The lay day gave everyone the opportunity to explore Prince Rupert’s shops, the Museum of British Columbia, the sunken garden or simply provision for items they may have overlooked in Ketchikan. The Museum is located in a beautiful building reminiscent of a longhouse with an extensive display about the historic indigenous inhabitants of this area including the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. The town closest to the harbor is quaint and tidy with flowerbeds, a sunken garden, totems and sculptures. However, just south of town, it becomes clear that Prince Rupert is a major deep-water seaport on par with Vancouver, Puget Sound and California!
While moored in the harbor we shared the dock with the beautiful schooner, “Athos” that we had admired on our arrival. Today was the birthday of Andy on Arctic Star and many other flotilla members had recently had birthdays, so we all celebrated with chocolate cupcakes on Deception. This provided a good opportunity to get to know each other a bit better before our departure to Spicer Island tomorrow morning.
As we departed Cow Bay Marina and traveled south, we passed miles of infrastructure that Prince Rupert is built around. Being located closer to Asia than any other west coast port, it is the hub for transferring goods all over North America. The BC ferry, huge container ships, 9 cranes that load/unload containers, CN Railroad with tracks all the way to Memphis Tennessee, bulk cargo silos to transfer grain grown inland and lastly, a coal cargo loading dock! The elegant Athos glided by the flotilla as we left Prince Rupert behind.
Spicer Islands are located off Beaver Passage, they are a convenient staging point for our crossing of Hecate Strait on our way to Haida Gwaii. It is a beautiful collection of islands and smaller islets and rock piles with cozy anchorages sprinkled throughout. Without enough room for rafting, we each anchored separately. Once kayaks and dinghies were launched, the exploring began. Just outside the islands is the expanse of Hecate Strait with no land in sight. The seas outside were flat calm allowing us to venture out a bit while remaining close to the safety of the bay. The fleet feels both excitement and a bit of healthy apprehension as we look forward to tomorrow’s big 8-hour push through Hecate Strait to Haida Gwaii.