While waiting for the snow to melt in Comox, I will finally start my soon-to-be regular blogs on previous trips.
On April 23 2013 I left Comox for a trip to Knights Inlet. The first anniversary of my retirement from BC Ferries was one week away and I had been planning a trip north for a couple of months. The original plan was to make it up to the area north of Gilford Island, but I was having trouble finding people to join me. I had been reading a lot the previous winter, mostly about the history of the Discovery Islands and north to the mainland inlets & islands east of Vancouver Island. One of the books that I would highly recommend is “Full Moon & Slack Tide”, I think. (I think I lent this book to someone & would like it back if you’re reading this.) Billie Proctor wrote this book and it is a wonderful collection of stories about the history of fishing and logging around Gilford Island & Knights Inlet. In my search for adventurous souls that had as much free time as I did, I kept bumping into Krry Frank. When I told Kerry about my plan, he told me about the oolichan fishery that happens at the head of Knights Inlet. Oolichan, or candle fish, are fished by the First Nations to make oolichan grease. This is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, and the grease was a major trading commodity. Kerry also told me he would like to go up and observe again this year and thought my boat would be perfect for this trip. Well I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this. Kerry is the Hereditary Chief of the Comox Band & would be very welcome at the camp that the natives have up the river. We started planning a trip for the full moon in April when the fishing is best and the weather is warmer. Well that was great! I started charting courses and planning anchorages. Most of my adult life had me transiting the area by boat & plane. I had fished for cod around the Discovery Islands, worked as a carpenter at Sonora Island, delivered ferries to the mid coast, owned a float camp near the mouth of Knights Inlet and flew over in small planes going to work in the mid coast. I always enjoyed the trips through this area and was finally going to have the chance to explore some of the remote bays & historical sites.
As it turned out, our enthusiasm generated more interest than I could handle. Twee Schoenon is fitted out as a tour boat with no actual beds. There is plenty of room but little privacy, so when the numbers got up to 5 or 6 we started thinking of traveling with another boat. Kerry talked Doug into bringing his older seine boat, the W8 along. I was determined to be at the head of Knights Inlet for the full moon and also had a list of places I wanted to see on the way up. The W8 got held up for something so I decided to leave on my own and meet the rest at Knights in a week. Well they were 2 weeks behind me & that is how I ended up doing a 2 week trip to the end of BC’s longest inlet by myself.
My next few blogs will cover different legs of this trip starting with my 1st stop at Mitlenatch Island. I am planning on doing the original trip to Gilford Island this year and am looking for people that want to share the experience and expenses.