Day 11 - We left Windy bay and headed up Tolmie Channel and Graham Reach and were treated to smooth seas, warm sun and temperatures, and mid-morning piloting from the upper helm - in late May! Sea lions, dolphin pods and eagles escorted us north - destination Kuhtze Inlet and Conservancy; know for it's bear watching and overseen by BC parks and the Kitasoo Xai'xais First Nation. The journey up Kuhtze Inlet was a spectacular harbinger of things to come before we did a slight starboard button-hook at the end of it that led to this...
Breathtaking beauty from another world!
So incredible that it inspired us to do our first product placement from one of our trip sponsors, Salt Spring Kitchen Co. OK, we were slightly chided for not having sent out some SSI love until now, but we do love our Hot Mango and Candied Jalapeno, so putting it on the Garmin mast, like the Expedia Garden Nome, just made us crack up. Thanks to everyone and everything on SSI. The grass roots of our adventure.
We came very close to forgetting to take the jars back to the fridge. No biggy - we would have just asked the Jampire for an airdrop.
You can tell how much we liked this spot, and vista - it inspired our daily selfie and swim...
We watched for bears on the grassy river delta for several hours, had dinner and plenty of laughs, and then our pal Eric, Captain of Buttercup, chimed in with "I see a Bear". It was "All hands on deck", and we were off in our tenders to see just how close we could respectfully get to a Grizzly. This keen eyed photographer would never have spotted it in a million trips. Thanks, Eric - your years as a Outdoorsman paid off in our moment of collective joy and excitement. And here's why the phone will never replace the good old camera....
The bear was not phased by us in the slightest
..and why Day 11 ended on a serious adrenaline rush; for us, not the bear.
Day 12 started with a journey up Princess Royal Channel to Butedale, then further up Ursula Channel to Bishop Bay, then through Verney Passage to Hartley Bay for the night.
Butedale is the site of an historic cannery on gigantic Princess Royal Island. We explored the site and hiked up to a lake that was the source water for Hydro to the plant.
Then we pressed on to Bishop Bay - an amazing site of a Natural Hot Springs in the middle of nowhere, but really well organized and fantastically decorated.
We liked it so much that it inspired one of our ongoing selfie moments and a swim. The water was a balmy 15 degrees Celsius, according to our new friends from Bragg Creek, who are sailing their way to Alaska. It was bathwater compared to the day before in Kuhtze Inlet.
The unbelievable run across Verney Passage to Hartley Bay was striking in its natural beauty and California-like temperatures that enabled our first mate to go from the Hot Springs, to an Ocean swim, to the helm, wearing nothing but board shorts and a shit-eating grin. Good thing - it appears that's all our First Mate packed, thinking Captain Wiel had said, "do you want to go to Antigua".
Put on some clothes, Dude! It's Northern BC!
We cruised on to Hartley Bay, home to the Gitga'at First Nations People. It's a quaint town with a fish hatchery, a government dock, fuel, and 130 people. It has no cars, but lots of fancy quads, and a world-class, cedar plank boardwalk road system that we walked for two hours, having several chats with interesting people who could not have been more friendly. Very cool.
Co-existence - a beautiful totem and a cute little church.
Day 13 - We travelled a relatively short 20 nautical miles up Grenville Channel to Lowe Inlet, and into it's headwaters in Nettle Basin, one of Captain Wiel's favorite anchorages. "Fire-hosing" into the ocean is the Kumowdah River, and if you anchor just right, you can be cradled in the centre of the current, staring straight at Verney Falls. We nailed the anchorage, but the current and wind still swung our girthy, rafted gals, all 68,000 pounds of them, like a kite on a string. So we involuntarily got a 180 degree view of this majestic Provincial Park.
Super Geeky Boat Stuff - the red dots show how we swung in the eddy pool, at the end of the anchor chain, like a tether ball. We felt the power of the confluence of the river and the ocean.
It's not getting old for us, so we hope it's not getting old for you either, but the Falls inspired another in our ongoing series of selfie moments and an ocean swim. We kayaked to the base of the Falls, marveling at the idea that Salmon somehow run up Falls like these to spawn. Note that Captain Wiel is sporting his Polar tuque (forgot to wear mine - sorry, Steve), another product placement. Although we both think that this is more of a two way sponsorhip ... :-). Captain Wiel made our First Mate walk the plank for today's dip, so the launch point was the lower boat rail. It's officially a tie for coldest water temperature between Verney Falls and Kuhtze, as we prepare to swim in Alaska and maybe launch from the upper deck at some point. No doubt Sue will request a higher degree of difficulty when she takes over the Canon.
Nothing but gourmet eats along the way. We've made the most of Sue's first class provisions.
Day 14 - A lazy day up Grenville Channel to Baker Inlet - lazy until we crossed through Watts Narrows on route to the beautiful and secluded Baker Inlet. A bit of down time and a shore excursion and our first bit of rain in days. That's ok - there's a hockey game on courtesy of Starlink - Dallas vs. Vegas. In the middle of nowhere, watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Does it get any more Canadian than that? Off to Prince Rupert tomorrow to get regrouped for Chapter 2 of our 2023 Adventure aboard Perfect Pitch.
Grenville Channel and Watts Narrows