Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 77-Bishop Bay to Butedale

I wasn’t in any rush to get up this morning but everyone else on the dock headed out fishing fairly early and I couldn’t sleep through the commotion of engines and casting off.  Not a big deal.  I went up for a soak in the hot springs before leaving and then headed out to Butedale.
Humpback seen between Bishop Bay and Butedale
Butedale is an interesting place.  It’s a dilapidated old cannery that once employed hundreds of people and was a hub of activity in the area.  Since the 1960’s, however, it’s been shut down and has been rotting away.  Today it’s mostly a collection of timber and metal constantly being reclaimed by nature.

Interestingly, the guy I made space for on the dock in Hartley Bay a few nights ago is in the process of buying Butedale with the hope of turning it into a modest resort and marina.  I’ve got his contact information and am looking forward to hearing about what he will do with the property.

Anyway, Lou, the caretaker, is an interesting character.  He has lived full time at Butedale for the last 11 years all by himself and has carved out an interesting existence.  For electricity, for example, he harnessed the decades old turbines that provided power to the cannery to drive a belt for an alternator.  A battery bank and inverter, in turn, provide AC power for Lou’s house.  When Lou arrived the flumes the directed water to the turbines had washed away, but he rebuilt them using wood scavenged from the site.  Pretty impressive.
Flumes to divert river water to the turbine
The river that feeds the turbine
Only two other boats were at the dock.  One was a commercial fishing boat that a gentleman had purchased in Washington and was now moving to his home in Hoonah, AK.  The other was a sailboat I had passed in Rocky Pass.  We all chatted for a while and it turned out that we were all single-handing, which certainly seems to be the exception rather than the rule.  The sailboat was even owned by a woman, which makes it the first woman I’ve seen single-handing up here.

Butedale is definitely an interesting and worthwhile stop.  The only downside was the wakes from passing boats and the bugs.  There’ve been a ton of bugs everywhere in BC, especially horseflies, and they are awful.

22.6 nm today and 2635.0 total

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