June 22, 2008
N 54 degrees, 20 minutes
W 130 degrees, 29 minutes
Leaving Prince Rupert
Dear friends and family:
After days of motoring northward through British Columbia's inland passage, it was a welcome break to stop for the afternoon and evening in Prince Rupert. We needed to restock on fuel, water, food, and put our feet on dry land.
Below: On the way to Prince Rupert from our previous anchorage (and this is for you lawyers out there), we passed the "Lawyer Islands," which included "Client Reefs" and "Bribery Islet." See the chart, below on the right, and the islands themselves, on the left.
We dearly hoped for cell phone connections, but none are to be had in Prince Rupert. There were no cruise ships at the dock, fortunately, but plenty of shops, restaurants and local artisans planted, waiting for the next suckers. Also plenty of really large eagles, hanging around the fishing boats, snapping and screeching at any of their comrades who happens to actually snag a piece of fish.
We stopped by the local Salvation Army store, heading for their used books section (always going for those older, small format books, which fit our bookcase.) I passed on the medieval Latin poetry, but picked up The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Books 1 & 2 of "To Serve them All My Days" (Delderfield). Those, together with 3 other books of the trashier sort (space opera, LA detectives, etc.) cost us a total of $3. We also got lured into a much nicer bookstore/art gallery, where we picked up copies of our left-behind route planning charts, and a book on whales and dolphins recommended by friends. So far we've only seen whales from a distance, but hope that soon...
It has been mostly cold and rainy, but it actually was a bit warmer and pleasant as we walked around Prince Rupert. They have lovely gardens, totem poles, big governmental buildings, a nice looking museum (unfortunately closed), and very friendly people. We went to the shopping mall (actually a big gray cube of a building, forbidding from the outside) and stopped by a display of First Nation art under a banner proclaiming that it was "National Aboriginal Peoples Day." We spoke with the artist on duty there, a very attractive young woman, who was mostly displaying her father's work. There was a work hanging on the wall, carved out of cedar, that was exquisite. Only $18,000! The young woman told us that her father was working on four more of those, all pre-sold to BC Hydro.
The marina ("Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club") had a wi-fi (low speed) connection available, so I more or less caught up after about a week of NO INTERNET ACCESS. Now, of course, we're underway again, so it's back to Winlink (which is primarily how you're receiving these messages.)
Remember that business you learned in American History about the US/Canadian border dispute, where the motto was "54-40 or fight!"? I never realized until today that 54 degrees 40 minutes is approximately the southern border of Alaska. So those American border expansionists were apparently proposing not only to lop off most of British Columbia, but also to make Canada landlocked (at least on the Pacific side). The things you learn when you travel!
It's about 85 miles to Ketchikan, the place we'll have to check in with US Customs and Immigration. We left Prince Rupert at 7:30 a.m., but 85 miles is really too far for one day (although it IS the longest day of the year, give or take a day or two), so we called for permission from Customs to stop and anchor in Foggy Bay. Apparently they give such permission routinely, because most small boats simply can't make it that far in one day.
North to the icebergs and whales!
Best wishes to all.
Craig and Barbara Johnston