British Columbia Fiordland

Mussel Inlet, Fiordland Recreational Area

Sunday, August 05, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

Oatswish Bay in Mussel Inlet.

The plan for the day was to travel up Mussel Inlet, the western boundary of Fiordland.  Our expectations weren’t high.  By all accounts, we’d seen the best of the best yesterday in Kynoch, but Mussel Inlet has merit beyond what’s described in the cruising guides:  Whereas yesterday the word “amazing” fell short, today it was “spectacular”.  Regardless of the superlative, the hundreds of pictures we’ve taken pale in comparison to the actual beauty of Fiordland, and everywhere else along the Central Coast.  You simply have to see it to believe it. 

First up was Oatswish Bay where we found Lizzette Falls crashing down into the sea.  We’d expected to see a waterfall based on the chart, but the fact that it was bigger and more impressive than Kynoch Falls, which is often called one of the best in British Columbia, came as a real surprise.  The rest of the bay was just as stunning with more of the steep,snow-capped mountains and alpine scenery that Fiordland is known for and would have been the ideal place to spend the day paddling around in the kayaks, but it’s too deep for anchoring so we had to move on.  If there’s one complaint to be made about Fiordland, that would be it.  A lack ofanchorages.  And, of course, the abundance of horseflies. 

After drifting around in front of Lizzette Falls for a while, we continued up Mussel Inlet, dwarfed by the enormity ofthe mountains lining both sides of the narrow channel, and dropped the anchor at the head.  I decided to brave the biting flies and launched my kayak for a closer look while David pulled apart the windless which has been giving us problems over the past few days (he joined later me so don’t feel too sorry for the poor sod).

There were two other boats already anchored, one a charter businesses carrying a group of Japanese tourists from Prince Rupert to Bella Bella.  Both groups saw a mother grizzly and two cubs along the creek yesterday.  We considered going ourselves in the dinghy but, because the inflow winds were beginning to pick up, decided it was time to leave so we upped anchor and started to make our way back to Windy Bay for the night. 

As it turned out, our timing was impeccable.  We were travelling down Mussel Inlet and David saw a large splash about a half-mile off our bow.  And then another.  And another.  It turned out to be a humpback whale full-body breaching.  We followed him for a while but weren’t able to capture much of his performance on “film”.  But what an incredible performance it was!  He played around for about ten minutes before taking a final dive and sending us on our way.  Neither one of us had seen anything like it before.  It was, well, for lack of a better word … “spectacular”. 

A humpback whale breaching in Mussel Inlet.

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