August 17We spent the day enjoying “Orca Fest” in Port McNeill, starting with a local small town parade and booths selling various items and food. We indulged in salmon burgers for only $5. In the afternoon we borrowed the van from the Port McNeill Fuel Dock and drove to Port Alice, a small community near the end of Quatsino Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. There was not much there of interest. After driving back we again went with Pat and Alex Benson to the Northern Lights restaurant for another good meal. We will probably not see them again until September.
We departed Port McNeill at 0830 in patchy fog, but with no wind. Arriving at Shawl Bay at 1310 we joined about 5 other boats at the marina. Patrick set the prawn pots in Moore Bay and then we went to Gary and Lenore Timm's boat, at anchor in Moore bay for prawns and drinks before doing an evening test pull of one of the pots which netted 14 nice sized prawns.
After the pancake breakfast included in the moorage at Shawl Bay we pulled the pots, getting 30 more prawns, not a lot, but better than nothing. We got underway at 1020 and while in Spring Passage we stopped for a black bear that was swimming across the channel. We headed up Knight Inlet and down Clio Channel, anchoring in Potts Lagoon. Patrick set the prawn pots and then we visited another Selene, “Josie”, which moors on the same dock at Anacortes. There was only one other boat in the inner lagoon. It was a very quiet evening anchored in a sheltered lagoon in 15 feet of water.
August 20Patrick headed out in the fog to pull the prawn pots, netting 98 nice prawns. We pulled the anchor at 1000 and headed back up Clio Channel, down Chatham Channel, boosted by the current, and pulled back into Port Harvey at 1315. Patrick set the prawn pots and then we visited with Barbara and Archie Matthew on Blue Heron, a beautifully restored 65 foot William Garden design, who we have met several times both this year and in previous year’s travels.
August 21The prawn catch was miserable for the effort, only 8 prawns. After cleaning up the boat from the prawning, we left under sunny skies from Port Harvey and headed in Johnstone Strait, boosted by the flood tide for a portion of the trip. Turning into Mayne Channel we ran into a large school of Pacific Whiteside Porpoise that put on a great show for a few minutes. We tied up at Blind Channel resort at 1435 and enjoyed a nice meal in their restaurant.
August 22We departed Blind Channel a little early to make slack water at Dent Rapids, after watching other boats struggle up Mayne Channel against the 6 knot current. We picked a slightly different route and avoided the worst of the current, never dropping below 5 knots of boat speed. The higher than planned speed meant we deliberately slowed down to 5 knots to avoid arriving too early at Dent Rapids. We finally went through at 1125, about 20 minutes ahead of slack water, without any difficulty. We docked at Dent Island Lodge at 1230, having to wait for a dock space to clear. After washing the boat we had a tapas style dinner at the Rapids Grill, with the same menu as one month earlier, but with a different chef.
After deciding to stay another day at Dent Island, we hired a guide, “Cam” for a morning of fishing, since we felt our tender was too small to take out in the rapids with the large tides. We kept one 13 pound Chinook salmon and one 7 pound hatchery Coho, a rare find! We released three wild Coho, which you cannot keep, as well as three undersize Chinooks. A good morning of fishing with a total of 8 fish hooked up. After fishing until 1300, we returned and relaxed before dinner in the main dining room at the lodge. Both of us had the halibut entrée.
|Shawl Bay Marina|
|Our swimming black bear|
|Scene from Potts Lagoon|
|Our prawn catch in Potts Lagoon|
|Pacific Whiteside Porpoise|
|Dinner at Dent Island Rapids Grill|
|Parade Float at Port McNeill Orcafest|