Although the rain that has been something of a “wet blanket” for the past nine days remains with us here in Haswell Bay, the dangerously strong winds that kept us in Bag Harbour for 3.5 days FINALLY decided to look for amusement elsewhere, and after a quiet night, Braesail’s stalwart crew hoisted her anchor out of the thick, messy, black mud of the bay this morning (Friday, June 10) and headed for the Dolomite Narrows, a short, very-poorly-uncharted channel–that should actually be called “Dolomite Shallows”–that is pasted all over with labels on charts and in guidebooks that warn about rocks and reefs and islets and kelp tangles and confusing currents and serious lack of depth. Its quarter-mile of water is said to be home to almost 300 species of colorful tidal and intertidal life, and to contain more protein per square meter than any other place in the entire world!
Walt prepared for our high-tide run through this marine gauntlet by plotting a course (see the map at the bottom of this post), based on a very helpful diagram that we found in the 2017 cruising guide, “Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia,” by Don Douglass and Reanne Hemingway Douglass, and I thank the Douglasses, and Walt’s skill as a navigator, for a safe passage through the beautiful, quite-tricky channel, on one grassy bank of which I spotted a deer enjoying a peaceful breakfast as we passed. Because even the lowest tides at this particular time fill the channel with water too deep for under-the-surface sight-seeing in a dinghy, I will have to find photos in books and on the Web that will give me some idea of the astounding variety and richness of the marine life here.
From time to time during the three hours of our journey to secluded Haswell Bay, the sun managed to pull back the skies’ cloud-curtains a little, revealing patches of bright blue back-stage, and shining golden spotlights on small groves of trees on the hillsides and near the shores of the waterways through which we motored. Gauzy wisps of cloud-smoke rose from and wove among the surrounding mountain tops, and the small wavelets around us worked filigrees of white froth along the margins of the shoreline rocks. Upon entering the bay, we could see and hear four frolicking rapids playing among the boulders along the shore, and they are providing delightful “water music” for us as I write. One of them is spreading sea foam, about which Martin Knowles commented after I inquired about the stuff when we first encountered it in large quantities in Oyster Bay.
We should enjoy a relatively windless night if the forecasts are correct, and tomorrow we hope to visit Hotspring Island, one of the recommended Haida sites within the boundaries of Gawii Haanas National Park Reserve, which comprises the southern half of the archipelago. We will probably have to wear our foul-weather gear!