After our harrowing experience crossing back over Hecate Strait, we were completely exhausted. Because I changed our course to avoid the waves hitting us directly on the side, we were nowhere near our planned destination which was chosen for it’s safe anchorage. Now we had to find a new quiet inlet on the fly… criteria being protection from the westerly winds and waters, a depth that worked regardless of tide, and a safe amount of swing room. (Obviously anchoring out here is trickier than one might imagine.)
We cruised around the protected waters of Survey Harbor looking for a comfortable place to call home for the night, finally settling for a cove with no name where we gratefully dropped the anchor. No rest for the weary yet! Sadie still had to go ashore, and John was on it! He’s such a sport about getting her ashore as soon as we anchor… every time we anchor! And let me tell you, finding a comfortable place to “beach” Zephyr is not always easy. The shorelines are rarely made up of soft sand… never really, come to think of it. While planning our destinations we have to consider the shorelines, making sure there’s a shallow spot somewhere near, just for the purpose of getting Sadie to dry land.
While they were off taking care of business, I heard some sounds that drew my attention. I grabbed the binoculars and spotted a family of River Otters climbing out of the water. By the time I got my camera they were making their way across a ledge in the deep shadows. Not ideal lighting by any means, but I caught them just the same. I should note that up to this point we’d seen River Otters exclusively. No Sea Otters as one might expect in these protected coastal waters.
John and Sadie discovered a stream cascading over some rocks at the end of our cove, and John rowed me back out for a look-see before we settled in to get some rest. The colors along these shorelines are incredibly brilliant. And as always I’m drawn to the patterns amongst them as well. They look as though they’re painted to me. (See top image)
We loved this quiet anchorage, and were surprised that it was unnamed (at least on the maps) and not written up in any of the cruising books we had stockpiled on the boat. It is now, at least to us, known as “Thompson Cove”. 😁
After dinner we gratefully crawled in bed early and got a good, hard-earned night’s sleep. After breakfast the following morning (and Sadie’s morning trip ashore) we set out once again… destination Geodetic Cove. (We were working our way back south again.)
The following morning, while John was rowing Sadie ashore, they spotted a mink… one who was far more curious than frightened by them. After breakfast we rowed back to the end of the cove with cameras in hand to see if we might find the mink once again. Sure enough, he was there, and practically posed for us.
After playtime with the mink we set out once again, southbound through Nepean Sound… destination Penn Harbour. We were in no hurry to get there, but heading toward the north end of Vancouver Island (Port Hardy), in preparation for our southbound trip down the western side of the island. This will put us back in open waters once again, which I do not relish, but at least there we will be ducking into harbors, sounds, coves and inlets all along the way.
We spent the next few days exploring the coves and inlets of Princess Royal Island in search of the elusive “Spirit Bear”. A Spirit Bear is actually a blonde Black Bear… very rare! This fabled bear makes up only about 2% of the Black Bear population, but the chances of seeing one are best on Princess Royal Island, where they make up 30% of the Black Bear population. So… the search was on!
On day one we discovered several waterfalls, an abandoned power plant, and a new bird (to us, and silly looking too)… a Surf Scoter. And wouldn’t you know it, a black Black Bear!
While in Surf Inlet we stopped to check out an abandoned power plant and damn. We could not find an easy place to go ashore, so we were limited on what we could see. This area is very remote, so it’s not a wonder that it was abandoned years ago. As we rowed over for a look-see a bald eagle flew right over the top of us and landed on the structure, as if to lay claim. The dam remains in place with water spilling over it, so there’s obviously a body or water above. A freshwater swim would have been nice.
Day two… still no Spirit Bear…
We’ve seen numerous Humpback Whales during our boating journey in British Columbia. First thing you see is a spouting plume of water as they slowly some to the surface, and then small portions of the leviathan as he/she slowly arches his body briefly along the surface. Before a deep dive it’s a bigger arch, ending with the fluke well out of the water as he noses downward. As many times as we’ve seen them it’s always a thrill.
And then we tucked in for the night in Alston Cove…
We had no luck spotting that elusive Spirit Bear, but Princess Royal Island (east side, up the inside passage) will be one of our destinations as we make our way north to Alaska next summer! We continued south, in the direction of Bella Bella for restocking purposes. We’d have to make one more stop along the way, but didn’t pick a spot until we made a quick “gas stop” at an Indian village called Klemtu. From there we continued south and then cut through Thistle Passage and then Meyers Passage and ducked into Rescue Bay for the night. This was the first anchorage we shared with other boats since our return from Haida Gwaii!
While we were anchored in Rescue Bay we were attracted to an unusual squawking sound. Come to find out there was a pair of Sandhill Cranes sharing the bay with us, and undoubtedly protecting a nest.
The following morning we went ashore again… as always with camera in hand. This time I found a Great Blue Heron, and a new bird on my list… the blacked headed bird below is a Bonapartes Gull. While walking through the shallow waters, sneaking up on birds, I nearly stepped on a little octopus. I followed him, trying like heck to get a good shot through the undulating waters, to no avail, and while in pursuit… he inked me!! (Think Finding Nemo! 🤣)
Right after pulling anchor and heading out of Rescue Cove a Humpback Whale crossed out bow! I’ll pick up that story, and our continued travels in the direction of Port Hardy, in my next post. Until then….