The First Mate is beginning to stew and fret. I know because she’s reading the same Martha Stewart magazine for the fifth time so far this voyage. She’s in the cabin and I’m hiding on the bridge listening to the lovely patter of rain beating a staccato rhythm on the Bimini cover. I love that sound, although even I will admit that four days is actually long enough for watering the forests around here. Luckily we’re tucked away in a sound and beautiful (when you can see it) anchorage depending on “R2-D2”, our propane heater to keep the cabin warm. This is payback for leaving the home marina late and not getting ahead of the rainy season…
Looking through the enclosure curtains, through fog, rain and low clouds, I can make out Wale Island and many, many Pink Salmon jumping and splashing close to the boat.
We have been exploring the west side of Princess Royal Island and thought of spending a few soggy days in Surf Inlet but the dreary weather made me turn back and seek refuge in Racey Inlet. Turns out it was a great choice. We followed the Inlet all the way to the bitter end and chose an anchorage just beyond Wale Island and before going on into the small lagoon. Our hook is resting on a good bottom at 52o50.460’N 129o00.682’W, although the weather can’t be too bad in here no matter the storms outside. The reason for being here is that it is simply a beautiful and secluded spot.
As soon as we cleared Hallet Rocks at the mouth of Raney we were in a wonderland. Yes, there are quite a few “rock gardens” on the way up but they are well marked on the Canadian Raster Chart # 3737 and not so good on the C-Map chart, although they are noted very simply there. This is a slow passage for us even in the rain, making sure we didn’t miss anything. Little inaccessible coves with Common Loons and various ducks patrolling, waterfalls emerging from hidden lakes or simply rain run-off water, and a few other possible anchorage sites in Carne Bay and Bone Anchorage kept our attention even in the rain. About half way up the Inlet we found our first human being in a couple days: a lone kayak fully loaded and heading in the same direction we’re going.
We exchanged waves and then continued to our new anchorage site. Soon after we were settled in the kayak pulled up to our swim platform and we talked awhile. He is looking for a site to set up his tent and spend a couple days in the rain. Selfishly we invited him to dine with us as it would be great to hear of his adventures. He graciously and enthusiastically accepted, then departed to locate his perfect spot inside the lagoon. Later we took the dinghy for a ride and explored the lagoon and watched the Pinks trying to negotiate the falls at the end. He was still trying to find a place for his tent when we found him in waders, up to his chest, scoping out a tiny spot on the steep-to shores of the lagoon. Salmon were jumping all around him.
Back to our warm and dry lodging (we appreciated it more now that we saw what “roughing-it” is really like), Carolyn began preparing a great dinner for us. We had discussed his accent and decided it was somewhere between Mexican and French. When he arrived, proper introductions were made and we learned that Mikhail is doing Kermode (White Spirit Bear) research and is recently from Moscow, Russia, currently residing in Victoria, B.C. We very much enjoyed the evening with this gentleman and learned many facts concerning the Spirit Bear – we’re constantly looking for one ourselves whenever we’re in this area. Mikhail brought Carolyn a large chocolate bar from his precious provisions and even offered to wash the dishes after dinner. Hopefully we will come across him again on another journey and get to spend even more time listening to his interesting tales. We think we’re roughing it without a hot tub aboard but his existence is truly an adventure.
We had spent a long day exploring the nooks and coves north of Mallandaine Point on the west side of Princess Royal Island, and there are lots of them, prior to entering Surf Inlet. This area deserves more attention and longer stays. We found many good, and some not so good, anchorages where exploring by dinghy in this primitive area and fishing with the eagles is presently on our to-do list. We hope you all can enjoy this nearly untouched part of your chart someday soon.
See you at the Shake-Down Cruise!
Don and Carolyn Bloye
M.V. Island Spirit