Awake by 6am engines started 5am
Breakfast 7 – 8 am
Leisurly trip down the coast
1230 Knox Bay
1340 Blind Channel Resort – Walk to “Big Tree”
1800 Frederik Arm
I was awakened very early in the morning by the starting engines of our freighter. It was a peaceful night and everyone except for me the night before, seemed to have headed for bed around 9:30 pm. That is not what I was used to and so I stayed awake reading until almost midnight. Perhaps that’s what made waking up early that much more difficult but I tried falling back asleep. I really was not sure what time it was when the engines started but after an hour of trying to fall back asleep, finally gave in and decided to get up. As I reached form my watch I discovered that it was only 6am, the boat had started up at 5 in the morning.
Nobody was up yet, but I just hung out in the dining area with my book for about 30 minutes before people started to arrive for the first breakfast. I poked my head outside to see a sky filled with stars and knew that today was going to be a great sunny day.
As we ate our breakfast, the thick fog that had greeted us in the morning started to lift and the sun poked out through the clouds. With the sun out, the colours of the pine trees started to show the various shades of green. I couldn’t believe that for the past 3 days we had the privilege to enjoy the simple yet beautiful treed coastline of British Columbia.
This is a massive country and coastline with a varied texture of colours dotting the coastline. Periodically we see sections of forest that are logged, surrounded by tall mature trees. Some of the logged areas have not yet been planted while others were replanted ten or two years ago. It adds a different dynamic to viewing the coastline as we have stopped in at various logging camps. It truly is a working coastal area so immense in size.
Bald eagles could be seen in the distance by some of our fellow passengers that were glued to their binoculars. Other birds and sea-life are plentiful as well along this coastline. We travelled a long distance before our first stop which was a return to a previously visited logging camp at Knox Bay to pick up empty fuel barrels around 12:30 pm. Not much action was happening on shore as they must be off on this Saturday for the weekend. We simply watched the action on the freight deck as we enjoyed our seafood chowder filled with salmon, shrimp, clams, scallops, halibut and oysters.
Just over an hour later we arrived at Blind Channel Resort on West Thurlow Island. While it’s summer crowds and marina were completely empty at this time of year, it was a magical place to take a stroll. There was one path that followed the beach to a lookout over the edge of the harbour and another that was a figure 8 shaped path through the thick woods up the mountainside. We opted for the forest trail that criss crossed over a few mountain creeks and wandered us through old growth, second generation and also a dark thick forest walk. We had to cross wooden bridges, moss covered logs and jump from rock to rock each time we crossed a stream. Mid way through the hike we came across “Big Tree”, the site we had come to see. He was a massive cedar tree in the middle of this forest which was obviously many centuries old. Worn with age it still stood tall and was a formidable sight in this forest.
All of the other passengers kept to the shorter trail loop or the beach walk but Kirsten and I were ready for a workout. The sun was out and so before long I had to shed my coat and sweater until I was hiking with just a T-shirt on this November afternoon. We kept a good pace on our hour long hike through the mountainside and were grateful for the opportunity to get some exercise and work off some of the incredible food we had been eating the past number of days.
This was one of our longest stops but after two hours it was time to move on to pick up some more freight at the end of Frederick Arm. As we cruised up the inlet the sun was shining causing a mirror like reflection from a snow capped mountain to glare off the ocean surface. We were greeted by more porpoises that swam alongside the ship and at the bow for 5 to 10 minutes. We arrived just before dusk as a fuel tank, truck and massive crane were loaded onto the deck of our freighter. The precision with which they loaded and parked the crane between a storage van and 20 passenger van was nothing short of amazing. Everyone watched as this massive piece of equipment made its way slowly onto the deck of the ship.
We stopped early in the evening at the end of Frederick Arm for the night. As we enjoyed an incredible halibut dinner, the sun set over the water, dusk set in and a brilliant moon greeted us for the evening. It was our last dinner together with our other 10 shipmates and ended in a sombre evening as we felt our BC coast experience soon would be coming to a close.