June 20 – Waddington Bay
Jennis Bay to Waddington Bay, 29.45 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 318.74 NM
We enjoyed a sunny, calm morning at Jennis Bay Marina while we waited to leave for the 1130 slack at Stuart Narrows. Exchanged boat cards with other boaters and visited with them and Allyson on the outside deck. Bravo, her golden retriever mix, enjoyed lots of back scratches, and we heard Allyson’s story about when he was attacked by a wolf three years ago. He was taken by airplane to Port McNeill, then had a car ride to Port Hardy, where he was treated. He stayed there to rehabilitate for 4 weeks before he was able to come home. He’s doing fine now, but did lose an eye in the attack. Fortunately, Kiwi, her black kitty, didn’t get hurt in the scuffle.
As we were waiting to leave, a bald eagle entertained us by fishing in the back cove. The swallows churned up the water, and the eagle swooped down many times to try to snag a fish. We got some good close up photos, but the eagle didn’t get a fish…at least not while we watched.
When we left Jennis Bay, we planned to head out Wells Passage and cruise in Queen Charlotte Strait to Cullen Harbor, however, when we exited Stuart Narrows and turned west, we encountered 18 knots of wind (complete with white caps) on our nose. Never mind! We turned back toward Patrick Passage and retraced our journey on our way here, then continued on from Echo Bay through Creamer Passage to Waddington Bay, one of our favorite anchorages. Five other boats are here, but there’s room for more.
We’ve been lucky getting crabs in Waddington Bay before, so we launched our dinghy and Jim motored out to put the crab pot in the area that has been good before. We don’t see commercial pots in this area, so we hope we’ll be lucky again.
|Bald eagle waiting to catch fish in Jennis Bay|
|Headed south in Sutlej Channel|
|Anchored in Waddington Bay, looking back at the entrance|
|Jim taking out the crab trap.|
June 21 – Waddington Bay
We stayed a second night at Waddington Bay. Jim retrieved the crab pot this morning, and we got only one crab that was a keeper…others in the pot were either too small or female. It’s apparent that the commercial crabbers have taken a lot of the crabs from this area. Jim put the crab pot back down (since the bait was intact), but at the end of the day, still no more keepers. We cooked the crab on the aft deck and picked it to be used for crab cakes.
In order to cook the crab, we had to empty out an aft locker where we keep the crab cooker. We left some of the locker contents on our bed while we were cooking, and Rosie got inside our 5-quart stainless bowl…didn’t think she’d fit, but she did…she even curled up and slept most of the day…every time she turned over, the bowl would tip, then right itself.
Jim had some more work to do on the Internet router installation, so this afternoon he finished the electrical connections. I had a chance to do some kayaking in the bay. Enjoyed watching clams spurt at low tide, crows dropping clams on rocks to open them, and eagles soaring above the beach at the head of the bay.
That afternoon, we watched the Canadian Coast Guard come in to check out the anchorage. First time we’ve seen the Coast Guard checking anchorages. They stayed only long enough to look at the five boats anchored, then left. They may have been looking for a boat that they didn’t see here.
It was calm and quiet while we were in Waddington Bay. A westerly breeze filled in for the afternoon, which is typical of this anchorage.
|Looking out the entrance to Waddington Bay at dawn|
|Our one keeper crab|
|Jim on the aft deck, monitoring the crab cooking|
|Rosie looking proud of herself in the stainless bowl|
|Rosie slept all afternoon in the bowl|
|Alice coming back from kayaking|
|Phoenix at anchor in Waddington Bay|
|The Canadian Coast Guard came in to check the anchorage|
June 22 – Port McNeill
Waddington Bay to Port McNeill, 21.7 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 340.44 NM
We woke up in Waddington Bay to a southerly wind in the anchorage and wind warnings posted for both Johnstone and Queen Charlotte straits. We hoisted the anchor at 0800 and decided we’d head to Port McNeill if the conditions allowed, otherwise we would head to Mound Island or Crease Island so we wouldn’t have to cross the strait.
As it turned out, we were able to cross Queen Charlotte Strait. We found a northwest wind and 1-2 foot swells in the strait. It was rolly but not uncomfortable, so we continued on up Cormorant Channel and in to Port McNeill Marina. The marina is already getting pretty crowded, as the season is upon us, so we felt fortunate they had a space for us. On our way in to the marina, a commercial crabber passed us on his way out to fish. This is the first time we’ve seen so much commercial crabbing in this area, and by the way this boat was loaded with traps, we can see a possible reason why we aren’t getting as many crabs in the Broughtons as in years past.
It’s been 10 years since we were in Port McNeill, and the marina has been completely rebuilt. The marina manager’s office is now part of a visitor center in a brown building at the top of the ramp, and there are more docks for visiting boats. The town has a good-size IGA grocery store, post office, drug store, liquor store, hardware store, etc. It’s a great place to resupply. There is also a great laundry facility nearby the marina, where we did laundry this afternoon. The machines are all relatively new…there are 8 washers (plus 2 large capacity washers) and 8 dryers in this new and very clean facility.
We’ve decided to stay two nights in Port McNeill, so after doing the laundry, we had a leisurely evening, and made plans for shopping tomorrow.
|We spotted this eagle on top of a rock
as we left Waddington Bay
|This crabber passed us on our way in to Port McNeill|
|Approaching Port McNeill Marina, behind the breakwater|
|Port McNeill Marina|