Recent weather made me think about how sheltered this area is. Here are a couple of eagles drying out after a rain storm. These are a couple of town eagles , the photo is taken from our back door.
I had a couple of inquiries about fishing that asked about seasickness. I explain that we are located in the Inside Passage, about in the middle of the sheltered east coast of Vancouver Island. This is the ocean , but not the kind of big ocean you might be thinking of. Big ocean swells are far more than a hundred miles away, either direction. Think of Georgia Strait as an inland sea , like a big lake , with narrow passages linking to it, and fjords leading into the mountains. From Campbell River we can choose to head into the sheltered areas when we want extra nice conditions.
Last night was the strongest storm of the winter so far. Coming out of the Pacific storm track with lots of rain it, peaked this morning about 6 am with winds at the Sentry Shoal buoy, in the middle of Georgia Strait, measured at 35 knots and gusting to 43. ( 40 mph and 50 mph ) . That is about as bad is it gets in a usual winter. Seas were a bit over 3 meters or 10 feet.
For comparison, there have been wave warnings in recent days for the west coast of Vancouver Island for waves of 30 to 40 feet , and warnings of 50 feet for Washington State. Parks Canada put out an Extreme Wave Warning and the town of Tofino closed beach access . Waves were measured January 18 offshore at 14 meters , about 5 stories high.
I took this photo of the ferry leaving it's Campbell River berth , also on January 18. It is blowing with gusts nearly 30 knots , as recorded at the Sentry Shoal buoy . Tidal current direction makes a big difference to localized waves , and here it is pretty okay way out to Quadra Island. However there are 6 footers out in the open, by the horizon . There will be some times in the winter when the ferry misses a few sailings. I took this with my smartphone, standing behind my open car door and having trouble holding the phone steady as the wind buffeted the flat surface in the gusts. At least it wasn't raining at the time.
The storm that was peaking at 6 am ran through, the winds died, and the sky broke into a lot of blue and sun by mid morning. This photo is 11 am , looking over town and pointing at April Point.
In the news is a notice that Mt Washington, the great ski mountain behind Courtenay and Campbell River is closed today. They had too much snow to cope safely. Over 80 cm overnight and 105 in the last 24 hours. ( 41 inches ) . A good snowpack in the mountains is important for young salmon in the streams in summer.
For contrast , here is what can happen in very calm fall and winter conditions. That is fog laying over the cool water of Discovery Passsage ( January 3 ) , like a wall as soon as a boat leaves the harbour.
We're looking forward to nice spring, summer, fall conditions. I love winter too, but you have to be more flexible about choosing fishing days. Check out the flat water in all the fishing and touring photos.
Today was a great day for seeing whales, just by coincidence.
Jeff and Katy are researching possibilities for a home for retired Orcas. The public who once enjoyed seeing captive whales on display has had a change of heart and would now prefer to see them set free. But the captive ones have been kept too long and are no longer able to fend for themselves in the wild. So what is needed is a place with more room to move around, but still confined in a bay behind a net fence where they would be fed and taken care of. That sounds like an enormous undertaking, yet there is an organization planning to do just that, The Whale Sanctuary Project. https://whalesanctuaryproject.org/
Jeff and Katy have had more to do with whales, wild , captured, or rehabilitated, and freed, than I could have thought possible.
We came upon a family of Orcas sharing some kind of kill. We just floated quietly at viewing distance and after a while they worked their way somewhat closer.
In a channel towards the mountains we saw a humpback whale and stopped to watch her a little while.
And then on the return circle leg we were met by another Orca family coming up the passage .
What a wonderful December day. Thanks Jeremy, for making this connection with Jeff and Katy.
It's a new view ! Shamra and I bought a home in Campbell River !
Here's the view from the end of the block on Elm Street. I can't feel very far away . There is part of Quathiaski Cove looking back. The old dock is just a bit to the right , hidden behind Grouse Island. Row and Be Damned is on the left, and Mt Dougie Dowler, dominates the skyline, very much like the view from Heriot Bay. The marina is a nice walk away and my boat is almost in sight.
Turning north several degrees and there is Estero Peak. That marker can be seen from many directions, with the fishing hole at Denham Bay at its toes, and Bute Inlet at its heels.
The Tyee Pool at the mouth of the Campbell River, and the shoreline for rowing for Tyees, is very handy now.
Jeri and Martina , fishing chums in early November.
When they phoned , they were in Campbell River as the weather was turning from pretty nice to pretty darn cool . They assured me that they would be fine , " We're mountain people ! ". And they are, they live and work in the mountains of Switzerland. They arrived at the boat at the appointed time before the sun , dressed in quality ski clothing. True to form, they were not a bit cold. I was impressed !
I've been mostly switched over to my other seasonal carpentry mode. But glad to go if the crew is keen, and they were. Game on !
They both just loved the whole thing, and caught a chum each.
These two have been exploring across Canada in a rental RV, starting in Montreal, and they had fishing for Pacific salmon on the got- to- do list. Keep the adventure going !
Today's trip produced no chums. They have been very moody lately, as chums can sometimes be when they are migrating by. But a few Orcas came by us, which were appreciated . I don't know if those hunters were looking for seals, or looking for salmon as we were.