British Columbia Hot Springs

Bishop Bay Hot Springs

Monday, July 01, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

Despite the fact that it’s been raining most of the time that we’ve been in Bishop Bay, we’re in absolute heaven.  Twelve years of living on a boat and you can only imagine what a treat a hot bath is . . . and I hate baths (David loves them).  Throw clean sheets into the mix, and Cambria’s suddenly become a five star hotel.  It’s pure bliss!  Not to mention a lot of fun.

Bishop Bay's a popular spot with folks from nearby Kitimat and those en route to Alaska, and it’s easy to see why.  After a shortwalk from the dock along a boardwalk, you arrive at the bath house which was originally built in the 1960s by volunteers from the Kitimat Yacht Club and, man, were they ever clever. 

Bishop Bay Hot Springs

There are three tubs in all.  The main tub, the largest, is under cover and hot, odorless water is piped in from a crevice in the granodiorite bedrock beside the bath house.  At the source, it’s 41° C (105.8° F) and about 39° C (102.2° F) in the first tub.  From the primary tub, water is sourced to a secondary, smaller tub outside where the water temperature is slightly cooler.  And finally, there’s a very small (3 by 4 footish) tub, outside again, to the side of the bath house with a hole in the bottom that’s filled with a bung.  This is where you soap up and rinse off.  When you’re finished, you simply remove the bung to empty the water and then replace it, filling the tub again forthe next bather.  Ingenious! 

Bishop Bay Hot Springs

The holding in the bay is reported only to be fair in rock and the two mooring buoys installed by BC Parks a few years ago were already occupied when we arrived, so we tied up to the short dock.  And we're glad that we did.  There’s a definite “Princess Louisa” feel to the place.  The dock is only 50 feet long and several boats are rafted together, including us.  Everyone is really friendly, especially the local folks from Kitimat, and the camping chairs are out and occupied every time the rain stops. 

David, Jim and Laurie playing the blues aboard Cambria

The sailboat rafted to us, JouJou, hails out of Gig Harbor, which isn’t far from our winter home of Poulsbo, and we hit it off with the couple aboard, especially David.  In conversation with Laurie this morning, it came out that they all play instruments so Jim brought over his harmonicas and he and David sat up in the cockpit and played while the rain came down.  Laurie joined them later with her guitar and they came below and filled the boat with some great blues music (man, I really have to learn how to play one of these days – it looks like so much fun). 

David leaving our mark in the bath house

The rain subsided and the fog lifted, so we had to say our goodbyes – not only to JouJou, but everyone else.  We were sorry to see them go, all of them.  As for us, well . . . we’re just not ready to leave.  Not only are we still considering what our next move will be, but we’re enjoying this so much that we don’t want to ever go.  So to make sure a small part of us will be around for a while, David made a plaque out of old planking that was left behind by BC Parks for firewood and engraved the boat’s name, hailing port and date on it to join the hundreds of others already hanging in the bathhouse.  He’s not exactly happy with it, but I think it looks great.  And I’m not the only one.  I’m pretty sure the guys along the dock found it impressive as well, especially given the circumstances of its construction. 

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