Category: Past Trips

Day of the Grizzly

Khutz inlet is a spectacular inlet. Towering mountains, waterfalls and a wide grassy flood plain where the river enters into the bay. The green grass is a favorite in the spring for the bears and we were treated to quite a show. Using our skiff to approach we were able to watch and film two different grizzly bears at fairly close range. One a massive boar and the other looked like a three year old. Both were unfazed by our approach and we were able to observe and photograph for sometime. We then proceeded up Princess Royal Reach, marveling at the waterfalls one after another along our route.
Follow the link below for a video of the big Grizzly and his friend Fuzzy.

The evening saw us anchored in Bishop Bay and a chance to soak the day away in the hot springs.
What a Day!!

Ocean Falls to Khutz Inlet

Day six and seven did not disappoint as the rain subsided and the seas remained calm. Winding our way through the sheltered inlets and channels of our coast we feel truly privileged that we are not only the proud residents of this beautiful area but that we are so very lucky to be able to explore it in the warmth and comfort of our vessel the Thunder 1. A fairly long day of cruising saw us anchored in Bottleneck Inlet at the end of the day. Alone again on the hook just the loons to keep us company the evening was magically quiet.

Day 7 and we were off to Khutz inlet but first we had to stop for some beach combing and a little jigging. Well some jigging we did as Brenda hooked into a 60 lb halibut her first ever and what a fight. Gerald had to relieve on the rod and the fun really started when I gaffed it and slid the still feisty fish into the boat, Yahoooooooo!!  What a fight. Well apparently that was not enough for Brenda and after lunch she hooked into another monster. This one assisted by Deb and Gerald took all the line down to the last wind. Finally gaining the upper hand we got the fish to the surface and this one was definitely too big under the new regs. We released her back to the wild estimating her weight at about 100 lbs. Nice work crew, great fun to fight catch and release. Off to Khutz, a beautiful inlet with a fantastic waterfall and some more surprises as well!

Day of the Dolphins

Day 5 and off to Ocean Falls for walk through the old Ghost town. A truly remarkable day as we passed Namu and were joined by 10 white side dolphins. It is not unusual for them to pay boats a visit and ride the bow wave for a while before dashing off in search of food or some other vessel to play with. This group however adopted the Thunder and for over 5 hours they rode the bow, fishing, playing , resting and putting on a wonderful show for guests and crew. Despite all my predictions about when they would leave us it wasn’t until I pulled the power back approaching the docks in Ocean Falls that they bid us adieu! We enjoyed their company and the escort they provided for the day. Way too cool!! Ocean Falls lived up to its name as home of the rain people but that did not deter our guests and Brenda and Gerald suited up and hiked the old townsite and up to the dam. Their reward for getting so wet was some excellent crabbing in the bay and a feed of fresh Dungeness for supper. Follow the link below to see the dolphins of Fitz Hugh Sound.

Cape Caution

Day four and what can be one of the more challenging pieces of water on the coast, Cape Caution. Although we were indeed cautious, mother nature provided a beautiful day to transit the open water. Some morning fog gave way to broken cloud and the seas of less than a meter provided no more than a gentle roll for the Thunder and her crew. Our destination for the evening was Pruth harbour and the beautiful beach at Hakai Pass. At 1400 we dropped the anchor and gathered our picnic for the traditional hot dog fire on the beach. The fog slowly retreated and we met by another fantastic evening on the beach. Truly one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast we watched the sun go down and roasted hot dogs on the beach, sometimes it just does not get any better.

Sea Otters

Day three and once again calm seas and sunny skies met the crew for a beautiful day of cruising. The highlight of the day was the huge rafts of sea otters that had moved into the islands just south of Allison Harbour. At one time hunted almost to extinction for their pelts they have made a remarkable comeback due to efforts of marine biologists and a program to reintroduce them to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Nice to see that we can make a difference. We anchored in calm waters and put the crab traps out hoping for a feed of Dungeness. The next day looked very favourable for our crossing of Cape Caution and the open waters off the north end of Vancouver Island.

May 14th Lagoon Cove

Day two and we were away headed for Lagoon Cove. A beautiful day only marred by the news that the owner of Lagoon Cove and our friend Bill Barber had passed away this spring. With heavy hearts we tied to the dock at Lagoon Cove, it will never be the same with out Bill. We hope that where ever he is the prawning is good and the bears are friendly. A nice evening on the dock highlighted by a visit from a Mother

grizzly and her cub. Although Bill was not there to pull prawns for the evening pot luck we pulled our own traps and had a wonderful feed of prawns in his honour.

Northward Bound!!

Monday May 13th , 2013
Northward bound, the Thunder 1 slipped her lines at 0630 and pointed her bow toward Seymour Narrows and day 1 of a planned ten day cruise north to Prince Rupert. With Gerald and Brenda aboard and excited about their trip we left with calm seas and sunny skies. First stop was Shoal Bay for a visit with our friend and the owner Mark and his wife Cynthia, and of course their Doberman Fanny. Mark continues to work hard with new buildings and accommodation as well as great work on his garden. A nice tour and lunch and we bade farewell and wished Mark a great season. A short cruise later had us tied up in Blind Channel for the night. A great hike up to the old cedar tree and back to the Thunder for dinner. A great start to the season.


Where did the Winter Go?

After an excellent season in 2012 it was good to tie up in Victoria Inner Harbour and take a breath. It was a time to catch up with family and friends and see our first grand baby in Calgary. Born to Michael and his wife Kelly we are thrilled to have a new member in our family, Owen Michael Drury, healthy and happy,

we feel very fortunate to have a new grandson. With a couple of Harbour Christmas tours to do in December and the usual busy Christmas season it seemed like no time at all and we were off to our first trade show of the year. January saw us visit the All Canada Show in Chicago. Some good leads however we will have to consider whether that market is a fit for the Thunder 1. March was crazy busy with trade shows in Red Deer and Edmonton. We also had a boat house arranged in Maple Bay where our shipwrights replaced some planks on the bow and I had a chance to get a lot of paint on the boat with no showers to interrupt my progress.

March flew by and by the end of the month we had the Thunder painted from stem to stern, new planks in place and a fresh seal of approval from Transport Canada, We left Maple Bay and headed up to Comox where we enjoyed some fantastic early summer weather while we put the final touches on the boat and Deb provisioned for the coming season. We were getting excited about going north and our scheduled departure was May 13th out of Campbell River for our Prince Rupert Fishing Charters. Our guests for the north bound trip were Gerald and Brenda recently retired from their business in Rocky Mountain house.

Not so Desolate October 1st to 5th

After a few sunny days to regroup on the dock in Campbell River we set out for a 5 day trip into Desolation Sound. Accompanied once again by my Uncle Gerry, Aunt Betty and their friends Nicki, and Norma we motored out with a forecast that that required sun glasses even to look at on the Internet. What a week we had. Starting out of Campbell we set across to Savary to pick up Norma and from there cruised off into Desolation sound. Calm seas, very little marine traffic, a truly awesome time to cruise on the BC coast. Our first evening found us in Tenedos Bay with only one other boat to soak up a cloudless evening. Up to the lake and into the water for a dip, what a treat in October to have a swim in the clear Unwin Lake and have the sun warm your bones as you climb out. No slowing our guests down as they proved that age has nothing to do with adventure. No surprise of course to us as Gerry and Betty had just returned from the seniors summer games with no less than 4 gold medals and a silver as well in table tennis.

Day two and we pulled the prawn traps with a  nice haul for dinner and set off up Homfray Channel and into Toba inlet. Water falls, towering peaks calm waters and a variety of seabirds made the day slip away all too fast. Back tracking down Toba we slipped between East and West Redonda and set the hook in Walsh Cove. No company tonight as the sun disappeared over the ridge and left us alone on a glassy hook. A shore excursion in the skiff revealed the native pictographs first discovered in 1792. A feed of prawns and some north coast halibut left our guests literally purring over their dinner and their day in the wilderness.

Day three we woke to the sound of the loons and another cloudless sky. Storing the anchor we idled down Waddington channel and poked our nose into Pendrell Sound. The sun peaked over the ridge and warmed our guests as they sat on the flybridge watching for whales and identifying the seabirds. Around the south end of West Redonda we cruised into Teakerne Arm and set the hook for a walk up the trail to Cassel Lake. The dry weather had slowed the waterfall but the views from the cliff were still impressive. Into the lake for another swim in October, who would have thought it. Returning to the boat we set off for Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island where we anchored up for an appy of fresh oysters on the grill and a salmon dinner.






Day four we continued our circumnavigation of Cortes gliding past Mansons landing, and slipping into the Gorge for a stop at the Gorge Harbour Resort and Marina. Some great changes since our last visit years ago with new docks, wonderful landscaping and a new pool and hot tub. We all stretched our legs and admired the setting making note to return for a longer visit. Leaving the Gorge we journeyed a short distance to the beach at Shark Spit on Marina Island. What an incredible beach to walk on a sunny day. Collecting some moon snail shells, strolling the spit, and soaking up the sun on a log it was great stop for an hour of relaxation. Leaving the spit we traveled Sutil Channel and into Von Dunop marine park for the evening. Alone again on a mirror of glistening water we watched the sun slip away after enjoying yet another great day.

Day five and the end of journey much to our guests dismay. Continuing around Cortes we rounded Bullock Bluff and entered Lewis Channel enroute to drop Norma off on Savary and then return to our slip in Campbell River. With nothing but sunny skies behind us no one could ask for anything more, well maybe just a little more like a whale or dolphin sighting. Wait, the water foamed ahead of us, focusing the glasses dozens of fins filled the view finder. Whitesided dolphins, dozens of them leaping and feeding on schools of small fish. We eased the boat in their direction and they raced towards us some riding the bow wave others too busy feeding. A spectacular sight on glassy waters on a sunny day. Satisfied now that it couldn’t get any better we said goodbye to Norma and her beautiful spot on Savary island and made way for Campbell River. Rounding Cape Mudge the tugs and barges, water taxi’s and fishing boats made us realise that we were back to civilisation. Turning the bow towards the marina a shining black fin caught my eye as it glistened in the afternoon sun. Maybe the trip wasn’t quite over yet. Sure enough more fins appeared and a pod of resident orcas gave us a wonderful show as they chased the chum salmon in Discovery Passage. Too good to be true and a wonderful finish to another awesome day. Thanks so much to my Aunt Betty and Uncle Gerry who truly due inspire us with their energy and appreciation for each day. Their good friends Nicki and Norma were the perfect compliment to our crew and we hope to see them all again very soon.

Sept 19th Southward Bound

I think it is the cool smell of the ocean in the morning, or perhaps the first night you look out and see the stars, absent all summer in the twilight of long days, that you finally realize that the summer is drawing to a close. It is a little strange to bolt out of bed in the morning and then realize there are not guests arriving or on board. With no one booked to go south Deb and I provisioned up and turned the Thunder 1 southbound under a thick cloak of fog. It was a beautiful year on the north coast and we will miss it and our friends in Rupert until next May. The fog gave way about noon just as we passed the mouth of the Skeena River. The sun burned brightly and the blue sky filled the sky. Slipping into Lowe Inlet we set the  hook and enjoyed a marvelously quiet evening.

 No fog the following morning just a lone Humpback whale to greet us as we entered Grenville Channel hoping to make Bottle Neck Inlet for the night. Once again it was a brilliantly sunny calm day and the miles slipped past with only a visit from the BC Ferry, Northern Expedition on her way to Port Hardy. A quick stop at Swanson Bay produced some nice rock fish and a 20 lb ling cod. Fresh fish for supper!! It was 7 pm when we slipped into Bottle Neck, the only boat again in our private hideaway. Cod for dinner, a game of scrabble and an owl to hoot us to sleep.

 Day three and we pushed on again, with a charter awaiting in Campbell River we did not doddle too much this trip and took advantage of the nice weather to put some miles under the keel. Slipping by Bella Bella without a stop we talked to our Victoria harbour mates on the Maple Leaf as she headed out in search of the elusive Kermodie or Spirit Bear. Smooth sailing mates! Entering Fitz Hugh Sound we were again greeted to a sheet of glass as we motored past Namu and tucked around the corner into Green Anchorage just north of the Andenbrooke light House. A beautiful spot with nary a soul in sight.

With a great weather forecast we left at first light and pushed our bow out into Queen Charlotte Sound. Always a spot to be reckoned with this time the weather gods smiled and provided us with a smooth crossing past Cape Caution, our 17th crossing aboard the Thunder 1. Like entering a different world once past the Cape the temperature seems to be a bit warmer and the boat traffic increases like entering the suburbs of a big city. We tied up at the new docks in Port McNeill and strolled up for a cold beer and a bite. No wild stories to tell about that crossing, just the way Deb likes it!!

Day five and once again we were confronted with some morning fog as we pushed down Johnston Straight with a following tide. The fog gave way at Robsons bight and on cue a pod of Orcas appeared out of the mist to accompany us for a few miles on our journey. An awesome sight. Once clear of the fog it was another beautiful sunny day and set our sights on a visit to Blind Channel Resort. Over ten years since we visited in our smaller boat the Mamasis it was nice to go back for a visit. The only boat on the dock we were made welcome and enjoyed a walk on the grounds and a BBQ on the back deck. A beautiful spot it was great to hear they had a good summer.

Day 6 and Campbell River was only a short day away. We started the morning with a nice hike up to the ancient cedar trees and then shoved off to make the 13:00 tide at Seymour Narrows. Arriving right on sched we caught the last of the flood and scooted through the narrows and into Discovery Marina. Tied up to our usual spot on H dock we had clocked 58 hours since leaving Prince Rupert a new record for the Thunder and her Crew. Time to catch up with our friends in the area and attend to some year end maintenance chores before heading out on our Desolation Sound Charter the following week. Nice to be on the South coast, but for how long. No sooner arriving south and we receive some inquiries about camp boat work back in the North. Standby for another trip north, as they say its not over till its over.

Sept 13th to 16th Finishing up in Style

Only fitting that we started our season with a group from Chris Page & Associates and then finished the season the same way. Joined on the Thunder were the Ladies of the Company, six of them to be exact, and yes with Deb that left the Captain in the Company of 7 lovely ladies for an entire trip. Now any pirate would be jealous of that!!! Billed as a Whale watching, cooking and fishing adventure don’t let the title fool you, these gals were serious about the fishing. There was definitely a competitive air on the fishing deck when it came to bragging rights in the office. Well Ladies you can hold your heads up high as you did the Thunder proud with a brace of beautiful northern Coho, some tipping the scales at 12 to 13 lbs. The action was punctuated with some high pitched shrieks however the team work was a thing of beauty as they worked together to clear the lines and land the fish. Way to go Ladies! The weather, the food, and the fishing were awesome, however the real stars of the trip were the Humpback whales. On a sunny evening in September, just at the mouth of Work channel the whales of our coast put on a show that will not be forgotten soon. I have to think that there was an element of showing off when the whales saw all the gals because they spun, rolled, splashed their tails and circled the boat, sometimes within meters for more than half an hour. Truly a spectacular sight. It was a perfect finish to a great season and we thank all the employees of Chris Page for joining us. To the ladies, Shar, Patti, Susan, Holly, Anna and Sally we thank you for entertaining us on our last adventure of the season. It may be quite a while before we get another team picture with all anglers in matching pajamas, replete with a white boa.

Turning our attention to our trip south it looks like sunny skies will continue to dominate our season and we will keep you posted as we make our way towards Campbell River.

September 5 to 8th Summer is not over yet

It becomes a fine line between guest and friends on the Thunder and it was nice to have Peter who was a friend and now is both join us with his wife Anne, and two other couples, Dave and Cathy, Norm and Diane. When it is nice in September it is really nice as was the case for this trip. Calm empty anchorages, buckets of fresh prawns, beautiful northern Coho, awesome humpback whale shows, it is truly a magic time of year and maybe my favorite. So nice we could share it with our guests and so awesome that the humpback whales performed their bubble feed for us within yards of the boat as we fished alongside them. The company was great, we couldn’t ask for anything more as we wound our season down. Thanks for getting the gang together Peter, we look forward to seeing you again and some of Anne’s whale photos. Safe travels to you all!

August 31st to Sept 3rd Gooood Stuff!!!!!

Our Sept long weekend guests have had a lock on that weekend for many years. Welcome back Jason his father Dave , Ryan and his Dad Keith. Always good humour we looked forward to catching up with our guests and catching on to some Coho. Sunny skies once again as we enjoyed one of the nicest summers we could remember. The Coho continued to give us great action as they increased in size and showed their true northern colors. Jason took advantage of a lunch bread to hook on to a 40 lb hali and set the bar for the rest of the gang. It all seemed to go too quickly once again but we were happy to show Keith what beautiful coast we have on his first trip with us. A pleasure to have father and son teams aboard we look forward to seeing them back next year. As Jason remarks each year when he steps in the door, “I’m Home”. Welcome home Jason.


August 25th to 28th The Coho Keep Coming

Welcome aboard to Terry and Carol, Bryan and Fran, fresh from their drive out from Drayton Valley they were looking forward to leaving the driving to us and catching some fish. Once again sunny skies followed us out to the Moffat Islands where we tuned up the first evening giving everyone a chance to see how the gear works before anchoring up in a pristine bay by ourselves and feasting on fresh dungeness crab. The next day we stirred up some nice  Coho and waited patiently for the afternoon halibut bite. Although a touch slow the weather was warm and the winds light. On day three our patience paid off and we trolled into some Coho action that will be forever etched on the memories of our guests. Boiling through the needle fish, jumping on our lines sometimes three at a time the action was nonstop. The rods were barely in the water before another hard fighting Coho hit the gear and danced on the end of the rod. Who’s turn is it, who knows who cares as lines danced over and under each other with silver salmon on the lures. Whew!! what a day that was. The next morning we set out to find the hali’s and find them we did. A great morning of fishing with Terry snagging the most and the biggest with a beauty 40 lb hali topping the list. Bryan and Fran scratched another off their bucket list and we thank them for putting us on it. Safe travels to all and good luck fullfilling the rest of your list.

August 19 to 22nd Plan the work, work the plan !

Welcome back Doug and Phil and a new member of their team Lyle, a.k.a. ( Clyde ). Long time alumni of the Thunder it was great to have the group back aboard. Lyle brought some fresh enthusiasm as the designated representative of the West Kelowna Fire Department. Well boys, Lyle did you proud. Great weather again to start as we warmed up the rods with a few hits and a nice fish the first night. With Phil and Lyle on the prawn pull the next morning we had the little devils up in record time. Then it was off to find the Coho. Proving a little elusive we bagged a few that morning and then used the calm weather to head out to the halibut grounds. We found the hali’s but they were accompanied by more than a few turbot. Undaunted we let our arms rest for the night and headed out early for Coho. It didn’t take long, double , triple, double , double , double holy jumping Coho!! Big solid 10 to 12 lb fish as fast as we could get the gear down. Phil worked his 9 wt fly rod to perfection playing at least 5 nice fish and handing off a few to the team. Great work Phil!!. The last day saw us trying for one last good hali and it was the rookie Lyle that showed the boys how it was done. Hooking up a nice 40 lb scrapper he worked him to the top and into the box. No sweat for the fire department. Good work Lyle!!  Hope the long drive home to the Okanagan went well. Enjoy those fish on the barbie boys and we hope to see you back soon.

August 18th

Although the skies were clear and blue the sun did not shine quite so brightly today as we recieved the news from our daughter Kyla and her partner Jared that they had lost their best friend and neighbor in Tofino to a tragic drowning incident. Taken in the prime of life was Jamie Collins, a tragic accident that will leave a huge hole in the hearts of all that knew him. Our thoughts go out to his family, and friends, we can only hope that with time the sun will again shine brightly in all the lives that he touched and that they will feel enriched by the time they spent with him. A sad day indeed.