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Baker Inlet to Khutze Inlet

Airship and Safe Harbour left Baker Inlet around 6:00 a.m. in order to transit Watts Narrows at low slack. The current was still, and the bright growth visible along the rocky passage at low tide was a colorful addition. 

Airship exiting the narrows from Baker Inlet into Grenville Channel
Airship exiting the narrows from Baker Inlet into Grenville Channel

We decided to go all the way to Khutze Inlet (about 76nm). This would make it another long day, but we’d like to be available and nearby since it’s looking like Saturday might be a (short) weather window for rounding Cape Caution.

Leaving at 6:00 a.m. out of Baker meant we would have current against us in Grenville Channel, and we sure did — 3 knots plus! Ugh, what a slog! We saw a few humpbacks surface, spout, and dive out near Whale Channel just past Hartley Bay, but that was the most exciting thing that happened during our 10 hour cruise yesterday! 

We arrived in Khutze Bay to find three other boats already anchored there (and one more boat was trying to find space but eventually left). Khutze doesn’t feel like an intimate anchorage by any means, but due to the giant shoal at the head of the bay that drops off to deep rapidly, there’s not a whole lot of room for anchoring.

Airship and Safe Harbour rafted in front of the big waterfall

Khutze Bay is one of our favorite anchorages here on the northern coast of BC. The scenery is wonderful, bears can usually be found on shore, and there’s great dinghy exploring to be done.

Kevin took the Mavic drone up for some overhead shots as soon as we were settled. It’s easier to get a sense of the shoaling from the air.

We put together some crab and some veggie enchiladas, and then after dinner we got Airship’s dinghy down for a little trip up river. 

Looking up river in Khutze Inlet from the dinghy
Sedge grass reflection

We were a little ways in when Laura spotted a brown bear in the tall grass. He was skinny, and gluttonously mowing away at that grass! He noticed us, watched us for thirty seconds or so, and then went right back to eating. We maneuvered a little closer to him and shut off the outboard. We could HEAR him eating as he tore big chunks of grass from the shore. A few times he stood up, smelling to make sure there were no other bears around (he really didn’t seem to care about us one bit). We watched this brown bear eat for about an hour, while the bugs feasted on us! 

Brown bear spots us as we spot him!
This bear was one of the most animated eaters we’ve ever seen.

Up river, there’s a very strong smell of sulfur, and much bubbling on the surface of the water:

We could see bear tracks under the water in the shallow spots!

Once the bear wandered back toward the tree line, we continued up river until we couldn’t go any further, then cruised back with the swift current moving us quickly back out into the bay. 

This morning as we left Khutze Bay we noticed a large group of seals gathered over on the shoal. Then, on the VHF a few minutes later, we heard two boats talking on the radio about all the marbled murrelets they saw in Khutze Bay — at least 50 of them — and from the sounds of these guys talking they may be a rare bird to see. The more they talked about them and described their behavior, we realized we’d seen them too! Tiny little brown things that splash kinda like fish when they dive!