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.