We are working our way home after a second summer in SE Alaska. We have a permit for Haida Gwaii the last part of July, then plan to work south along the outside of Vancouver Island.
This page continues our summer cruise in British Columbia. Click here for our Alaska log.
Leaving Nichols we had to round Cape Chacon at the south tip of Prince of Wales. Our charts show tide rips there, and even at slack water it was plenty lumpy for a bit. Out in open water we got some stability from a reefed main and staysail, though winds were too much on the nose to sail without the motor. Long day, but fairly flat traverse of Dixon Entrance, which is often gnarly. A pod of killer whales rolled by, their tall fins distinctly different from all the humpbacks we've been seeing.
We pulled into Brundige on the north end of Dundas, and tucked in behind an island halfway down. Our book warns of black flies here, and we were swarmed while anchoring. We closed the boat up. I think this is the first time bugs have been annoying. They bite and itch!
Dave got us going early, underway by 6 am, to make Prince Rupert midday. Easy motor, flat calm, through Venn Passage and to the customs dock where we phoned in, then to the yacht club where Dave scored a slip for us. The dockmaster caught our lines and handed us the wifi and gate codes! Good thing they catch the lines. Finger slips are wobbly and narrow, but it is great to be tied up here in the heart of town. Showers ashore are a loony, grocery store walking distance, ditto laundry, plus a great restaurant. I want to linger here, but we have a permit for Haida Gwaii, so maybe 3-4 days and then we will press on.
We walked up the hill to the Safeway and spent 15 minutes goggling the produce. More variety and cheaper!!! than anything we saw in Alaska, and we hear more is due in tomorrow. Then discovered a mini-Buchart sunken garden just steps from the yacht club. Enchanting little jewel, beautifully tended. A few steps further on we walked into Dolly's for a wonderful seafood dinner, then walked it off with a stroll to the Rushbrooke Floats at the north end of town.
The Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club is located in Cow Bay, a charming gully of shops, beautifully painted wall murals, and everything that can be painted in black and white cow motif, including garbage cans, road dividers, and this yard art.
We have a few boat chores to do - the head is locking up, maybe just worn. We'll pull it and rebuild it again, and see if we can get it working better. PR is our best chance to provision until Port Hardy or McNeill, so we need to take stock.
I am reacting to the black fly bites I got on my face at Dundas. One eye is swollen almost shut, and one cheek has a big inflamed lump. Dave has 0 bites! I am taking anti-histamines. Story of our life: bugs love me and are indifferent to him.
Got the toilet rebuild done and took care of other business, so today was a play day. We took the bus to Port Edwards (Mary's recommendation, thanks!) to visit the largely unrestored cannery, now a heritage site. We arrived just in time for a guided tour of the net sheds, slime line, worker housing, office and company store. The workshop under the net shed was especially interesting. It looks like you could still fire it up and be in operation. Our guide was a first nations Tsimsian woman whose mother had worked in the cannery. She told how the fishermen were towed to the river mouth and left for 6 days in rowboats to fish by net, with a mothership delivering water and food and picking up fish. The cannery ran day and night when the fish were running. Pay depended on your job, fishermen paid by the fish, canners by the tray, but you easily could owe the company store by the end of the season. Housing varied widely, for the Europeans (houses), the Japanese (bunkhouses), and the Natives (small cabins each with 6-12 people).
Back aboard Dave is rebuilding the mount for the engine seawater intake. It has 2 rusted bolts. Probably would get us home... but once Dave discovers an issue he tries to cure it before it breaks.
Tomorrow we will provision up, and top off tanks, and head out Tuesday.