Well, it has been quite awhile since I updated you all. We are back in Desolation Sound at Cordero Lodge for the night. Since Thursday we have crossed the Queen Charlotte Straits and the Johnstone Straits and lived to tell about it.
We had a fantastic time up fishing at Spider. To give you an idea of where that is, it is just past the well known Hakai Pass fishing area. Another location fix to give you is about 35 miles or so past River’s Inlet.
Gar and I headed across the Queen Charlotte’s one day ahead of the rest of the group and we had by far the better water. We made it from Port Hardy to the bottom of Calvert Island in 4 1/2 hours. The water got lumpy and swelly by Cape Caution and Egg Island but nothing like last year. Just before we went into Safety Cove to anchor for the night we decided to try some bottom fishing right off the rocks near the entrance to the cove. We were maybe 100′ from the rocks in 80′ of water when a humpback whale decided to dive under the bow of our boat. I’m screaming “camera! camera!” By the time I found it the whale had moved so far away that the picture looks pretty boring. It was real exciting for a few minutes, tho.
We had a nice peaceful night at anchor and then next morning Bumble Bee and the Animal showed up. They had worse water than us but again, nothing as bad as last year. They tied up for a short break then headed on to Spider. We followed a little later but first made a side trip to a place called Koeye River. We anchored in a little bay and took the dinghy up the river where there used to be mining. For what, you ask? I have no idea. Gold, silver, copper? No clue. But the river ride was fun and the salmon were jumping all over the place.
Oh, I forgot to tell you that our radar had completely quit working and of course we are now getting into foggy weather areas, so we were picking our way carefully when traveling. Fortunately, most of the time the fog was lifting as we approached our destinations.
Let me try to describe the fishing experience at Spider. The guys get up around 4:30 – 5:00 a.m., have coffee and cereal, then head fishing for a few hours in the fog. Then they come in for a late big breakfast, then go fishing again. Then lunch, then fishing again. Then dinner. Then bed around 8:00 and the next day it starts all over again. Most mornings I would get up and make the coffee for Gar, then stay up. That meant taking a nap mid-day, but that was fine with me!
The salmon fishing wasn’t too hot but they were catching enough to not be too depressed. The day we left it looked liked the fish were finally starting to come in. Several afternoons the guys would go bottom fishing since the salmon seemed to be ignoring them -bottom fishing being really good. I went out one afternoon on the Animal with Bill, Gar and Gordy because they promised me good water and good fishing. At first the water didn’t look so good, but the minute I caught my first ling cod I didn’t care anymore.
After about an hour of fishing I hooked what I thought was the bottom. Bill said it was a huge halibut. Well, I could barely hold the pole it was so heavy to Bill and Gar had to take turns reeling it in. Then Gord got a ling cod on and it decided to wrap it it’s line around my halibut line. It became an organized type of chaos with everyone doing what they could to save the equipment and both fish. Being exceptionally talented fisherpersons, we accomplished all of that. I ended up with a 115 pound halibut! Woo hoo! And Gord caught his nice ling cod. The next day Gar caught a 28 pound ling cod in the same area.
Spider is fishing, eating, vacuum packing fish, drinking, fishing, eating…..Did I mention fishing, eating and drinking? On prime rib night everyone puts on a tie and we do formal…. sort of. We missed Trish especially this year when it was dining time because she always had awards for people. But for the record, Wade caught the biggest salmon – 47 pounds. I caught the biggest bottom fish. I think Wade and his guys came closest to limiting. Not too sure on that. Several kings in the 30 pound range were caught among the 8 guys that were fishing.
We left Spider on Thursday and were thinking of how far we might be able to cross the Queen Charlotte’s on Friday, but the water was good so we kept heading south til the fog got so bad we could not see a thing. Remember – no radar! Anyway, Bill decided to check out a place called Miles Inlet, just past Slingsby, so we followed him in and spent a great night there. More food, drinking and the guys went fishing in the morning for a few hours. Then we all headed out to do the last half of the straits. No fog! Good water! We said good bye to Bumble Bee as it headed back to Port Hardy and we went to Greenway Sound again on Friday night.
You all know my theory on six degrees of separation. While in Greenway and lady walks in and I remembered her from the New Year’s dance we went to at the Port Orchard yacht club. She fell at the dance and broke her wrist. They were on their way back from Alaska and were traveling with friends of ours, the Downers. The odds of us ending up at the same place are not astronomical, but still very unexpected and a nice surprise.
While at Greenway we found out where Sandpiper was and wanted to try to catch up with them, so Saturday took a chance on the Johnstone Straits and had a pleasant trip down to Forward Harbor and tied off the Sandpiper last night. Alot of catching up to do, with Gar and Simon trying to outdo each other on who had the most breakdowns. I think Simon won, but it may be a toss up. They said we were like the humantarian vessel as we gave them water, ice and vodka, saving them a trip into a marina for those essentials.
So, we are definitely on the downhill swing and will be probably home this coming weekend – wind, water and fog permitting.
Will try to post some pictures later…