Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Farewell For Now, Friends.


Wow!  The blog counter has jumped significantly since the whale incident last Friday with almost 1,000 hits in only a few days.  Thanks for all the feedback.  It’s great to share adventures and I just love hearing from other people about their stories and adventures.

I’m going to end this summer’s blog with a listing of a few of my favorite postings from our Vancouver Island circumnavigation as well as the Alaska trip.  So, if you haven’t been following my blog and just want to hit a few highlights (or lowlights), these are the pages I suggest you visit:
http://332ak.blogspot.com/2012/09/day-26-friday-september-7-2012-biggest.html -
This is the incident where we were on the beach watching in terror as a whale lunged up right in front of our boat with the anchor rode in his mouth and began hauling our boat out to sea.  There’s a few amazing pictures and an awesome video of the whole event. I think it’s been the most popular post of the blog so far.

http://332ak.blogspot.com/2012/08/attacked-by-wolves-saved-by-pirates.html - Attacked by Wolves!  Saved by Pirates!  This is our true story about a pack of wolves that pursued us and we were saved by the most unlikeliest of heroes.  This story was published in Pacific Yachting Magazine and Passagemaker.  You’ve got to read it to believe it.

http://332ak.blogspot.com/2012/08/day-3-very-very-near-death-experience.html - This is the story of a terribly sad drowning in Campbell River where I was first on the scene.  It’s actually a lowlight of the blog but interesting none-the-less.  I just spoke with the lead investigator yesterday and he assured me there’s no foul play involved.  That made me feel a lot better.

http://332ak.blogspot.com/2009/06/day-7-prince-rupert-to-ketchicanjust.html - A 109 lb. halibut about rips my arm off but we emerge victorious.  A big fish story, indeed.

http://332ak.blogspot.com/2009_06_30_archive.html - Wow!  What a beautiful stretch of God’s country.

http://332ak.blogspot.com/2009/07/tuesday-july-7-north-sandy-cove-glacier.html - An account of our amazing day exploring glaciers and experiencing a bear very close up.

http://332ak.blogspot.com/2009/07/friday-july-17-red-bluff-bay.html - One of my most favorite anchorages ever. 

http://332ak.blogspot.com/2009/07/friday-july-24-punchbowl-cove-misty.html - Misty fjord’s Punchbowl Cove…an amazing place.

Well, I hope there’s no more exciting and scary things to blog about this year as we’re only a couple of days away from ending our boating season.  Val’s folks are here so we might make the short trip to Victoria to spend a night or two and then maybe a couple of nights in the Gulf or San Juan Islands….pretty docile compared to Alaska or circumnavigating Vancouver Island.

I hope you’ll send me a note now and again and share your adventure stories with me.  It makes the off season more tolerable.  Take care and God bless.

Kent Huisken, Dakota Roamer
605-351-3525
Kent.Huisken@sio.midco.net

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 27- Saturday, September 8, 2012- We Made It!


Day 27- Saturday, September 8, 2012- We Made It!
Needless to say, after the whale encounter yesterday, I didn’t sleep much.  I kept replaying the incident over and over in my mind.  What if?  Then what?  Wow.  It could have been really bad.   Thankfully, it was an amazing experience but I would never wish it upon anyone and hope it never happens again.
At 5:40AM, this morning, the alarm went off.  Immediately, I was wide awake, and let me assure you, this is a miracle in itself as I am NOT a morning person (but take me dancing at midnight!)  A quick check of the weather indicates lumpy seas for the first hour and a half and then settling as we head further into the Stait of Juan de Fuca.  Coffee is done perking, dog duties done, shore power chord stored, anything loose is now stowed or secured, and we’re off by 6:30AM, first light.
Clear and flat seas for about 15 minutes….then fog and swells…then more dense fog and bigger swells.  For over two hours it was like driving through the mountains in a blizzard.  Do you know what vertigo is?  Everything in your body feels like you’re turning in circles but your instruments tell you you’re going straight.  It feels like you’re going to fall right off your seat and splat on the floor yet the computer says you’re going straight…it is bizarre…no sight of land and a horizon that is moving in every direction except flat.  The Roamer handles it much better than I do.  I have a lot of confidence in my vessel but was praying that the weather would improve giving us better visibility and flatter seas.
After riding the bucking bronco for a couple of hours, the wind and the swells all started to move in the same direction off our aft and the sun started to lighten the fog.  Along with the flooding tide, we were able to throttle up and enjoy all the benefits of tide, wind, and swell.  Soon, we were flying through the Strait of Juan de Fuca doing better than 32 statute miles an hour and getting almost 2 miles per gallon…unheard of for a boat our size at that speed.  It made up for the 1 mpg we were getting fighting the swells and struggling to stay on plane out in the washing machine wind and swells of the exposed South Coast.
32 statute miles per hour getting 1.9 mpg!  Yippee!
Along the way, Ron Meng, the owner of Islands Marine Center, called to report that he had new ground tackle waiting for me and wanted to make sure we were doing ok after the whole incident.  The crew a IMC has done a fabulous job taking great care of us.

The sun broke through as the swells subsided and we enjoyed the super fast, efficient remainder of our 150 mile crossing.  We could see the magnificent Mt. Baker from over 125 miles out!  Soon, we were seeing the sights we had seen before: Victoria, Turtleback Mountain, and Cattle Point.  We did it!  By God’s grace, we circumnavigated Vancouver Island!
Race Rocks Light House With The Olympic Peninsula Mountains Behind
We cleared customs via a phone call as we’re NEXUS card holders and then stopped at the Port of Friday Harbor for fuel.
Then, it was just a short hop over to Islands Marine Center on Lopez Island where Dan was standing by with his big smile to rig the new ground tackle while we took their courtesy car and  grabbed some fish tacos at the Galley.  After lunch, we showed Ron and crew the video…they were all amazed at the scenario being played out.

By 4PM, we were tied to our dock at Dolphin Cove and the boat was being unloaded.  It was an awesome trip, to say the least.
So for the final numbers: As you can see below, over the last 27 days, we journeyed 1,095 miles and burned 574 gallons of diesel for an average of 1.91 statute miles per gallon.  (I suppose I could add about 10 gallons for the genset and about that much for the kicker engine and dinghy.) Looking back at our 2009 Alaska trip, I see that we averaged 1.92 mpg with our single engine so this is almost identical as our twin.  I am pleased with these numbers given the swells and currents…seemed like we were always going uphill.

1,095 miles to complete the circle.
Now that the ground rigging is replaced, there’s not even one little thing that needs to be repaired on the boat, other than one loose fitting on a water hose that I think can just be tightened, but I didn’t want to do that until I got home in case I broke the fitting.  Yes, there’s lots of cleaning to do and some routine maintenance but I can’t be more pleased with how well the Roamer performed.
Note the shiny new anchor!

This has been the most technically challenging boating experience I’ve ever had…even more so than our trip to Alaska in 2009.  It was so much more remote than I ever expected.  Next time, I’ll rent a satellite phone.  Thankfully, we had a great, sturdy vessel that performed flawlessly.  My crew was amazing.  My best first last mate, Val, did an awesome job as always with the boat and had everything meticulously organized all the time. How can she do everything?  Gourmet meals included!  Connor, our 15 year old was also amazing.  He is such a great help on the boat and is totally in charge of the dinghy and the dogs as well just all around great helper.  He is great at tackling problems and finding solutions.  We all got along great and could have just kept on cruising, but reality beckons.
I will do one more post after this one to recap this year’s blog.  So, here’s your chance to send me your comments.  Please do.  E-mail me at Kent.Huisken@Sio.Midco.Net.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 26- Friday, September 7, 2012- The Biggest Fish Of Our Lives Caught Us Today!

Day 26- Friday, September 7, 2012- The Biggest Fish Of Our Lives Caught Us Today!

I’m still shaking…nine hours later! The biggest fish of our lives caught us today.  Fortunately, we are alright and the whale seems to be as well.  But, we almost lost our boat.  I still can’t believe it happened. This time, it wasn’t a silly act of mine that just about cost us our loss…it was definitely an act of God!

We woke to another beautiful, sunny, warm day anchored in a quiet little cove in Toquart Bay, in Barkley Sound.  My wife Val, our son Connor, and our two dogs Lucky and Tanner and I headed to the beach in our dinghy for some fun and exercise.  We were enjoying the beautiful morning when we heard a whale blow from afar. As we walked along the beach, the whale meandered around the bay enjoying his morning breakfast.  What a delightful experience.  Soon, the whale was close enough to warrant a brisk walk back to the dinghy to fetch the ever-present video camera.

As I readied the camera the curious whale came closer and closer.  I couldn’t believe the footage I was getting.  This whale came almost right up to us on the beach, right where I was swimming yesterday.  I didn’t think such a large whale could even swim in such shallow water. He was swimming between us and our boat and we were anchored in only about thirty feet of water.

The whale comes almost right up to us on the beach, where I was swimming yesterday.
Our delight soon turned to sheer terror as we saw the whale rocket out of the water directly in front of our boat with the anchor rode in his mouth!  Oh no!  We watched in shock as he spun around wrapping himself around our rope and jerking the boat around like a rag doll in the process.  Our 17,000 pound vessel was looking like a bathtub toy!

The whale catches our anchor rode in his mouth!
Adrenaline took over, and I instinctively jumped in the dinghy while Connor ran to join me as we launched off the beach.  I told Connor to start the video camera and not to turn it off no matter what. If something happened, I wanted an accounting.  The pictures in this story are actually captured from the video….not great quality but they tell the story pretty effectively.

The poor guy has our anchor rode wrapped around him and is tossing our boat around like a rag doll!
Approaching the boat in the dinghy, the whale became more frantic and was struggling to get free from his wrapped up mess.  We watched the suddenly small vessel shake front to back and side to side as the whale plunged up and out of the bay trying to free himself.

It’s a scary feeling watching your boat (and temporary home) getting hauled out to sea by such a large and beautiful creature struggling to free himself.  We wanted to help him so badly and save our boat too. I could hear Connor’s concern, “Oh no. What are we going to do?”  I wanted to cut the rode but I wasn't sure how to jump aboard the thrashing vessel to cut the whale loose.  There was a lull in the action and I was able to position the dinghy and jump aboard our boat while Connor backed off in the dinghy.  Unfortunately, he had to shut the camera off in order to handle the dinghy. I'm still grateful for the video he did get.

He's heading out to sea and dragging our boat with him!

Immediately, the distraught whale started lunging out of the water thrashing wildly and shaking things up. I don’t know if I was glad to be aboard or not. Certainly, I was wishing this was not happening, and the worst scenario flashed before my eyes.  It was not a good situation for the whale or for me and potentially Connor!  I quickly grabbed my big knife from the aft helm steering station to cut the $1,000 anchor rode and chain free…a small price to pay to help this magnificent creature gain his freedom.

My heart was pounding out of my chest and my legs were like rubber as I started to climb along the side of the boat keeping one hand on the railing while watching the huge animal lunge up and above me and the boat.  I can’t tell you the feelings coming over me as I feared for my life and his. I feared he would crash down on the bow injuring himself and taking out our boat windows, stanchions, or worse, my son or me!

My heart is beating out of my chest as I work my way along the side of the boat to cut the rope freeing both of us.
Here is a low-res unedited clip of the whole ordeal.  It gets pretty interesting about a minute into it.  If you're unable to play it here, I also uploaded it to YouTube.  The link is at the bottom of this page. 
video

As I was in the height of my terror, working my up to the bow, I heard Connor exclaim from the dingy, “He snapped the rope!  He snapped the rope!”  Oh, thank God! It’s over!  I didn’t have to go face to face with him to cut him free!

We watched as he swam away startled and confused.  Our hearts went out to him (as they definitely were not in our chests) and we prayed that he would be free from the entanglement. We could not tell if the anchor was still attached to the remaining rode or if he broke free from both ends.  However, we were grateful that at least he had broken free from the boat end of things and were hoping that would help him shake free from the anchor end as well.  We were now adrift and he was free.

As we sat there adrift in disbelief, we recounted the incredible events of the episode trying to figure out if there was anything we could have or should have done differently.  We were all incredibly shaken and completely emotionally drained. We were so thankful that the whale was free and our boat was not dragged on the rocks or smashed to bits. What power we witnessed!

After regaining our composure, I sent Connor out in the dinghy with a big grappling hook hoping to find the anchor and chain while I prepared the boat for departure.  We had 50’ of chain and about 75’ of rope out.  I was so thankful we didn’t have an all chain rode and that the whale was able to break the rope.  We were hoping, for the whale’s sake, that he had broken the rode at the anchor end as well, and for our sake, that we could recover the working end of things below. Connor came back without the anchor but with bits of whale skin that were floating in the anchorage evidencing the struggle.



I took my turn trolling for the anchor chain on the way to pick up my very excited wife and the two dogs, who were still at the beach standing in awe of what they had just witnessed.  We all headed back to the drifting vessel and counted our blessings as we readied to depart.


Obviously, our cruising plans had just changed; we have no anchor. Yet, we were incredibly thankful that we were alright, the whale seemed to be as well, and the Roamer was in fine shape, albeit anchorless.


We set off on a course to see if we could find the whale and check on his welfare as well as try to pick up a cell signal and alert the appropriate offices as to what had just happened.  About six miles out, I got a cell signal and started calling various Department of Fisheries and Oceans offices leaving messages and trying to get a hold of someone.

During this process, Val saw a spouting whale off in the distance. We motored closer to see if he was “our” whale. We approached slowly and glassed him with the binoculars. Sure enough, it was him. Thankfully, he looked to be doing just fine but still had one twist of rope around him.  He didn’t appear to be dragging the anchor.  He seemed to be enjoying his swim and showed no signs of distress.

We noted the GPS coordinates and followed him while I continued to contact the authorities. I ended up talking to an officer at the poaching hotline (the only live person I could talk to) who assured me I had done all the right things and took down the necessary information. He assured me he would take it from here and contact the local animal control folks. I offered to track the whale for a while to make sure he was alright.  I called the officer back after a few minutes and he said that he had made the necessary calls and there was nothing further for me to do.

We headed for Ucluelet where we could securely tie up to a dock. By mid-afternoon, the local officer returned my call and I gave him the unbelievable report.  He, too, assured me I had done the right things and would alert the whale watching network to keep an eye out. He explained that these guys know where the whales are and what they’re up to. Evidently, entanglement is not terribly uncommon as whales can get caught up in fish nets, crab gear, etc. They have a unit ready to assist when and if a distressed whale needs it; that made us feel even better.

This was definitely the most interesting day of the trip, if not my life. In 2010, it was a wolf encounter (see “Attacked by Wolves, Saved by Pirates, Pacific Yachting, April, 2012) and now a whale incident.  What adventures!  I wish these things wouldn’t keep happening to us but it does make for a very interesting and rich life. You know what they say about boating, “…hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror.”  We haven’t witnessed the boredom but the terror part we’re all too familiar with!

© 2012 Kent Huisken

______

September 25, 2012 Update-

Today, I called my main contact at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who also talked to his peers at Vancouver Animal Control-they are in charge of the whale entanglement rescues. He said that there have been many whale watching boat trips and they've all been notified to contact DFO of any entanglements. He is confident that if the whale still had any rope left on him, that it would have been reported to them several times over by now.  So, this is the best report we can have. "No news is good news", holds true in this case.  Hopefully, Mr. Whale is off enjoying the beautiful weather this fall.  Thanks for all the comments and support.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 25- Thursday, September 06, 2012- Toquart Bay- Abundant Life!


Day 25- Thursday, September 06, 2012- Toquart Bay- Abundant Life!
Today was one of those special days that I will never forget.  It was my dream day of cruising, even though we never started an engine, except the genset.  Last night we were lulled to sleep by the sound of thousands of little fish (mackerel, pilchards, or herring, maybe) jumping making the water look and sound like a boiling pot of water.  The sea lions were all around the boat hunting them and so were a pair of hungry humpback whales.  The seagulls were retrieving the scraps while the eagles were chattering in the tree tops.  These are not just quiet little sounds.  These are massive big splashes.  We watched and listened all evening and fell asleep to the wonderful sounds.
This morning, we woke up to the same sounds and sights.  It was a bright, sunny, warm day and the bay was like a mirror, except for all the fish splashes that surrounded us on all sides.  I finally jumped out of bed the last time when a huge humpback breached right beside the boat…I mean, right beside.  We could feel his wake move the boat and smell his bad morning fish breath.  I sat on deck in my underwear for an hour just watching the whales, sea lions, and seals enjoy their brunch.  Connor and Val joined me and all felt like we had been given a miraculous gift from God.  We burned a lot of film but our timing is never perfect but here are a couple of pictures that turned out pretty good.

I thought it would be great fun to go kayaking in the midst of the action so down it came. Val and Connor wanted to go clam digging on the beach.  All the toys were in the water and the fun began.  We all dug clams and picked oysters with great success.  It was very warm and the sun was extreme so I went for a nice swim.  Then we each took a turn in the kayak.  My turn lasted a couple of hours as I was on the hunt for bear and whale but both seemed to take the afternoon off.  Val spotted one on the beach earlier but I think he went to take a snoozer in the forest.  I still had a great time paddling up the Toquart River and sneaking up on hundreds if not a thousand seagulls and just enjoying this amazing creation.




I was pretty stealthy sneaking up on these guys.

This photo was taken from my kayak...the water is so clear and the seaweed is so colorful!
When I got back to the boat, Val was playing Scrabble and Connor was doing his schoolwork.  I checked the forecast and charts in preparation for our run back into Washington through the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  This crossing makes me nervous!  The weather looks good for tomorrow and Sunday.  Val and Connor voted for Sunday.  Yeah!  We’re not ready to leave yet.
I decided to take the dinghy to check out the Lucky River, just around the corner.  Connor opted to play his PS3 video game as he hasn’t played for weeks.  His loss.  Val and I went alone (aka, no dogs) so we could get the dinghy up on plane and get their quickly.  Wow!  This place was amazing.  The scenery up and down the river was stunning and the falls were awesome.  There were cliffs and pools and falls….great jumping and swimming for me!  The cool water was so refreshing on a hot day.  Connor would have loved it!




Back on the Dakota Roamer, Val made a big pot of the most fantastic Cioppino I’ve ever had.  A great Italian red base with lots of the fresh shrimp, clams, mussels, salmon, and halibut that we caught, along with a side salad and fresh baked home made Italian bread.  Oh, wow.  Words cannot describe how wonderful it was!
The little fish are gone tonight.  So are the sea lions, seals, and whales.  It’s interesting how the bay can be so alive one night and so quiet the next.
Val is playing Scrabble again.  Connor is working on an art project.  I'm blogging.  Life is good.
A few posts ago, I showed you the inside of the boat.  Here are a few pictures of the mechanical aspect of the boat.  As you can see, we have Volvo Penta twin diesel main engines each with 4 cylinders and 260 horse power.  We also have a Northern Lights 3 cylinder diesel 5kw generator for our 110 volt needs.  (We also have a 2,500 watt inverter to make 110 volts off the 12 volt batteries.)  Additionally, we have a 9.9 horse Yamaha kicker motor with a separate gas tank that sits in a cooler bolted to the swim step.  Finally, our dinghy is also powered by a 9.9 horse Yamaha engine.  So, we have redundant power and plenty of sources of energy (aka, a lot of bucks on fuel.)  At the helm, the Garmin is at the center of things and provides a 15” display with radar, gps, depth sounder/fish finder, fuel management, trip and route planning, etc.  It’s all touch screen.  Additionally, Volvo Penta provides lots of information through their GMI displays…one for each engine with multiple pages of displays.  It really is amazing all of the information that is available.  The Garmin, Volvo Penta information, and the VHF radio are all tied together (NMEA 2000) and provide a pretty complete system for managing the boat’s systems.












I hope your day was as wonderful as ours. It was truly a special day for us and we hope it was a special day for you as well.




Day 24- Wednesday, September 05, 2012- Fishing Barkley Sound


Day 24- Wednesday, September 05, 2012- Fishing Barkley Sound

Fog!  Dense fog.  By the time we woke, got out of our slip, bought fuel and started for the fishing grounds it was 8AM but for the best as the fog was pretty intense and we needed radar but we could tell the sun was out and working on burning it off.
At the fuel dock, I got to talking with the manager there.  Evidently, people “tip” him with fish but he’s not too crazy about having to deal with them.  For some reason, he was kind enough to offer me two nice brill fish.  I don’t even know what a brill is or even if I’m spelling it right.  It looks like a little halibut.  He explained that it’s a light flaky white meat and is even preferred over halibut.  So, off I go with another costly load of fuel (only $5.09 a gallon, yeah…it’s getting cheaper) and my two brill fish.  I tipped him with beef jerky.  We’re both happy.
We only ran off shore about five miles.  The swells were impressive and we’re getting thrown around a bit.  I do fine but Val and Connor struggle when things get wild.  Val fed the fish again but her unique baiting method worked as she caught a nice King Salmon shortly thereafter.  We didn’t stay out there too long as we were dragging the bottom for halibut and lost yet another downrigger set up and Val was greener than the lush forest so we high tailed it back into the inside protected waters.
As we rounded the lighthouse corner back into Ucluelet to spend another boat load of money at the fisheries store, the fog burned off and the warm sun lifted our spirits even higher.  We tied up the Pioneer Boatworks Fishing Supply dock, delivered the remaining balance on my credit card to them, and then re-tied my downrigger equipment while Val made the most wonderful fish tacos.  We showered on the boat, topped off the water tanks, picked up a few last minute groceries and set out for the wilderness again.  We much prefer a quiet cove as opposed to a marina, although we all liked the Ukee Dock.

Fish, fish, fish…that’s all my wife wants to do.  Thank you, Lord!  But, is there any limit?  We tried fishing as soon as we got out of Ucluelet...coho fishing, king fishing, halibut fishing, ling cod fishing, red snapper fishing…I can’t pry the rod n’ reel out of her hands!  I just want to sit on the back deck and read a book, but no, she just wants to fish, fish, fish!  I’m so glad she didn’t catch but one so I didn’t have to clean yet more fish!  (Seriously, I love it when she catches fish…I love eating them!)
Finally, very late in the afternoon, I convinced her that we should find a quiet cove and have a nice meal and a quiet night of no-fishing rest.  We through the hook down Refuge Island in Toqauart Bay and guess what she said next, “let’s take the dinghy over there and jig.”  I said “NO!”  I actually sat on the deck, basked in the warm sun, enjoyed an icy cold beer, and finished my book.  Alas, my idea of cruising!
All evening long, during my fish-strike sabbatical, during dinner, and even as I type, there are two whales feasting right beside us.  They are so close, their blow is wafting over the boat and they have bad breath!  It smells like a fish factory!  They sure are amazing creatures and we all exclaimed “whoa, did you see that?” repeatedly during the evening.  In addition to the whales, there were several seals and huge sea lion working the feeding grounds we seem to be anchored in.  There are little fish jumping all around…perhaps a hundred in the air at any given second…looks and sounds like boiling water.  Are the pilchards?  Herring?  I don’t know.  There are eagles making their unique sound in the tree tops and seagulls competing for the attention too.  This is a beautiful cove.  When we were here last year, we spent hours watching the bears on the beach and hope they show up at low tide.

Well, there you have it folks.  Have a great night.

Days 22 & 23-, Monday & Tuesday, September 3 &4- Ucluelet- It’s Good To Be Home???


Days 22 & 23-, Monday & Tuesday, September 3 &4- Ucluelet- It’s Good To Be Home???
A bit over a year ago, we spent a month in Barkley Sound.  We have many fond memories of this area.  After sleeping in Monday morning and having a leisurely lunch on board Dakota Roamer, we set off for the short nine mile run into Ulcuelet.  It was like coming back home.



Our slip for the next two days was in the small boat basin, next to the Canadian Princess Resort, which boasts a ship for its h.q.
Val started the laundry machines.  I dove into the Internet and cell phone.  Then we all went to the grocery store and hauled back a wheelbarrow full of goods.  Finally, a real supermarket with many flavors of Pringles!



The tuna fleet was coming into the marina as the big blow had begun offshore.  We’re glad to have a slip where it’s calm and protected and were thankful we made the run from Tofino when we did.  Reports were coming in that it was pretty bouncy out there.


We were all craving pizza so we walked back uptown, maybe a 10 minute walk, and filled our bellies.  We wandered around the seaside as the last of the light dwindled and found some neat little shops and an aquarium that we wanted to explore tomorrow.



It was a light day and I was ready for one.  It’s a lot of work to go boating.  I love to eat and don’t have much self-discipline but every time we go on an extended cruise, I eat all I can and still lose weight.  There’s always fun stuff, and not-so-fun stuff to do.  There’s always one more adventure to fit into the day.  It’s a great way to spend time but it’s a lot of work (er, fun) too.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we woke up to more tuna boats pouring in and rafting up together to squeeze everyone in.  I met Mark Wells, the captain of the Foremost.  I guess that would make him the Foremost Captain.  He’s different from the rest.  He’s not ruff and brash but a very nice family man.  His deck hand was equally nice.  I learned a lot about offshore fishing and got a tour of his boat.  I think I’d like to make a couple week offshore trip with these guys some time.  At the end of the day, we swapped some beef jerky for a 17 lb. flash frozen sushi grade tuna.  I was thrilled.
Then, it was off to the aquarium.  Along the walk, we came across the fish factory that was off-loading the tuna boats.  Connor and I stopped at the office and asked for a tour, but Ms. Personality rudely told us no way.  Just as well, too many adventures…not enough time. So, to the aquarium we went.  It had just opened and was done very nicely with all of the local fish species on display.  Val had to do everything in her power not to run back to the boat and grab her fishing pole.


The Wild Pacific Trail winds around the headlands of Tofino and what a great trail it was.  We spent several hours with our mouths hanging open from the drop dead gorgeous views…everyone of them was a calendar page and there were many, many very serious photographers capturing the views.  The warm sun and blue skies were competing with the wafts of fog blowing through.  Fortunately, the sun won as it typically does in the afternoon.  The swells smashing against the rocky coastline was thundering and very impressive…not a place you want to be in a boat!






After several miles of hiking, we were all pooped so Val whipped up a big bowl of wonderful spaghetti.  We indulged most of the night as Captain Mark and others popped in to chat.  It’s always great to visit with people on the docks (well, most people) and share big fish stories.  We slept pretty good but the fish bug was alive and well and we have an early morning planned.  So, I bid you all a good night.