Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Whales! -- Bottleneck to Hartley Bay -- 6/24/2015

We are up early this morning at Bottleneck Inlet to check the crab trap for our overnight catch before we leave at 8A.  Herb finds it yields six, and when I ask him what his thoughts are on getting even more today, he says honestly, “Oh, heck!  Now I have work to do!”    He measures with the orange ruler to be sure they are legal.

Rain is peppering the roof hatch and it continues on and on all morning.  While he is steaming the crabs, Ray swings by Willie’s Tug to bring me a sample of three species of evergreen trees that I had admired last evening.  I am pleased to have a closer look at the stems and leaves/needles.

Our anchor is in really sticky, sticky mud, and is not easily gotten up, but we are loose at 9:13 and cruise out of the channel at 4.6 knots.   The lowest depth we see in the shallow area is 16.2 feet.  Once out, we turn to starboard into Finlayson Channel, riding gentle swells.  Fog and clouds bathe the mountains and the steady sprinkle of rain adds to the waterfall we left behind yesterday.

Our plan is to cruise to Hartley Bay on Pitt Island and the Douglas Channel, but after listening to the marine forecast, we expect winds of 15 to 20 this afternoon in Douglas.  We have alternatives for safe harbour if we encounter WX. A log bobs up from Willie’s Tug’s wake to greet Nudibranch, but she is safe.  We see two more logs and fortunately miss them. 

However, we hit something submerged two times at the red EH marker in Hiekish Narrows.  Seas are rippled as we go into Princess Royal Channel. 

We meet a beautiful black hull sailing vessel named Achiever and I can’t resist taking a photo.  She is going 8 knots, but abruptly stops and turns.   Suddenly we see why -- a humpback whale blows and that blow is all I get with my camera.  Bummer! 

The Blow


Tip of Whale

Maybe a tiny bit of the whale. 

We idle to watch and wait.  After a time she surfaces again, but no photo, as she is off our bow and I can’t focus quickly through the rail.  I turn to walk into the cockpit for a better aim, when she gives Herb an incredible fluke!  I never see it!!!  But I am glad he is able to enjoy it.

Reluctantly we continue on, as we hope to get to Hartley Bay fuel dock before closing time.  Just south of  Khutze Inlet I find a nice waterfall.  In the quiet we hear others on VHF 09 and I am curious about a voice announcing to someone that she will scalp some fuel and head home.  “Operations” calls for environmentals. 


Klekane Inlet turns to starboard at Work Island near Butedale, then the channel becomes Frasier Reach.  We cruise near to Butedale to view the cannery ruins.  


The water is flat calm now with clouds on the mountains ahead.  I get another photo of a waterfall just past Walden Lake.  

Elephant Head Mountain on Princess Royal Island fascinates me and I spend several minutes trying to decide which is the elephant.  I finally get it!!  

I look where the "V" is to see the elephant looking toward the right of the photo.  His head is the slight hump and the face has a thin darker line starting from the top of the head downward and curving forward.

Seen better here, there is a clearer view of the face with one eye being a black dot.  The truck begins with the tree line below and extending forward to the right of the photo.  Pretty cool!

Elephant Face

I see the distinctive eye just before we pass Kingcomb Point.

We veer to port around the point, leaving Gribell Island and Ursula Channel on the right, and go into McKay Reach and Wright Sound. 

We finally arrive at Hartley Bay, approaching from the east and until we get directly lined up with the entrance in the breakwater, it appears that a sailboat blocks the channel.  After we get closer, we see she is at the fuel dock, which has several boats waiting to take on fuel and water, so we tie to the marina dock to wait our turn.  Herb and Ray walk around to visit with the sailors, and the attendant on the dock above tells them they will be next in line after the sailing vessel leaves.

Sailboat at Entrance

Fuel Dock  -- Hose Drops from Platform to Boats

As we approach the fuel dock, Willie’s Tug drifts in and I am ready with the stern line, but when I take a look at the condition of the bull rail, I am stumped as to how to get off safely and onto the dock.  A fishing boat with three guys loads up their gas can and one watches me.  Finally, I ask if he will take my line.  “Of course!”  Then he extends his hand to help me off.  I thank him and tell him he is so kind.  He and his buddies are from here, and taking off for halibut fishing.  Yum!

Note no Bullrail by Willie's Tug -- Stern tied across Dock

The fueling process takes a while and I walk around for numerous photos.  The lady manning the fuel lines tells me the moorage and power are free, there is cell service, but no WiFi.  Their’s is down and the Gitga’at Village people don’t give out their code.

Directed to find any place in the marina, we find inside ties and secure our boats.

Find Willie's Tug....

A walk up the dock to find the recycle and garbage bins gives us an opportunity to explore the town.  Most of the board walk is very strong and modern, especially down to the float plane landing.  Ray points out and names the different vegetation and when we come to the blueberry bushes, I cannot contain my excitement.  Oh, my!  We reach for the ones close, but my heart hurts to look down in the rain forest below the walk to see the ones that are beyond reach and just keep getting bigger, bluer, and sweeter.  We leave them for the bears.

Photos of this scenic village are below.

Can you reach these berry bushes?


School House Door

Seafarers' Church -- Mast at Right

Dinner is delicious sweet crab.  Ray brings over a ‘tower’ to pick both for his meal and to fill a container to freeze.  

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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