is the common route south from Prince Rupert;
many cruisers lovingly call it "The Ditch." We
were happy to be 'doing the ditch' in the sunshine
because we have had so much rain on our trip
After stopping to
anchor in Klewnuggit Inlet, the next day we
popped out of the south end of Grenville Channel
and I took one last look back. I love the shade-upon-shade
changes of green to gray along the Channel.
In my imagination, this is what infinity looks
We decided to divert
from the usual cruiser's route and go out Whale
Channel, heading for Laredo Sound. As we passed
Gil Island, I took a photo to 'mark' the spot
of Gil Rock. You don't see anything special
in the picture, do you?
That's because Gil Rock is below the water
and quite close to this shoreline. But it is
noted on the chart and you would have to go
out of your way to hit it. And that's just
what the BC Ferry "Queen of the North" did some
years ago. The boat sank, but all passengers
were saved by the quick action of the nearby
First Nations community in Hartley Bay. If you
want to read more about that story, go to my
2007 photo blog at www.fineedge.com and click
on "Alaska Cruising," then find the
entry about Hartley Bay.
We wanted to go back to Laredo Sound and a favorite
anchorage: Cameron Cove. Well, actually, it's
the great fishing we wanted.
Not from the boat, Dave! OK, this is just a
Here's the real thing - done from the skiff,
The Green Devil. (The Devil really needed to
pay its way after all that drama in Queen Charlotte
Sound.) Dave finally had his long-sought-after
Coho salmon. It was the biggest Coho that Dave
had ever seen. He thought it was a King salmon
This one is about
Moving towards the
But he wasn't finished!
He went back out and came back with a double-header
and crabs to boot.
Dave says taking the picture from above is bad
because it makes the fish look smaller. Sounds
like a fisherman's tale to me.
After leaving the Laredo area, we encountered
a first for us. We saw what we think was a northern
elephant seal. It had raised itself straight
up out of the water, right in the path of the
boat; just stationary and staring at us - as
in: "I'm not moving out of your path, so
you better give way." And we did! They're
about twice the size of the sea lions that we
usually see - and they have a very big, odd-shaped
muzzle. This was one of the few times I didn't
have my camera close at hand and I couldn't tear
myself away from the scene to go get it. So...
you'll just have to use your imagination.
We once again went through Meyers Passage,
a very handy shortcut back into "the inside."
We went through
just after high water slack (on a Spring Tide)
and the ebb was already running about a knot
and a half as we made our way past the one
and only (but very helpful) aid to navigation
in Meyers Passage.
This passage also
gave me another opportunity to get one of my "kaleidoscope" pictures.
I love these images of the shore reflected
in still water.
We needed water
and had read in the Waggoner Cruising Guide
(www.waggonerguide.com) that you could get
good water at the fuel dock in Klemtu. So we
stopped, got a bit of fuel, a few groceries,
and the water we needed. Then we pressed on.
You can see a couple of cruisers at the transient
Our goal for the
night was another of our favorite spots: Bottleneck
Inlet. Here's the classic photo looking out
the tiny inlet. It's plenty big enough for
boats our size (45' length overall) and larger,
however, and you don't need to take it at slack.
It's one of those "bombproof" spots
if you need to duck in out of the weather.
is also one of those spots where there is a
known (by cruisers) "snag" -
a log embedded in the bottom but sticking up
high enough to create problems for boaters.
Long ago some cruisers did their best to mark
it with a crab pot float. Why? Because the
snag is underwater at high tide!
The next photo will
puzzle you because it's hard to see what's
going on. That is an eagle IN the water - struggling
to flap its wings. Possibly drowning. Apparently,
once an eagle locks its talons onto a fish
and tries to fly off with it, they can't unlock
their talons and drop the fish if it's too
heavy. This fish was too heavy. We saw the
commotion and worried that this eagle was going
We watched as it
flapped its wings furiously and clearly headed
for shore. We crossed our fingers that it was
close enough to make it. Yes, he made it. He
climbed up onto the rocks with his catch and
immediately started eating. Drama at sea.
We left Bottleneck
Inlet to make our way up to Sheep Passage and
eventually to Kynoch Inlet.
We crossed through a patch of fog as we left
the Inlet. Looking back, I was hoping we were
also leaving the fog behind us.
Oops, not yet. We
rounded the corner into Sheeps Passage and
found more patches of it.
And more patches...
I met a boater this
year in Alaska who said he brought his boat
up from Prince Rupert - without using his radar
once. That is called blind luck. In my opinion,
you can't cruise the Inside Passage without
having good radar equipment and good skills
using it. Expecting fog is part of the deal
on the Inside Passage.
In the next installment, we'll take you with
us into the beautiful Kynoch Inlet.