02 August 2013 | Hot Springs Cove to Bacchante Bay
Laurie / Overcast, then Sunny
Day 27 – July 31, 2013 Wednesday
One thing I like about Fogust is the lack of early starts. I’m pretty sure we kept ourselves snuggled in our bunk until almost 8:00.
The boardwalk to the hot springs in engraved with the names of many boats that have preceded us and Moe wanted to put the name of our boat among them. After breakfast, I cut out some stencils for him to use for carving. Then we quickly assembled what we needed for our trip to the hot springs. Moe took his carving tools and I packed my bathing suit and towel and we were on our way. The hot springs get pretty busy with people by mid-morning and we wanted to beat the rush. We rowed James over to the dock, tied up and walked to the boardwalk. We walked down about a half a km when Moe found the board he wanted to carve. I helped him get started and then left him to do his work while I went to the hot springs. I passed three other people on my way and thought I would have the hot springs to myself. Did I mention that the boardwalk is 2 km long? It does take some time to traverse it. There are many stairs along the way, upstairs and downstairs. I think it took me about 25 minutes, walking by myself through the rain forest, to get to the hot springs. When I arrived I found I was not at all alone! There were people in the changing area that I chatted with for a few minutes. They told me that when they arrived the whales were right at the hot springs. Too bad I missed that!
As I made my way down into the pools I stopped to talk with another lady who told me that there is one more pool past the third pool. One just needs to scale some more rocks to find the small pool where the ocean waves rush in and give bathers a nice cool rush of fresh ocean water mingled with the hot water from the springs. I was on my way!
Let me try to describe the hot springs to you. The first thing you come to as you travel the path from the change area, which is very rocky and natural, is a waterfall of quite hot water. I think of it as the shower area before you go into the public swimming pool. It is pretty hot so you don’t want to stay there too long. The three pools in the main area are surrounded by narrow, high, rock walls. It is important to be very careful walking on the large rocks as you go through the pools because they are quite slippery. The first pool is quite hot and, even for me, not comfortable. The second pool is better and the last pool is just right! Each one of these pools would hold two to three people comfortably. The pool where I was headed was unseen from the third pool. I clambered over the rocks and spied the pool I wanted. There was a young couple in there and, from my earlier conversation, I knew it was the lady’s daughter and her boyfriend. The boyfriend was very gracious and gave up his place so that I could enjoy the pool, too. This pool really is a two person pool. I went in and had a very good conversation with the young woman who was born in UK and now lives in Australia. I stayed for about 15 minutes and then made my way back. I stopped in each pool for a few minutes to soak in the hot water and then picked my way back up the rocks to the waterfall. I stopped there and thoroughly enjoyed my hot shower. What a wonderful experience!
As I was changing, more people were arriving. I was glad that I had gone early! I made my way back along the boardwalk and before long met up with Moe. We walked together for a short while and then came to the board that he had carved. ‘Reborn’ is immortalized in wood on the boardwalk to the hot springs! We headed back to the dock and James. Just when we arrived, I bent over to get my fleece sweater out of my bag and realized that I left it at the change area. Oh no! That sweater may have cost me a mere 50 cents at a thrift store in Port Hardy but it has become a very important part of my wardrobe. So, back I went, another 2 km walk there and 2 km back. Today must be workout day. I timed myself and it took me 20 minutes to walk there and 20 minutes back. As I had already done the 4 km walk, this meant I did an 8 km walk today, up stairs and down stairs. By the time I got back to the dock, my knees were near seizure. I radioed my skipper and he came to get me.
After all that exercise, we had to have a bite to eat before we left Hot Springs Cove. I made us a quick lunch and then at 12:30 we had the anchor up and were off. ‘Porpoise’ crew were still at the hot springs and planned to head to Ahousat today to re-provision. We were headed for Bacchante Bay in Shelter Inlet at the top of Flores Island. We hope to catch up with them again in Tofino.
With all the whale activity around, we were hoping to see more whales and were very well rewarded with a sighting just off of our starboard side about one half hour after we left. I was able to capture the whale on video. Very cool!
As we traveled up Sydney Inlet to Shelter Inlet we were very pleased to see the sun coming out from behind the sea fog. Actually, we were leaving the sea fog behind us and coming back into the sun. Nice! We both enjoyed the long lost sun. As we transited Shelter Inlet we got enough wind to put up the jib for a short sail. Yay!
We came to the narrow entrance to Bacchante Bay about 3:20. As we had not seen a single sailboat since we left ‘Porpoise’, we expected to have the place to ourselves. Of course, these wonderful anchorages are no secret and we spied another sailboat already anchored here. We found our spot and dropped anchor at 3:42.
I immediately set about preparing our dinner. Tonight we have quinoa salad with chicken and herbed toast. Moe took that time to relax after being on the helm. By 4:30 we were both ready to do some exploration and hopped into James. This place is enclosed by very high hills on both the east and west side. On the north is an estuary and the south is the entrance. I wanted to get a picture of our boat from the entrance to show what a delightful anchorage we have, so we motored out. As we approached the entrance we were greeted by ‘Wandering Pilgrim’ who we had met at Hot Springs Cove. We continued on and I got a very nice shot. We then did some close shore exploration. This is such a cool place! The water deepens right from the rocky and steep shore so we were able to get in very close and move right along the shoreline, ducking under trees that grow out from the shore as well as craning our necks to look high up the rocky cliffs we were passing under. We did stop and tie up for a few minutes to enjoy this fabulous place from a small rocky outcrop. Truly magnificent!
The head of the bay is an estuary for Watta Creek. As we were traveling at high tide, we were able to take James well into the creek. We have never seen anything like this. The bottom of the creek is full of growth. It looks like so many mounds of soft green, fluffy wool. Of course, it isn’t wool, but gives the impression of that kind of softness. We also noticed that there were a lot of quite dead herring littering the bottom. We wondered what on earth had led them here and why there were so many dead. An invasion gone wrong? Spawning? We also encountered a heron that we disturbed more than once. I’m sure we wrecked his peaceful afternoon. We transited the creek as far as we could without doing a portage and then returned to Reborn.
Over dinner we both marveled at this wondrous place that we have found ourselves situated. Today is the first day that I have thought that this dream will too soon come to an end. Regardless of the fact that we do need to find our way home, this idyllic place will eventually succumb to fall and then winter and will, surely, not be the fabulous summer haven that we have discovered.