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Monday, May 30, 2011

Port McNeil to Namu

Tuesday May 24th HAPPY BIRTHDAY Anne! 12:15pm: Docked at Port McNeil Harbour. Bill and Lyn were on the docks to greet us. We quickly bagged up the laundry and garbage and headed up town. Port McNeil , population of approximately 5000, has got to be one of the friendliest towns that we have visited. Everyone says hello and wants to know how you are and where you are going, and they are more than happy to assist any way they can. After laundry and provisioning we scrambled back up the hill to Gus’s Pub to have dinner and watch the Canuk’s hockey game, what fun!
Wednesday May 25th 8:00 am. We checked in with the Net to get the latest information, then over to SV “Canik” to assist Bill and Lyn.

They had to buy a new wind vane for their sail boat, so Wayne winched Bill up the mast to do the repair. Repairs completed Bill and Lyn departed and headed north. We waited with Al and Irene. Al ordered new parts for his generator and they had not arrived yet. 1:00pm and finally the parts arrived and Al took a taxi to pick them up as much too far to walk.
It was too late to leave once the new parts were installed, so we decided to stay one more night and headed back to Gus’s pub for dinner. Excellent Food!
Thursday May 26th 8:00am departed Port McNeil and headed for Miles Inlet. Calm seas and light winds, so we did not put the sails up.
1:45 pm we arrived safe and sound in Miles Inlet, this anchorage is not large but you have to travel about a mile up a very narrow passage to get to the anchorage..Hence the name “Miles Inlet”. It was so peaceful and the reflections off the water were amazing, we listened to the birds while Wayne cooked steaks on the BBQ...Life is good!

Friday May 27th 6:00am we departed the safe waters of Miles Inlet and headed out to Queen Charlotte Sound. We faced 2-3 foot swells, but the winds were kind. We rounded the notorious Cape Caution again with ease and even got some drive out our sail as we headed for Calvert Island.
12:30pm. We entered the safe passage of Kwakshua Channel and set out the prawn traps to leave overnight. 2:00pm we set the hook in yet another beautiful setting, “Pruth Bay”. We picked up the Al and Irene in our dingy and headed to shore.
Again we met up with Bill and Lyn. They had just finished a five hour hike of the area. Looking very chipper I must say!
Hakai Lodge and Beach club once was a fishing lodge but is now under new ownership and it is a facility for research, conventions and fishing. They were very kind to let us tie up to their docks and take the hike across to West Beach. The hike is only about 1/2 kilometre to one of the most beautiful sand beaches we have ever seen. “Teddy”, (Al and Irene’s dog), was so happy to run for miles on the smooth untouched sand.
Saturday May 28th 8:00am. We were able to catch up on emails and the weather, compliments of the Hakai Lodge. We departed at 10:00 and headed for the abandoned town of Namu. This site was once a successful cannery purchased in 1912 by BC Packers and has had a rocky history in recent years. During its peak years Namu’s summer population swelled to 2000. BC Packers simply walked away when they decided to abandon Namu.Two revitalization projects in the 1990’s failed. Much of the compound has deteriorated and is off-limits or closed due to hazards. Recently, an effort has been made by the year round caretakers, Teresa, Rene and Peter, to clean up the site and welcome cruising boats. We decided to anchor in Rock Inlet as the dock seemed to be busy. We took the dingy over to visit the “girls” and Peter. Upon our arrival, Teresa rushed over to great us, after introductions she opened their gift shop. They have a nice selection of wood carvings and pictures that they have hand crafted in the long winter months. They were busy getting the summer docks set up, but Peter had broken his hand a few days before. No cast, just a rap of bandages. The progress was definitely slower. We gave them a hand getting the lumber barge in place.

We took a walk around the site, to show Al, Irene, Bill and Lyn the collapsing cannery and homes.

It was a beautiful, sunny day. Back at the anchorage, Al and Bill set out their crab traps and we all headed over to “Blue Skies” for fresh prawns and happy hour. The pulling of the traps yielded a dozen keepers.
Our next stop is Shearwater (Bella Bella). We will be making crab cakes for sure, anyone wanting to join us you can meet us at 53 28.25’N, 128 50.20”W See you then!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Edgemont to Port McNeil

Egmont to Port McNeil

Monday May 16 10:00 am. We departed Egmont in search of Al and Irene’s shrimp trap. It was nowhere to be found. The only thing we could figure is someone took it or it sunk. The fact that it was placed in 380 feet of water with only 300 feet of line, gave us the clue. By 3:00 pm, we had arrived in Sturt Bay. Four members of our group took a walk to see the quaint little town of “Van Anda” on the north east end of Texada Island. Bob, the dock manager, was eager to visit and he informed us the population of this town is around 500. The quarry once employed over 100 but now only employs 60 and the town is afraid of losing its school. The school is large enough to hold 300 students but only has 15 attending this year. They have around 60 high school students that are boated over to Powel River but 2/3 of them will graduate this year. They have been holding meetings, to try to get ideas to revitalize the economy and to encourage tourism. Local public protest resulted in the rejection of the proposed liquified natural gas facility. This facility would have been used to generate electricity and feed the power grid to the south. 7:00 pm dinner and happy hour on “Blue Skies” (Al and Irene’s boat.)

Tuesday May 17 10:00 am departure. The group decided to stop at Lund for shopping and lunch. Great bakery! We then anchored for the night in Squirrel Cove and back to MV “Blue Skies” for some guitar and singing after dinner.
Wednesday May 18 8:30 am, Wayne and I took the dingy over to “Blue Skies” to see if we can assist, as Al is having trouble with his generator and the hockey game is on tonight, so this is not good news. 10:00 am problem fixed and Irene made us latte’ this boat. 11:00 am we stop at Squirrel Cove General Store for propane and a few supplies, then out to check Al’s shrimp trap. Finally, a catch; 12 large prawns!

We separated from the group, as they are heading to Desolation sound and we are off to visit our nephew and family on Maurelle Island.
Wayne gave Carl a hand with the new decking for the dock, while Jen and I did some bottoms scraping on the jet boat. We spent two wonderful days and it was so nice to see the kids, Luke, Josh, Katey and Nigel. This may be our last visit with them at Whiterock Passage, as they are taking on a new venture in Terrace BC. Al and Irene rejoined us here and we plan to travel north together. We ended the nice evening with a hot dog roast and campfire.

Friday May 20, 10:45 am depart Maurelle Island for Shoal Bay. Steel Eagle safely dances her way through the precarious Yuculta and Dent Rapids.
On arrival, we took advantage of the good weather and helped Al and Irene to repair their dingy. Two more boats tie up and we visit. Kathie, Joe and family are from Anchorage, Alaska. This couple amazed me as aboard their 40ft trawler “Sun Dog” they have their five children, two boys 10 and 8 and a set of triplets 16month old! Ok now the question many diapers does one pack aboard for 2 months, let alone how much milk?

Saturday May 21, 6:00 am. We departed Shoal in time for slack at Greene Point Rapids. The weather seems to be cooperating with us as there is only 23 knots of wind out in Johnstone Straight. We considered anchoring in Forward Harbour but decided to keep moving, as we were making good time on the ebb. By 2:30pm we are tied to the dock at Lagoon Cove. Our plan is to do some prawning and crabbing here.
Lagoon Cove marina is located on East Cracroft Island. Bill and Jean Barber have owned and operated this marina for many years and do a very fine job of making all the boaters feel at home. Every day they host “Sun over the yard arm” happy hour on the patio. Each morning Bill takes out his skiff and brings in a bucket of prawns for all to enjoy at happy hour. After socializing on the dock, Bill entertains us once again with his great stories.

Sunday May 22 Wayne and Al head out in the dingy to check out our traps. No crabs, only starfish in the crab traps. This really surprises us, as when we were here 2 years ago we had great sucess. We spent the rest of the day repairing our sewer pump which had a crack in the bellows, Thank goodness we had a spare on board and the repair could be made. “Crappy job” to say the least.
Monday May 23 9:00 am, as we departed Lagoon Cove and headed out to check our prawn traps, we have a pleasant surprise. Al and Irene aboard “Blue Skies” haul in the traps. We have caught over 100 prawns!

1:00pm arrival on the dock at Echo Bay. Bill and Lyn Charlton on SV Canik are already docked. We quickly put on our hiking shoes and take everyone over to see the famous Billy Proctor Museum. The hike over is very interesting, crossing the rickety old bridge and pulling ourselves up the ropes on the steep path. We had a great visit once again with Billy Proctor. I think he enjoys the company after a long winter with no one around. He informed us, that in the summer, he may have up to 80 cruisers a day come to visit.
We scrambled back to the boat to prepare our prawns for dinner. What a beautiful sunny, warm day. We decided to have a prawn supper out on the dock with Al, Irene, Bill and Lynn. Another great day in paradise!!!
Tomorrow we will head to Port McNeil to provision and do laundry so we can head north once again.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nanaimo to Princess Louisa

Nanaimo to Princess Louisa

Monday May 9 8:00 am We decide to depart Nanaimo a day early as the forecast for the Straights of Georgia is not good for the next few days. After checking with the Coast Guard we are informed that the Whiskey Gulf, the military test range, is not active today this will make our voyage across the straight much shorter. We were actually able to sail across with 17knots of wind in our favour. We decide to anchor in Gunboat Bay in Pender Harbour so we can visit our friends Bill and Lyn Charlton who we met down in Panama. Bill and Lyn traveled the world for 13 years in their SV Lord Nelson 35 “CANIK” and have many great stories to share. They have now built a and will do some cruising along the BC Coast. We hope to meet up with them again on our route to the Queen Charlottes.
Wednesday May 11 Pender Harbour Pub -Garden Bay.
We met up with our CPS Flotilla group from Calgary; here will be a total of 5 boats, 3 Sailing Vessels and 2 Motor Boats. Together we will travel to Princess Louisa Inlet and see the famous Chatter Box Falls.
Thursday May 12- Finally some sunshine, unfortunately Richard and Corrie Solinas, MV “Island Spirit” will not be able to join us as they are having furnace and propane problems so will head to Richmond tomorrow for repairs. Depart Pender Harbour 1:00pm to catch the flood for a quicker ride to Egmont. The group decided to take a hike to the Sechelt (Skookumchuck) Rapids, we were told it was not too long of a hike but when we returned 3.5 hours later; our opinion was different. Watching the Eddys churn through the narrows it was well worth the hike.

We finished the day with a great dinner at the Back Eddy Pub.
Friday May 13 10:00 am depart Egmont and headed for the Malibu Rapids. Wolfgang and Brigitte Wenzel join us aboard the Steel Eagle for the trip. Slack is at 3:30pm so we can safely transit our way through into Princess Louisa Inlet. As we make our way through the rapids we receive cheers and welcoming waves from the many guests staying at the Malibu Lodge. 3:45pm safely tied up to the dock at Chatter Box Falls. Some Brave souls scurry up to see the falls, and then we all enjoy the warm sun while partaking in happy hour on the Steel Eagle.
Picture-Steel Eagle

Saturday 11:00am we jump in the dingy with shrimp traps in hand to do some touring about. After dropping the shrimp traps we head over to the Malibu Lodge. We ask permission to tour the lodge; Bruce and Marilyn the Yacht Host and Hostess were pleased to show us the facility. Tom Hamilton of United Aircraft and Hamilton Standard Propeller Company constructed the lodge in the 1940’s as a resort for the elite, wealthy clientele. Through a unique set of circumstances, Young Life acquired the property in 1953, and has since been operating Malibu as a camp for high school kids from United States and Canada. Each week in the summer starting in June they host 150-300 high school aged guest. Beautiful Place!

Malibu Club
After our tour we took the dingy over to Macdonald Island and the Princess Louisa Marine Park for a hike, picked up the traps, which were empty by the way!!!Back at the docks we prepare for our group pot luck, campfire, and sing along. Yes another busy, but great day.
Picture -Campfire
Sunday May 15 9:00 am Cinnamon buns and fruit salad on Steel Eagle then slip the lines to catch the 11:00 slack thru the Malibu Rapids once again. We make our way back to Egmont through heavy skies and 25 knots of wind.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Steel Eagle will journey north once again

Just a note to let our followers know that we are heading north once again and our goal is to visit the Queen Charlotte Islands. So stay tuned for yet another adventure aboard Steel Eagle