Got up early and paddled over to the shore in Francis Bay. The bay has remnants of an old logging camp, including a stairway that looks like they used to get to a dock that had seen better days. Above the shoreline was a road that was mostly overgrown but traversable to a point.
After we were finished hiking, we pulled the anchor and were off to Refuge Cove. Refuge Cove is a nice area that has a marina, fuel, store, and gift shop. They also have a restaurant that is rumored to have good burgers but they were closed for remodeling.
We’re starting a pattern: get up, hike, and then boat. The morning’s hike took us to Big Cedar and then on the Viewpoint Trail. Neither were all that strenuous but it’s great to be out getting the body moving.
We decided earlier that we’d stick around until early afternoon so we could transit Dent Rapids (by the Devil’s Hole) at slack current. That also gave us the additional opportunity to hit the restaurant and take in their daily specials.
After a great lunch we cast off and headed to Dent. We left a little early so when we got there, we had to wait about 45 minutes. We just floated around and when we got impatient, we took the tug passage and transited smoothly.
After the rapids we cruised by all the resorts and came up to Jimmy Judd Island. We noticed a bunch of splashing and then saw huge sea lions as we passed. They appeared to be feeding vigorously.
We started out the day by doing the hike to the Blow Hole. It was a great little stroll out and then around the island. We planned to go up the lookout trail that isn’t really a lookout but there were trees blocking the way so we decided to go back to the marina.
Upon returning to the marina, we spotted a huge number of starfish. Tonia loves starfish if you haven’t figured that out yet.
I loved the quarantine sign. Dan (owner) was joking and said it was required earlier in the year. The real story was they had a dock at one point that they wanted to keep people off and the improvised quarantine sign did a great job.
After a bit of coffee, we cast the lines and headed down the Johnstone strait and decided that Blind Channel Resort was a good place to end up for the night and celebrate Tonia’s birthday eve dinner.
We started the day by kayaking over to the Provincial Marine Park and hiking up to the top.
Went thru the Burdwood Group Islands on the way towards the Tribune Channel. Saw a lot of people on shore via small boats, kayaks and canoes.
We were told that Kwatsi had been sold and was no longer taking moorage so it wasn’t a surprise when we poked our head in that it had a big private, no moorage, sign. Steve-O still wanted to check it out to compare to his memories from 2012.
We stayed at Lagoon Cove and it turned out to be a great choice. There was a potluck happy hour at the gathering shed at the top of the dock with fresh, local-caught shrimp cocktail platter provided by Kelley & Dan, our awesome marina hosts!
Before heading back out on the water, we took a quick stroll through town to get some movement in. Found McNeill Landing – a neat food truck park with a view of the marina, an awesome painted fence near a garden pea patch, and an orca sculpture.
After our walk, we set out again. You’ll never guess… We saw whales on way to the Broughtons!
And more seals…
And passed local villages along the way and lots of wonderful scenery.
We stayed at Echo Bay, though it is no longer owned by Pierre. The staff were friendly; however, there were no activities – likely due to COVID and the ownership transition – and the marina was ready for some TLC.
We visited Billy Proctor’s museum, which was a wide-ranging collection of “junk” (Billy’s term, not ours!) from antiques to shells, oodles of soda and liquor bottles to hundreds of fishing lures, and random assortments of many other items. We briefly saw Billy for a quick hello but he had to rush off for a fisheries meeting.
We spent the morning walking around town and checking out the Quatse Loop trail that goes along the Quatse river. Tonia was excited to finally break in her new hiking shoes bought just for this trip!
The town has a nice park and a few sculptures commemorating their history. My favorite was the Carrot Campaign monument commemorating their efforts to get the country to quit dangling the carrot and actually build a road to North Vancouver Island.
The hike was a nice level trail. It was good for us to stretch a bit after being on the boat so much. We ended up logging over 6 miles so I’m sure we’ll feel it tomorrow.
While Matt and Steve ran errands, Tonia checked out the local town museum.
After lunch and Steve wrapping up his errands, we decided to move the boats south. The wind forecast is pretty much the same no matter the day this week, so we knew it was going to be a bit choppy. And it didn’t disappoint. Luckily the trip was only a couple hours, and the end was in the protected area.
We ended up the day in Port McNeill. After a nice diner we decided to check out Gus’ Pub. It was a decent place but with all COVID-era restaurants was a bit understaffed. We did have some nice banter with a couple driving up from Vancouver to their home Port Rupert.
After dinner we checked out the “World’s Largest Burl”! What’s that you ask? A big tree tumor.
Another 6am departure. That should be fury enough when we’re supposed to be on vacation!
The original plan was to spend the day relaxing and checking out Bella Bella. But that was thrown out the window when we looked at the weather reports for the upcoming week. Basically, the report said if we didn’t travel around Cape Caution on Sunday it was not going to happen for the foreseeable future – as in the projected forecast of 5 days did not show any weather windows after Sunday. The trip down from Bella Bella was relatively uneventful in the beginning. Then as we traveled down the Fitz Hugh Sound the wind and waves started picking up. When we poked our nose around the tip of Calvert Island it was pretty clear it was not going to happen. We were direct into the waves, and it was not going to be a fun 4 hours if we continued on.
We turned the boats around and pulled into Fury Cove on Penrose. It’s a nice large cove and filled up with a lot of boats, big and small, over the afternoon.
August 16, 2021
We awoke to most of the boats in Fury Cove departing. What did they know about the weather that we didn’t? After coffee and getting the new wind model downloaded, we decided to poke our heads out and see what the situation really was. The waves were better than Sunday afternoon, so we decided to press on. The model when we left said less than 3-foot waves and it may have been for a while. However, I suspect we were in 6- to 8-foot waves for about half of the crossing around Cape Caution. Why do I think that? Because when we were dipping down between swells the bow and sides of the boat were below the top of the wave. The good part is the wave period was still good (spread out) and we just had to suffer the rolling and the uncomfortability of it all.
I’d say we made it through pretty well. Tonia was a bit woozy from the day, but overall, we didn’t seem to have any major problems. We traveled around 10-12 knots for the crossing so burned about twice as much fuel. But hey, we can stop at the fuel dock this time thru Canada so there isn’t a reason to conserve other than the pocketbook.
We settled in on the Port Hardy public dock in the outer harbor. Not a perfect dock as it’s somewhat out in the open. It is totally empty because of that but it’s very close to town so it’s what we’re staying with. After today we can definitely sleep through a bit of wind and a little bouncing on the dock.
After our check-in with the Canada border, we were allowed to leave our boats. We headed out to find some dinner though it was a little late for most places or there were long waits. We found Opa Sushi with a short wait and took a few pics on the way. We were moored in Cow Bay Marina.
August 12, 2021
We gave Barista Steve a day off and ventured to Cowpuccino’s Coffee House. We said it would be an experience, and well, it was…just not a great hot cocoa experience! Lesson learned!
Next stop was Kwinitsa Railway Station Museum. We may have to implement the Brown Merit/Demerit system…
We hit up Breakers Pub for a light lunch and Wheelhouse Brewing Company for some refreshing beverages on this extra-warm day.
We bumped into Noel & Gary from S/V Illimite on their way to do laundry and invited them to happy hour on Coda. Then all five of us headed to The Pavilion Restaurant for a very nice dinner. No pics but delicious food! Tonia was sold when she saw the beet salad on their website and it did not disappoint! All in all, a great day and lovely evening with new friends!