We’ve just arrived for the evening in a little Native village (population: about 200) named Hartley Bay; we’re now only 80 nautical miles from Prince Rupert and are planning to get away early in the morning to make it to Port Edward (just south of Prince Rupert) by early afternoon so that Otto can drop off his Chum net and pick up his Sockeye net and take care of a few errands before continuing on to Rupert.
(Sockeye and Chum are different sized salmon and so require a different sized gillnet. Also, the sockeye fishery is earlier and so Otto was able to store that net up north before continuing to fish with his chum net further south at the end of last season.)
Hartley Bay’s big claim to fame is that it was the community that came out to help the survivors from the sinking of the Queen of the North, the BC Ferry that hit nearby Gil Island and sank. In this tiny community there’s a longhouse, a school, a community centre, a fish hatchery and fifty or so houses to go along with the small wharf. All of these are connected by a series of raised wooden boardwalks that go right to each building’s front door. Also, there’s no need for cars in a place like this; instead, everyone drives ATVs around.
Much smaller than Bella Bella or Klemtu, this community is unexpectedly central to Otto and his fishing companions. On the dock, we met up with old friends Juggie and Charlie and there was a quick exchange of information often called “dock talk”.
Listening to their banter one could quickly get a sense of how the fishing season was going. The Barkley Sound openings (which CSF members have already recieved some fresh salmon from) were noted as being quite productive, with larger than usual fish coming in so far. Also, word from the north (where we’re headed) is that the Nass River fishery is also doing well; decent amounts of fish were being caught earlier in the week in the area’s first opening and the next opening (which will be Otto’s first of the season) has already been announced as a two-day opening. This is a good sign that this may be a productive year, since these openings are typically only a single day.Time to head to bed; we’ve got an early start in the morning… about 5:00AM if Terry has his way.
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.