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Voyages North
Shearwater to Kaskushdish Harbour. August 7, 2010
08/11/2010

Photo: Sand Hill Cranes.

We take our computers to the restaurant at breakfast only to find the whole system down. Later, we see someone else working on a computer and learn it's up again. We get some of our email done in between system crashes. Just to be sure I burn a disk with my manuscript proofs on it and mail it. But I don't have that much faith in the Canadian mail system either.

Check-out time at the marina is at noon. At 11:50 I run up to the store for a few last purchases we couldn't make at Bella Bella while a big fishing boat hovers off the end of the pier waiting for us to leave. We finally get underway at 12:05.

Our destination is Kaskushdish Harbour, less than five miles away. Another boater told us she saw flocks of sand hill cranes there. Steve isn't convinced. He points out the rain clouds hovering over the inlet where Kaskusdish is located and clearing sky out towards the ocean. But I'm determined. I not only want to see the cranes but I want a chance to relax after the frustration of a day in port.

Kaskushdish turns out to be one of the most beautiful spots we've seen all summer. Low lying forested hills are rimmed with bright green marsh grass while intriguing outcrops of rocks jut out from the shore like walls. In our dinghy we see three different groups of cranes. We also discover two fish traps: rows of rocks put across a river mouth by Natives to trap fish. When the fish go in, they close off openings with more rocks, trapping them with the outgoing tide.


Klemtu to Shearwater via Kynumpt Harbour and Bella Bella. August 5, 2010.
08/11/2010

August 5.
Photo: two eagles on a tree above Kynumpt Harbour.

We time our departure to meet slack water at Jackson Narrows and get through without difficulty. It's not tricky, just very very narrow. Then we ride the ebb out of Matthieson Channel, through Percival Narrows and out Reid Passage to Seaforth. Winds are light but Steve announces he's tired of listening to the engine. We sail to Kynumpt Harbour. A sports fisherman puts out some fish carcasses on flat rock and we watch eagles and ravens circling the fish. The eagles let the ravens have most of it but watch from nearby trees.

The next morning we motor in the drizzle to Bella Bella for fuel and water. We're dismayed to see a sign on the dock, saying "no more freshwater. We're running out." But a friendly Native on the dock assures us that won't apply to us. We can just talk to the fuel saleswoman. He's right. The sign only applies to those getting water without buying fuel. It's hard to blame them. Shearwater, a few miles away, is getting all the business-- selling moorage, groceries, restaurant meals and other goodies to yachts but not providing potable water. Why shouldn't the yachts that want water buy fuel at Bella Bella also?

By the time we buy fuel, run up to the grocery store and get back, the drizzle has turned to a downpour. But the dock at Bella Bella is no place to stay overnight and we need to get to Shearwater to upload the corrections to my book.

When we get to Shearwater we learn the moorage is full. We anchor off and prepare to pack laundry, garbage and computers ashore in the very wet dinghy. But at the last minute we're saved by a cancellation.

We finally get to the dock and discover the mail we had expected two weeks ago still hasn't arrived after 25 days. They tell us they're expecting another shipment in tonight but we laugh and tell them to send it back when and if it ever arrives. After 25 days what's the chance of it coming on the 26th?

To make matters worse, the heavy rain is interfering with Shearwater's internet connection. It's down. I do the laundry and when I get back to the boat Steve is opening our mail which just arrived. We have a pleasant dinner at the restaurant where a helpful waitress shows us the table that gets wifi when everywhere else doesn't work. I manage to upload my manuscript but feel very nervous about the message that says I uploaded 107%. If anyone thinks they're going to cruise off into the sunset and do work long distance via the internet, it may be best not to count on local wifi sites. We're learning there's wifi and then there's wifi. A few emails are one thing. Real documents are another.

Quigley Creek to Klemtu. August 4.
08/11/2010

Photo: Inside Klemtu's Big House

We motor through the fearsome Myers Narrows, which during neap tides are so tame we have only half a knot of current against us at max ebb. We stop at Klemtu where we anchor out and take the dinghy ashore. We go into the band store and are pleasantly surprised to find fresh apples, lettuce and other produce. Even strawberries looking just a bit old. On our previous trips here all we found were a few moldy apples.

We take a tour of Klemtu's Big House. Our guide tells us the Big House has inspired a renewal of their culture and the House is used regularly for potlatches. Klemtu is one of most prosperous Native villages on the coast. About eighty percent of the adults are employed, mostly at the fish farm and fish processing plant.

There's more to Klemtu than can be told in a brief blog. For more about this Native village wait for my new book coming in October: Glaciers, Bears and Totems (Harbour Publishing).


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Voyages North on SV Osprey
Who: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windard)
Port: Seattle
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