Seymour Narrows to Shoal Bay

IMG_7367
IMG_7351Seymour Narrows to Shoal Bay
Seymour Narrows is like a sphincter in Discovery Channel, which carries all the large cargo and cruise ships that ply the coast.  We’d been blessed with sun the whole trip and it was only on our carefully planned late afternoon transit of the Narrows that we ran into a gentle rain.  In the greyness we were surprised to find ourselves surrounded by a group of about thirty harbour seals, who usually travel alone or in pairs.  
Less than an hour later our wet gloves were hanging out to dry and a rainbow greeted us at the entrance of Kamish Bay.   The chain islands were tempting but we tucked away in the doubly protected Granite Bay for a very sound night’s sleep.
Under the early morning sun, we headed up the spectacular Nodales Channel, sails lazily furled, only to be let down by the wind as the day heated up.  As we entered the splendid intersection where Nodales meets Cordero and ______    Channels and Frederick Arm, large group of dolphins splashed past and a couple of silver osprey rose in the thermals against a deeply wooded cliff.   
At our beloved Shoal Bay we tied up at the small government dock as other boats pulled out for the slack at Yaculta, Dent and ___Rapids. Or, as Jack put it, we floated into my screen saver.  Indeed, there is no vista more spectacular than the view from Shoal Bay up Phillips Arm.  There it is in the masthead.  In the screen saver sunset is it blue.  This night it was red.  
Everything was fine at Shoal Bay.   The garden is thriving. An antique door had been installed on a new shed that day.  The log grid – a simple low tide dry dock painstakingly built of salvaged logs last summer – functions brilliantly.  The energetic, spirited Mark MacDonald who homesteads year round save for brief periods way “to make some money” was joined by Kelly and Linda, who live aboard their wooden ketch and lend a hand with the hard labor.
We gathered on the dock rather than in the pub. The crew of an aging Halbery-Rassy 42 named “Vagrant”, Debbie and Dave, were returning from their fifteenth trip to Alaska.  They’d left April 24 and were now headed south to Camano Island in the San Juans. Debbie had noticed our Carol Hasse sails and came on deck for a quick tour of the rigging, which helped me again appreciate how Carol and Lisa collaborate to make sail handing easy and safe.  Also on the dock were several sets seasoned British Columbians, one very elderly.   At sunset a shrimp boat pulled in, and then a boat full of professional divers who must have been building a dock somewhere.  The divers celebrated the end of their day with merriment and a barbecue; the three-man-one-woman fisherman with equal satisfaction perhaps, but also hard work.  They had to process and pack 6,000 pounds of fresh shrimp and have it in Campbell River for a flight to Japan the next day.  When they pulled out in the morning, they were still working away at it.  
And it was very late.  No one is clear about the date of Mid-Summer’s night. 

Seymour Narrows is like a sphincter in Discovery Channel, which carries all the large cargo and cruise ships that ply the coast.  We’d been blessed with sun the whole trip and it was only on our carefully planned late afternoon transit of the Narrows that we ran into a gentle rain.  In the greyness we were surprised to find ourselves surrounded by a group of about thirty harbour seals, who usually travel alone or in pairs.  

Less than an hour later our wet gloves were hanging out to dry and a rainbow greeted us at the entrance of Kamish Bay.   The Chain Islands were tempting but we tucked away in the doubly protected Granite Bay for a very sound night’s sleep.

IMG_7367Under the early morning sun, we headed up the spectacular Nodales Channel, sails lazily furled, only to be let down by the wind as the day heated up.  As we entered the splendid intersection where Nodales meets Cordero  Channel and Frederick Arm, large group of dolphins splashed past and a couple of silver osprey rose in the thermals against a deeply wooded cliff.   

At our beloved Shoal Bay we tied up at the small government dock as other boats pulled out for the slack at Yaculta, Dent and Arran Rapids. Or, as Jack put it, we floated into my screen saver.  Indeed, there is no vista more spectacular than the view from Shoal Bay up Phillips Arm.  There it is in the masthead.  In the screen saver sunset is it blue.  This night it was red.  

IMG_7381Everything was fine at Shoal Bay.   The garden is thriving. An antique door had been installed on a new shed that day.  The log grid – a simple low tide dry dock painstakingly built of salvaged logs last summer – functions brilliantly.  The energetic, spirited Mark MacDonald who homesteads year round save for brief periods way “to make some money” was joined by Kelly and Linda, who live aboard their wooden ketch and lend a hand with the hard labor.

We gathered on the dock rather than in the pub. The crew of an aging Halbery-Rassy 42 named “Vagrant”, Debbie and Dave, were returning from their fifteenth trip to Alaska.  They’d left April 24 and were now headed south to Camano Island in the San Juans. Debbie had noticed our Carol Hasse sails and came on deck for a quick tour of the rigging, which helped me again appreciate how Carol and Lisa collaborate to make sail handing easy and safe.  Also on the dock were several sets seasoned British Columbians, one very elderly.  

Crew packing prawn catch for export to Japan.

Crew packing prawn catch for export to Japan.

At sunset a shrimp boat pulled in, and then a boat full of professional divers who must have been building a dock somewhere.  The divers celebrated the end of their day with merriment and a barbecue; the three-man-one-woman fisherman with equal satisfaction perhaps, but also hard work.  They had to process and pack 6,000 pounds of fresh shrimp and have it in Campbell River for a flight to Japan the next day.  When they pulled out in the morning, they were still standing at the counter on deck working away at it.

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1 Response to “Seymour Narrows to Shoal Bay”


  1. 1 Helene June 22, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    So great to follow you guys up the coast. It looks and sounds beautiful and Piers is so excited. Lovely! Keep em coming.


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