Kicking back on a lovely cedar plank veranda, overlooking a very choppy Bishop Bay. We’re tied up at the little dock, and it was calm when we arrived. We’re on the exposed side, which was fine before the afternoon breeze came up. Full fetch of the bay is hitting us broadside, and our little boat is really rocking. Which is why we’re enjoying the evening, sitting in our folding chairs on this very stable open air deck, with the lovely view of rocking boats.
Started the day in leisurely fashion, to a wonderful, sunny morning. Enjoyed breakfast in the cockpit, and wandered up to the cook shack around 8:30. Found Lou up and drinking coffee. He had been up late (2am)with the two guys on the fishing boat. He told a few more stories. I asked him if he had a burn barrel where I could burn our garbage. He said bring it up. He took me over to one of the dilapidated buildings, a former dormatory. We walked down the old corridor to one of the far rooms. He pulled up a trap door cover and said “Toss her in”, and I did. The crawl space was full of trash bags. Solid waste disposal, Butedale style.
We said our goodbyes around 9 am and shoved off. The cruise up Princess Royale Channel was highlighted by a great show put on by a helicopter logging operation. We spotted two big barges, one fully loaded with logs, and the second well on its way. An old ship hull with a dormatory style building constructed on deck was cabled to shore in a shallow cove. On the roof of one part of the building was a helicopter, and on the stern end was a stubby, twin opposing rotor lifting copter. We had a ringside seat as the lifting copter took off, flew over to the mountainside, and picked up a load of logs. He then flew down to the barge and laid the logs down. A self loader on the barge took over from there. He made trip after trip. The hillside where the logs were coming from showed no signs of the timber removal.
We crossed over to the east side of the channel. As I cruised along, about 200 yards off shore, I glanced over toward shore, just in time to see the back of a humpback whale arch clear of the surface and slowly bend back beneath the sea, about 50 yards away. I called to Sandy, and we watched excitedly as the whale came up again, headed in the opposite direction. We slowly circled around and watched, as two whales showed themselves. They tail slapped, and waved their pectoral fins at us, slowly working their way down channel. After about 15 minutes of this, we reluctantly turned back on course and continued our northward cruise.
We rounded into Ursula Channel, heading northeast, toward Bishop Bay Hot Spring. The water was deep blue and rippled by a light chop, a truly lovely day, tee shirt weather. And we had the entire channel to ourselves, not another boat in sight ahead or behind, as far as we could see. As we neared the entrance to Bishop Bay, I spotted a dolphin ahead and toward shore. Sandy watched for it, and saw one making a splashy rush across the surface. First one, then another, and soon we realized we were seeing a whole school of dolphins. I slowed to an idle, and to our amazement, the school rushed in our direction. We took turns standing on the bow, watching a spectacular show. Dolphins would zoom through the water just in front of the boat. We could see them below the surface, perhaps 15 feet down. They darted, surfaced, changed direction, and disappeared, only to turn and make another rush. We concluded that they were Pacific White Sided dolphins, and were busy feeding. Very exciting show. After about 15 minutes of this, they moved off, and we continued our way into Bishop Bay.
At the head of this bay is a very popular hot spring. I was hoping against hope that we would have this place, on this beautiful day, to ourselves. I rounded the corner and was pleased to note a completely empty bay, not a single boat at the little dock near the hot spring. We had cruised to within a half mile of the dock, when I heard the sound of a boat motor from behind. I looked and spotted an aluminum power boat tearing across the water, toward the dock. I continued fendering the boat for a port side tie up, and wouldn’t you know it, this guy passed me up within 200 yards of the dock and tied up port side. I switched fenders to the starbard side, and thus ended up on the exposed side of the dock. The people on board turned out to be really nice, a bit loud, but friendly, from the nearby town of Kitimat. Soon another boat entered the bay, a sailboat, which turned out to be the red sloop that had passed us on Queen Charolette Sound, and shared the anchorage at Fougner Bay. We finally got to meet them. Nice folks from Sidney, BC. While talking with them, a big crab boat cruised into the bay. He rolled right on in, and tried to raft to the red sailboat. His bow was almost against our stern. Finally he decided to pull back out and wait for the Kitimat boat to leave.
We wandered the beach to pass the afternoon, and I went for a swim, it was that hot. Once the hot spring was vacated, we went up for our bath. It was wonderful. After that, we barbqued rock cod fillets, courtesy of Lou, and watched as 3 other power boats arrived, all rafting to other boats. Really getting crowded here. Got to quit now. A log is drifting in toward our boat. Have to fend off, so will sign off.
464 miles total, 24 miles for the day.