July 2, 2008 Bella Coola to Eucott Hot Springs

We were so tired out from last night’s festivities that we missed the first tide out of town.  Around noon we motored out of the harbor and put up the sails in light wind.  I wanted to show the good people of Bella Coola what a sailboat was.  All day the wind increased and blew–of course–directly from the direction we wanted to go.  And all day long we made big, beautiful tacks from one side of the channel to the other.  Silent Partner did a great job sailing to windward.  Eventually we sailed across the face of the “Mesachie Nose”, flying along at 8 knots.  It was truly world-class sailing.  Clear skies, incredible mountains, and a booming wind.  It was a joy tacking down the channel.  Silent Partner spoke all day as her fiberglass hull hummed in the water.  The humming seemed to attract the dolphins, our constant companions in these waters.  Sometimes several dolphins would leap from the water in unison, and then dive under the boat.  One dolphin was particularly athletic, jumping higher than all the other dolphins and doing barrel rolls in the air.  Soon after sailing by the nose we entered Labrouche channel, or “Lovely Labrouche” as the fishermen called it.  Here was a passage with light winds, huge mountains, and giant waterfalls that brought volumes of water down from great heights.  The wind got behind us and we enjoyed a quiet sail after the intense activity of tacking.  Lovely Labrouche was over too soon, and we came out into the windy Dean Channel.  A close reach brought us right up to the Eucott Bay entrance.  I rank that sail from Bella Coola in the top 10 category.  Eucott Bay is basically a big muddy basin set in a rocky fjordland.  The entrance was very dramatic, marked by a massive avalanche that has just stripped the mountainside to bare, white bedrock.  The bay is ringed by grass and as soon as we entered the horseflies swarmed the boat.  After anchoring we hung out on the boat until sunset, and enjoyed dinner until the horseflies went to bed.  Then we rowed to shore and enjoyed an incredible hot springs soak!  After a great sailing day it was awesome to look out at the boat from the soaking tub, calmly anchored in a quiet bay and surrounded by snowy peaks.  On our way back to the boat, we rowed around the bay to cool off a bit, and into the mouth of a river that empties into the anchorage.   It was high tide and all of the grasses were submerged.  We floated out of the river mouth with the current, over lush grasses underwater below.  I told Colleen that we were “rowing the lawn” and cracked up.  I don’t know why I got such a kick out of it!  Perhaps I am now completely on island time.

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