Saturday, August 4, 2012

Laredo Inlet

Laredo Inlet holds several interesting bays to explore, but strong thermals kept us inside one bay, Bay of Plenty, for most of our stay. We did venture a skiff run to neighboring bay, Mellis Inlet, late in the morning to set 3 prawn traps, setting out at 25 knots and returning at about 7 knots on a bumpy, uncomfortable ride over increasingly chunky water. Crabbing inside Bay of Plenty netted us 1 legal-sized male, along with a mob of females and undersized males to return to the water. Drat!

Hurry up, then wait describes the following day. Just after dawn we hurried up to retrieve our prawn traps in Mellis Inlet before the winds came up and chop developed. Pot 1 yielded 6 medium prawns, pulled from around 270’. One independent critter was halfway out the entrance gate, making a break for freedom. How many others escaped overnight? I know it took more than our 6-prawn catch to devour all of that bait! Pot 2 yielded 36 jumbo prawns, pulled from about 380’. The pot-puller made this retrieval a much easier chore than the old manual method; an investment well worth the price for speed and sore muscle prevention. 

Pot 3 was empty, but all of the bait was gone, every last morsel. Oops, operator error; the large door on top of the trap was still hooked open. We had provided a nice snack for some overnight visitors who ate and left. All in all, an adequate effort and enough prawns for two meals. (click to link to Lime and Chili Prawns recipe)

Hurry up some more to rinse and put the prawning gear back into Rhapsody’s cockpit, clean and hoist the skiff and then pull anchor and get underway. I cleaned the prawns while we traveled, RL had a lot of time to organize and stow gear later in the day.

Wait soon came into play later in the morning as we changed to an inside route, approached Thistle Passage and realized we would be too early to comfortably transit Meyers Passage. 6 feet of water at a zero tide is not a good choice when the boat draws 5’. We dawdled along, ran on one engine and finally just shut down, drifting in Kitasoo Bay while we waited another hour for the incoming tide to add a few more feet to the channel. There was a slight “pucker effect” when the 10’ alarm sounded, but the Capt. was right on course and we had no unplanned excitement.

Princess Royal is renowned for a large concentration of rare white kermodi bear, but none showed during our stay. We haven’t seen any bear since we left Red Bluff Bay, black, brown or white. I realize that salmon aren’t running, but don’t Canadian bears eat shoreline bear grass?! 

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