we might just find our wayward paddle. Linda and I took the dingy and went searching toward our “submarine” at the end of the bay.

It did not take us long to locate the paddle along the shore under a tree limb. It was a little tough manuvering the dingy in to reach it but we accomplished the task and caught up with Damon and Leslie. They were amazed we had found it as were we!

We continued out between the islands toward what we called seal rock. We cut the motor and rowed slowly out toward the rocks. We were able to get pretty close before they got spooked

Its pretty nice when you find a little slice of heaven and you have it all to yourself. So when another boat shows up you are secrely hoping they see there is only room for one boat in your special anchorage and they just keep on sailing. Nope.

Our new neighbor

Actually they were a very nice couple and very skilled. They anchored next to us and did a stern tie as well. By the end of the evening our little yacht club would grow to three!

Sometimes anchorages look bigger than they are at high tide!

Our last night in Harmony Islands was magical! We tried to catch it on camera but I’m not that talented. In retrospect, maybe this is something one should experiance for them selves. A picture or video would never do it justice. We had decided to stay up later than normal to view the stars. There was no moon tonight and with the clear sky it would be perfect. As were were sitting out on deck identifyng stars, someone moved a line that was hanging off the boat and the water exploded in a shower of light. As the twighlight faded and darkness took over, the wind picked up ever so slightly creating little sparkling ripplets across the water. I’ve never seen it like that before.

I’ve only witnessed bioluminescence once before. We were at Spencer Spit in the San Juan Islands. Milltown, our sailing club, had a crab feed on the beach that evening and it was a new moon. We were rowing back to our boats around midnight and with each stroke the water rained gold off the tips. That was one of the most memorable experiances I’ve had cruising up to that point.

Around midnight Linda and I jumped into the kayak and slowly paddled around the bay. As we made very lazy strokes through the water, a gold radiance dripped from the end of the paddles and the swirles caused by the paddles looked like those rotary wheels from the 4th of July. I’m seriously having a tough time describing the experiance. When we got back on the boat, Leslie told us that as we paddled away and the darkness had swallowed the kayak, all they could see were the light trails from the bow wake and swirls from the paddles. She said it looked like a ghost ship.

We all slept well that night feeling extremely blessed we were able to witness one of the truly remarkable displays from nature.

The next morning we were up to catch the ebb down Jervis inlet. I could tell you where we are headed but it’s a “secret”

There is a story behind this…….

Crew of S/V Pellucidar

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