Monday, August 29, 2016

Prince Rupert to Port McNeill – “The long way home” – Part 2

2016-08-038xThe morning of August 16 we left Shearwater Marina for Codville Lagoon, dropping prawn pots before we anchored.  Since it was still early, we dropped the kayaks into the water and paddled to shore.  We then hiked 2 km trail to Sagar Lake and its lovely sandy shores.

After picking up our prawn pots (enough for a meal or two) on the way out, we headed down to fish outside Gold Stream Harbor.  We’ve anchored there in the past but the forecasted strong westerly winds persuaded us to continue further south after fishing (unproductive) to Fish Egg Inlet.  We dropped prawn pots part way in then worked our way to the very back and anchored in the shallow waters of Oyster Bay.

2016-08-042xThe next morning, August 18, we headed out to fish Addenbroke Island where we had seen lots of guide sport fishing boats the day before.  They were there when we arrived and we joined the melee, a blundering 50’ goliath amongst more agile 20’ davids.  While Marcia got some good hits on her gear there was no firm bite.  We stopped to pull our prawn pots as went back into Fish Egg Inlet to anchor.  The first pot had a nice haul of prawns, the second pot felt equally heavy as we pulled it in but its heft came from an octopus in it surrounded by prawn carcasses.  We opened the pot and let the octopus ooze its way back into the water. 

We were concerned with the third pot as the line was initially snagged on the bottom but we ultimately retrieved it and its load of prawns to the surface.  We reset the pots but in a location a distance away from where we returned the octopus.  For the night we anchor in a cove south of a passage called “The Narrows”.

After the excitement of the day before, when we pull pots we aren’t sure what to expect.  The first two pots had a good number of prawns but the third one we pulled up had another octopus.  This octopus was a bit smaller than the previous days catch and we quickly returned him to the water.  We decided to give this area a rest and did not reset the prawn pots.  We first fished Addenbroke where we had two good hooks but Kurt botched the netting at the swim step on the first fish and the line at the hook broke on the second one.  We headed off next to Gold Stream to fish the afternoon bite.  After a couple of hours trolling (and not seeing any other boats fishing), we conclude2016-08-059x the fish aren’t here.  We head to Pruth Bay for the night.  As we make our way there, we watch our engine hour gauge roll over another thousand hours of operation to 4,000.

2016-08-064xFiguring that Addenbroke Island is “the” place for fishing, we head back there on Saturday, August 20.  After several days of no fish caught, Marcia hooks and brings up a nice size coho salmon.  We call it a day and head to Green Island to anchor.  After the fish is cleaned and fileted, we drop the kayaks and paddle around this delightful anchorage.

2016-08-070xWe had been monitoring weather for crossing around Cape Caution, one of the few sections of the Inside Passage with prolonged exposure to ocean swells and conditions.  We decided that Monday, August 22, looked like good conditions. On August 21, we first fished Addenbroke Island where Marcia caught one more coho salmon then we headed into Fury Cove to join the other boats waiting to cross.

The next morning, August 22, started off nicely but the NW wind did pick up as the day progressed.  We put our stabilizing fish in the water to reduce the boat’s rolling motion caused by ocean swell which it did nicely.  Our original intent was to stop at Blunden Harbor but when we started to go in, the wind was brisk enough that there were white caps in the anchorage so we continued on.  We ended up in Napier Bay on N Broughton Island which was very calm but not particularly scenic on account of past logging activity.

The next day we headed into Drury Inlet and make our way to Jennis Bay Marina. Considerable logging has taken place in the area which offer logging roads on which to walk so we did a 5 mile round trip hike to a vista overlooking Drury Inlet and Jennis Bay.  At happy hour we were able to meet the other boaters on the dock, a treat you can’t easily do if your anchored out (especially you are by yourself).

The Broughtons are a compact area so it was a short day to the next anchorage in Burly Bay in MacKenzie Sound.  A dramatic cliff stands above the anchorage. 

On Thursday, August 25, we worked our way along the inside channels to the cozy and quiet anchorage in Lady Boot Cove (aka “East of Eden Cove”) on Eden Island.  It is ony a 1 or 2 boat anchorage and you have no visibility as to whether anyone is in it until you are almost in.  We had it to ourselves for the night.

We completed this leg of our journey the next morning when we traveled through the thick fog blanketing Queen Charlotte Strait to Port McNeill arriving late morning on August 26, 23 days after leaving Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert to Port McNeill – “The long way home” – Part 1

After celebrating Marcia’s birthday at the Cow Bay CafĂ©, we continued the next leg of our journey south by heading over to Edye Pass on the north side of Porcher Island and fishing the afternoon slack.  Marcia got her first Canadian coho salmon of the season before we headed into Hunt Inlet for the night.

The next day, August 4, we made the trek down Ogden and Petrel Channels towards Principe Channel.  We were continually surprised at the remarkable changes in our speed over ground due to eddies and back eddies as we went around the many points and bends in Petrel Channel.  As we entered Principe Channel, we encountered the forecast NW winds of 20-25 knots.  We ferried 2 miles across Principe Channel and anchored for the night in Colby Bay.

2016-08-003xOn August 5, we did a short day and went to the north cove of Patterson Inlet, also know as  Princess Diana Cove.  It was an extraordinarily lovely anchorage, land locked with steep mountains on two sides and lower hills on the other two.  We dropped the kayaks down and paddled around the anchorage.

The next day was devoted to fishing, stopping first in Otter Channel for the early slack, then heading up to the NW corner of Gill Island for the afternoon.  The salmon successfully eluded Marcia at both although there were some good hits at the lure.  We anchored in Hawk Bay on Fin Island for the night.

August 7 was another fishing day with the early bite being at Money Point at the south tip of Hawkesbury Island and the afternoon bite again at the NW corner of Gill Island.  Marcia released 2 pink salmons but no coho salmon were caught.  The very convenient Hawk Bay was again the anchorage.

2016-08-014xWe headed out the next morning for Laredo Channel, stopping first at Ulric Point for a little fishing.  Marcia managed to coax a salmon into remaining hooked (the Canadian fishing regulations require barbless hooks for salmon fishing) so we didn’t come away empty handed.  Our destination for the night was Alston Cove in Laredo Inlet, a very lovely anchorage.

We continued our explorations in Laredo Inlet the next day, first looking for some halibut fishing areas which proved to be illusory, then dropping some prawn pots outside the Bay of Plenty (a promising name!) where we anchored for the night.

The next morning, August 10, we pulled the first pot with some hopeful expectations which were dashed when we found the pot was totally bare of sea life even though the bait (salmon belly and herring) were stripped clean.  Our expectations now set appropriately, the next two pots did not disappoint when they too were barren.  We continued to the head of Laredo Inlet, which was lovely but had no suitable anchorage so we turned around retraced our path out.  We timed our exit to fish the entry just north of Hastings Island.  Marcia reeled in a lovely coho salmon for the effort.  Our anchorage for the night was Meyers Narrow Cove just off of Meyers Passage.

2016-08-022xAn early start the next day saw us through Meyers Narrow at slack and then through Milbanke Sound and into Seaforth Channel before the forecasted afternoon winds started.  We fished Idol Point along the way and Marcia was blessed with two coho salmon for her efforts.  We had a lovely afternoon and night anchored in Wigham Cove.

2016-08-025xOn Friday, August 12, we first headed over to Shearwater Marina hoping to be able to get moorage for the night.  Being high season for the area, the docks were full so we made reservations for the following Monday.  With time on our hands, we cruised up Roscoe Inlet, a spectacularly beautiful channel carved out by a glacier.  It would be even nicer in early season when snow melt from higher elevations cascaded down the steep rocky slopes.  We anchored at the very end sharing it with a sailboat.

Our explorations continued the next day when we exited Roscoe Inlet and headed up Spiller Inlet.  The views were not as nice as t2016-08-037xhe surrounding slopes were less steep and obvious signs of recent and ongoing logging marred them.  We anchored the night in the east cove of Ellerslie Bay.

The next morning, we headed to Idol Point where Marcia again caught two coho.  Idol Point was the obvious hot spot as close to a dozen boats were fishing the area.  For our anchorage, we headed to Discovery Cove on Cunningham Island.

On Monday, August 15, we traveled the short distance to Shearwater, where after a brief wait, we got onto the dock and proceeded to do chores (laundry and an oil change) and some light provisioning.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Craig to Prince Rupert

We decided to bypass Ketchikan on our way out of Alaska this year.  From Craig headed SE.  We hit three new (to us, anyway) anchorages, Shelikof Island Cove, Mabel Bay and Hunter Bay in successive nights then headed for Hydaburg.

Hydaburg is primarily populated by members of the Haida native Alaskan clans.  Cruising friends of ours had recommended Hydaburg to us for its native culture and friendly community.  The last week of July they have Haida Culture Camp intended to spread and preserve Haida culture in the community.  It is open to the public and we attended classes one day and then the closing feast event.  The foundation for a new long house to be used in Haida cultural events was dedicated while we were there.  We were terrifically impressed by the community spirit and the efforts they are going through to preserve their culture.

After Hydaburg, we sneaked around Cape Chacon and spent the night in Gardner Bay.  It is to far (at least at our leisurely speeds) to make it to Prince Rupert in one day from the south tip of Prince of Wales Island. Instead, we crossed Clarence Strait, scooted around the north side of Duke Island and made our way to the mainland side of Revillagigedo Channel.  Our last night in Alaska for 2016 was in Foggy Bay, the same anchorage we used for our first night this year. 

An early start the next morning, the first day of August, got us into Prince Rupert at the Prince Rupert Rowing & Yacht Club (PRRYC) by 1 PM (and that is with losing an hour going from AKDT to PDT).  We’ll spend a couple of nights in Prince Rupert before continuing the slow journey south.  Our rough schedule has us rounding Cape Caution, the exposed section that separates the northern portion of the BC Inside Passage from the southern portion, towards the end of August.