Saturday, June 8, 2013

Butedale to Bishop Bay 23miles

The following morning we decided to explore Butedale some more and walked up to Butedale lake via the old power house, which houses a huge pelton wheel generator, once used to power the homes of over 500 people. The huge power plant is now hooked up to a single tiny 12v car alternator which gave Lou his only power, somewhat intermittently in believe. The power house is set above the river and raised on concrete pilings and is accessed by a rather rickety wooden bridge. It was great to go for a walk and stretch our legs, hikes seem few and far between in this part of the world and we are always nervous of bear, cougars and wolves. Most people who walk in these parts do so with a gun or at least bear (pepper spray). On our walk up to the lake we spotted wolf prints in the mud. These maybe the lone black wolf that Lou had told us about.

We said our goodbyes to Lou and set off for Bishop Bay and its legendary hot springs. We were looking forward to a bath and a couple of days without moving. The wind was light and behind us but as the days distance was only small we decided to raise the sails and make slow progress towards our destination. We were only going 3 knots but we enjoyed the sunshine and set a salmon fishing line out.
The nice chaps from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Katya at the helm of the RCMP launch
Hot springs cabin

View from the Hot Springs cabin - The bay and springs all to ourselves

As we rounded Tomkinson point we spotted a boat coming up behind us. This was the first boat we had seen in about 5 days. As it approached it became clear that it was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police pursuit vessel. They came alongside and asked us a few questions and told us to tie up at the dock in Bishop Bay where they would meet us. They took our lines at the dock and came aboard to check our passports and papers. They were very pleasant and let Katya sit at the helm of their boat whilst I took some photographs.  Not sure if that would happen in the USA?

Once the formalities were over with we dashed to have a look at the hot springs. We had it all to ourselves. The natural springs are covered with a hut and decorated by an assortment of fishing buoys and other nautical equipment. Each item carried the name of a vessel, their crew and a date of their visit. It gave the place a very homely atmosphere and very different to that of Eucott Hot springs which were far more rural. We washed off in the specially designated area and jumped in the lovely water. What heaven it was to have a soak, wash and overlook the magnificent bay with our boat safely tied to a dock which we can easily walk to. Yes this was a chance to stop over for a few days and enjoy the place.

We spent the remainder of the day and the following day fishing, reading having more soaks in the springs and yet more soaks in the hot springs. Our skin was wrinkled with all the soaking we had done. In the evening two small boats arrived with four gents on board. They had been out fishing and were spending the night here. They were very pleasant and we sat and chatted about fishing, talking about the area and where were the not to miss places to visit. They sat on the dock in the evening eating crab they had caught earlier in the day and having drinks and soaks in the hot springs. At one point a large Canadian Coast guard ship came into the bay, dropped anchor and ferried a few of their officers to the hot springs. We had seen the ship on our way around cape caution and will no doubt see it again on our travels.

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