Category Archives: 2014 Inside Passage Trip

Prince Rupert, Day 2

The weather forecast for Dixon Entrance looked pretty bad for today so we decided to stay in Prince Rupert.  The forecast is even worse for Saturday, Sunday and Monday so unless things change considerably it looks like we ‘ll be staying in Prince Rupert until Tuesday.  Can you find Madeline?


Since we’re going to be here for a while we decided to rent a car for a couple of days and look around.  Many of the buildings in town have interesting marine themed murals on one or more of their walls and this one really caught my eye.

sockeye mural

We drove out to Port Edward, about 11 miles from Prince Rupert ,to see the North Pacific Cannery Museum.  They have taken the remains of an old cannery and are working on restoring it and giving tours to the public.  We took two tours, one how the cannery operated and one on the lives of the people who worked in the cannery.  It was really interesting and made for an enjoyable afternoon.  This is one of the old net sheds that dates back to 1918.

net shed

On our way out of the cannery we found Bill an old gillnetter to restore.

billys new boat

When we returned to the boat we had new neighbors who we had met previously in Hartley Bay.  Gerd and Linda Mueller on the sailboat Taranga came over for a visit in the afternoon and shared some charts, software and local knowledge about navigating in and out of Prince Rupert.  It’s really fun to meet new people who have the same interest in exploring the inside passage between Canada and Alaska and have lots of experience to share.

linda gerd

We’ve still got a few days left in port and tomorrow we have showers and laundry on the list of things to do.  It doesn’t sound very exciting but you never know what might happen. We’ll keep you posted .

Baker Inlet and Prince Rupert

We departed Hartley Bay at 5:30am on Tuesday so that we could catch the currents up Grenville Channel and it sort of worked.

hartley bay

The direction of the current changes in the middle of this channel so it is optimum to start on a flood tide to take us up the channel and then have the tide change about half way up where the current changes so that it would continue to take us the rest of the way.  We missed the timing by about an hour but had decided the night before that getting up at 5am was as early as we were willing to do.  The morning was rainy and foggy as we made our way up the channel.  The weather improved as the day wore on so that when we got to our destination, Baker Inlet, we had some sunshine.

In order to enter Baker Inlet we had to go through Watts Narrows (another really narrow entrance channel).  Our guide book said that you should never go in on a flood tide.  Since it was an ebb tide we decided to go through but the current was quite strong and made for a pretty intense ride.  Luckily these narrows are relatively short, we will definitely leave on a slack tide!

watts narrows

Once we got in the inlet we went six miles to the head and anchored behind a little islet.  We went by some seals on the way, it looked like they were laying on top of the water but it turned out there was some sort of mooring buoy that provided them a perch to enjoy the sun.


Just past the seals we saw a big, brown bear on the beach eating grass.  It is amazing how big those animals get eating grass and barnacles.


We also saw a pair of loons in the bay but we couldn’t get close enough to get pictures.

After we got the boat and ourselves situated, we got the tender down and took a ride in to the beach. It wasn’t really a walking beach so we didn’t stay long and besides there were bears.

boat in baker

We were hoping to be able to hear wolves howl at night, but that didn’t happen.  We did have an extremely peaceful night all by ourselves in the inlet.  We woke up to rainy and foggy conditions and started on our way to Prince Rupert.  We left at the slack tide and although Watts Narrows was still really narrow, with no current running it was a piece of cake getting out to Grenville Channel.

watts narrows slack (1024x768)

The trip to Prince Rupert was uneventful, there weren’t even any boats around until we got close.  Then there were boats everywhere!  There are boats of every shape and size imaginable here and they are zipping around all over the place.

harbor1 (1024x768)

We are staying at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club, don’t be fooled by the name, remember the ‘resorts’ we stayed at along Vancouver Island?

prince rupert

The finger of the dock that goes along side our boat is the tippiest thing I’ve been on in a while.  If I don’t end up in the water here it will be amazing.

pr walkwayWe’re parked right next to a super busy fuel dock which makes for a really roly ride that this marina is known for.  I hope it slows down in the evening.

It looks like a storm is brewing in Dixon Entrance which may have us stuck in Prince Rupert for a few days.  I’m hoping to get out sooner rather than later but if it’s really rough out there I’ll be happy to be tied up to a dock no matter where it is or how roly it is!


Shearwater and Hartley Bay, BC

We left Shearwater bright and early Monday morning and headed up Seaforth Channel.

bye shearwater

Not long after, we went by this picturesque lighthouse and couldn’t resist taking a picture.


It was getting a little roly before we got to the Milbanke Sound crossing so we decided to take a shortcut through Reid Passage to Mathieson Channel.  This was a really narrow passage but we made it through unscathed.

narrow place 1a (1024x768)

We then came across a bright red 32 foot Nordic Tug, Sandpiper II, coming out of Rescue Bay and it was like looking at a reflection of ourselves.  Pretty amazing what you can find in the middle of nowhere.

duplicate (1024x768)

Our next adventure was to transit Jackson Narrows and they aren’t kidding when they say narrow. We thought that Reid Passage was narrow but it had nothing on Jackson Narrows.  At one point I think we could have safely jumped out to the land on either side of the boat.

narrow place 2 (1024x768)

Just before entering into Bottleneck Inlet to anchor for the evening we saw our first Orcas.  They were swimming up the channel and we saw fins and backs but they didn’t perform for us.  Oh well, maybe next time.  Bottleneck Cove was truly serene.


We left Bottleneck Cove early Tuesday morning in the sunshine but the day got overcast before long and it was a long, fairly uneventful trip to the village of Hartley Bay.  We saw some pretty waterfalls along the way but not much else worth reporting.

butedale waterfall (1024x768)

We’re tied up in a little marina that seems to have been built for the fishing boats in Hartley Bay.  We walked around the boardwalk but didn’t find anything besides houses so I guess we’re on our own for the evening.

hartley bay

Pruth Bay and Shearwater, BC

We left Port Hardy around 9am on Saturday after topping off the fuel tanks (cha-ching$).  It was overcast and looking like rain but seemed fairly calm.

bye port hardy

The next stop was scheduled to be ‘God’s Pocket’ only 12 miles away.  When we got there the weather still seemed relatively calm and the forecast wasn’t too bad so we pushed on through Queen Charlotte Sound.  This was our longest open ocean crossing for the trip and had caused lots of anxiety just thinking about it.  The crossing was rolly due to moderate swells but there wasn’t much wind or wave action so we got through without too much stress.

qc sound (1024x768)

Once we were through Queen Charlotte Sound, we decided to keep going up Fitz Hugh Sound and were passed up by the Police boat parked across from us in Port Hardy (Alan will appreciate this one).

police boat in Fitz Hugh sound (1024x768)

We decided to go to Pruth Bay, a place we heard about from some people on a sailboat in Port Hardy.  There is a former resort at the head of the bay that is now used as a research facility.  The setting was magnificent!

Hakai research inst Pruth Bay (1024x768)

After a pleasant dinner at anchor, guess who showed up and parked right behind us?  Our big, unfriendly neighbor from Port Hardy!

big old neighbor (1024x768)

We had a very quiet and peaceful night and when we got up in the morning we got the tender down, took a short ride to the dock and hiked to the beach on the outside coast.  It was a great trip.  It was raining when we left the boat and beautiful sunshine when we got to the beach.  The sand was amazing, too bad it wasn’t very warm…

west beach (1024x768)

We had an enjoyable walk on the beach and then went back to the boat to get ready to head out.  Right before we left, a Gruman Goose landed and came into the dock.  It looked just like the one from the Port Hardy airport.  It was leaning over and looked kind of odd.  I’m not sure if that’s normal or if it was having a problem.

goose prust bay

We left Pruth Bay about 1pm taking a route out to Hecate Passage which had some pretty big swells.  We were only in them for a little while and they were spread pretty far apart but it was kind of like surfing in the boat.

leaving pruth bay (1024x768)

We arrived at Shearwater about 5:30pm.  Thank goodness they had a restaurant that was open so I didn’t have to cook.

boat shearwater

They have a really cool wind indicator up at the top of the ramp that looks like the planes that were used in this area during World War II.

weathervane shearwater

After a nice dinner and wonderful showers, we got a call from our friend Alan who left us yesterday morning and is now in Dallas.  He could see us on a webcam in Shearwater!  He had us go up to the top of the ramp and sit on a bench so he could take our picture which he emailed to me.

bench shearwater

While we were waiting for him to get the webcam situated, I looked up and there was a big eagle sitting in the top of the tree right next to us.


All in all, a pretty good couple of days.  The sunset tonight is beautiful.  I hope the old adage is right,  ‘red skies at night, sailors delight’.



Port Hardy – Day Two

We’re spending our second day in Port Hardy, BC.   This morning we went out to the airport to pick up a rental car so that Alan can get himself to the airport on time tomorrow morning.  While we were at the airport I saw a Grumman Goose.  I hadn’t seen one of them since I was a kid in Ketchikan.


On the way  home from the airport we stopped by the Welcome to Port Hardy sign and got a friendly Port Hardian to take our picture.

welcome pt hardy

After lunch we went in search of the Port Hardy Curling Club.  We found the friendly caretaker who informed us that curling is a winter sport but he let us go look at the facility and told us a little about it.


When we returned to the boat after grocery shopping we had a new neighbor.


They’re really big but not terribly friendly.  We found a really big boat for sale up in the parking lot but decided against it and are sticking with Madeline.

big old boat

Our friend Alan, who has spent the last two weeks with us, is leaving tomorrow morning to go back home. 😦  We have really enjoyed our time with Alan, I have really appreciated his getting up early in the morning to help with our departures as well as with docking and general chores.  It’s always nice to have an extra hand. We will miss Alan!

alan cabinet

Tomorrow we will be leaving Vancouver Island and heading out into Queen Charlotte Sound.  We probably won’t have internet connectivity for a few days so if you don’t hear from us, don’t be surprised.  We’ll try to keep track of what we’re up to and have a post ready as soon as we can find a wi-fi connection.  Wish us luck with the weather and we’ll be in touch…

Port Hardy – Quarterdeck Marina

We left our new friends at Sullivan Bay Marina first thing in the morning in order to reduce the chance of an uncomfortable run across Queen Charlotte Strait.  The morning was cloudy and a little bit foggy but no wind.

bye sullivan

The water was as calm as we’ve seen so far, making it an easy passage.  We arrived in Port Hardy at the Quarterdeck  Marina by mid-morning, just as the sun was breaking through for another lovely day.

boat pt hardy

After a hearty (not healthy) lunch at the pub we went for a walk to town.  We made it to the mall which consisted of a grocery store, a drug store and a few other local stores.  The name of the grocery store is Overweightea :-o.  Upon returning from the mall, it was time for naps, reading and some real laundry chores.

alan laundry big (1024x768)

While we we’re sitting around waiting for the laundry we heard the unmistakable sound of eagles and saw bunches of them at the shelter right behind our boat.

eagles big (1024x768)

Later, when walking to dinner, a helicopter landed on the small strip of land that leads out to the shelter that the eagles were on.  When it was coming in it looked like it was going to land on us!


Now we’re back on the boat relaxing and listening to the radio.  We’re staying here in Port Hardy tomorrow so we don’t have to get up in the morning!  Goodnight…