British Columbia Inside Passage

Reflecting on the Water

Thursday, September 08, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA




Despite the fact that we really enjoy Jim and Laurie’s company, we didn’t come to Bishop Bay just to see them . . . nor did we come just to pick up spare seals for the raw water pump. We could’ve done that in Shearwater, saving ourselves 125 miles in the process (each way). And despite the fact that we love natural hot springs, we didn’t come to Bishop Bay just to soak in them. These things played a role in our decision but, more than anything else, we came north to make one last trip up Gardner CanalBritish Columbia’s most beautiful fjord. 

But first the hot springs.

Bishop Bay is another favourite anchorage of ours, but it’s a popular spot and boats come and go regularly throughout the day, even late in the season. And while it’s fun meeting new people at the tubs, our preference is to have them all to ourselves – something that requires a watchful eye. In our experience, there’s a period of time each day when the anchorage is empty, and that’s when we pounce. This visit was no different and we managed two or three good, long soaks without another soul around.

By Tuesday it was time to move on, so we left Bishop Bay around noon and motored 29 miles north and west to Europa Bay in Gardner Canal. Like Bishop Bay, Europa has a natural hot spring pools to soak in, but it has a couple of problems. The first is access. The tubs are on a steep shoreline and at low tide they’re a little difficult to reach. The second is the water is temperature. It’s pretty hot and on a warm day, can be downright unpleasant.

And then the wildlife.

It was close to 5 o’clock when we arrived and very warm outside. . . hot, in fact. Too hot for a bath, so I opted for a paddle around the anchorage in my kayak where there wasn’t a breath of air. I’d hoped to see a bear but it was too warm outside. The salmon were jumping and there’s a stream at the head of the bay, but I wasn’t able get back there myself. Despite the rising tide, the water wasn’t high enough. But later that evening, I caught a glimpse of what I was looking for – a large, beautiful black bear making his way down the shore before disappearing creekside. It was only a fleeting moment, but my first bear sighting of the season.


That night, I was woken up by a strange noise at 4 o’clock – a whale was blowing in the channel. I couldn’t remember where we were and had to work my way backwards before I realized we were tied to a mooring in Europa Bay. I got out of bed to take a look around. Even in its diminished state, the moon lit up the night, throwing the mountains into silhouette. Stars filled the sky and there wasn’t a breath of wind on the water. I stood in the cockpit and waited, listening intently, and then it broke the surface again and blew. I was too far away to see anything, but it was a powerful moment nonetheless. One that left me with the following thought: Now that we’re planning to sell the boat, opportunities like this will be a thing of the past – precious, stolen moments that belong only to me . . . and a whale . . . or a bear. The thought lingered as I struggled to go back to sleep and the reality weighed heavily on my mind. I’ll miss this amazing place and everything it’s given us. But more importantly, I’ll miss Cambria and all of the incredible places she’s taken us over the years.

*From 21 August – 23 August, 2016.


You Might Also Like

11 comments

  1. Your cruising grounds are so magical - bears, whales, hot springs, mountains and so on. I can imagine how much you'll miss it, and Cambria, but you're new adventures will be magical as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are magical and we'll definitely miss it here (and Cambria), but it's time to move on. It sounds silly, but I want to spend more quality time with David (what? 24 hours isn't enough?) without the distraction a boat like this brings.

      Delete
  2. A wonderful watery world you have there. So beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jo. But we really are looking forward to getting back to your neck of the woods. We're both enjoying your pictures, especially the one from the beach the other day. David would take the bus there as a child for a day out.

      Delete
  3. Wow! Hot springs, bears, and whales - so exotic, and I can imagine why you'll miss it. What a great adventure you have had with Cambria.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always good to leave wanting more, and I think we've accomplished that!

      Delete
  4. Aw, I can really feel how hard it is to part with this boat. I'd say to focus on the coming adventures you will have, but that wouldn't really do the power of this space between justice. Why is selling a boat so hard? For some of us, they live in our hearts forever, and the experiences feel like they are a part of the boat, and the boat a part of them; like somehow the sound of the whale, the sighting of the bear, live in the very bones of your beloved vessel. Parting from her is hard, I know. What a beautiful memory. (Not to mention that i am dead jealous of what you are doing next.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cambria will definitely be in our hearts forever but we are excited about buying a new boat - - one with a washing machine and a place for David's guitars! It'll be great!

      Delete
  5. Such great experiences and precious moments, Stephanie. I am so happy that you are still in tune with nature and wildlife. You will cherish these memories forever and are still - very consciously - experiencing them now. Bittersweet stuff... I have to say that the things I miss most about my life aboard are these moments of peace, solitude and wildlife. They are a thing of the past (for us) and they would be the reason to return to a life on the water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing how much a boat can bring to a person's life. The trick is taking the time to enjoy it all. The delicate balance between enjoyment and drudgery is starting to shift (I think you know what I mean) is starting to shift, so it's time. Neither one of us wants to get to the point where she's a burden.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful place! What lovely photos! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

    ReplyDelete