Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 36/August 5 – McMicking Inlet to Ire Inlet

Woke up in fog again, but we really needed to get going if we were going to see all that we wanted to see between here and Rupert before Friday. It was coming in waves and we could see the sun just above it all, so we crept out around 7am and followed our GPS track. By the time we had arrived back out in the channel it had lifted enough for us to pick up speed and head up Campania for Anger Island just off Pitt Island. Glassy calm, bright sun. We came through a fishy smelling orange coloured tide – red tide? A few more dolphins playing. Scott did a little jigging while I got some work done. Didn’t take long to catch a sizable halibut. It took us 3 attempts to get it in the boat after contemplating whether or not we should keep it. 33 inches so apparently 16 lbs. Glad we have a good fish cook book on board.

Wind picked up as we came into Ala Passage, enough to have a nice little downwind sail with just the jib. Enjoyed it so much we almost missed the tiny entrance to Ire Inlet. Once inside we were surrounded by jelly fish slowly pushing themselves around the bay surrounded by ancient cedars. Dropped anchor and explored the tidal falls at the end of the inlet. Enormous muscle bed right at the top of the tidal river, the perfect place to filter feed. Scrambled up a little hill, enjoying huckleberries as we went.  

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Day 35/August 4 – Harwood Cove to McMicking Inlet

Fog. I guess this is why they call it Fogust.  Woke up for an early start to get down to the sandy beaches of Campania, but the morning fog wouldn’t let us leave until 11. There used to be a game where you’d have to complete the sentence, “You know you’re a real Westcoaster when….”. This morning was a good one, “You know you’re a real Westcoaster when you make your own granola while sailing the Great Bear Rainforest.” Once the granola was made and the fog burned off we made our way down the side of this gorgeous island, past all the inlets covered with bonzied cedars. We were joined by a few white sided dophins who played off the wake of our bow for a stint. Found our way into the white sandy beaches and found Kyle and his family enjoying the sun. We anchored and took Sturdi into enjoy the last of the day and then tucked into McMicking Inlet which we had to share with a coast guard vessel, but there was plenty of room and we each had our own little cove.

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Day 34/August 3 – Hartley Bay to Harwood Cove

Spent the morning getting ready to go (aka – getting in as much internetting as possible) and had a late departure at around noon. With the permission of a few community members we picked some sour cherries from about a half dozen trees that were dripping in ripe ready-to-fall off berries. Had a laugh with a young brother and sister who interrupted their boardwalk to chat and balk at our picking the sour cherries. “They taste like hairspray,” they said as they nibbled the thimble berries.

Motored around to the tip of Campania to find humpbacks bubble net feeding. Tails in the distance, big misty breaths all around and a few huge splashes as they breached every once in a while.  Wind picked up and we headed into Harwook Cove – one of the few places to duck in on the West side of Campania Island. The sun was setting as we found our spot to anchor for the night. As we pulled up to the beach we saw a wolf. She didn’t seem shy and trotted along the beach long enough for us to catch her good side – looked like she had a wound on her left knee.

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Day 33/August 2 – Cameron Cove to Hartley Bay

We did the conference call dash this morning. Kim needed to be in Hartley Bay’s cell coverage to do a conference call at 9am this morning which meant a 4:30am departure time from Cameron Cove. Woke up in the dark and fog with an illuminated fishing troller waiting for the fishery to open. Came out of the cove to find 4 more boats waiting for 6am when they are allowed to drop their nets – and they don’t waste anytime. We passed one at 6am and not a second later their net was down. When you see them it seems a little unfair that these boats sweep the ocean of the salmon we’ve been watching fight their way to get to this point where they are about to return to their place of birth to lay their eggs. 
Pulled into Hartley Bay just in time for Kim to get on her call and for Scott to come along side solo. The boardwalked community of Hartley Bay is lovely. It almost feels like you’ve arrived in Europe with the Japanese import vehicles that drive over the planks at 30kms. The community just purchased a number of carts for the elders to use to get around. We ended up across the wharf from a local friend, Kyle Clifton’s boat where his family were getting ready to head out for the weekend. We were all having a chat on the dock at lunch when his mother-in-law caught a salmon right off the wharf with his daughter’s fishing rod! Had a nice visit with Kyle, walked the planked boardwalk passed the Gitga’at hatchery, passed an inviting swimming hole and some of the more delicious blue and huckle berries we’ve sampled, to a cabin next to a lake.

Gitga’at’s entire traditional territory encompasses the route that oil and gas tankers would travel through for export to Asia. They certainly have the least to gain and the most to lose in this situation. The Gitga’at have been sustainably managing the resources of this region for over a millennia and yet they are continually questioned and not given the opportunity to adequately participate in decision making around the impacts on the resources here. This sentiment was driven home as we spent the night trying to ignore the ostentatious mega yacht next door as they chain smoked and got drunk on their hot tub on the top deck, cackles echoing through the village. I really don’t think they could have been more ignorant if they tried. 

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Day 32/August 1 – Cameron Cove

Today was too gorgeous in this beautiful spot to move. We stayed put, enjoyed the sun and the breeze and the leaping salmon – still no bears. Baked, read, cooked and knocked off a few more jobs on the boat. 

Apart from a couple of photos of Scott’s rum and almond coffee cake (to which there was also a wild blueberry and almond offshoot brother cake), we’ve included a bunch of photos here from throughout our year.  We spent a great deal of effort this year getting Nordri ready for this trip, which seemed pretty crazy at the time… but we are certainly reaping the rewards now. It was all worthwhile! Thanks to all our friends and family who helped us both mentally and with elbow grease!!

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