25 July 2014 | Posted in Port McNeill
Some sun, some showers - all good
We spent a week in Drury Inlet. Our anchorage in the Muirhead Islands was occupied by commercial crab pots which restricted where we could anchor. After one night, we chose to move on to Jennis Bay and stay at the marina there. We like this place and the folks who run it, Kim and Kent. The marina is located on property that Kim's family has owned since the 1950's. Her dad ran a small cedar mill and logging camp there and Kim and her siblings would visit from Idaho during the summer. There is a system of logging roads that start here and go inland, so there are hiking opportunities. We welcome the opportunity to stretch our legs.
We stay four nights and there are happy hour gatherings every evening. There were some fishermen staying in Kim's lodge and who went out every morning, catching halibut and salmon. On their last foray they brought in two twenty pound halibut. They cleaned and fileted the fish and shared the meat with all of the other boaters. What a treat, fresh halibut for dinner, and we have enough to put some in the freezer for later.
There is a crew working on the logging roads in the area. They are improving the road system for future use and removing some of the old equipment that was left behind in the 1970's. The crew offers to ferry some of us up to Huaskin Lake, where they have been working, to see the old floating camp and log landing area. Rob jumps at the chance to go and talk with the crew, since he worked in this business for so many years in Oregon. The trip to the lake is 4.5 miles over muddy roads and Rob is glad he had a ride, instead of walking. The crew has brushed and graded the road and opened up the log landing area. The plan is to harvest some timber on the hills around the lake using a helicopter. The logs will be suspended from the aircraft and dropped into the water in front of the log landing. The logs will be brought ashore, sorted and loaded on trucks. They will be hauled to Jennis Bay and placed in the saltwater, boomed together, and then towed in rafts to the mill in Campbell River. We see rafts of logs being moved by tugs in these waters all the time.
Our friends on "Eagle's Gig" arrive to spend a few nights and offer to fill our water tanks with fresh water. They have a water maker on board and can replenish their tanks easily. We accept the offer and rig a hose from one boat to the other to top off our supply. Rob has baked a loaf of bread and we share it with Byron and Sue. It goes great with hot soup for lunch.
On Wednesday, July 23, we depart Jennis Bay and head back up the inlet to Acteaon Sound. We have calculated the tide state to arrive at the entrance, Snake Pass, at high water slack. Snake Pass is so named because it is narrow and S-shaped. The current runs up to 3-4 knots in the pass so we choose to go in at slack. After cruising up the sound to the end, we choose to anchor in Skeene Bay for a couple of nights. The days have been overcast with rain showers at night. We get a steady rain overnight into Thursday, but a treat awaits us when we get up Thursday morning. The tide is out, exposing the rocky shoreline and a black bear is patrolling the beaches of Skeene Bay. We watch and shoot pictures/video for the better part of the morning as the bear rolls large rocks over in search of small crabs to eat. He is working his way from generally from east to west and eventually runs out of beach. We watch as he climbs up a log and disappears from view into the thick undergrowth.
Rob explores more of Acteaon Sound and Bond Lagoon in the Bullfrog dinghy and we enjoy the solitude of the anchorage. On Friday we time our departure for the noontime high water slack and go out through Snake Pass. There is a tug towing a log raft going down Actress Passage and is using the south exit, moving very slowly. We get past the tow on starboard, turning to exit Acteaon Sound north of Dove Island so as to not interfere with their operation. We continue down inlet and arrive at Stuart Narrows in time for the two p.m. slack current. Our destination tonight is Carriden Bay, in Grappler Sound.
We find only one other boat in Carriden and anchor deep in the bay in 30 feet of water. This is a large bay, open to the northeast with a view of the mountains. There is a freshwater stream that empties into the bay and there are schools of salmon swimming around. They are waiting for a good rain to raise the stream levels and allow them to swim upstream to the spawning grounds. The fish jump all night, sounding like rocks being thrown into the water.