Destination: Blunden Harbour

As mentioned in our previous blog we left God’s Pocket on September 14th and motored/sailed to our next destination Blunden Harbour.  God’s Pocket is where we had to make a decision on our next destination; keep going north and explore Queen Charlotte Sound and the many islands north, go west and explore the west coast of Vancouver Island, or go east and explore the Broughton islands.  We both wanted to explore the west coast of Vancouver Island but there were a few factors that we considered and instead made the decision to go east and explore the Broughton islands for now and will come back and explore the west coast of Vancouver Island another time.  Many boaters (both sailors and motorboaters) that we met along the way before God’s Pocket thought it was a bad idea to go around the island especially so late in the season except for one who told us we had the right type of boat for the potential conditions we might meet and that there are many places to tuck into if the weather were to turn bad.  We seriously considered it after speaking with a longtime commercial fisherman but we were still nervous as we had one portlight that was cracked and a few others that leaked badly when it rained and we were not sure the portlights would be able to stand up to heavy weather and/or seas.  That was the main reason we decided to go east for now and leave exploring the west coast for after we fix the portlights.

Christie Passage

Christie Passage

As we left God’s Pocket, we motored through Christie Passage and headed north for a few hours before turning south and east through Ripple Passage, Richard Channel and Queen Charlotte Strait.  We were able to sail for about an hour until we came into Ripple Passage when the wind died down and we had to bring the sails in and motored the rest of the way.  As we were travelling south through Richard Channel, we were able to see two icebergs north of us in the distance – it reminded us of home…

Iceberg in the distance

Iceberg in the distance

Sea otter taking it easy in Richard Channel

Sea otter taking it easy in Richard Channel

The entrance and passage to Blunden Harbour is surrounded by rocks and we made extra sure to study the paper charts and follow our depth sounder carefully as we approached the anchorage.  Once inside, the anchorage (50°54.372’N, 127°17.558’W) is a large basin and can fit many boats.  We had no problem finding a good spot to anchor as there were only two boats there and by the end of the evening only two more showed up.  On the north shore of Blunden Harbour, there is an abandoned Native village and apparently the beach is littered with native trading beads, but we did not find any during our explorations only shells.  The totem poles that were represented in one of Emily Carr’s paintings are gone as well as any real evidence of the former native village that were still there in the ’30s.   We did catch our first fish of the season; there were so many fish jumping, we thought they were going to jump into our dinghy but that did not happen!  We also decided our luck that evening at crabbing and Rob set out the crab trap with the fish head and tail that we caught.

The next morning we checked the trap and we ended up with seven Dungeness crabs; unfortunately six out of the seven were female and we had to put them back in the water, Rob then reset the crab trap to see if we could catch more. Following our ‘happy dance’ in our tiny dingy; ok there was no dance but we were excited, we decided to explore some of the area and took the dinghy towards Bradley Lagoon in the northeast corner of Blunden Harbour.  In order to get into the lagoon, we had to go through a set of rapids which we did not think much of as we were going with the flow into the lagoon.  Bradley Lagoon is a beautiful area and the lagoon is large and would take at least a day to explore.  We spent about an hour exploring and decided to return to Blunden Harbour but were surprised to see that the rapids had increased due to the flood of the tide into the lagoon.  We attempted to go through the rapids but our motor was not strong enough and we had to turn around and wait at the entrance.  We finally made it through the rapids after three more attempts and waiting over four hours!  It ended up being a long day and late night but we came back to the boat and enjoyed a late supper of fish (which we caught while in the lagoon) and our one crab.  We definitely learned something on this trip.  We were not prepared when we left the boat, we did not bring any water, food, a satellite phone or warm clothing; we thought we were only going to be an hour or so exploring around but in the end we went further than planned and we should have had a grab bag on the dinghy.  Definitely going to make sure to have one on board next time when we go ‘exploring’ with the dinghy.

The next morning prior to leaving for our next destination, we brought the crab trap back on board and had ten crabs this time but they were all female and had to go back.  Oh, well! ~ Sophia & Rob

 

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