Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 21/August 21st–Duncanby Marina to Blunden Harbour

5:30am departure from Duncanby. All looked clear for a Cape Caution rounding. Overcast and glassy waters. Not half as much swell as we had coming up. Plodded along and through the wind swept islands taking turns napping, cooking, cleaning and spotting whales along the shore. After the rounding we came across a wall of fog. Wasn’t letting up with barely 1/8 mile of visibility and so we decided to tuck into Skull Cove and wait it out. Remembering the dinner invitation at Blunden Harbour with Lady Jane and Loose Wire II, we called ahead on 72 to let them know we didn’t think we were going to make it. 

We cautiously navigated towards Skull Cove using radar, nav software/GPS and holding compass bearings. It’s a strange combination of shock and relief when you finally spot the shore emerging from the fog. A shock to see it so close and relief to have something tangible to locate yourself. Just beyond the fog there’s blue sky and sun and Skull Cove was as inviting as it was the first time we were there last year. Scott made brownies (from scratch I have to add) and we were relaxing on deck when we heard the distinct blow of a whales breath just on the other side of the rocks. Raced into the dingy and clammered over the rocks with binoculars and the camera and enjoyed watching this whale feed while the fog ebbed and flowed, hiding and revealing the islands. We heard a little horn go off and out of the fog emerged the “Swiss shoe” boat!

We could see the wind picking up and blowing out the fog. We pulled anchor and had one of the best downwind sails we’ve had in Nordri yet hitting 8 knots at one point! Sailed all the way into Blunden Harbour where we saw Lady Jane and Loose Wire II rafted together. Hailed us on 72 – the invitation for dinner stands! Most delicious spring salmon and mac and cheese ever!   


Day 20/ August 20th – Remotesville Cove to Duncanby Marina (Goose Bay)

After a few days of low supplies, washing underwear in the sink, eating regenerated green onions and thinking about heading back with a good forecast for a Cape Caution rounding we decided to check out Duncanby – a sport fishing lodge at the mouth of Goose Bay. If you know Kim and her level of tolerance for “sportees” you’ll know the situation was desperate.

Nice bright day. Motored up to the gas dock and a cheery gentleman, of about 80 years old, came right up to Nordri and said, “Is that a 34 foot North Sea Cutter?!”. Scott and I were both shocked – no one has ever correctly ID’d Nordri. “I sailed up to Alaska in that boat from Seattle in 1979.” WHA!? We finished fuelling and watering up, tied to the dock and eagerly made our way to the 30 foot powerboat Lady Jane where we met Ron and Jane and their miniature poodle and confirmed that in fact, Ron had travelled from Seattle to Alaska on Nordri (then Aventura) with his 16 year old daughter, the boat owner, Don Reynolds and his brother. We invited Ron and his friend Bill, who was accompanying the Lady Jane with his wife and their dog in Loose Wire II, a 50ish foot motoryacht up to Alaska from their home in Anacortes. Was great to see Ron’s face light up with memories as he had a look around. He remembered the settee being in the pilothouse. They invited us for a drink before our dinner reservation at the lodge at 6. We enjoyed looong hot showers while the lodge staff tackled our laundry. Enjoyed getting to know Ron, Jane, Bill and Caroline over a glass of wine and then watching the sun go down over dinner on the deck of the lodge.  IMG_6236IMG_6239IMG_6247GOPR0262

Day 19/ August 19th – Fish Trap Bay to Remotesville Cove (Fish Egg Inlet)

One of those gorgeous days where the sun shines and you don’t see another soul. Did some exploring up the little estuary we were anchored into. Bear prints in the mud. Clammered through a tangle of fallen cedars, slippery rocks, salal jungles where it’s hard to tell which way is up because there’s as much moss in the trees as there is covering the rocks running along side the fresh water creeks. Pulled the prawn trap – our first prawn haul! 97 prawns! Set down in Remotesville Cove after passing over a few narrows that required my eyes on the bow. Prawns for dinner and the company of another pair of loons and some drifting jelly fish.


Day 18/ August 18th – Rock Inlet to Fish Trap Bay (Fish Egg Inlet)

Scott spent the morning bent over the engine and I made muffins with the ingredients we had. Scott got satisfaction from levering the engine to get the Namu bolts in place and I from using up some sad looking carrots and apples in the muffins. We were both more than satisfied with the new purr from the engine at low RPMs!

Headed out and decided to forfeit the trip to Shearwater/Bella Bella - now that we’d found the bolts, no need to enter civilization, although the fresh produce and laundry were tempting.  Made our way down to Fish Egg Inlet tucked in to what seemed like another world. Seemed that no matter what was happening outside this Inlet, it would be calm and peaceful in here. We set the prawn trap and set up in a corner with a stern tie with the company of loons.


Day 17/ August 17th – Koeye River to Rock Inlet (Namu)

With a strong recommendation to try out Namu for matching our missing bolt we headed there with the engine sounding rough. Pulled up to find the old cannery looking a little worse off than last year, lonely with it’s caretakers having moved on. One of the towers has fallen and the Chilcotin Princess looks to have sunk a few feet deeper. After Scott finished a bit of bright work we headed in to have a look. The place has been looted, drawers emptied, things smashed, engines missing. Some things left in place, accident reports, old punch cards, jars of salmon and jam, thermos replacements, stove pipe pieces.

We searched through piles and piles of random bolts and found not one, but two that matched! Very pleased, we headed around into Rock Inlet where we found a nice private corner and secured ourselves in with a stern tie.


Day 16/ August 16th – Sea Otter Inlet to Koeye River

Celebration day! Turned over the engine to make our way over to Koeye for the blessing and celebration of the lodge they’ve been rebuilding since a fire destroyed their old lodge 3 years ago. The engine had a new vibrating sound and Scott noticed two bolts missing from the engine mount. Called over to Koeye to see if there were any boats heading past that could give us a lift. In the end, we found an RPM that seemed to vibrate the engine at a tolerable level and started limping over to Koeye. About halfway across we noticed the RCMP boat fly passed us. Tried to get them on the radio, but they weren’t responding. Watched them pull into Sea Otter and then come out again. Then we got a call from Prince Rupert Coast Guard Radio relaying a message from the Bella Bella RCMP on 16! They called us “Norgi” so maybe people didn’t recognize it was us.

Arrived in Koeye, dropped anchor, hopped in the dingy, ran up the hill just in time to hear the MC say, “And that concludes the blessing.” Fortunately, there were a few more conclusions after that. Were fed a timely and delicious lunch, visited with friends who had come from Victoria, Vancouver, Bella Bella, Rivers Inlet, walked down to the Big House and wandered barefoot down the sandy beach where people gathered and cooled off in the water. Then a very special invitation to watch the Heiltsuk youth perform their sacred songs and dances in the Big House around the fire. It’s a magic thing to watch them bring life to the Heiltsuk songs and traditions you hear and read about.

Had a look through a bag of bolts that had been salvaged from Namu, the sinking cannery up the channel, but couldn’t find a match. Did a search through a bucked of bolts on board Habitat – the PacificWild catamaran, no match. Joined the McAllister's and company on Habitat for a lively dinner and then headed back to Nordri amidst the leaping pinks and phosphorescence.