Pat is strapped to a loading chair.
Hoisted aboard by captain and crew.
On crutches, Pat boards Pacific Coast for the first leg of her long journey home from Shearwater: by boat to Bella Bella; by air to Vancouver, Seattle and San Jose; by rental car to San Luis Obispo.
It's a thrill to know the fresh water fire hydrants work at the City Float dock in Ketchikan.
With a few days to spare before the next crew, Pat tests her pastry skills.
Amazing how it rises all by itself.
The final product, ready for consumption by Alex.
Back in Ketchikan, our new crew arrived in on Wednesday. Pat and Lonnie Hood are friends from San Luis Obispo. Pat operates an active CPA practice while Lonnie is retired. Both are boaters and members of the Port San Luis Yacht Club in Avila Beach, CA. This is their first cruise aboard the Wild Blue. They will be joining us to Prince Rupert, Klemtu, Roscoe Inlet, and south to Shearwater.
Pat and Lonnie Hood are the Wild Blue crew to Shearwater.
All week we have been watching the weather for crossing Dixon Entrance back to BC and Prince Rupert. Friday looks to be the best day to cross with less than 15 knots and seas of 1 meter or less. Alex gave our new crew a quick tour of Ketchikan including the native run salmon hatchery. By mid-morning Thursday we were on our way to Foggy Bay and further if the weather allowed. It was an easy run and we pulled into the Bay and anchored with 8 other boats, headed south.
Friday morning at 6AM we quietly prepped the boat for crossing the Dixon Entrance, not wanting to wake up our boat neighbors. Just as we started the engines, ready to pull the anchor, we realized the Bay was almost empty. Most everyone else has beat us awake and exited for the early crossing of the open ocean separating us from British Columbia.
At 9AM, at the center of the Dixon Entrance, we crossed into Canada. The seas were as predicted and by noon we were approaching Venn Passage the northern entrance to Prince Rupert Harbor. We tied up at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club. Canadian Customs allowed us into BC even though they were unhappy we were bringing in our potted plants that stay aboard for our personal use. Can't please everybody!
Entering via Venn Passage
In Rupert we re-provisioned with fresh fruit and produce, and of course, Sleemans Honey Brown Ale and Wisers Whiskey. The town was busy and the store was quite crowded. Seemed to us the recession was not happening here.
Crutches haven't curtailed Pat's "cheffing" prowess. Here we have stuffed bell peppers in tomato sauce with arugula salad for dinner in Rupert.
On Saturday at first light, Alex departed the Yacht Club dock. There was lots of boating activity including ferries, commercial fishers, sports fishers and pleasure craft leaving the harbor this morning.
BC Ferry loading at Prince Rupert wharf.
Another BC Ferry waits to unload. Wow Prince Rupert is a busy harbor.
A pretty Offshore 68 passes us while exiting the Harbor.
We reached Watts Narrows near the 10:30AM slack current and entered into beautiful Baker Inlet, setting prawn and crab traps then anchoring at the head. It was a pretty day and we all relaxed, then took the tender for a shore excursion, minus Pat who "cheffed" some more.
Entering Baker Inlet.
On Sunday, we pulled all four traps, counting just a few prawns, and no crabs. We made the 11AM slack water in Watts Narrows exiting Baker into the Grenville Channel. It's just 3 hours or so to Lowe Inlet. We were anchored in Lowe Inlet last August 12th with thousands of salmon. We hope to catch a couple or more today.
We arrive at Lowe and are able to anchor just is front of the Verney Falls outflow. The flow holds us tight against the anchor. The salmon are running and we can spy a bear fishing at the base of the falls. We take the tender up close and watch the jumping salmon attack the Falls. This year is a bit different: there's no crowds of salmon in the water surrounding the outflow like last year. Either this is a smaller run or the salmon have already run. We decide to fish from the tender and Lonnie quickly lands a fish followed by Pat Hood catching the largest. We retire to clean fish and prepare yet another salmon BBQ.
Verney Falls at high tide.
Salmon are jumping up the Falls at high tide.
Anchored in the outflow form Verney Falls.
Fresh caught Lowe Inlet Coho salmon, barbecued per the standard Wild Blue recipe as follows: Olive oil, soy sauce, crushed garlic, and white wine mixed together into a marinade and basting sauce. Room temperature marinated salmon fillets skin-side down on a water soaked cedar plank. Slow cooked so the burning planks smoke infuses the salmon. In the last several minutes, top salmon with lemon juice, butter and capers. Serve on planks. Re-use planks up to three barbecue sessions.
On Monday we move on down Grenville Channel, past Hartley Bay, and into Princess Royal Channel looking for someplace different to anchor. The guide books talk up Khutze Inlet on the east side of the Channel just below Butedale. We pull into Khutze anchoring just on the inside of the submerged reef, about 1 mile inside. It's a great anchorage with lots of mountain views. We set the crab traps with high hopes.
Whale or no whale?
Wild Blue anchored at Khutze Inlet
Pretty scene at the head of Khutze Inlet.
We dined on Lonnie's salmon bisque and Pat Hood's salmon salad pitas.
Tuesday and it's already time to water up. We've been taking long showers every day to combat the numerous midge bites plaguing Pat Hood and Alex. We found the best medicine to relieve the itch is Benedryl. It works. But why are Pat B and Lonnie exempt from the midges wrath?
We pulled the crabless traps and then headed further south and stopping temporarily in Klemtu to fill with water. We did beat the crowd and several boats jammed the small dock just after we arrive. Then we continued on through Jackson Passage stopping for our free wifi fix at the Jackson fish farm. After responding to the critical emails, we continued onward into Mathieson Channel and eventually pretty Arthur Island cove, a one-boat anchorage north of Arthur Island.
We've been hearing on the VHF how the fishing is good. Earlier we had texted the Selene 53 Seeker whose crew was fishing these waters last week and boated many fish. Except for two Coho's in Lowe Inlet, our trolling reels have been silent. On Wednesday morning, following up on Seeker's success, we trolled Mathieson Channel for a couple hours. We trolled deep and shallow but received no joy. By 1PM we had cleared the Channel turning east in Seaforth towards Shearwater. Later we cruised northeast up Troup Passage entering Roscoe Inlet. We motored deep into Roscoe making Quartcha Bay late in the afternoon, but were unable to find a suitable anchorage spot. So we backtracked to Clatse Bay dropping the hook in calm, warm waters on a sunny evening. Of course we set the crab traps.
Roscoe Inlet's large granite dome reminds us of Yosemite, Princess Louisa, or Fords Terror. John Muir would have been right at home here.
Clatse Bay was calm and warm. We also found out it was pretty crabby too!
On Thursday, we hauled crab-filled traps. There was hardly any extra room at the crab trap inn. Turns out these Central BC crabs must like chicken thighs. Today we're heading once again to Ocean Falls to fill up on the best tasting water in the world, and tour the town once again. We cook crab in shifts along the way using two pots of boiling seawater. We leave the last batch warm for lunch appetizers. The rest we pick for future crab delights.
Crab haul at Klatse Bay: 15 legal males!
It's a crab picking marathon.
The Golden Maiden has been returned to it's permanent mounting along the shore overlooking the Ocean Falls marina floats.
We dined on fresh crab salad, a secret Pat and Lonnie recipe.
On Friday we exited Ocean Falls early as our crew needed to catch the 1PM Bella Bella flight to Vancouver. It's a 3-hour motor westbound through Gunboat Passage. The Passage is narrow and one needs to avoid the rocks and pass to the north of E28. It can be confusing without a chart in front of you. Be cautious!
We drove the boat to the floats alongside the public pier in front of the town of Bella Bella. The floats were filled with boats so we squished in between them and backed the boat partially into the fuel dock. There crew Pat and Lonnie jumped ashore with the help of a kind Native resident. We then motored over to Shearwater taking moorage at the Marina while waiting for the Admiral Pat's flight home on Sunday.
Our route through Gunboat Passage.
Looking west at Buoy E28 in Gunboat Passage, either side looks passable . The Buoy marks submerged rocks on the south side, so pass to the north.
Just across from Bella Bella is a recreational Indian lodge.
Bella Bella approaching from the North.