Our apologies for the silence! We have been making our way up the beautiful coast of British Columbia and haven't had much access to internet. When we do it is really slow, so finally, here we go. We finally made it to Prince Rupert today and tomorrow we will be in Alaskan waters! So long Canada, it's been great, eh? On to bigger mountains, glaciers, salmon and grizzly bears! Here's a little review of our last week since we checked in at Port McNeill.
While we were in Port McNeill, we discovered some high winds in the Queen Charlotte Strait, so we decided to make it a leisurely day, and took off around 2pm to make our way over to the Walker Group. The Walker Group is a group of islands in the middle of the Queen Charlotte Strait, just before it runs into the Queen Charlotte Sound. It is surrounded by some big waters, but we we were cozy inside a little inlet at Kent Island. The entrance was a little tricky because it was so narrow and there was a good amount of debris in the way, but once we were in, we were the only boat there. We anchored, fooled around the bay in the dinghy, ate some dinner and prepared ourselves for Friday’s sail.
The next day involved big seas and heavy winds. We raised the sails and were able to sail all the way out and around Cape Caution, and into an anchorage at Penrose Island. Queen Charlotte Sound means business. It is big water sailing, at least in my book. We had choppy waters with large swells the whole way. I panicked a few times when we went to make a tack that didn’t go so smoothly, or we were heeled over so far it felt like it would tip over, but Kevin kept it together and overall it was a success.
From Penrose Island, we followed the Fisher Channel and Lama Passage and found ourselves near Bella Bella and Shearwater. We were excited to visit Bella Bella- we had heard it was a cute little indian village, and had expectations it would have provisions for the tourist, but it turned out that we were definitely the outsiders. We had the only sailboat on the very tiny public dock. We quickly deduced this was not our place, so we moved on and found an anchorage outside of Shearwater for the night. In the morning, we got fuel, ice, showers, and some food in Shearwater, which seems to be much more accommodating to the transient boater. From Shearwater, we went through the Seaforth Channel, Reid Passage, Percevail Narrows, and up the Matheison Channel to our anchorage in James Inlet. After we left Shearwater, we were truly feeling remote, having passed only one or two boats all day! The Matheison Channel was beautiful with tall mountains rising strait out of the green water. Once again, we were the only boat at our anchorage that night.
We were in the area appropriately named Fiordland, with many inlets to explore, waterfalls, steep mountains and perfectly green waters. If we had more time, we would have explored this gorgeous area more. The next morning we continued up the Matheison Channel to “The Graduate” waterfall which lies in the beautiful Kynoch Inlet. The Graduate waterfall drops right in to the inlet water, and we could get the boat right up in the spray, which was definitely a unique experience!
Continuing on through the series of channels and passages, we anchored that night in the gorgeous Khutze Inlet off of the Princess Royal Channel. The waters instantly turned from a deep dark green to the milky light turquoise glacial water. As we turned into the inlet, a few snow covered peaks emerged beyond the immediate mountains. We found an anchorage next to a small waterfall, which made for a pleasant night sleep. There were three other boats at the end of the inlet, which I guess we could have expected since it is named on of the best anchorages on the inside passage!
Tuesday turned out to be an incredible day. We began our day with the flooding tide and made great time out to the Ursula Channel. In our book we had read about these hot spring that were a “must do,” so we made a detour from our route and it was definitely worth it! The Bishop Bay Hot Springs are a well known attraction for locals and cruisers. Over the years it has been developed a little, so there is a float dock to tie up to, a walkway to the springs, cinderblock pools, and an abundance of random boating paraphernalia that visitors have left over the years. There are two small pools that the springs feed into, one with a roof and one in the open. They are only big enough for a few people. The water was clear, odorless and just the right soaking temperature. It was such a great way to spend the afternoon! To top it off, we spotted a pod of orca whales traveling the opposite direction as we headed to our anchorage for that night!
Yesterday, was another early morning as we picked up the flood tide and rode it all the way up the 45 mile long Grenville Channel. The Princess Royal Channel and Grenville Channel are both known for cruise ship traffic, but we must have made the trip at the right time because we didn’t run into any large traffic, only a couple fishing vessels. After our long day with little excitement, we popped out of the Grenville Channel and headed toward our anchorage off of the Arthur Passage. As we were approaching the anchorage, our motor sputtered and we realized we had run out of fuel. Lucky we carry an extra jerry can just in case, so we added that to the tank and found the anchorage.
Today we took our time getting up, since we had a relatively short trip to Prince Rupert. We treated ourselves to cold draft beer and burgers for dinner, which we thought were well deserved! The fisherman were cleaning their catch at the marina below, so there were eagles everywhere trying to pick up the scraps.
We have enjoyed our trip through British Columbia, but are excited to finally make it to Alaska tomorrow! Since we can’t make it all the way to Ketchikan, we are allowed to anchor in Foggy Bay tomorrow night and the proceed to Ketchikan on Saturday. See you again in Alaska!