Tuesday Juy 16th – We were happy to be headed into some new to us cruising grounds. Everyone talks about Princess Louisa Inlet, but we have never gone, at least not on our own boat. Today is the day. The entrance to the inlet is home to the Young Life camp Malibu, where Julie and I went while in high school. It was an amazing place then, so we were excited to go back on our own boat.
The topography of the entrance also makes it a little tricky to get in. First of all, it’s really narrow, and secondly there is only one way for the water to get in or out as the tide rises and falls. This creates very fast flowing water in the narrow channel. It can be very dangerous to try and go through at any other time than slack water (a period in the tide cycle where the current starts to change direction). We calculated slack using multiple sources, but these particular rapids don’t have slack tables, you have to calculate it using other sources. I was confident in my calculation but in these situations there’s always a tiny thing in your head that nags at you, did I do it right?
A few other boats in the area were lining up ready to go through which mostly confirmed my calculation. Ahead of us a fellow American Tugger entered the passage and we followed behind. The tide was low, very low and the current was still running pretty fast against us, but we made it through without any problems.
We were lucky enough to get space at the dock and tied up right behind the other American Tug. After talking with them they were also very surprised at how fast the water was still running. They said they clocked it at 4.2 knots.
The weather was really weird, super muggy and hot, overcast sky with the occasional sunbreak. The falls and mountains above were beautiful! It really is one of the most beautiful settings we have ever seen.
Then that night things started to change. Heavy clouds came in, but it stayed really warm, 70 degrees in fact at 2am. The rain started to come down and not just a little, it dumped all night long and into the morning. Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly keep it up it rained even harder. The falls got bigger and bigger as it continued to rain all day. Just afternoon the falls turned a dark muddy color and that’s when the bay started filling up with a whole lot of debris and cloudy water. We watched in amazement as the falls kept getting bigger and many new falls formed above. A guy was there on his sailboat who said he was a park ranger here for 4 years and he never saw the falls this big. It was pretty cool!
At the slightest break in the weather, Skylar and I dinghied to the Malibu camp to check it out. We got a private tour of the grounds that has seen major improvements since Julie and I were there as kids.
When we got back the falls just continued to grow. We all walked up as close as we could. Skylar took his shirt off and got completely drenched from the spray which was so erratic you had no idea where you were going to get soaked or stay dry.
As the sun set the rain came down harder. We watched the water in the bay get darker and the sound of the falls seemed to get louder in the night.