Departure Port: Hot Springs Cove; Departure Time: 8:30am; Destination: Bacchante Bay; Arrival Time: 2:30pm; Distance Cruised Today: 18 miles; Total Distance for the Trip: 807 miles; Conditions: Clear and sunny, wind 5 – 12 knots, westerly; seas smooth to light chop
We’ve no sooner gotten the coffee water to heating when the first floatplane load of hot springs bathers lands and idles up to the dock. It is followed in quick succession by 3 more planes, all before 7 am. Hot Springs is open for business. We have other plans in mind, and as soon as breakfast is done, we prepare the boat for departure, and head on out. We make a slow pass by the hot springs, noting the cloud of steam rising in the morning chill. While Greg steers, I prepare the salmon rod for a bit of trolling just outside Hot Springs Cove. Three other boats have the same idea, and soon we join the flotilla, with our flasher and Super Bait trailing from the downrigger at a depth of around 40 feet. We haven’t gone 100 yards before we get our first strike. The fish isn’t hooked, so we retrieve the line and downrigger cannonball, add some “salmon sauce” scent to the lure, and drop it down again. On our next pass we hook a fish, and Greg reels in a nice coho, about 4 pounds in size. We put it on the stringer and go back for another. Each time we troll past this one spot we get a strike, missing 4 fish in all. Those barbless hooks sure do a good job of protecting salmon. One of the escaped fish was on briefly, and felt quite heavy. Around 9:20 we get another hit, and this time it stays on the hook. It gives a good battle, feeling heavier than the first fish. In the excitement of cranking up the downrigger cannonball, a kink somehow gets into the cable, and the cable snaps, sending my 10 lb cannonball plunging to the bottom. Now it’s really important for us to land this fish, since we can’t troll anymore without a downrigger ball and clip. The sun is reflecting off the water, right into my eyes as I try to net the fish. It makes runs under the dinghy and under the boat, but finally Greg draws it close enough to net. We have our second fish and it’s not yet 9:30am.
While Greg steers the boat, I turn the cockpit bench seat into a fish butchering station, filleting both fish and slipping the fillets into storage bags and tucking them into the refrigerator, which is now serving as our freezer. We’ll bring these fish home with us, to share with family. It takes numerous buckets of water and scrubbing with a boat brush to clean up the mess, but before too long the fishing things are stowed and we’re back to cruising mode. We motor up Sydney Inlet about 3 miles, then turn east into Shelter Inlet. A light breeze on our starboard beam begins to move our flags, so I raise the main and unfurl the jib. We don’t have too far to go, so I shut the engine down and we let the sails do the work. We ghost along at 2 to 3 knots on a reach for about a mile, before the wind nearly dies. Our speed drops to less than a knot for a time, and just when I’m close to starting the engine again, the breeze returns. Soon we’re doing between 3 and 4 knots, wing on wing. and enjoying the gurgling sound the boat makes when happily sailing at that pace. I set a preventer on the main to avoid an unplanned gybe. The full genoa is out, and as long as I maintain the proper angle to the wind, I can keep it filled without use of the whisker pole. We end up doing a series of broad, lazy downwind tacks, alternating between wing on wing and broad reach. It feels great to move by sail only, and be making good progress toward our day’s destination.
We eat lunch on the fly, enjoying the sail, the sunshine, the solitude, and the striking scenery. It’s clear that we’ll be able to sail all the way into Bacchante Bay. The wind begins to drop off when we glide through the narrow entrance to Bacchante Bay, a lovely pool of water surrounded by soaring forested walls. Since this is part of Strathcona Provincial Park, these forests haven’t been logged, and the pristine look of the place is lovely to behold. I’m hoping to sail right onto the anchor, however, the anchoring here is tricky, with depths of 60 feet right to the edge of the shallows at the head of the bay. I start the engine and patrol around a few times before finding a suitable place to drop anchor.
Once secure, we get into the dinghy for an explore up Wassa Creek. It’s nearly high tide, so we’re able to motor up the inlet creek for about a half mile. We get out and wade a quarter mile further upstream, enjoying the isolation and undisturbed character of the place.
Back on board, our dinner tonight is the last of our Rugged Point salmon, along with fried oysters, rice, and green salad. While Greg cleans up the dishes I go ashore to burn paper trash. It’s been a full week since we last were able to dispose of trash onshore. Our waste basket is about half the size of a regular kitchen waste basket. By flattening things and burning all our paper goods, we’ve been able to get surprising mileage out of that container. After burning the paper, it’s still only about 2/3’s full. Not bad for a full week.