Saturday, July 13 - After Pruth we spent a night in Goldstream Harbor - a new spot for us. The next day we moved on to Codville Lagoon where we pulled up some prawns. I noted that one of our bilge pumps was not working - loose wire. A ten minute job that only took two hours. A 1 to 12 effort to results ratio. About average for a boat. Following Codville we moved on to the Dodwell Insland anchorage in Queen's Sound - a very pretty and quiet spot. While there we put the dinghy down for the first time and soon discovered that the steering was frozen. I couldn't fix it in the water so back on the boat it went. Rolynn, the ship's engineer, diagnosed the problem as follows, "The slidey thingy was stuck in the humma-humma tube so it could not activate the frammel lever." A day and half of sweating, cursing and swatting flies and the steering problem was fixed but the motor could not be tilted up or down. We left it in the down position and will fix it the next time we put it back on deck.
|Dodwell Island Anchorage|
Tuesday & Wednesday - From Dodwell we moved north to an unnamed cove that one book calls Wizard Cove. A pretty spot where we spent two nights. Tomorrow we will move to Sheartwater Marina, near Bella Bella, where we will meet up with Brian Shellum, Rolynn's brother who will be with us for two weeks.
Guest Blogger Brian Shellum Reports
20 July 2013 - Arrival in Shearwater
Arrived at Bella Bella airfield about 1630. Airstrip might be a better term for this primitive field with a single short runway bordered on both sides by evergreen scrub that seemed to tickle the wingtips on landing. The approach was a bit scary coming through a thick white cloud bank and finding the plane at wave top altitude approaching an island that seemed too small to boast an airstrip. After a short, fast landing and a sharp brake, we taxied to a weathered shack that passed for a terminal. With bags unceremoniously dumped on a homemade plywood stand, we bewildered passengers looked at each other and wondered what next. Each of us in turn looked at our useless smart phones. The few First Nation arrivals were greeted by family members with cars but we outsiders were left to wait for the single taxi in town. After standing in the open and staring down a rough road bordered by scrub that we were certain was thick with bears, the taxi arrived to our considerable relief. Seldom have I felt so helpless and vulnerable. After a short ride through the First Nation town of Bella Bella, where the only grocery store/post office had just burned down, I caught the water taxi across to Shearwater where Rolynn and Steve were waiting to my great relief! After a bracing gin and tonic aboard Intrepid, we celebrated my arrival at the only restaurant for 100 miles! Might be 200 but who is counting? Let the adventures begin!
21 July 2013 - Shearwater to Bottleneck InletI was up first at 0600 and after a coffee took a quick walking tour of Shearwater. The small common at the top of the dock features a newly sodded area with a recently installed Raven Totem and a large model of a British seaplane from World War II. Shearwater was established during World War II as a seaplane base to protect coastal British Columbia from a Japanese attack. The largest structure in the complex is a large hangar built to accommodate
We were greeted on the other side of the rapids by a pair of Pacific White-sided Porpoises that escorted us to the far end of the lagoon. Rolynn called to them and they seemed very interested in entertaining us with their acrobatic antics. It is a strange feeling to make conscious eye contact with a creature of obvious intelligence. As they rode in the bow wave of Intrepid, they repeatedly rolled on their sides and looked up at us. They clearly responded to our hand gestures and calls with more antics. Upon reaching the end of the lagoon we anchored-a difficult task in such a deep-sided lagoon. I won the anchorage bet since there were no other boats in Culpepper and I guessed zero. Rolynn and I launched the dinghy and placed the crab pot in a spot where they had caught many before. We placed bets on how many crabs we would have in the basket the following morning (hereafter called to as the crab bet). We took the dingy down the river at high tide scouting for fish and watching for bears. For dinner we feasted on grilled sausage and fish, cannelloni with meat balls, and a red wine. The end of the lagoon was loaded with birds and seals that kept us entertained all night. Because the generator was not charging we decided not to stay in Culpepper two nights as previously planned. We needed to be underway each day to charge up the batteries to keep the boat supplied with electricity. Steve will arrange to get the generator fixed in Shearwater when they take me there to fly out on 2 August.
Rolynn and I were out early in the dinghy to pick up the crab pot since we had to make the slack through the narrows at about 0800. I won the crab bet since I picked 8 crabs and we had six males large enough to keep. Our pair of Culpepper Dolphins escorted us out of the lagoon and to the rapids. The rapids where too shallow and swift to enter so we waited about 30 minutes before proceeding. We made a side trip up Mussel Inlet to view its picturesque bays, steep-sided mountains, and gorgeous waterfalls. Mussel Inlet gets its name from a 1793 incident involving a member of the Vancouver expedition. The rowboat Vancouver sent up this inlet, charting the waters and looking for
|Rolynn's Nautical Garden|
23 July 2013 - Culpepper Lagoon to Bowlin Bay
|Lizette Falls - Mussel Inlet|
24 July - Bowlin Bay to Oliver Cove
Next morning I fished for the salmon that were jumping all around the boat with no luck. Later I did some bottom fishing and caught a few small sole and a Pollock. Rolynn and I sat on the aft, savored our coffee, and watched the morning break at low tide on the bay before us. We decided to rename it Bird Bay because of the number and variety of birds. We watched two adult eagles keep watch over a juvenile bird that still had mottled dark brown and white feathers. An Osprey slapped the water, snatched the salmon that I should have caught, and quickly flew inland to avoid trouble with the eagles. There were also hundreds of shore birds: Pigeon Guillemots, Marbled Murrelets, Bonapart's Gulls, and more. A resident pair of seals circled the boat, eyed us curiously, and fed on the other salmon I should have caught. On the way out of Bowlin/Bird Bay we picked up the shrimp basket. Rolynn won the shrimp bet since she guessed closest to zero shrimp. The trip back down Mathieson Channel was uneventful and we arrived in Oliver cove about 1400, a six hour trip. We forgot to make the anchorage bet, but there were four boats at anchor before we arrived. It was overcast and a bit chilly when we settled in for our afternoon ritual of Gin and Tonics. The evening horsd'oeurves was crab cakes, made with yesterday's leftover Dungeness Crabs. For supper we had Reuben Sandwiches and Rolynn's homemade coleslaw. Rolynn and I explored the nearby Boat Harbor in the dingy before settling into an evening of reading.
We awoke to blue skies after the light fog burned off. This would be the sunniest and hottest day so far. We weighed anchor at 0800 and sailed south through Reid Passage, west through Seaforth Channel and Gunboat Passage, and finally north through Fisher Channel to Cousins Inlet and Ocean Falls, a five hour trip. Gunboat Passage gets very tight in several spots, especially at slack tide. As we made the passage we crossed the the cable lines that run from Ocean Falls that connect to Shearwater and Bella Bella and provide electricity from the plant that generates power from the dam there. Ocean Falls was founded as a paper mill town in 1906 and had a population of 3500 by 1950. After the paper mill closed in 1973, the town gradually lost its residents. The town now is a virtual ghost town with fewer than two dozen full-time residents, not counting the nearby housing area called Martinville. Houses, a large hotel, a church, a high-rise apartment complex, and former paper mill buildings all sit vacant. As you approach by boat and view the town from Cousins Inlet, Ocean Falls appears to be a prosperous town. As you get closer you see the emptiness and decay. The only thing left in the town is the power plant and a salmon fish hatchery. The towns most famous resident is Nearly Normal Norman who hosts a museum in Ocean Falls. Rolynn and I toured the town after we docked and met the few residents: the operators of the marina, caretaker at the Ocean Falls Fishing Lodge, folks who run the Dark Waters Lodge, and of course Norman. We walked to the top of the dam to view the spillway and see Link Lake. We wandered through neighborhoods of once cozy houses that were overgrown with moss and vines and ready to crumble. Sad to see a once vibrant town that once boasted two Olympic sized pools brought so low.
|Downtown Ocean Falls|
A whole day to fish! Steve stayed behind to work on the dingy that wasn't working properly and Rolynn caught up on her e-mail since we had a good WiFi connection. I set off for the half mile hike up the hill to Link Lake, but a worker at the fish hatchery told me pink salmon were biting at Martin River. I turned around, walked back to the boat, grabbed my tidal fishing license, and set off on the one mile walk to Martinville. When I arrived, I saw hundreds of pink salmon in the shallows near the mouth of the Martin River. I fished first with my fly rod with no luck. After switching to Rolynn's spinning rod I had success. First I caught a six pound female pink; then an eight pound male. Next I hooked a large fish that I fought for ten minutes until it ran straight out to sea and I couldn't stop it before it broke my line. I then caught a seven pound female. Since I only had one more fish to catch to reach my limit, I switched to my fly rod. I hooked a large ten pound male and after a ten minute fight netted him; the most fun I have ever had with a fly rod! Flushed with success,
|Brian and his Pinks!|