Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Back To Denham

Back AgainWe spent a fun day and night at Big Bay on Sunday after our nice stay at Denham Bay Lodge. We joined Boondocker, Another Bill and Sandpiper but it seemed like more than just the three of us Des Moines Yacht Club boats as the boat across from us used to be owned by Club member, Dan Ferreira. His old boat SeaLegs was there. His new owner, Jim, is from Everett. He was on SeaLegs and his parents were there on their boat, White Frog. Also there was Limelight, a 47′ Bayliner. We met Limelight (Richard and Suszanne) last year at Homfray Lodge and so they came over and did happy hour on our boat. It was quite a party! They have stayed in touch with friend Robin Miller since last summer so after a few happy hour beverages we got some pictures taken and sent them to Robin.  

Gar and I learned about a fundraiser BBQ and auction that was going to be on August 1st at Big Bay so we kicked it around and decided to be back for it. It is the annual Stuart Island Salmon Enhancement BBQ and Auction. All proceeds go to support local salmon enhancement and restoration projects. There is a bar, silent auction, appetizers, dinner, live auction and a live band. We were told by someone who has been there before to leave our checkbooks and credit cards at on the boat because we won’t be able to compete the the local millionaires (and maybe billionaires) who will be bidding more than we can handle. Supposedly there will be about 250 plus people at the event. We will definitely be more like the po’ folk in town. 

But before August 1st we have days to kill so headed to Ramsay Arm for 3 nights. Boondocker, Another Bill and Sandpiper all came to Ramsay too. The rain had left us and we had hot and then very hot weather. It was kinda weird because there is rarely any other boat there but just after we anchored three other boats came and anchored a little ways from us.  

Prawning was not too hot but Simon did OK…fishing not so hot, but they didn’t try too hard. Yvonne and I kayaked one day but it was too hot the last day there. At one point our thermometer said 102 degrees in the sun. It was 96 in the boat for awhile, but once the sun goes down it cools off nicely.  

Boondocker and Another Bill left after the second night and are slowly making their way toward home. Sandpiper stayed the last night with us and just before it got too dark a huge loading craft came in to the old logging area by where we anchor and two off road vehicles drove off and went up the logging road. They were most likely surveyors or something. Then the landing craft went down to the larger logging project that has been active this year but not right now due to the fire danger. When we got up this morning we saw it leaving there so took a close look when we left. There was a small boat there and definite activity so they might be getting ready to do some more logging.

We were able to make reservations back at Denham Bay for tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow we will head for our two nights at Big Bay and the auction. Should be interesting.

We have heard occasional chatter on the radio from other club members and know they are in the general vicinity and actually passed Frank and Trish on the Double Eagle as they were going south through Dent Rapids and we were going north.


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Alone Again, Naturally

Alone Again, NaturallyThe days seem to fly by. We have been traveling on our own for several days – four or five? I have lost track. We like meeting up and traveling with friends but it is also nice to be completely alone from time to time. Today we will meet up again with Sandpiper and Another Bill if all goes well. We are not sure what Boondocker is planning.

When we left Echo Bay we did some salmon fishing on our way to Waddington Bay to see Sandpiper. This has been a completely different year for us. We are not only fishing, but we are catching! The cohos (silvers) and springs or chinooks (kings) have been in at Cramer Passage and we caught 3 nice fish in no time! Lost several but the fishing was really good.  

After a very windy and crowded night at Waddington Bay with Sandpiper we went our separate ways. We actually went back 5 miles to where we had fished the day before and caught a couple cohos and a chinook in exactly the same spot as the day before. We then took off for what we call the Indian Village. It’s real name is Karlukwees and it is an abandoned village where Mother Nature is claiming everything back. When we first started coming to Karukwees in the 1980s there was a dock and nice secure pilings. Over the years everything just aged and disappeared. We anchored and tied a stern line to a big rock and hoped for the best. It turned out to be a really nice night. Gar cranked up his music on the bridge, we danced a little and enjoyed the heck out of it. The next morning the tide was barely low enough for some clamming and we played the annual golf tournament, the Karlukwees Open. I was guaranteed at least a 2nd place finish. And that is what I got. After the clamming and ‘golf’ we headed to Minstrel Island to see if there would be a spot at the deserted Minstrel Island resort docks. There was only one sailboat there so we tied and and spent the next two days there. Minstrel Island Resort used to be ‘the place’ to go to but things changed – some hard times, some not so good management, so issues with the RCMP (if you believe the rumors) and it was abandoned very abruptly years ago with bedding, dishes, clothes, tools, etc., all left behind. We have heard that the owners were arrested but we also heard they got out in the nick of time before arrest. We will probably never know the real story.  

Adjacent to the old resort is a place called Sail Cone Lodge. After looking over at it for years we walked over and asked if we could look around. It is a nicely maintained little resort that have guests flown in for whale watching, bear watching and fishing trips. They had about 12 guests one of the days we were there.  

Garry was doing OK but not great prawning so we waffled on how long to stay there. We also watched and listened to the weather on the Johnstone Straits trying to decide best time to head back to Desolation Sound. We had good texting while at Minstrel so knew that Sandpiper, Boondocker and Another Bill were in Forward Harbor, already down the Straits and they were all deciding where to go next.

We finally decided to leave Saturday and were debating where to go. Pt. Harvey? Forward Harbor? Cordero? Big Bay? Definitely not Blind Channel. Not our favorite place and we had already been there once.  

We passed Pt. Harvey by because the Straits were so calm we headed down them. We passed Forward Harbor because the Whirlpool Rapids were running in our favor. We kept going through Green Point rapids at slack and had almost decided on Big Bay when we spotted a place called Denham Bay. I had seen the sign on the way north, but we didn’t check it out at the time. Anyway, we ended up spending the night there and had an absolute blast. Owners Pete and Sarah leased a nice chunk of land and in 2006 started clearing and building. They have four really cute guest cabins, decent docks for a few boats, good wifi, good water and super good hosts. They built the most amazing outdoor covered kitchen area. The cabins don’t have kitchens, just bathrooms so guests bring in food in cook in the outdoor kitchen. All basic things are supplied like oil, butter, salt, pepper so guests just bring in their meats, etc., in coolers. They recently built an outdoor pizza oven. Sarah used to be the pastry chef at Dent Island lodge and she plans on using the pizza oven for baking pastries, too. Pete is also a fishing guide and they have lots of guide friends who stop by so Gar was told where he could maybe catch a halibut. The salmon are in here but we don’t need any more and would love one more halibut.

I was able to text Yvonne yesterday when I heard that they and Another Bill were going to Big Bay and asked her to make a reservation for us there today (Sunday) so we will be heading that way when the rapids through Dent and Gillard are slow enough for us to comfortably go through.  

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Old Dog

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! This is probably an old one to many but not to me. You see – garbage is an issue when boating for an extended trip. Unless you are on the mainland or in a larger marina on Vancouver Island there is no easy way to deal with garbage. Each of the marinas in the Broughton Islands and Desolation Sound have their own program. Some take no garbage at all. Some have a fee for a small bag of garbage. Some take plastic and non-squished soda cans. A couple have burn barrels but with the fire hazzard that is limited this year. For years we have had a tendency to have the inside garbage (a trash compactor, thank goodness) and Garry’s stinky outside bag for fishy/bait stuff/oily things. Some food products we can toss overboard like coffee grounds, old leftovers and such. But we don’t do that when at a marina or in an anchorage with lots of boats. In a marina or anchorage it is acceptable to throw out prawn and crab shells. We usually had one big garbage burning bonfire on a safe beach each year but there is a total burn ban here right now so things have accumulated.

Anyway, back to the old dog story. I had the vacuum packer out the other day to deal with the salmon we had caught. That means there are lots of fishy paper towels from thoroughly blotting the fish. I had this brilliant idea to shrink wrap the stinky stuff and it worked great. I have done it a couple times now. Not only does it keep the stink down, the size of the shrunken bag is tiny compared to a plastic garbage bag.  

In addition to the stinky garbage solution, Yvonne had a brilliant idea that I am now copying. When I empty a container like a soda can or water bottle I just put it back empty where it had been stored full. A little rinsing first if it is something on the icky side and it is out of the way. Anything cardboard now gets flattened and stored rather than in the garbage. Then I can deal with it when there is a place that will take the stuff.

So, Garbage In Garbage Out is the new motto this year!

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Gotta love technology… or hate it. When you are far from home or a store to fix things there can be some panic. It is only a little after 1:00 p.m. and already today I have cursed technology, then later grateful for every bit of it.My morning started out with my iPad dead as a doornail. And please don’t ask if I had charged it! I plug it in every night. Now this iPad is my lifeline for many things. I do my emails, post to Facebook, do my blog, pay bills… and all of my books are on it! What to do, what to do!! First things was check all plugs and connections. Using my iPod charger it became clear it was the iPad itself. So my mind was already thinking of how to check things, pay bills and find real books to read. Bill Lande lent me his laptop to take up the dock to the office area at Echo Bay to try to get on-line. While trying to figure out a laptop that I don’t know I texted my daughter, Theresa. My favorite daughter!!! Forever. She googled the problem and told me to try a fix and it worked! All is good again.

Then just about an hour ago we heard that our friend Bill on Bumble Bee had a medical issue and had to go the hospital in Pt. Hardy. Between wifi, text, facebook, email and VHF we were able to communicate in round robin fashion between other boats, Bill’s son, and then Bill to find out it was a medicine issue. He says he is fine and they are leaving Pt. Hardy heading this general direction. What is nice to know is that without any of this technology the Canadian Coast Guard would have helped us communicate with our boating friends further north and out of our range of hearing.

We are leaving Echo Bay tomorrow with an unclear destination. We are going to try to find a lucky halibut hole to add some more to our freezer. Prawning has not been good to us here. We will pull crab pots later and see if that is any better.

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Days Fly ByWe have not had a signal for so long I have to jog my memory to try to think of what we have been doing.  

We left Port Hardy on Saturday, the 11th and stopped awhile to do some halibut fishing. Caught a nice little halibut – about 20 pounds – at Taylor Bank. Water was flat calm and no fog so it was a great crossing. We pulled into Claydon Bay and set anchor and did our stern line to shore, then heard from Simon and Yvonne in Sandpiper. They tied up with us and we spent the next several nights there. Sunday it rained, then rained really hard and then poured! It was crazy but really needed. Gar and Simon did a little prawning. On Monday, Jan and Bill in Another Bill joined us for a couple nights. The weather cleared up quite a bit and the guys did some prawning. Garry has (for now) lost is crown of being the King Prawner. It was reluctantly passed on to Bill. During one of the prawn pot pulls Gar got zero, Simon about 20 and Bill got 110! Bills skills continue, or it might be his homemade bait. We did not make any this year and those pellets just don’t work as good.

While in Claydon, Yvonne and I did some kayaking and also took the dinghy over to visit a boat that we had been anchored near back in Forward Harbor. Jack & Carol from Florida in their ‘new to them’ 45′ Bayliner Lucky Star were enjoying learning about their new boat. It was fun to touch base with them.

We left Claydon and headed all the way of about 5.5 miles to Turnbull Bay with Sandpiper and Another Bill. It is a nice anchorage with some prawning just outside of the bay. We had not been to Turnbull in this boat so it has been prior to 1998! There is a lagoon close by that to get into you have to use your dinghy to go through Roaring Hole Rapids. At high slack it is just fine but at some times it is far to dangerous to cross the rapids. We spent two nights in Turnbull with Peggy and Wayne on the Boondocker joining us the last night. Prawning was OK, but by far the best for Bill, again!!! Our new friends, Jack & Carol, were also anchored in the bay and they kayaked over to say hi.  

One of the things Yvonne and I do is keep our VHF radios on for entertainment. On one night we were listening to the Canadian Coast Guard and a rescue of some type across the Nahwetti Bar. Yes, that is the bar that Gar was going to cross in the dinghy. We don’t know the nature of the distress but they were sending a Coast Guard boat out and requested the people needing assistance make no attempt to cross the bar. They did radio checks every 20 minutes to make sure that the situation had not gotten any worse. We will probably never know what happened but it sure makes your imagination run wild.

There is a lake you can hike to in Turnbull that has a trail maintained by the BC parks, so Bill and I decided to try it. It was about 1 mile and very steep climbing. It was a very large lake with a rickety dock that you could go out on to swim or fish. There was a picnic table on shore and an honest to God outhouse. Checked that hike off my list.

We left Turnbull and headed to Greenway Sound which is where we are as I am writing this update. All four boats of us are still together. Greenway Sound used to have a nice marina but it has been abandoned for several years and every year the docks are in more disrepair from the year before. The winters are very harsh on things like that. The building as still hear but also deteriorating. We set up camp and we look like the Clampetts. We have a white canvas across the dock tied to 3 of the boats to give us some shade. Last night there were two other boats here. They left this morning but two more came in awhile ago and just now 2 more came in. The prawning here has been poor but Simon has the most here so he is claiming the crown. We got something like 8 prawns and one very large octopus that had eaten several of the prawns in the pot.

I think it was two years ago that Simon came across a phone booster that several of us bought so if there was any type of phone signal, then with the booster we could maybe at least text. Well, ours has never worked right and we always thought it was because we still have old ‘stupid’ phones, no smart phones. Jan and Bill have had great signal here at Greenway so I went to their boat and my phone worked to. Well, it turns out that they are using the itty bitty antenna that came with the booster rather than the larger fancier ones that Garry and Simon were using. Since we both still had the original box of stuff that came with it we now are using the itty bitty antenna and we have a signal! Woo hoo! And that is why I decided I should post to the blog. When we leave here Sunday or Monday we will be heading to Pierre’s at Echo Bay and they have wifi there so I will use that some.  

Sorry that I have nothing very exciting to pass on. After that bit of rain the weather is pretty good again, the waters are fine, the company good and the boat and dinghy are working just fine.  

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Day of Adventure

While Garry and Gord were out fishing Marilyn took me to Coal Harbor just as planned. Coal Harbor has a great history as a whaling town, airplanes, copper mining and logging. Marilyn has been there many times and wanted to show me their tourist claim to fame; a giant whale jaw bone. Well, we drove around all 2 or 3 blocks of town a few times and couldn’t find a giant jawbone. She finally asked a girl who said it was at the museum being refurbished. Marilyn said “what museum?” I thought “refurbish a whale jaw?”

Turns out there is a nice little museum in the airplane hangers by the docks. There were some great historical pictures of everything including the 91 ft blue whale that donated his jaw bone to the museum. 

On the way back we stopped by Hardy Bouys fish packing and got all of our vacuum packed and frozen fish from yesterday. Gord called Marilyn and said they were back from fishing with one halibut and we all needed to hop in the truck and tow Bill Bryant’s dinghy, the Animal, down to Pt. McNeill. Gord had been storing it until Bill got up this way. So off we go. Bill Lande, Wayne Weber, Frank Keenan and Bill Bryant had come over from Sointula for the dinghy pick up. There was some kind of issue with one of the motors so while Bill started working in that most of had lunch and did a little shopping. The Animal finally was running good so we waved goodbye and made it back to Pt. Hardy.  

The weather has cooled off by about 15 degrees and rain or showers are predicted for the 3 days. Maybe I will be wearing a sweatshirt for the first time this trip.