We spent most of the day traveling with a half-dozen other boats including The “Proud Canadian” (a seigne boat converted into a trawler), the “Orca Chief” (a huge boat that mostly supplies fingerlings–baby fish–from the hatcheries to the fish farms) and Terry’s boat, the “Island Bounty” (another gillnet boat a similar size to ours). Because of the way the tides rush through Seymour Narrows (a narrowing of the channel an hour north of Campbell River), it’s not worth the effort to fight the tide and so everyone heading to the same destination (Port Hardy) all depart at roughly the same time.
Our travel in the middle half of the day was pretty uneventful, although we did see a few unusual sights. The most notable was an intact (but repainted) BC Ferry probably being used as a bunk house for a logging camp on Vancouver Island.
A couple hours later, Johnstone Straight opened up (Just after Malcolm Island, if you’re following along at home) and the weather started to change. A wind picked up and before long we had 6-8 foot waves crashing into our bow as we headed towards Port Hardy. Those may have been small by nautical standards, but they were decently impressive for a city kid who complains when the bus driver stops too fast.
In my efforts to be helpful, I offered to do dishes after dinner, which proved to be quite a challenge as I kept losing a significant amount of water to the back-and-forth sloshing in the dish basin. Once it became too difficult, I took a break and joined Otto up front for awhile and was almost instantly rewarded with a pair of splashes in the corner of my eye that looked nothing like the rest of the slop around us.
After a moment or two of hard concentration, trying to track down the source of the splashes, I spotted a pair of dolphins just a few feet from the boat, enjoying a ride in our bow spray. They’d appear and disappear only to be replaced by others. As Otto pointed out, having dolphins keep your boat company is considered an excellent omen: hopefully that holds true for Otto, Terry and the others fishing up north this season.
Once we turned the point into Port Hardy, the seas calmed down somewhat and our companion boats the “Proud Canadian”, the “Orca Chief” and Terry’s boat, the “Island Bounty” all got into Port Hardy within 15-20 minutes of each other and three of the four of us rushed for the fuel dock, which was unfortunately closed for the evening and so we continued on to the wharves in Port Hardy to tie up for the night.
During the trip, you can either check this blog for the latest entries, or you can go to this interactive map of all the blog posts related to this trip. You can also find photos from the trip on Flickr.