It is going to be a really long post. It may be a new record.
We took the freighter / passenger ship Frances Barkley down the long narrow Alberni Inlet and after several stops we got to the town of Bamfield. Anyone along the inlet can have cargo sent to them and the ship will stop and drop it off, for 11c a pound.
I would guess that our ship could carry around a 150 passengers. Today there may have been 25. In the summer, though they said that every trip is packed. Business is so good that they bought this old ferry from BC ferries and are refurbishing it to carry another 400 people.
We left the dock at Port Alberni at 8 am and got to Bamfield at around 12:30. After an hour to look around there we headed back with no stops and arrived at around 5 pm.
We waited while they loaded the cargo.
While they were loading it looked like a box of cream had been dropped. They spent a while cleaning the cartons that had not broken.
Away we go.
There is a pulp mill and lots of saw mills along the shore.
After the two hot days we hoped it would be cooler on the water. Once the wind got going it was actually cold.
The engine exhaust made this a great place to warm my hands.
There were fisherman out everywhere. We learned that there is a 10 hour test window to catch sockeye salmon today. The amount of the catch will determine how much more will be done.
Every boat had a long gill net dragging behind it.
The captain spent all day with his binoculars trying to figure out which float belonged to which boat and then plot a path between them.
We passed by what looked like a great place for an RV park but with the setups at each site I am pretty sure they were all permanent.
Thar she blows! Our first whale sighting of the year.
It quickly dove. The captain pointed out the sight and for some reason the ship got kind of lopsided.
It put on one more far away show before we parted ways.
The sides of the inlet are quite high but you don’t realize it until you see a ship in front.
The next sighting was a black bear. It is the tiny black dot in the lower right corner right on the shoreline.
The sky farther down the inlet did not look promising.
A bald eagle flew by, looking like it was in the process of eating something.
A fuzzy enlargement.
It soon got very grey and the wind really whipped up.. Everyone bundled up as much as they could
We entered a bay to make our first few stops.
This guy got a load of lumber.
The next place just seemed to get groceries.
I saw some beer, pop and a frozen lasagna among the items.
Notice the clear glass old phone booth at the end of the dock.
This tiny place was for sale.
The next stop was the Kildonan Post Office
We wondered what all the posts had been for. They certainly hadn’t been used in a while.
The captain tried to get someone to buy one of the birdhouses for sale on the dock. Someone was getting a new stereo.
Farther down the bay there was some interesting laying of the clouds.
As we made our way back out to the main inlet, the sky seemed to be improving.
At the next place there was no dock big enough so the captain just blew the whistle and this boat came racing out from a bay filled with houses.
We didn’t really stop. He just held out a fishing net and the crew dropped in what he wanted.
Back he goes. There were a lot of houses in there.
Next was an oyster farmer that had to drop off a sample of his oysters so that they could be tested before he sold them. He gave the ship a good thump as he came along side.
Back he goes. The name of his boat was the “Shuck Wagon”.
It was really packed with fishing boats as we headed into Bamfield. We did lots of zigzags. One pair of boats even had to move their nets to give us some way in.
Off in the distance I saw what I at first thought was an oil rig but that didn’t make any sense here.
It was really a self loading and unloading log carrier. We saw it up close later as it had made its way to Port Alberni by the time we got back.
Bamfield is divided into a western and eastern half. The eastern section can be reached by road but I was told it was via a very long set of very potholed logging roads. The western section is not reachable by road and they like it that way.
Even through the town looks small and quaint, Jennie saw a sign for a house for sale at only $454,000.
We were dropped off on the western section to explore for about an hour. After the ship had dropped of the cargo for this location it went down to the dock at the western section. The hikers got off there at it is the start of the West Coast Trail long distance hike..
There was a small store and then a very long boardwalk along the waterfront.
Their version of the Little Mermaid.
Every house had a dock in front.
I think that this driftwood bench would be very uncomfortable.
These huge bushes were two types of flowers intermixed.
The public restroom / outhouse was interesting.
Jennie watched the Barkley go by from the window.
I think these mushrooms were fake.
This shell curtain at the Boardwalk Bistro (closed today) gave Jennie some ideas.
This row of blue bushes, that we don’t know the name of, had the most bees in them that I have ever seen in my life.
There were 8 or 9 bushes and I would guess that each one had around 500 or 600 bees. The buzzing was deafening and I was a bit worried because I was wearing a green jacket.
Heading back we passed by what looked like a giant rhubarb plant. There was a regular sized one right next to it.
They actually came back to get us.
The weather on the way back was great especially since we were going with the wind. Nothing much happened and since by now most of us were tired it did seem to drag a bit. Lots of reading and napping were done all around.
The log carrier was getting ready to dump its load. It is a barge that floods one side of its ballast tanks until it tips enough for the logs to slide off. I would have liked to see that but it seemed like it was a long time yet.
We didn’t notice the wind but these kite surfers sure did.
I always love a boat ride especially one with such interesting sights.
Tomorrow we move near Tofino.