Shearwater Sum It Up Sunday

Sum It Up Sunday: July 6 - 14, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA

Shearwater Marine Resort, Denny Island. 
Since meeting up with our friends on Salubrious in Ocean Falls we’ve made our way significantly north.  Our journey began a little more than two weeks ago in Shearwater where we stopped for the night to buy a few provisions.  The next morning, Thursday, we made our way to Klemtu along Finlayson Channel to fuel up and give Bill and Sylvia the opportunity to see the Big House, an amazing First Nations meeting house built by hand from cedar.  The fuel dock in Klemtu is linear and has about 150 feet or more:  The southern end is used for fishing boats to unload at the processing plant, the northern end is for float planes and the middle section, the only part within reach of the hose, is for fueling. 

When we arrived, a large fishing boat was tied up at the southern end and a 45ish foot launch (it’s hard to tell with motor boats, they always look so much bigger than they are) was tied up where the float planes come in, leaving a gap in the middle (just off the pumps) of about 55 feet, possibly more.  Cambria, including the anchor, comes in around 45 and we need about 60 feet to manoeuvre comfortably.  Salubrious, which has a long bowsprit, measures 52 feet.  But the launch refused to move.

David was at the helm, so it was my job to communicate with the people on the launch (who were lounging on their fly bridge at the time).  When I told them that we had two boats needing to fuel up, I was told we’d have to go one at a time.  David moved in closer to see if we could squeeze in, and determined that we couldn’t.  They asked how long our boat was, I told them and they responded with a, “you’ll fit.”  David was furious.  I (foolishly) tried to explain that we only have one engine and no bow thruster, so we need more space and asked if they could move down a bit.  Their response was . . . NO!  So we radioed the fuel dock, but nobody answered. 

Eventually the fuel attendant came down and the launch had to move off the dock completely, hovering around while Salubrious tied up and we followed behind.  The whole process took about two hours and Bill and Sylvia never did make it to the Big House.  Come to find out, a group of First Nation members were paddling down from Prince Rupert to attend a week-long gathering in New Bella Bella (near Shearwater), which explained why the launch didn’t want to move.  Bands from all along the coast were doing the same thing and they expected 4,000 people would be in attendance.  We dropped our lines and continued up Klemtu Passage to make our way to Bottleneck Inlet for the night.  Along the way, we saw two dragon boats and a canoe headed in the opposite direction – I guess the people aboard the launch managed to get the best seat in the house after all.

Members of the Tsimshian Nation arriving in Klemtu.
We took Friday off so David, Sylvia and I kayaked to the head of Bottleneck Inlet and up a short stream, something I’d always wanted to do in the past but was a little nervous about attempting on my own in case of bears.  It was a really beautiful stretch of water that I’m sure David would have enjoyed more if he hadn’t foolishly fallen over while trying to help Sylvia off the rocks.  It seems we enjoyed our time up the stream too much, staying longer than we should have, and didn’t have enough depth in some areas on our return. 

David and I kayaking in Bottleneck Inlet.

We had planned to leave early Saturday morning to transit nearby Hiekish Narrows, where the current can run up to 4.5 knots, but it was foggy so we all went back to bed and left in the afternoon.  With a later start, we couldn’t make it to Bishop Bay, our intended destination, so we stopped in Khutze Inlet for the night.  David and I anchored there last year and decided it wasn’t an anchorage we’d choose again, but you do what you have to do when your options are limited.  This time, we dropped the hook behind the sandbar near the mouth of the inlet rather than at the head which, come to find out, was home to 5 other boats for the night.  The Central Coast is busy this year!  

The view out to Fraser Reach from Khutze Inlet.

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