After a week in Dawsons landing we got the weather window we were looking for and set out on Dec. the 5th to cross Cape Caution and continue our trip to Victoria. Positioning the day before to the mouth of Rivers inlet we were met by heavy snow and limited visibility. Our anchorage in Big Fry Pan Bay was covered in slush that gave the impression we were locked in the ice. The next morning cleared off and we were met by blue skies and breathtaking views of the snow covered mountains and trees. The swell had dropped to 2 meters and was well spaced so our crossing was uneventful, patience is definitely a virtue when traveling the coast in December. We arrived Port Hardy that afternoon and breathed a sigh of relief knowing the rest of the journey should prove uneventful, or so we thought.
For the big boys and some of the hard core fishing vessels crossing Cape Caution either north or south bound is just another days work. Sometimes not so pleasant but a necessary evil if you work the coast. For the rest of us it can be a pretty intimidating piece of water. We left Shearwater under sunny skies and glassy seas. unfortunately daylight did not permit us to get across the open water that day and we anchored up in Goose Bay next to the old Cannery. Last operated in 1957 it is now used as a sport fishing lodge for Rivers Inlet. A good anchorage, quiet and well protected, and once again not a soul around. The next morning what looked like an opportunity to cross Cape Caution quickly disappeared. An off shore system created an extremely large swell, with waves up to 30 ft and the winds sparked up to boot. So much for that plan. After two days in Goose Bay we headed over to Dawsons Landing. A long time float camp, with store and fuel, lots of dock space and water. The owner Rob who has grown up in Dawsons was our host. His wife was away and besides his Shepard, Zeva we had the place to our selves. Able to monitor the weather off the internet we settled in and waited for an opportunity to head south. Not as quiet as one might think Dawsons is the stop for all the caretakers in Rivers, the odd stop over by a helicopter for supplies for the logging camps and the venerable Grumman Goose who stops in on a semi regular basis for Wilderness Airways. Isolated from the outside weather with breathtaking views of the surrounding snowy peaks we passed the days catching up on correspondence and fishing of course.
With the season behind us we finally set a course south on November 22nd. Not exactly the prime time for cruising the inside passage but it does have some awesome aspects. First and foremost you are alone, I mean really alone. No other pleasure boats are cruising these beautiful waters at this time of year. Your company is the commercial vessels, some fishing, tug boats and the odd ferry who work the channels year round. When the weather is clear the mountains are crowned with a white cover of snow that is not to be found in the spring. The big key to traveling this time of year is not to be in a hurry. Daylight hours are short and with the amount of wood adrift in our waters from storms and big tides the Thunder 1 crew chooses not to travel at night. This leaves about 9 hours of useful daylight to make you way south or about 60 nautical miles per day. Even when there are no boats you are not completely alone as we are accompanied my the many Humpback whales that stay and winter on our coast as well as seals, and playful pods of porpoises and dolphins. We worked out way south in a mix of both wet and choppy to sunny and calm weather. Reaching Shearwater mid coast on day 4 we stopped to assess the weather for our crossing of Cape Caution.
As I mentioned in our previous post we did get the opportunity to conduct some marine mammal surveys that kept us busy until mid November. The company we dealt with was extremely professional and safety conscious and it was a pleasure to have them aboard and complete their project for them, I am attaching a few pictures that the crew managed to snap on our busy days. Always something new for the crew of the Thunder and once again we were able to demonstrate the flexibility and options that the Thunder 1 can fulfill as a
for our clients whether it be in the survey, logging, or even as a resource for the Coast Guard.
Hello to everyone. Sorry my blog did not get updated from mid summer but a busy schedule and a computer crash put things on hold. Just to recap the remainder of our summer was awesome. Fishing from mid July into late August remained exceptional and we were joined by some new and some long time favorite returning guests. Thanks again to Kerry and Sue for returning and bringing Dan and Lori. Wow what fishing we had. I think I finely tired Kerry out on the halibut grounds as I heard him mutter under his breath after releasing his 15th that he would keep the next one. No shame in folding on that one Kerry nice job! Followed by the Baxter group and long time no see gang Bill , Kelly and friends the summer spend by with lots of laughs and lots of fish. On a rare open spot we managed to fit some of our kids and our 3 year old grandson Owen on his first fishing adventure. We were also kept busy doing some survey work counting and recording whales, seals , dolphins and other marine mammals. These trip lasted through out August and into September, October and November. All and all a great year for Thunder 1 Adventures and with lots of return guests already booked plus some new groups 2017 is shaping up to be another great year.
After a breezy trip on the previous outing we were happy to depart with a forecast for smooth seas and calm winds. Joined by return guests Mel and Janine, and Mel’s sister Gloria and her husband Bill we headed out with an excited crew. The water was like glass and the fish seemed to appreciate
the calm weather as well as we had some great dancing Coho hit our lines with regularity. The gals did a great job of out fishing the guys but the competition kept everyone sharp. The Halibut were on as well and we were all in awe of the the beautiful weather and great fishing. Humpback whales provided added entertainment with breaching and tail slaps all around us. The guys broke out their fly rods on a sunny afternoon and the 8 wt. rods were jumping as the Coho schooled around our boat. The last day provided the highlight as we had a double header with a 25 lb spring and a 25 lb Ling cod on the other line. Bonus!!!!
Thanks again Mel and Janine for the return business we hope that we can fit you in next year for some more spectacular July fishing,
Welcome back Danny and Koleton, how many times has it been 5 or 6, I can’t remember but we always look forward to having you back aboard. Accompanied by friends from the Waterton area of Alberta, father and son Gerry and Rob we left Rupert under a less than a sunny forecast. The great part about fishing this area is there is always a place to fish out of the weather and that is what we did cruising to the top of Dundas to avoid the forecast SE winds. With the island as our windbreak the fellas set about hooking up some awesome fish the next morning. No stranger to the gear Danny and Koleton worked the deck like old hands and soon had their friends looking like west coast fisherman as well. The wind blew the rain fell but spirits were high as the fish kept hitting the rods. Anchorages remained protected and calm at night and the wind finally subsided on the last day to give us a chance at the . With time running out Deb told us to be patient that the hali’s would come and sure enough the last hour saw all the rods bouncing and the hali’s had arrived. With nothing but smooth sailing on the way in the memories of a little rain and wind faded away and we bade good bye to our friends, but not without signing Danny up for next year where the fish will be biting and the sun will be shining. Have a great summer guys and we look forward to seeing you next year.
With a several trips under our belts and the fish starting to come on we welcomed aboard my cousins and their spouses. Kathy and Dale, Bob and Fredrica, and Trish and Dirk all gathered in Prince Rupert to spend their fishing vacation with their favorite cousin, 🙂 With good weather we headed out of the harbour and with cousins Kathies wish to see some eagles we met our friends in Venn pass returning from their bear watching trip. With a few tidbits to feed the eagles the Adventure tours boat treated us to a magnificent show of up to 20 eagles swooping and diving over our heads and around both boats. Needless to say Kath was happy. Off to the Moffat islands to warm up our halibut rods and then set the prawn traps and enjoy a feed of fresh crab. The next morning we ran from a bit of wind but upon reaching the top of Dundas we were treated to some great fishing with some hard fighting Springs, Coho and even a Chum that put up a great battle. The highlight of the day was a visit from the resident orcas also in pursuit of spring salmon. Side by side with a group of porpoises they accompanied our boat for over an hour with some spectacular close encounters that had everyone’s cameras clicking. Admittedly this was a little hard on the fishing but with some nice fish already in the box everyone enjoyed the once in a lifetime experience of viewing these awesome whales up close. Day three saw some more amazing action for salmon as we continued to find both springs and Coho in some of our favorite spots. The days highlight was once again provided by the marine mammals as a large school of porpoises descended on our fish area and swarmed the boat. Amazing in their speed and agility it was fun to watch until they decided that our fishing gear looked good enough to eat. When the rod slammed down and the reel lit up I new instantly this was not the prey we were after. After two of these encounters where I had to quickly cut the line we decided to let them do the fishing for a while and we went off in search of halibut. A good move as we quickly got into a bite that had all rods bending. A hectic hour later we had captured some nice ones and the trip was rapidly coming to a close. A treat to have both a charter and family, some great memories, a chance to reconnect and some awesome fishing. Who knows when we will all be together again but it was fun, thanks to the gang.
Early June saw us working with the Coast Guard in their continuing project to add and upgrade lights and aids to navigation on the north coast. Our crew of two included the Project Manager, Clinton and a representative from Stantec, Conner. A great professional group that saw us explore some territory to the south that the Thunder had not been before. Accompanied by good weather we visited 13 sites in an effort to improve or establish new or better aids for our marine traffic on the coast. Of course any trip on the Thunder involves a little fishing and while the guys worked diligently the Captain took the opportunity to try and hook up some dinner, with some great success I might add.
Joined by John from Prince George and his sister Thelma from Courtenay BC we set out to fulfill a bucket list request to catch John a big salmon on the North Coast of BC. My compliments to the guests for toughing out some of the windiest conditions we have experienced aboard the Thunder. Trying to hide from the wind proved a challenge and even with the island to protect us gusts over the hill hit 40 knots. Deb did a great job on the wheel and I did my best on the back deck to keep the flashers from getting caught in the trees. Obviously no one told the salmon it was windy as we hooked into a great run of big Spring Salmon. Reels were singing and John and Thelma were hanging onto the big fish and doing a great job of getting them to the boat. Yes the salmon won a few battles but we also landed some beauties with John landing a Tyee and earning the first Tyee pin of the season from the Thunder 1 Crew. The last day the sun came out, the seas calmed and we found where the halibut were hiding adding their limit of nice fish for the drive back to Prince George. Our thanks to both John and Thelma for joining us we hope your bucket list has a big check mark.
With busy schedules our guests were able to squeeze in an early trip in May with the hopes of hooking up some halibut and the chance to land some Spring salmon. Well things worked out on both fronts as we hooked up a couple of beauty springs in the 20 lb range and found some halibut as well. Phil got ahold of a real zinger and it had the reel singing as it took numerous runs off the top end of Dundas. With the addition of some nice prawns, a great feed of crab our guests left vowing to return during the busy summer months in the not too distand future. Thanks again fellas enjoy your fish and the balance of your summer.
With four guests from Beijing and one from Vancouver acting as the interpreter we set out on our first trip May 18th. Several in the group were experienced fisherman and had brought their own rods and jigs for the ground fishing which was their primary goal. Fresh crab, prawns and some great halibut fishing kept the group busy and happy as we showed them the beauty of our north coast area. They had a great trip and who knows if the word gets out we may be seeing a few more groups from China.
Travelling with our friends Barry and Gail aboard their 65 ft Ocean Alexander “Miller Time II” we slipped through the mighty Seymour Narrows and started our 8 day cruise to Prince Rupert. With no guests aboard this year it was a nice time to relax after a busy refit month. Weather was outstanding and despite a few bumps crossing Cape Caution the trip was accompanied by smooth seas and sunny skies. Once again Deb out did us all by catching a 50 lb halibut while on the hook in Swanson Bay. While the rest of us bobbed around in the skiff trying to hook up supper Deb stayed aboard the Thunder with her usual rod outside the galley window. The radio call was urgent that she needed some help as she fought the fish with one hand and called us on the radio with the other. Scooting back I grabbed the spear and secured some fresh halibut for the crew, nice work Deb!!! Always ending too quick we motored into our usual spot at the Prince Rupert Yacht club and starting prepping for our first trip. First up this year was a group from Beijing China.
We cast off from our winter home in Victoria Harbour on May 01, hard to believe how fast the winter goes. Under calm seas we spent a few days in the Gulf Islands before motoring into Genoa Bay to start our spring refit. With the help of our long time friend and shipwright Gord Nelson we began a water tight bulkhead project that Transport Canada has requested for our vessel. With that project well underway we proceeded to Maple Bay where Phil at Cove Yachts was there once again to haul us out for paint , zincs and our annual inspection. Everything looked great and after some great visits with friends in the area we pointed the Thunder north to begin our 11th season.
With some guests all the way from Texas, our next group came from our backyard just a short drive away in beautiful Smithers BC. Welcome first timers to the Thunder Harry, his wife Clara, daughter Melissa and her husband Jason. Harry has fished every corner of BC and was happy to bring his family out to try another experience on the west coast. Thanks Harry we hope we met your expectations as we certainly enjoyed having you aboard. Salmon fishing slowed a little but not enough to dampen any spirits as the weather and halibut fishing made up for it in spades. With calm waters we had a chance to go off shore for halibut and had a spectacular day on the water about as far as you can go on the west coast of BC. Everyone hooked up some nice ones and the whales and dolphins put on a show to entertain us. With great sunsets and the eagles providing the evening entertainment it was a great trip and we hope to see Harry and his family back again next year. Hope the Company 50 year celebration went well and the salmon on the cedar plank was a hit. Thanks again
Welcome Dan and Sandra, Doug and Dolores guests from Texas who did a whirl wind tour through Seattle, Victoria and Prince Rupert via the inside passage aboard the BC Ferry. Dan had been with us before with his brother Kerry but it was awesome for him to return with his wife and friends. Great weather albeit a bit cooler than the Texans are used to accompanied us to a great start with everyone landing a salmon the first evening. The morning saw a great pull of prawns and then we were off with the Coho , Pinks and Springs all giving us great action. Halibut did not disappoint either and with many released in search of the good one we enjoyed some sore arms and great fishing on calm waters. With sunsets to die for, good company and great fishing we were sad to see our guests leave. We hope they have many great memories and stories to tell their friends at home and some great fish fry’s on the grill. Hope to see you soon, maybe even this winter.