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Old 22-07-2014, 11:30   #1
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Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

Hi. After giving some non sailors a tour of Desolation Sound we would like to sail up to Port Hardy and points north. The question is which route is best? We could go up by Stuart island, or across to the inside passage then up, or up through the middle and join Johnson strait higher up. Which has the least rapids? The best sights? Fishing?
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Old 22-07-2014, 12:37   #2
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

dont have local knowledge but did this route back in 90s using GPS/RADAR from campbells bay through telegraph cove to port hardy. was great fishing just north of port hardy but mostly alot of dogfish before. fairwinds and godspeed.
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Old 22-07-2014, 14:14   #3
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

My preference would be through Yuculta, Dent, Greene northbound but if the tidal exchange is smaller it probably doesn't matter from a current perspective. I think the northern route is more scenic but it's all pretty damn pleasant.

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Old 22-07-2014, 15:00   #4
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

Thanks Bob and SB. I hear the halibut can be good too. Any insight?
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Old 22-07-2014, 16:25   #5
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

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Originally Posted by bobofthenorth View Post
My preference would be through Yuculta, Dent, Greene northbound but if the tidal exchange is smaller it probably doesn't matter from a current perspective. I think the northern route is more scenic but it's all pretty damn pleasant.

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I agree with Bob... it is a very senic route and the short delays due to tide and current are well worth it. Besides there are a few very nice float camps along the way with excellent restaurants.
You'll find the fishing pretty good all the way but it gets better north of Port Hardy. Once you hit the Rivers Inlet area, you be in sockeye country... best tasting salmon other than Red Spring (King) you will find anywhere. Enjoy your trip.. Phil
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Old 22-07-2014, 16:26   #6
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

The only route I've done is up Johnstone Straight. You obviously need to take Seymour Narrows very seriously, but after that the current was always north on the surface and there's only one other spot that had a bit of current halfway up. It was super easy (other than the dense fog at the time).

I think that other routes may be more scenic, but you'd have to spend more time timing the currents.
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Old 22-07-2014, 16:55   #7
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

I'm old enough to remember watching the government blow up Ripple Rock in Seymour Narrows so anything I suggest should be taken with a grain of salt or a good stiff shot of CC! Phil
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Old 22-07-2014, 17:36   #8
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

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I'm old enough to remember watching the government blow up Ripple Rock in Seymour Narrows so anything I suggest should be taken with a grain of salt or a good stiff shot of CC! Phil
Whoa, you were actually there? Awesome! What a sight that must have been.
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Old 22-07-2014, 21:06   #9
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

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Whoa, you were actually there? Awesome! What a sight that must have been.
Yep... 14-15 years old! working on the Scotch Fir, old wooden towboat out of Pender Harbor. We had a tow out of Port Hardy so the skipper said we might as well hang around for a day and watch it blow up. I think a couple of the old ferries hit it which caused the BC Government to drill down and across under the reef and set charges to blow the top off the old rock. They over did it and the tidal caused by the explosion sank a couple of the spectator boats. For a young kid like me, it was quite a sight! Solved the problem though. Were you up in that country then? Phil
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Old 22-07-2014, 22:13   #10
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

Hi...
We are in Port Hardy tonite....came around Cape Caution from Pruth Harbour...about 70 miles.

We like Johnson Strait route...Seymour Narrows can be run in a 7 knot favourable current but most go just a hour before high water slack.

Dent rapid route is fun but slower.

Wait for favorable forecast and leave early morning is fine.

Salmon are jumping everywhere here today...caught 2 on 2 casts so put the rod away and watched. I used a buzzbomb cast at rising fish...most are trolling on downriggers.

Port Hardy is a bit of a dump....stop at Port McNeil is nicer...better spot to anchor. Make reservations if you want a slip...its a gong show of boats here.

Read up on passing Cape Caution...if you go mainland side beware ebb tides when the wind is NW. If you leave from Van Isle side stay a few miles off of the Cape should be golden...leave early.

Mainland side Blunden Harbour is cool spot to head North from.

Rivers Inlet will be stupid with Coho in a week. Nice Chinooks caught on SE edge of Calvert Island on your way up.

Have fun...good luck


Oh...camera...2 sealions...1 humpback whale...eagles grabbing salmon...dolphins swarmed my boat twice today ....orca behind...crazy
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Old 23-07-2014, 06:48   #11
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

Can't wait. Your post is why I coming Eder!!! Two more weeks and I am off!
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Old 23-07-2014, 09:37   #12
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

Capt. Phil, before my time, I'm afraid. It would have been great to see!

Eder, I wouldn't have the courage to go through Seymour anywhere near 7 knots. When it really gets roaring there's a lot of white water. The water is white because of the air in it, so the boat doesn't float as high and the rudder and prop can't bite as well. Scares me silly. I guess I don't know the narrows nearly well enough to know when that happens, but I was happy to go through around high slack.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:06   #13
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

Eder... your comments were a tripdown memory lane for me! Thank you!! I made one set in Rivers Inlet, I think around '59... 5000 sockeye! Made as much money in that one set as did for a month! I think sockeye was around 32 cents a pound at that time. Was fishing for Nelson Bros Fisheries long since gone, I'm afraid.
Cwyckham... you should try the 'Narrows' towing 40 sections of logs in a flat boom for a real thrill! Don't think they do that much anymore... mostly bundles on barges that they tow to Japan, I understand. Worked a few gypo logging shows up and down the coast back in the day. Nothing but a donkey engine on a float barge with a high line and set chokers on the line to drag the sticks throught the air beore dropping them in the ocean. Can't believe I'm still alive after a few years of doing that! Cheers, Phil
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:20   #14
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

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They over did it and the tidal caused by the explosion sank a couple of the spectator boats.
The largest ever non-nuclear blast up to that time. I watched it on black and white TV.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:28   #15
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Re: Local knowledge needed: Desolation to Port Hardy.

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I'm old enough to remember watching the government blow up Ripple Rock in Seymour Narrows so anything I suggest should be taken with a grain of salt or a good stiff shot of CC! Phil
Hey.... I remember watching that... on TV!
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