June 29, 2008 Fury Cove to Cathedral Point Cove

Dense fog this morning.  I couldn’t see the shores of the cove. I could make out just a few other boats anchored nearby, looming in the fog.  The first three hours of the good flood tide were spent waiting for the fog to lift.  The next three were spent picking our way through the fog banks along the shores of Fitz Hugh sound.  The fog finally lifted off the Addenbroke Island lighthouse.  The lighthouse keeper came out of his house and waved to us from the front door as we sailed by.   A nice westerly filled in once the fog lifted, and we had a peaceful sail up to the abandoned town of Namu.  Namu was once a thriving cannery town that went to ruin after the mismanagement of the BC fishery.  Today we found only one lady living there with her husband.  She was arranging a kitchen she’d pieced together on a floating dock.  It was quite impressive!  There was a big open cauldron made from an industrial vat, with fuel drums stacked atop each other for the stove pipe.  An enormous slab of cedar served as the dining table, that could probably seat 40.  The whole scene reminded me of scenes from Kevin Costner’s “Water World.”  All kinds of gardens bloomed among the ruins, clearly they were not lacking for fresh produce.  The caretaker smiled at us “Just be real careful when you walk around.  Stay 20 feet apart so when you fall through the walkways you call pull the other person out!”  Namu is in various stages of serious collapse.  All of the old timbers and boardwalks have gone soft and the buildings are all out of kilter.  We explored until the tide turned, and then continued on our way.  We decided to turn our course into the Burke channel for a side trip to Bella Coola.  Thus began a 100 mile long detour to circumnavigate King Island.  The Burke is a challenging body of water.  We encountered tide rips and a strong ebb for its whole length, even despite running in on a spring flood of 17 feet!!  There are so many waterfalls and rivers dumping into the channel from the interior that it created a layer of fresh water over the top several feet deep, which ebbed at 2.5 knots.  Wow.  The wind fell calm and we motored against our “flood tide ebb” for 25 miles to Cathedral Point Cove.  The entire passage was chuck-a-block full of dolphins, which played about the boat in great numbers.  They were having feeding frenzies in all of the tide rips.  Further and further into the mountains we went, each bend revealing higher mountains and more dolphins than the last.  It was awesome.  I hung the solar shower from the boom and had an extremely satisfying hot shower at the helm, as I navigated through the dolphins.  I enjoyed the shower so much that I took another one later in the evening.  I just can’t believe I didn’t have a shower on the boat before!  Cathedral Point Cove is a striking anchorage.  The mountains are beginning to get extremely steep, rising a mile straight out of the sea.  The cove itself is a geologic anomaly, ringed by tall cliffs and looking directly out into the channel.  And we have it all to ourselves!  On an otherwise iron-bound coast, it is a shallow oasis.  Most of the inlet plunges to fantastic depths directly from shore, making it impossible to find anchorage.   I rowed to shore and bushwhacked my way up to the Cathedral Point weather station on the bluff.  Sizes are deceiving from the boat.  What looked like a freshly mowed lawn from the deck of Silent Partner turned out to be 10 foot tall bracken ferns tangled with extremely dense (and prickly) spruce trees.  I discovered a helicopter pad at the weather station, which explains why there aren’t any trails leading up to it.  From the landing pad, I had a great view of the channel and Silent Partner at anchor there.  The place reminded me of Taz Basin on the Kenai Peninsula, when Ryan and I anchored there and climbed the peak.  Back at the boat, Colleen cooked up a fine dinner of Indian food which we enjoyed sitting on the bow, in the sunset.  It was an excellent moment in time.  Later I rowed modulus out into the Burke Channel, flat as glass and still enough to hear a pin drop.  Dolphins by the hundred swam through the channel, making their soft chuffing noises.  I counted a chuff at least every second.  It was a surreal experience, beyond description.  Certain moments in nature just give me the shivers.  I just counted my lucky stars to be alive and in such a fantastic place.  A solitary Humpback whale swam right past the entrance of the cove.  Billowing clouds of mist rose into the still air, and the sounds of whale breathing echoed off the cliffs.  Totally incredible.  Colleen could hear the trumpeting underwater sounds of the whale through the hull of the boat.  On my row back I contemplated all of the incredible moments I’ve had while rowing in the Modulus.  I followed the shoreline of the cove, which was ringed with old-growth fir and spruce trees.  There was one log that stuck out off the beach and hung out over the cove.  On the end of the log was a big pile of bear scat, composed primarily of crab claws.  I laughed at the image of a bear pooping on a log balanced out over the water like that.  It was a fine evening, a still moment in time that I will never forget.

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