Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 18- Thursday, August 30, 2012- Hootla Kootla Bay, W. Clayoquat Sound (49°22'32.30"N, 126°13'36.31"W)- Somethings Fishy!

Day 18- Thursday, August 30, 2012- Hootla Kootla Bay, West Clayoquat Sound (49°22'32.30"N, 126°13'36.31"W)- Somethings Fishy!

I woke up during the night to the sound of pouring rain, again!  Fortunately, when the alarm went off at 5:50, the skies showed promise and so we anchored up, pulled the empty shrimp trap up from 350’ and set sail 14 miles off shore in pursuit of salmon and halibut.
We didn’t catch any keeper salmon, just a small coho.  We didn’t catch any halibut, but I wrestled with a monster for about 10 or 15 minutes on my salmon pole but he won, I lost.  We did, however, end up with some huge ling cod and rock fish.  I caught a 37” 18 ½ pound ling cod.  Val caught another very respectable one.  We both caught some really nice sized red snapper and a black cod, I think it was.
The swells were amazing…maybe 10’, Connor thinks 13’, but there were only 1 or 2’ wind waves.  It was like driving through hills on the ocean.  Sometimes you could see a long way and sometimes it felt like we were in the bottom of a bowl of water.  No worries but very interesting.  When we throttled up, we’d go whizzing down the swells and then bogging up them doubling our halving my fuel economy.
The skies were clear and the sun was warm on our skin.  We rounded Estevan Point, a notoriously rough crossing, with ease.  Although we were tired from our early morning and there were fish to clean and vacuum pack, we decided to make a quick pit stop at Hot Springs Cove for a soak in the warm sulpher springs.
We were all surprised to see so many boats there.  There were water taxis, seaplanes coming and going, and private boats as well.  Even the trail to the hot springs was all boardwalk.  I can tell we’re close to Tofino now.  I even had a bar on my cell phone today, but not enough to make any calls. 
After a quick bowl of Val’s incredible clam chowder, which, unlike most, was heavy laden with the bivalve delicacies, we made the 40 minute hike from the public dock to the baths and, oh, did they feel great after fighting the swells all day.  It’s really hard to stand or move when the boat is bouncing all over the place.  My back was grateful for the hot soak and my nose was grateful to get rid of the fish smell.

A beautiful mushroom along the way.

We ended up in a delightful one boat cove called Hootla Kootla Cove, (who names these places?) only 4 miles from the hot springs.  Connor went to his berth to do his schooling as it was too rough for him to do anything out in the swells earlier today.  Val and I packaged 21 meals of fish in our little vacuum bagger and got them tucked happily into our freezer which is now 60% full….although, I wish there were more salmon and halibut in there.  I threw some steaks on the grill and Val made a lovely salad with some fresh baked bread and it was a great meal in no time at all.

The sunset was amazing and the bright, full moon is poking through the pine trees in our cozy littlebathtub of a cove.  Yes, it was another great day.  I hope yours was too!

Day 17- Wednesday, August 29, 2012- Santa Gertrudis Cove ( 49°36'6.48"N, 126°37'17.45"W)- A Whale Of A Good Day!

Day 17- Wednesday, August 29, 2012- Santa Gertrudis Cove (49°36'6.48"N, 126°37'17.45"W)- A Whale Of A Good Day!
Our plans were to be motoring by first light to teach those salmon we missed yesterday a lesson.  The alarm rang at 6AM and it was pouring rain.  Val and I both rolled over and slept until mid-morning!  I love the rain on the boat…so soothing and peaceful.  It rained hard on and off all night long again.  It was so pretty watching the showers come through our cozy little cove.  The furnace would cycle and keep us cozy and dry.
Val was busy in the galley, which is also the helm, saloon, and darn near berth on our little boat.  She had clams, oysters, mussels, rock fish, spices, and all kinds of other ingredients spread out like an Anthony’s Restaurant.  I couldn’t stand it any more and intruded on her space and made up some lovely oyster stew for lunch.  Connor opted for pancakes.
Early afternoon had us hauling in the anchor, pulling our crab pot, which only yielded a massive Sun Star (ugly, slimy thing) and our shrimp pot, which only yielded three star fish.  Not such a productive harvest today.
We decided to just cruise around Nootka Sound today.  There are lot of little islands and great coves to explore.
We were cruising through Ewin Inlet on Bligh Isalnd when we saw a whole group of sea lions and a couple whale feeding on pitchards, I think they are called.  Wow.  The channel was narrow and they were feasting right beside us!  We got some great video and few pictures that don’t do justice to the scene.  It was truly remarkable and we thank God for the extra special gift of being able to experience His unique creation in this way today.

Then, it was off to the Nootka Lighthouse and Yuquot Longhouse for a tour of both.  Ray met us at the dock and gave us instructions on what to do and see.  It was a fun stop.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  Fortunately, the rain quite and brightened up quite a bit.

You’ll notice the blackberries.  They were EVERYWHERE- acres and acres of succulent, juicy, sweet blackberries.  We walked and ate and then we stopped and ate and then walked and ate some more.
Then, we motored just a few miles around the point and found the nicest little one or two boat cove called Santa Gertrudis Cove.  We love these secluded anchorages and have always been the only ones around.  We are seeing more sportfishing boats all the time.
Val made rock fish tacos for dinner and then Connor and the pups went off exploring in the dinghy while I prepped the boat for tomorrow and then set off on my own exploration in the kayak.

The skies broke and even got to see a full beautiful moon.  I’m glad, after three plus days of rain, that the weather seems to finally be stabilizing again as we plan to head a dozen or so miles off shore tomorrow to chase salmon and then work our way south of the Hesquit Peninsula, also known as Estevan Point.  We’re getting closer to Tofino, the next real town of any size.
Good night, friends.

Day 16- Tuesday, August 28, 2012- Kendrick Inlet, Nootka Sound

Day 16- Tuesday, August 28, 2012- Kendrick Inlet, Nootka Sound
This morning it was still raining off and on but the wind seemed to have gone down.  We checked our communications one last time over morning coffee at the West View Marina while Connor did his schoolwork and then we set sail down Tahsis Inlet, stopping first to pull the shrimp trap.  Yeah!  We caught another 57 nice prawns bringing us to a two day total of 134 beautiful prawns!  I am so excited!  This is the best prawning we’ve ever had.  As we hauled in the 357’ of line, Mr. Humpback was circling around us having his brunch.
The cruise down Tahsis Inlet was simply gorgeous and the broken clouds made it all mysterious and yet peaceful and pristine. We stopped along the way to watch a colony (is that the right word?) of curious otters eating, playing, and watching us.  We only went about a dozen miles before we set the shrimp trap again and then made a right turn into Kendrick Inlet where we set the crab trap and the anchor.
Val made soup and barbecue pork sandwiches for lunch…a good rainy day lunch.  After lunch, we trolled around Strange Island looking for that elusive King Salmon.  No luck but we sure enjoyed ourselves and even met a navy ship…good to know they’re nearby.
Tonight, we’re back in Kendrick Cove.  It’s pouring again but the barometer keeps rising and the winds seem to be settling.
Val made fresh “Halibut Picatta” tonight and it was fabulous!  As I write, there’s a huge pot of steamed clams, mussels, and oysters cooling down for a recipe she calls “Summertime Feast Fit For Neptune” with all of the above and crab, which we have yet to catch up here.  Wow, are we eating good!  I just can’t get enough seafood, although, those steaks in the bottom of the freezer are starting to look a bit interesting to me too now.

Hope you are all enjoying the last of your summer.  With all this rain, it feels like fall here.