08 September 2018 | Port McNeill, BC
Well, true to recent form, the morning dawned foggy in Napier Bay. We wanted an early start to beat the wind and current. But before we left, we took some extra time to watch a bear wandering on the shore just off our stern.
Our objective, Blunden Harbour, was just 12 miles up Queen Charlotte Strait, but in this area, the winds build from the north-west in the afternoon, creating an uncomfortable ride. So we set out in the fog, using the AIS reception and radar to feel our way down Wells Passage into Queen Charlotte Strait. We saw lots of small boats fishing along the shore, but only met a few out in the strait. Approaching Blunden Harbour, we watched three radar targets leaving, and wondered if we would be anchoring in another crowd. But, safely into the harbour, we dropped anchor in a cove with just one other boat in sight.
Blunden Harbour has a long history, recently as a logging camp, but for years before as a native village. The middens (remains of shellfish) are huge. Now there is nothing left of either the village or the logging camps. We walked the shore thinking about its past.
We set the crab trap and went off on an exploration of the area. It is an intricate maze of islands with the incoming tidal current sweeping water into a large lagoon. We poked our noses into the lagoon but decided to turn around for two reasons. First, we were running out of fuel. Second, the entry is a tidal rapid. So once in, you are in until the current changes in your favour. So we retreated to the boat for the night.
This morning, we hauled our crab trap with no success. The neighbouring boat told us that they had been thee a few weeks before and watched as commercial crab fishermen covered the area with traps, wiping out the stock.
New plan... Port McNeill for supplies, as always, running low. We delayed our departure until late morning, hoping for the fog to lift and the wind to rise... we are now heading downwind... in a southerly direction. No luck. We motored in fog and flat waters 23 miles to Port McNeill where we tied up at the North Coast Marina.
Port McNeill is a small town on the north coast of Vancouver Island that owes its living to fishing, logging and mining. But it has everything the cruising sailor needs.