Photo: Canadian Coast Guard Arrow Post
trailing a native canoe.
The weather radio warned of a "disturbance" off the coast so we decided to take the inside route. That meant the Grenville Channel, commonly known as the "ditch."
Our first day was uneventful, light southerlies and broken clouds. We anchored for the night in Nabannah Bay, just south of Kumealon Inlet. It was a pleasant little cove protected by two reefs called Morning and Evening Reefs. We shared it with two salmon trollers and a log salvager.
When we woke the next morning, we could hear rain drumming on the cabin roof. We took our time eating breakfast, hoping the rain would stop but it didn't so we finally got underway about 10. A few minutes later, Steve swore and said, "We're only making two and a half knots." The tide was flooding so strongly currents were swirling around us and we could see driftwood moving along the shore. We had known the currents would be against us but not their extent. At this rate we were burning half again as much fuel for the same distance.
Several salmon trollers passed us, running so close to shore and so fast a few seconds of inattention would put them on the rocks. The currents are theoretically less near shore but when we took Osprey in as close as we dared, it didn't seem to make much difference.
Between the rain and the currents, we weren't having much fun. Steve looked at the chart and said, "Let's just go to Lowe Inlet. It's only two and a half miles away."
An hour later we turned off Grenville Channel and motored into Lowe Inlet, anchoring in Nettle Cove off the falls. We'd made all of 10 miles in three hours.
Several salmon trollers were there ahead of us, all trailing native canoes. A few minutes later an RCMP boat came in towing a native canoe. It was followed by the Canadian Coast Guard ship Arrow Post
also towing a canoe. Now I know Canadians think of the canoe as a sort of national boat, but trailing one behind a Coast Guard ship seemed a bit much so after lunch we got in the dinghy and motored over to the Coast Guard ship. A Coast Guardsman in an inflatable came over to meet us.
"What's with the canoes?" Steve asked him.
It's for a program "Paddle for Strength." The Coast Guardsman went on to explain that groups of disadvantaged teenagers from Prince Rupert and elsewhere were paddling from Prince Rupert to Hartley Bay. Each canoe had an escort boat. When the weather was bad, they towed the canoes.
From the Coast Guard ship we motored over to the falls. Fins were cutting the water at their base as salmon circled preparing to climb the falls and in the falls themselves we sometimes saw as many as five at time jumping. It was an awe-inspiring sight.
By 4 o'clock the rain had slowed down and the trollers, the RCMP and their canoes had left. We were just thinking of leaving ourselves when I looked up to see a while powerboat towing a large green dinghy coming in. It was Linda Lewis and her husband Dave in the Royal Sounder
. I'd been looking for Linda all summer, hoping to thank her for recommending my book to so many of her students.
"We have to at least take the time to go over and talk to them," I told Steve.
"We can't go anyway," said Steve. "Cosmo Place
just arrived." He pointed to a blue "tugboat" whose owners we had met in Juneau. A few minutes later Banyan,
a boat whose owners we had met a year ago in Dawson Landing came in.
We left early the next morning with the tide. We'd only made ten miles south the whole day but we'd seen salmon leaping over falls and enjoyed visits with friends.