Friday, August 3, 2007

E- From slow to glacial

The ferry left at 9:30am on Wednesday but we needed to be there a couple of hours earlier. We were so early in fact, that we were directed towards the boat to Prince Rupert by mistake and we were on the ramp down onto the ship before a diligent worker happened to catch the error. Given that the ferry takes 24 hours and would have landed us over one thousand kilometers from our destination, we were pretty relieved. The rest of the ride was great. We took over an area at the front of the ship by plunking down our air mattresses, sleeping bags, toys, and food basket and settled in for the long ride. The ship moved incredibly slowly but it just made the beautiful scenery last that much longer. We saw island after island blanketed in green. We also had a pod of Humpback whales follow the ship for a while. There were two movies for the kids to watch. Les and I took turns reading on the sunny deck. Before we knew it the sun had gone down and the whole family fell fast asleep. The next thing we knew it was 6:30am and we were in Bella Coola.

Having had a quick driving tour of the town before ditching our car in Bella Coola, we met Frank Tracey and put our stuff aboard Nascall One. The boat ride out of Bella Coola takes about 1 ½ hours during which time we only saw one building. The scenery is beautiful but incredibly stark. There are no beaches and few if any protected harbours that might support human habitation. The harshness of this environment makes the oasis of Nascall Bay all that much more special.

The cold, sheer walls of the Dean channel open up to the gentle estuary of the Nascall river. On the bank of the river sits a floating restaurant with a neon “OPEN” sign inviting us in. We arrived to a cup of freshly brewed coffee and our choice of home-made peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies. Within half an hour of our arrival, a native family on a crab trapping trip stopped by to say hello. Their little boy Alexander joined Molly and Finny for a dip in the natural hot springs. The water comes out of the ground at 106 degrees and without any of the usual sulphur smell. Orcas in Nascall Bay

I can’t say enough about how amazing the property is. Just about everything you could ever need is provided for by the land and water here. Hungry- just dump a crab trap off the dock, cast out a line or pick from an abundance of wild berries growing nearby. Cold- jump in the hot springs. Thirsty- get water from the spring running down the untouched mountain side. Need shelter- use the over-abundant forest for wood. Need power- harness the water pouring out of Nascall lake into the ocean 200 feet below. The guys working the property have done just this- used nature’s gifts to create a little sanctuary for people to enjoy in this vast, harsh, unforgiving land. There are 3 cabins for guests, the restaurant and a building housing the hot springs. As beautiful as it currently is, it is easy to imagine what this will look like when it is finished. It will no doubt be one of the most spectacular resorts in Canada.

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