Left early-ish at low slack to get through more narrows and rapids by 8am. We made it and enjoyed the push of the current from behind as we headed towards Kitkatla. Once again, the fog lifted around noon to reveal sun reflecting off glassy calm waters. Had to keep a pretty good eye out for flotsam and jetsom, but was pretty easy cruising. We noticed the landscape steepen with more alpine meadows and a reduction in visible beaches. Arrived early outside Kitkatla and dropped a line; another pink.
Pulled up to Kitkatla and tied up at the single finger wharf alongside some well-kept boats and a fancy RCMP vessel. We were pleasantly greeted with friendly smiles as we walked into the village. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone with Gixtaala First Nation in the community at the time and being the first week of August there were not as many people around, so it was more of a stroll through town to get a sense of the place.
There were a few hours left in the day, so we decided to make our way to the next destination we were curious about – Oona River, a Swedish settlement of about 75 people who we had heard were very friendly and welcoming of visitors. If only getting into their harbour was as welcoming. The community sits in the very shallow mouth of the Oona River and is only accessible at high tides. Every guide book we’d read said, “do not enter without local knowledge.” So we called in on the VHF and reached Lutz, a friendly German who asked us to motor over to the piling with the marked numbers and read them. 3.5 – that would indicate 3.5 feet of water. Definitely not enough for Nordri.
Next thing we knew, Lutz had hopped into his skiff and came out to meet us on the forestry wharf that the community uses to wait out the tides. Just as he was encouraging us to spend the night on the wharf and then come in on the tide in the morning to have coffee with the community, a big aluminum boat came burning around the corner and heading towards the harbour. Lutz jumped on our radio to let the driver, Mark know the tide was low and that he could give them all a lift in until the tide came up. So Mark left his boat and we had dinner and caught up with email (Oona River has cell service!) until the tide came up. Mark got a lift back out to his boat and gave us a few instructions on what to look for as we followed him in. It was 11pm and dark. “It’s a soft bottom if you do get stuck.”
As we followed Mark closely in, Kim made the mistake of reading the depth – 7.7…6.9…6.6…5.9…5.5… - fortunately it didn’t get any shallower than that. As 5 or 6 community members helped us settle our boat on the wharf, Mark invited us to come up to his place and walk over for the community coffee at 10am. We tucked in excited to explore this amazingly friendly community.
Dock at Kitkatla
Engine hour meter passed over 1000hrs today! Nordri has been running like a top!