Tuesday, May 12, 2009

#13 - Pruth Bay to Shearwater-Bella Bella

Fishing sucked except for a loan crab that got stuck on bottom weight of fishing leader. This turned out to be a good indicator for crabs. Before leaving for Shearwater, we pulled our traps and had great success.

Crab tangled in lead weight, Joe's new crab fishing technique.

As some of you may remember from last years cruise (see http://baywoodinn.com/blog/Alaska%20Blog%201.pdf), turkey man Willie travels with a large cooler of poultry products. Sunday, Willie arrived in Port Hardy with packages of smoked turkey, turkey bacon, duck breast, chicken thighs and Best Foods mayonnaise. So when we forgot crab bait, those chicken thighs, originally intended for seafood gumbo base, made excellent bait. Our traps yielded eight large male crabs
Eight legal male crabs filled our bucket.

Joe competes with crabs in beauty contest. Joe (Mr. California) made a politically incorrect comment which disqualified him: crabs win!

As in the past, we use Friskies salmon dinner catfood for prawn bait. It always seems to work. Yesterday on the way into Pruth, we set our prawn trap at 200 feet in the Bay's main fairway. Using the boat's dinghy with 40-hp Honda and an "E-Z Puller", we pulled the prawn trap this morning. Unfortunately during the rapid ascent, the trap top opened and dumped our bounty. No worries this is just chapter one in our prawning saga.

Our route to Shearwater-Bella Bella

We departed Pruth Bay using the our northern shortcut, across Hakai Passage, through Ward Channel, then following Nalau Passage to Fitz Hugh Sound. Ward Channel is tight and always gets the sleep out of our eyes as we watch the forward looking sonar for underwater excitement.

Ward Channel is skinny!

The motor up to Shearwater-Bella Bella was uneventful. Mike noticed a black bear cub on Denny Island, just before we arrived at Shearwater, dampening his trail walking desires. Shearwater-Bella Bella was quiet compared to last year with lots of dock space. The lodge desk girl said reservations we off 20% from last year.

Alex noticed the yacht Copasetic on the AIS transponder as it rounded Cape Caution a few days back. It was settled on the end-tie in Shearwater. This 141 foot expedition yacht plans to stay here awhile waiting for her owner from Florida. It's a beauty. Learn more at http://www.mvcopasetic.com.
Wild Blue at the dock in Shearwater with MV Copasetic, the large 141 foot yacht in background.

One thing Willie does better than anyone I know is "chef". Once docked, the job was crab cleaning and cooking. We removed the legs and discard the shells, leaving more room for crab in the pot. Thanks to Dick on Seagate for loaning us his cooker, we seasoned fresh seawater with Pappy's, brought it to a boil, inserted the cooker full of crab, brought it to a boil for 15 minutes, then immediately doused the crabs with iced water.

Crab legs removed from body and ready for Pappy's seasoning in boiling seawater for 15 minutes.

The feast included BBQ duck breast, crab legs, butter-garlic bread and salad. We topped it off with a fresh baked strawberry-rhubarb pie. Life on the Inside Passage is rough.

Tomorrow we sleep in and leave late for Bottleneck Bay about a 4-hour cruise.

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