Day 3 -Beaver Harbor (Just South of Port Hardy), Wednesday, August 15, 2012
After our crazy night, we were glad to be out of Campbell River. We waited until the current in Seymour Narrows settled to about 6 knots and then just throttled up flew through it. No problem. This treacherous stretch has taken out many a ship in its day. There’s quite a story about how the Canadians blasted an underwater mountain out from the middle of the passage to make it safer. The key is to pass at slack current or close to it, as is the case in many Pacific Northwest Passages. At 25 knots this is not as big of deal as at 7 knots, but still, always something to plan around. I tried to balance our late departure waiting for the currents to settle with the expected winds that tend to kick up later in the day in Johnstone Strait and then balance that with the morning fog that is so common around here in the mornings. All in all, the entire passage all the way was smooth, quiet, and, for the most part, pretty clear. Thank God for no problems with the Strait of Georgia or Johnstone Strait. I pray that continues as we’ve got scarier crossing to make on the West side.
Time-wise, we’ve only been gone a few days; however, we’re by Port Hardy in Beaver Harbor in a really beautiful cove. More on that later. Port Hardy is on the North tip of Vancouver Island so you could say that we’re already nearly half way around the island; however, we plan on spending the next few weeks poking our nose into many of the inlets and harbors along the West Coast of the island. These are expected to be the most challenging waters we’ve ever encountered but I think the crew and I are up for it. All systems on the boat are running flawlessly, thanks to Ron Meng and the crew at Islands Marine Center, the Ocean Sport Roamer builder/dealer on Lopez Island. Currently, my trip meter tells me we’ve put on 256 nautical miles (295 statute miles) so far. Not bad for 3 days but I’m ready to slow it down and do more hiking, fishing, kayaking, beachcombing, photography, etc.
OK. Back to our trip from Campbell River to Port Hardy… As we were transiting Johnstone Strait we noticed a huge pod of dolphins. (Is that what they are? Flock? No. Heard? No. Pod? Maybe. I’ll stick with pod.) As we pulled the throttles back, many shot over to us and frolicked in our bow wave and our wakes. It was simply incredible… hundreds of dolphins all around us and dozens swimming right beside, under, and all around our boat…literally, feet from us. It was by far the best dolphin encounter we’ve ever had. Val commented that Connor’s classroom sure beats a brick one. (Connor is home schooled and does his work whenever we’re not having fun… the problem is, we’re always having fun!)
The further north we got the more fog threatened to slow us down. All I had to do was turn the radar on and it seemed to miraculously burn off as we approached it. We only had to slow down for a few minutes and then just a tad. The fog did add a certain mystery to the setting. I think it’s beautiful in its own way.
Realizing we’d be in some pretty remote places the next few weeks, we decided to stop at Telegraph Cove for lunch. It’s a funky little resort with interesting shops and restaurants and a boardwalk around the entire cove. And, they had Internet access. I want to have everything caught up before we leave civilization! We enjoyed our fish and chips on the outside deck in the wonderful cool air and glorious warm sunshine.
We spent a few hours at Telegraph Cove and we were all getting pretty tired from our lack of last night so we decided to find a little cove by Port Hardy and have a nice relaxing evening on the hook. We ended up only 3 miles from Port Hardy in Beaver Harbor and found the neatest little cove completely filled with so much wildlife. As we anchored, there were Coho salmon jumping everywhere, several in the air at any given moment. There were curious seals checking us out. Various kinds sea birds were all singing praises. A massive humpback whale came to check us out and swam directly under our boat. His “swoosh” as he went under actually lifted the bow of the boat a few inches. That’s the closest we’ve ever been to a humpback. He fished around our boat all evening. They are amazingly graceful and beautiful creatures.
As soon as the anchor was set, Connor launched the dinghy and I threw the kayak in the water. We were off to catch those salmon. Within 15 minutes, we each had one. Dinner! Val started prep in the kitchen and Connor and I cleaned the fish. We enjoyed our first fresh salmon meal of the year in an amazing anchorage.
What a day it has been! Tomorrow, we’ll sleep until we’re caught up on our sleep and then we’ll make the short trip into Port Hardy for fuel and water. Then, depending on the forecast, we’ll fish or find an anchorage close to our “staging” area for the crossing around the North tip, Cape Scott. I get nervous just thinking about that. For now, it’s bedtime! Goodnight.