(August 26th, 2017) Morning in Port Neville, at our rocky anchorage. Oh thank goodness, the anchor held. After listening to the chain creak and groan and scrape against the rock bottom all night, I wasn’t sure where we’d find ourselves in the morning. My only solace was that the bottom near the shore and further into the channel was sand, and in the main channel it was too deep for the anchor to hit bottom, so as long as the rock-scraping continued, we hadn’t drifted too far. Turns out, we hadn’t drifted at all, despite the current.
We didn’t know it yet, but we were about to kick off our own little “resort week” on Mobert and Breakaway.
It started off at Blind Channel Resort. I did my usual hour of fishing between ports, and as has consistently been the case in BC, failed miserably. Not even a bite, even in the tide rips the sockeye are fabled to frequent. After 30 minutes in the tide rips, we found ourselves trolling backward in the current, so we decided to pull up and motor on ahead.
By the afternoon, the sun was out, and we found ourselves transiting the channel with a small group of humpbacks. For some reason, sitting out on watch alone, with Rich and the kids downstairs, traversing that liquid highway with a bunch of humpbacks alongside was somewhat of a turning point for me. I suddenly stopped feeling like an intruder in the sea, and instead felt like I was a part of it. I was simply making my way to my next destination, like they were, and they didn’t think twice about traveling alongside us, because they were part of the sea and they accepted us and that we were there – I realized I should accept us as part of the sea, too. Traveling with the whales, I was suddenly much more confident in everything – where we were, what we were doing, my own seamanship, and the nagging question of really I really “belonged” on the water, and part of the sea. Until then, I’d felt a bit like a fraud – a land-lawyer, overly busy professional, with no maritime or outdoor skills but an overabundance of office skills – but over the last three months, that had all changed. People now accepted me as a sailor, even when I didn’t accept myself as one. But here I was, traveling with the whales, almost part of the pod for the few minutes we spent together, and I suddenly felt comfortable and accepting of myself for what I’d become – a real sailor and fisher (among other things) – and life on the boat suddenly became even more comfortable than before.
We arrived at Blind Channel, where I got another excellent exercise in docking as we parallel parked in a fairly short space. (I probably wouldn’t even had tried, but realizing with the whales earlier in the day that I wasn’t just faking my knowledge, skills, or love of marine transiting made me realize I could bring the boat in just fine.)
Blind Channel is a fun and cozy little family-run resort. The dock staff was amazing, courteous, and helpful, both on the radio and in person, and ready to help guests on and off the docks. After getting settled in at the dock, we all got dressed to explore the shore, and visit the restaurant for Ellie’s birthday dinner! With both girls fabbed to the max (and reasonably, but not totally, presentable parents), we went up to shore to begin exploring.
With Laurel from Breakaway joining us, our exploration started off with a trip to the little resort store, where Rich and the girls stocked up on soda and a few bags of chips. Then, we did the half-mile or so hike up to visit a 900-year-old red cedar. Wow, what a tree!
The hike up to the tree made us all realize that we hadn’t spent the summer in Alaska doing the kind of hikes we’d anticipated. Not only was this hike on a very clear and reasonably easy trail – as opposed to the bear “trails” we’d stumbled and fumbled on all summer – but also, the lack of opportunities to get off the boat and run around was evidenced by our sore muscles and wheezing just a few minutes in to the walk. It was also HOT! At just under 80 degrees, our Alaska-acclimated bodies sweat as though we were in the Sahara, ruining our dinner clothes.
As we made our way back to the resort, we ran into Eric and Jane from Foxy. What a pleasant surprise! After a few minutes of catching up, we headed into the restaurant for Ellie’s birthday dinner, with Breakaway and Foxy joining us. It was so nice of them to come along – Ellie felt so special that some of the other boats celebrated her birthday with us, and Morgan had felt the same at her party back in Ketchikan.
The food quality at the restaurant was absolutely fabulous. We all enjoyed some wonderful German fare. While we dined, Morgan and Ellie ran off, apparently having made friends with the resort proprietor’s 5-year-0ld granddaughter. She was dining with her grandpa in another part of the restaurant. While the adults ate, the girls ran in and out, playing and laughing, and occasionally eating. Hours later, we sang happy birthday, and headed back to our boats for an early morning departure the next day.