We departed Captain Cove at 7:25am, anticipating a 5+ hour trip to Rupert. Coming out the top of Petrel Channel into Ogden Channel, we saw the BC Ferry Northern Expedition heading south, and the Coast Guard Ship Tanu (the one we had seen via AIS earlier this week) heading north. These were the first boats we’d seen in days. Made us feel like we were headed back toward civilization a bit! We also started to see prawning boats and a few pleasure boats as we headed up Arthur Passage.
The ubiquitous BC Ferry crosses our path
Bob had plotted a course slightly “starboard” of the normal traffic flow, which was fun because it brought us closer to the extremely shallow sand flats off the Skeena River. We were in deep water, but we could surely see the shallow areas.
We also started seeing a lot of cargo ships. Prince Rupert is a big port, and the train runs from Rupert east all the way to Memphis. One cargo ship, the Ogna, was anchored in mid channel. The Coast Guard Ship Tanu reversed course to go over and give her a close look before continuing on patrol.
You can see Prince Rupert from a long ways off, especially the Grainery on Ridley Island. It took a long while, especially at reduced speeds of 5 knots, to really get into Prince Rupert proper. Prince Rupert is located on Kaien Island, and has a population of about 20,000, so it’s a real city. Apparently, it’s also the 3rd deepest natural harbour in the world. Entering from the south, you see big ships being loaded with coal or grain, and then lots and lots of ferries and fishing boats at Fairview. We continued north In the harbour to our destination of Cow Bay.
Loading grain from the Canadian Plains at the Prince Rupert Grainery terminal
Container port at Prince Rupert is hard to miss
We had called Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club in advance, to get a mooring reservation. We were told it was a “waiting list” system, and when we arrived there was room for us, but it was on the outside dock that runs perpendicular to the shore. Prior cruiser stories had prepared us for the fact that this dock was going to be bouncy.
Docking conditions were favorable I guess – the wind was howling toward the dock and the current was running toward the dock, so we nestled in pretty easily. Departing would have been a different story! Dockhands caught our lines and also hauled the garbage off the boat, so I was happy for the assist. We saw a few boats at Prince Rupert that we had seen earlier in the trip. One good thing about these docks was that unlike the typical bullrails, where tying off is always a challenge, they had “cleats” made of half inch steel rod. Very easy and fast to secure the lines to these. We did have to seriously fender the boat due to all the wake, fetch and swells. If you are prone to seasickness, this dock is not for you. To me, it was like riding a horse…with a bad gait.
Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club. See the little yellow object in the lower right?
PRR&YC always has a smile, visible even at high tide.
We walked to lunch at the Cow Bay Café, which was terrific. I had a slice of brie and sun-dried tomato quiche, and Bob had a good chicken quesadilla. It rained, then the sun came out. The Café was totally booked for dinner, and then closed for a few days – definitely a good place to check out next time. Cute, small, and good home cooking.
We walked into town and visited the Museum of Northern British Columbia, which was lovely and had lots of First Nations historical pieces as well as displays about Prince Rupert and the history of the port. Bob was more thrilled at finding a 7-11, where he could indulge his need for a Slurpee.
When we got back to the docks, a 65’ Fleming (Dorado) and a 54’ Ocean Alexander (Sunshine) had come in behind us on the outer dock. They were all rocking and rolling, just like us. We had internet access on the docks, and we were happy. Bob was able to post some of the blog and check email, while I downloaded a few more books for the Nook.
On the “T” portion of the dock, the Ocean Light II, a 71’ ketch sailboat that is a crewed charter boat, was preparing to sail the next day. They were onloading and offloading kayaks, and it was fun to watch. They had so many, 2 were stowed on the sail cradles on the two booms! Wild!
Did a couple loads of laundry and had a nice burger for dinner at the Breakers Pub just up at the head of the docks. It was a busy evening in Prince Rupert, we saw lots of vessels coming and going all night. Also lots of eagles in the area. The wake and fetch finally quieted down, and we had a good night’s sleep.