British Columbia Fitz Hugh Sound

Ocean Falls: Moving South for the Summer

Sunday, July 14, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA



Leaving the docks in Ocean Falls

Good-byes are our least favourite thing about cruising.  But we have to leave sometime, whether it’s today, tomorrow or the next day:  It has to be done.  So after four great days in Ocean Falls, we reluctantly left the dock this afternoon. 

The docks were busy again this visit and we met a lot of interesting people, one of whom is the new owner of Waggoner Cruising Guide, the bible for the Pacific Northwest.  He’s a canny guy and it sounds like he’s going to be making a lot of improvements to the 2014 edition with more chartlets, photos and detailed information.  So it sounds like we’ll finally have to get around to buying a new copy – the one we carry is from 2008, the year we arrived up here and is greatly out of date. 

 Dark Waters Lodge in Ocean Falls

But most mornings you would find us at Darke Waters Lodge having breakfast and visiting Corrina and Rob, the owners.  We really enjoy their company and, if for no other reason; their friendship will keep us coming back to Ocean Falls for years.  But not only are they great company, they’re great chefs.  Last year, they had a contract with a logging outfit to serve breakfast, a packed lunch and dinner to a group of a dozen or so hungry loggers.  This year, the contract’s expired and they’re catering to hungry boaters and lodge guests instead . . . and feeding them like loggers:  Nobody leaves hungry or disappointed, that’s for sure!

For dinner, they have a set meal and last night it was roast beef so David spent the afternoon with Corrina in the kitchen showing her how a genuine Yorkshireman makes Yorkshire Puddings while I scrubbed the decks of the boat, hardly a fair trade off if I do say so myself.  But even I have to admit that my one and only attempt at Yorkshire Puddings was a complete failure whereas I do a pretty fair job on the decks, so scrubbing it was. 

We drug our feet long enough and left Ocean Falls as the tide was flooding with an inflow wind, bashing and crashing along the way, but the conditions improved once we left Cousins Inlet.  Our original plan was to go back to Shearwater to buy more provisions because we weren’t able to pick much up last week.  But a couple on a boat that came into the dock yesterday told us that the store in New Bella Bella had completely burned down Friday night (the word through the grapevine is that it was arson).  They’re sending an emergency barge with provisions but, until it arrives, Shearwater will be the only source of food for residents and we don’t want to put any extra strain on the communities, so we opted for Sea Otter Inlet on Hunter Island instead.  We were able to source what we needed, excepting fresh produce, from the Rain Store in nearby Martin Valley and friends (thanks, Corrina and Rob!) so if the weather holds us up for days, which isn’t out of the question, we should be fine. 

As we motored to our destination, there were dozens of fishing boats in Fitz Hugh Sound, verifying what we’ve been hearing:  The salmon are beginning to run – rumour is 17 million Coho will be coming through this season.  And with the salmon, come the whales.  We could see two or three humpbacks fishing along the shoals of Hunter Island and were able to catch up with them for a bit.  The sounds they created were amazing – almost human-like, plaintiff cries that sent shivers down my spine.  If anyone had told me 20 years ago that I would be whale watching from the comfort of my own home, I would have thought they were crazy.  But that’s exactly what we were doing:  So how crazy is that?

Two humpbacks fishing along Hunter Island in Fitz Hugh Sound

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