Shearwater to Dean Channel, Elcho Harbour

We had a leisurely morning, and made our last visit to the restaurant so Bob could enjoy one more night of freedom from the galley! As we made our way back to Alaskan Dream, we stopped over to look at the new green lodge, which was the site of lots of construction (building a stone “foundation/breakwater”. The owner of Shearwater came over, introduced himself, and encouraged us to go inside the lodge and take a look. This fishing lodge is really nice, and is called Big Time Sportsfishing. It has a grand stone fireplace, large dining room, a roomy sitting area up on the second floor with leather chairs, a pool table and a bar, and then several rooms (many with views). Pretty cushy digs!

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The “fishing lodge on a barge”, settling into its new home on land

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Here you can see the complete lodge as the stone breakwater/foundation nears complication

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Shearwater, a must stop in your travels

We left Shearwater’s docks at 10am, and the sun was just starting to come out. I chose to take Gunboat Passage, the scenic route to Dean Channel. It is well marked, and not too tricky, but you need to pay attention. Bob swears he saw a humpback in the passage, but I didn’t see it, so it was an unconfirmed sighting!

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Karen checking for wildlife from the bow

I took the helm most of the way after that, and it was glorious in Fisher Channel and then Dean Channel. The low lying islands and topography gave wave to higher mountains with snowy caps, and it was a lovely ride up Dean Channel. We saw a pod of about 20 porpoises go flying by, clearly chasing fish and not interested in stopping to play with us.

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It not like this here everyday, but when it is, there is nothing to match the grandeur

As we got to the entrance of Elcho Harbour, we detoured to see Sir Alexander Mackenzie park, a site commemorating his accomplishments. Sir Alexander Mackenzie rock is marked by a 43’ cairn. On July 22, 1793, we completed his overland journey across Canada to the Pacific Ocean (or as close as he actually got, which wasn’t all the way), and he marked his accomplishment with vermillion paint on a rock. The inscription has since been carved into the stone. You have to look hard to see it, but we did! Apparently, MacKenzie ended his journey here because the waters beyond the rock were Bella Bella Indian territory and his Bella Coola Indian guides could not assure his safety.(Thanks to the Waggoner Guide for this background)

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Sir Alexander Mackenzie park

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Here is where to look to find the inscription

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A beautiful cruising day

We entered Elcho Harbour and it was absolutely gorgeous, it reminded us of Gut Bay in Alaska and also of Switzerland. The inlet extends 2 miles back off Dean Channel, and ends in a grassy bowl with streams and estuary and mudflats. Several waterfalls line the way in. We spent some time seeking the right place to drop the hook, as the anchorage is either deep (80+ feet) or super shallow due to the mudflats. The sun was shining and there was absolutely no wind. We got a good set in about 80’ of water, with great views of the head as well as the mouth of the inlet (and all the snowcapped mountains in both directions).

After getting the anchor set, we were sitting inside with windows and doors wide open when several dark eyed Juncos (small birds) started flying around and dive bombing the boat. One flew in the door, and I shrieked and hid in the bathroom while Bob sat calmly as it flew back out. Ick!

We relaxed and enjoyed the scenery up on the flybridge, and hoped this might be a good place to see bear. Sure enough, about 6:00, out come FOUR Grizzly Bears, a huge male and 2-3 juveniles. They were backlit by the sun and so gorgeous. They were in all the creek beds and spend several hours out there eating grass and rolling in it and entertaining us.

Dinner was halibut tacos, wine and 2 episodes of The Good Wife.The sunset was stunning, with alpenglow. It was quiet and peaceful and we were, once again, all alone.

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Elcho Harbour does not disappoint