Aug 4: Relaxing in Claydon Bay

The morning began late, after a most enjoyable sleep in. We awoke under a misty grey mix of fog and the pallour of BC Interior wildfire smoke. Having fortified ourselves with our morning lattes (hot, this time, rather than iced) and egg scramble, we set out in Coracle to retrieve the crab pots. Claydon Bay is known to have reasonable crabbing, and we hoped to snag one or two for a future dinner. One pot contained a slightly under-legal-size crab which took the better part of a motor across the bay to set free. Hans and I once had a Cree roommate who once said that according to the Cree and a number of other First Nations, if and animal crosses your path and you successfully hunt it, it’s because that animal wanted to give its life for you. This one crab seemed to have that idea; but we did manage to return it nevertheless. The other crab pot contained…nothing. Which was rather demoralizing, given that a commercial fishing couple came by in their dinghy to service their pots nearby and pulled up a whole pot full of tasty-looking crabs. In hindsight, we really should have just motored over and used a $20 bill as bait to get them to share one of their catch. C’est la vie!

Upon returning the crab pots to Braesail, I loaded up my camera gear and headed off in Coracle to photograph some absolutely fascinating trestle ruins along the shore. Leave it to an architectural photographer to, in a place of stunning natural beauty, find a ruined architectural subject on which to train his camera! I spent much of the morning tromping around the mud barefoot with my tripod and 10-stop neutral density filters, doing long exposure work for later post-processing.

With a solid card-full of images, I returned and enjoyed a quick lunch of quesadillas before Hans pulled the anchor and we headed off, under warmer temperatures but no less smoky skies. There was just enough wind to pop the yankee open for half an hour past ‘Cunning Point’ and give us an extra half-knot at best of speed. Unlike yesterday, the wind had no cunning plans for us, and as the yankee deflated itself in less than 2 knots of wind we glided down into Greenway Sound under power—while we’d have rather sailed, having charged batteries and a full tank of hot water for showers made up for the lack of sailing fun!

The Broughton and North Broughton Islands are separated by a drying lagoon with a bay to either side. The east side of the bay looked promising in the Dreamspeaker cruising guide, but getting into that bay requires passing through a tight channel between an islet just south of Broughton Point. We would have happily gone through on Sagres without much thought, but as we got close enough to peek in, putting Braesail through seemed unwise as there didn’t seem to be enough room to turn about her keel and head back out in case of trouble, and we were also about to hit that passage at peak of flood on a spring tide without having a reliable current guide for that area. We’d noticed another promising anchorage on the way into Greenway Sound, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and tried for the other anchorage instead.

According to the guides, there was a marina in the first bay of Greenway Sound until recently, but this facility has since been removed and there is almost no trace of it remaining. The remainder of this bay was not in the guidebooks, but given that the bottom conditions are marked ‘mud’ on the charts, we figured we’d wing it with a DIY anchorage. This is one of many areas in BC that’s deep glacial fjord: the middle of the bay is some 300 feet deep, but we found a little nook near a provincial dinghy dock and campground with a 30-50 foot ledge—perfect for stern tying. We successfully stern-tied (after remarking that it feels very odd to be that close to shore and have it still be 30+ feet deep), set the crab pots out again, and did a short hike on shore paralleling a charmingly gurgling stream which we could hear from on deck.

While a continued sunset hike would have been entirely in order, we were getting hungry and had planned to fix beer-crust pizza from scratch for dinner, which we proceeded to do. With full stomachs, we set the anchor alarms, watched Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, and turned in early to catch up on more sleep.

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