Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ocean Falls

It’s an easy run from Shearwater to Ocean Falls, but we don’t often visit here (link). We tend to rush north to Alaska, vowing to slow down and spend more time in B.C. on the way south… and then we don’t. This year we did slow down, stayed below 53 degrees N latitude, and ignored Alaska completely. 

From Shearwater we traveled east through Gunboat Pass, turned left into Fisher Channel and continued on up Cousins Inlet to Ocean Falls. A big bonus was sighting 4 humpback whales on our way up the inlet. The small group, including at least one baby, zig-zagged across the channel as they surface cruised, feeding along a rip line. There were no big leaps or fin displays to impress us, but whales do make an impact with their presence alone.

Very impressive was the sight of a B.C. ferry appearing close, w-a-a-y too close, off our port side as it cruised toward the Ocean Falls ferry dock. Hello there!

Ocean Falls has quite a history, dating back to the early 1900s, as a pulp and paper center, but today it resembles a ghost town. The settlement still boasts a ferry landing, post office, hotel of sorts, café at a sport fishing lodge and gift shop, but few residents. Most of the small, local population live in nearby Martin Valley, where year-round residents number close to 30. A sign near the ferry landing claims Ocean Falls is the home of the Rain People, a believable label for a location that receives close to 173 inches of rain each year. 

Photo: Ocean Falls Post Office and City Hall in the foreground, deserted ruins of a dormitory or residence hall in the background.
Crabbing was good, as always, and kept many of the visiting boat crews busy catching and cooking. My big hurrah came when I found fast, free wi-fi access available at the dock. Wi-fi, abundant fresh water and 30-amp power while moored in a lovely location with good crabbing, now that’s a good thing! What’s not so good? no bear sightings yet. No black bear, no grizzly bear. Sigh! We moved on to explore Dean Channel, returning again the following week. Then the wind came up… and the local wi-fi went down… and the rain began. This is the raincoast, once again. 

Photo: Ocean Falls Mermaid waves goodbye
Photo: local seals laze about quietly during the day, but vocalize loudly throughout the night

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