Saturday, August 30, 2008

Desolation Sound Charter Trip - British Columbia 2008

Overlooking the Oregon coastline

August 2008

Well before our decision to retire to begin cruising on our own boat, we had committed to chartering a 43' trawler for a 14 day cruise with friends, Dann & Char, in and about Desolation Sound, British Columbia.  These cruising grounds are well north of Vancouver, and up toward the lower portion of the Inner Passage towards Alaska, but in Canada.

So, off we went in August and because every day is a vacation day when retired, we took a week long road trip from the west coast at San Francisco, along the Oregon and Washington coast and back down into Seattle where we caught the Ferry to Victoria, BC to begin the cruising. We thoroughly enjoyed that extra week driving the spectacular coastlines, staying in tiny, out of the way places, hiking in the redwood forests and along the coastline trails....So worth the extra time to see the northern coast of CA and the Oregon coast - something I'd wanted to do for years.

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Oregon

Lady Bird Johnson's Redwood Forest Natl Park

Redwoods do grow BIG


Wildlife everywhere - Elk resting

As a way to mentally, at least,  justify this added trip expense when we had a brand new boat at the dock, we talked ourselves into viewing it as a 'learning' experience.  We figured if we could survive British Columbia's 18 foot tide swings in a day,very deep water and totally unfamiliar terrain, we would be in good shape to handle our boat.   Dann, with his Captain's license and much more experience would be our 'teacher' during this trip. 

This quickly became "A Fabulous Trip"with 'ohh and awww' as around each bend was more and more spectacular scenery, numerous sightings of bald eagles (new learning: look for 'golf balls' in the trees and you will spot the bald eagles with that white head every time) and too many seals to count peeking their noses out of the water to check us out.

Reeling in a large salmon
Highlights of our trip included fishing for salmon in the Columbia River and having a seal take my fish right off the line! The Captain got even, firing off marbles at the seal with his slingshot - missing each time - to our delight.  We did catch about 10 salmon, which we ate during the two week cruise....I'll never go back to tuna fish sandwiches again after eating salmon sandwiches prepared with mayo, red onions and capers!

Other wonderful memories include:

Cheryl and I rowing the dingy to shore at low tide at 6:30 AM in order to hack extremely fresh oysters off the rocks in Tenedos Bay with metal ax and hammers;

Low Tide 6 am in search of fresh oysters

Dink is loaded w fresh oysters

Hiking up and down glaciers in terrain that looked like a rain forest with FERNS!!  I always thought ferns were tropical! 

Having to anchor the boat and tie the back end to the mountain we butted into; 

Hiking into Unwin Lake for swimming at the top of a glacier - Yes!  SWIMMING --the water was reasonably warm as it has no tide nor movement, allowing the sun to heat the water down about 10 feet!  (called a Thermal Clime) 

Hiking to 'Mike's Place in Prideaux Haven, wary of bears throughout the hike as we saw their recent poop piles;

Exploring waterfalls and the tides that go backwards; avoiding huge whirlpools and deadly rapids in Hole in the Wall - slack tide takes on a whole new meaning... better hit those sections just right at a slack tide or you could lose yourself and your boat in a whirlpool. 

Hiking in the rainforest

No, you pick it up!

Cabin where boaters leave mementos

Loaded w boater's Boat Names on driftwood

A real 'warm the heart' moment was having a homecooked meal in a floating 12 seat humble restaurant at Oleo's in Frederick Arm in the middle of nowhere, but with a ramshackle dock to tie to. The woman who runs the place, a widow, lives there alone and supports herself with the restaurant and a son who fishes and hunts for the food. Three children from another boat eating at the same time got up and did all the dishes (a mountain of dishes and pots and pans!) for the woman. She was so overwhelmed by this generous act by the kids and frankly, so were we!

Andy & Sharon
Another memorable night (one of only three days out of the 14 where we interacted with other people as the cruising is so desolate) we saw the MOST fabulous full moon over Wilderness Refuge at Toba Bay...throw in wine around a roaring campfire built by Kyle, the owner of the island, and shared with the other boaters who had pulled in for some companionship also. 

 Kyle, along with his wife and their 3 year old daughter, live alone on the island year round  and are at least 50 miles from the hint of civilization.    Kyle built the dock with 8 boat slips; harnessed the waterfall at the top of the mountain on the island with a simple system of pipes running down to provide his fresh water and to generate his electrical power.  They rent out a few cabins to earn money and are totally self sufficient.  

Always breath taking!

Running out of adjectives to describe the beauty

Walking on the shore in Aug.  Note the snow capped mountains.

Starfish grow big - taken from the boat looking into clear cold water

Ugh  Starfish with LOTS of legs

Dragging the dink UP the mountain stream to get to lake

In the glacier lake

Higher tide, making it back down from the glacier lake

Ha!  Rainy day  Dann & Char Cummings

One of the few 'marinas'



No comments:

Post a Comment