Prince Rupert - Lowe Inlet - Bishop Bay Hot Springs
14 June 2012 | Shearwater, BC
Grenville Channel is a very long, very narrow channel. There is always a strong tidal current and it is impossible to transit the 45 miles over the span of one tide....at least traveling via sailboat about 6 knots. Our crew are not early risers so we were actually woken up by the Price Rupert Yacht Club staff at about 9:30 and informed that "checkout time is 10:30." While we rubbed the sleep from our eyes and tried to comprehend that a marina was actually telling us we had to leave by 10:30, another club staff dropped by - with radio at her hip - to reinforce the rule with her gentle reminder. Wow. We're not used to that sort of thing, but we needed to get going anyway. The weather was socked-in, raining and foggy. But we slipped the lines at 10:28 and moseyed to the fuel dock, topped off and were on our way by a respectable 11am with a favorable current. We rode the last of the ebb for what it's worth and spent the remainder of the (long wet) day motoring into the current, sometimes making only 4 knots (arg!) and as the tide was about to change in our favor, we stopped at Lowe Inlet and dropped the hook - wet, tired and hungry. The next day dawned dry and mostly clear. We easily made the passage to one of the highlights of the trip, Bishop Bay Hot Springs where we caught the last of the Canadian Navy finishing their "Naval Manouvers." Not one, but two destroyer class navy ships had been ferrying squads of personnel to and from the hot springs. Luckily, we arrived as the last of the shore party was leaving and were the only boat tied to the float for a while. The sun was still shining and we donned our swimsuits, grabbed towels and beers and headed up the ramp. As we slipped into the warm water and cracked a cold beverage, we enjoyed reading all the ship names scribed in the wood. Fishing floats made with artistic flare hung from the ceiling emblazoned with careful and creative prose. And there - directly in my view were the words "SV Wings, Bill & Connie, 5/2011 Seward to Tahiti." Our cruising and fellow Seward friends had been through here just last spring. Conveniently, there was a nice spot just next to theirs for us to leave our memento. After a long soak, we'd devastated our beverage stores and headed back to the boat for grilled rockfish. No less than 6 additional boats had arrived! Piper bartered for the guts and tail from a halibut (ever the scientist) and we watched another boat boiled a bunch of Dungeness crab on the dock. We played tunes and everyone had their time in the springs. But we................the night owls....waited until everyone was done, and got the late night candlelight dip. Ahhhhh.