Leaving Ocean Falls, top priority was acquiring the basics–beer & cider–at a liquor store. Stopped at Bella Bella, largest native village in the area. The prices were very high and may encourage a temperance movement aboard Carmanah, but then again maybe Lucy would be willing to give up those pricey dog treats & expensive hair cuts.
We continued on through Milbank Sound and up Finlayson to Klemtu, another large native village, where we could anchor right out front of the town. That was cool. Everyone was very friendly and it was well kept. And they LOVE their cars/trucks. Only about 500 people and a mile or two of road but they must put a load of miles driving around–lots of driving around. George from the Tourism Bureau found us and asked if we’d like to tour the newly constructed “Big House”. So we spent the morning with him learning absolutely everything about village life. The Big House was gorgeous and provides a place for the entire village to gather. All cedar and Douglas fir. The working area of the main floor is a sand arena with a central fire pit directly under a vent in the roof (still gets pretty smokey however). Tiered cedar seating surrounds.
The village elders are focused on education for the young and becoming self sufficient as a village. Getting people working and off “welfare”. We could certainly feel a vibrance to the place not present at some villages.
The other boat anchored in the harbor with us there was originally from Port Townsend–Morning Star–that John B did the plumbing and wiring on (was wondering why their lights kept dimming out). Hopefully we’ll run into Leighton & Lynda, the new owners, down the road.
From Klemtu we decided to head up to Bishop Hot Springs via the inside route through the moutains. We were able to sail the first hour and the last hour but the rest was pure motoring up a very long and narrow Princess Royal Channel with water depths of 1500 and 2000 feet deep and even higher mountains on either side. Pretty awe inspiring and a good way to cover a lot of miles even though it meant running the motor all day. For the most part we’ve only experienced fjords like this that are dead end—motor many miles up, then turn around and motor back. We’re more of a “loop trail” kind of people so this was really appealing–You can take a different route on the way back.
The hot springs were awesome and we were the only ones there all three times we went to soak. I’ll have to let Mark B know that I finally got enough hot tub time, my fingers are still slightly wrinkled from the many hours of soaking. I think I have a free life-time pass to this one as well, so we’ll be back.
We spent some time in the area just south of Kitimat with a loop around Gribbel Island looking for the spirit bear–white haired black bears. Didn’t find any but did see a herd of deer swimming across the 3 mile wide main channel with about 3 knots of current running. Must have been some powerful motivation–a Greg Colby speech perhaps, hope it was good enough to get them across. We love that we’re far enough north that you can sit and read a book in the cockpit till after 11:00 PM. Unfortunately, we’re usually asleep well before that with the sun still shining away outside. Seems kind of wasteful. And the sunrise, forget about it. We never see that. The tropics will be an adjustment with a 6:00 sunset then hours of dark before bed time.