JULY 6 - JULY 11, 2022: SHEARWATER – CLOTHES BAY – COGHLAN / HARTLEY BAY – KUMEALON INLET BC
Black flag procession, makeshift bowling alleys and nasty storms on our way to the ‘Trench’
Shearwater, BC allows us to refuel, do laundry, replenish groceries and hike around the island with Coco. Even has a nice pub for dinner where we met other sailors. Shearwater, like many First Nations villages, has social distancing and some places maintain mask mandates like the laundry room. We saw something interesting getting here – a police boat pulling a series of boats behind – the first was a barge-like boat with lots of people aboard flying several large black flags, while the next three towed boats were fishing boats. Funeral procession? On the way to boater’s jail? Must do some research about this.
We left Shearwater and headed towards Klemtu – a native village. We had an easy passage going north Finlayson Channel with Cassie as skipper again and anchored for the night in Clothes Bay. One other sailboat here – Harbinger and they invited us to a beach fire but we had Anne’s (from Marlin) gift of ling cod to eat, so we passed. And it was raining. We left the next am to Butedale and saw dozens of waterfalls along the way. The cool thing was the whales in Sarah Passage. These were humpbacks – we can tell by the flukes - one adult and two juvenile and they were closer to us than any we’d seen so far. Amazing!
The next day we docked up at an old cannery site in Butedale, BC and the falls there were fantastic. We realized we can’t anchor since it’s so deep, so we pulled up to the dock next to the dilapidated cannery. Fishing boat helped us dock and we explored the island. We sent an email asking for permission to stay here (via the satellite InReach since no cell coverage) and they said yes. Our friends on Harbinger were passing by so we radioed them and they joined us on the dock. We hung out with Ralph, Eva and Wesley that night and hiked around the old cannery which also had a makeshift bowling alley, kid’s swing and basketball hoop! The kids are awesome and we had a ball with them and their dad. Very neat boat too. They are mini water warriors; can you imagine doing what we are doing at just 6 and 8 years old? Rugged!
The next couple days were challenging as we found very foul weather near Hartley Bay, BC and waited out winds of 35-42 kts that pulled our (for you hard core boaters out there) 70 lb CQR anchor with 250’ of 5/16” chain out of the holding – twice. At 3 AM. In driving rain. Ug. No sleep those nights. But this too passes. Grenville Channel (the locals call it the Trench) is a fun, canal-like experience and it takes us north towards Prince Rupert, stopping over at Kumealon Inlet where we were surrounded by both rocks and emerging sea foam that looks like a prankster added Dawn to the river above.