Elcho Harbour to Ocean Falls

Today we had an amendment to the float plan. I had originally planned for us to go a bit further up Dean Channel to Eucott Bay Hot Springs…but neither of us was in the mood for a soak, and it was not particularly sunny or bright today. So instead, we decided it was time to head for Ocean Falls.

As we were enjoying breakfast, Bob spotted the four Grizzlies back out on the flats again. We watched them for a long time, as we could see them better than last night. They were eating the grasses but also rolling in the creek, and the juveniles were “fake fighting” and standing up on their hind legs and cuffing each other. One tried it with the big Grizzly male, who tolerated it for a few seconds and then cuffed the youngster with meaning. The youngster desisted. Two eagles kept the bears company.

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Four grizzly bears entertain us

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The kids decide to try some bear wrestling

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It ends in a draw

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Bald eagles look much less majestic when they are scrounging on the beach

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Elcho Harbour is one of the prettiest anchorages you'll find

Bob took the helm for Ocean Falls. I worked on the blog, and the waves were one foot chop in Dean Channel. Alaskan Dream took them in stride, though, and I felt no jostling as we headed back down the Channel.

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Waterfall along the way

As we neared the turn for Cousins Inlet, I saw a dark hulled motor vessel ahead of us, also bound for Ocean Falls, but we were too far away to tell what type of boat it was. It was windy and gray as we passed a few cabins on the shoreline and saw the small town (80 residents?) of Martin Valley in the distance. Once we got abeam Martin Valley, we could see the Ocean Falls dam. This dam provides hydroelectric power to Martin Valley, Shearwater and Bella Bella. You can see the overland power lines emanating from Ocean Falls. We passed these along out route since we left Shearwater.

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Karen makes ready the lines for our mooring at Ocean Falls

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Ocean Falls, a town with a long rich history from boom to bust, and now starting to write a new chapter

Though not charted, there is a nice log breakwater protecting the Ocean Falls docks. We picked a spot on the inside of the outer dock, which turns out to be newly installed this year. The wind provided a nice assist as we tied up. And we had great 30amp power and unlimited amounts of the famous Ocean Falls water. It comes from Lake Link but it is also filters and UV treated!

We headed to “The Shack”, which is the wharfinger’s office as well as a mini club house for boaters. It is much nicer than the name implies. Inside were 2-3 computers hooked up to the internet, a book exchange, and several tables with a view outside. Alongside were recycling containers, which I immediately took advantage of. We met Neil, the wharfinger, and paid a reasonable moorage and power fee ($23.25 for 49 feet and $8 for 30amp power), and then headed off to walk to the “grocery store”. It’s about a mile walk up the paved road to Martin Valley. It is only open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3-5pm, and there is an orange “light” that flashes when the store is open for business. It was fun to look at the store, and we had a nice chat with Jimmy, and ended up purchasing eggs and tomatoes before walking back. It was still overcast and windy, but no rain. As we rounded a turn in the road, I said “Oh Sh%*! There was a very large black bear ambling down the other side of the road right at us. I have read all the “bear encounter protocols”, which flew out of my head as soon as I saw that bear. Bob, luckily, kept a level head and stopped, the said “Yo Bear” so the bear saw us and heard us. The bear turned 180 degrees, then thought better of it, and turned back around to continue his walk down the road. After all, he was on the road because it did not want to bother with trudging through the thick forrest. It took one more “Yo Bear” before the bear decided it made sense for him to leave the comfortable walking path of the road to head into the forest instead. During this encounter, I stood behind Bob. I tell myself it was to avoid looking at the bear and giving off the smell of fear, not that it was to ensure the bear had a better target!

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The “store”. Notice the orange flashing light signaling “we're open”

We walked back to the docks, occasionally looking over our shoulders to ensure the bear was not trailing us. We met the folks on Zucchini, the green hulled motor vessel we had seen entering Cousins Inlet earlier today. They are from Connecticut, and keep their boat on the West Coast.  We chatted briefly. We also helped a sailboat with 2 fellows from Bella Coola tie up in all the wind. All they wanted to know was where they could see the first game of the Stanley Cup (Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston). I suggested they walk up the road to town to Slaggo’s Saloon (with a sharp eye out for the bear). Then Bob and I spent a nice, quiet and well-powered night in Ocean Falls. Dinner was Thai Peanut Chicken and Jasmine Rice. We were able to get Sat TV, and watched Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert before heading off to bed.