On their last night in “Rupert,” over dinner at the Cow
Bay Café, a Parisian chef-owned restaurant hard-by the yacht
club, the cruisers agreed with Newbery. “We wouldn’t have
chosen to spend a week here but the city has so much to
offer from a visiting boater perspective,” says Gayle. “There
are jewels here, such as the Museum of Northern British
Columbia, and killer restaurants.” Her culinary kudos go to
Cow Bay Café, Breakers Pub, the Japanese sushi restaurant
OPA, and Dolly’s Fish Market, which also sells fresh catch
and packs sport-caught fish to travel — all within an easy
walk of the yacht club. A short cab ride to the city center
offers a supermarket and farther still an Internet café (Java
dot Cup) and two laundromats.
The Gegenheimers, who hail from Evergreen, Colorado,
got to be well-known among Rupertites whose daily greeting was some variation of, “Weather’s still bad, eh?” The
museum where the Gegenheimers spent many weather-waiting hours provides a “must-see”
Shed is a place where some of the
region’s best artists and carvers create
their distinctive artworks, and to the
west along the harborfront the Kwinitsa
Railway Station Museum adds the history of the Grand Trunk Railway that
reached here in 1914. On the bluff
above is Chances Casino.
Sea-boots are lined up and ready to go fishing.
And speaking of luck, says Gayle Gegenheimer, “One
thing that I found fascinating was the sportfishing activity.
We’d watch the local people take their boats out for the afternoon and come back with tubs of beautiful fish — salmon,
halibut, and crabs.” The city is home to a fleet of day-trip
charter fishing boats.
Prince Rupert is also a hub for side trips such as out
to the Queen Charlotte Islands, ancestral and present-day
home of the Haida people. Northeast of Prince Rupert is the
Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, the only refuge of its
kind in North America and home to more than 50 often-spotted grizzlies (viewing is best from May through July).
For more information: www.TourismPrinceRupert.
com; transient berthing: www.prryc.com; charter fishing:
www.FoggyPoint.com — R.L.
beds off the island’s tip, Willis clipped the lines to the downrig-gers, and we were trolling over “Old Man’s Hole.” The other
boats spread out to work sections off the shoreline at different
depths, following the rip lines across the mouth of Goose Bay.
VHF chatter showed little excitement until – bingo! – several
hook-ups in rapid succession: two fish landed, one shook loose,
then nothing. Ten minutes later the starboard rod on our boat,
bent nearly double under the straight-down strain of the trolling
gear, let go from the cannonball clip. Fish on! I set the hook and
after five minutes of fight, reeled in a bright, silver, 14-pound
Back on Ocean Star, Shawn and Josh dressed the fish and
marked them with wire ties in a different color for each angler. It
seems I’d “limited.” Six coho sporting my red tag, all 12 to 15
pounds, their bright bodies accented by the distinctive, metallic-blue dorsal surface that gives them the name “blueback.”
Afterward we settled in to Gayle’s’ signature first-night “
surf-and-turf” dinner — grilled strip steak and fresh Dungeness crab.
Day Two: Eau De Humpback
0500 — Willis fired up Ocean Star’s engine and Randy,
Rick, and I, sharing the aft fish hold, now a four-berth cabin,
woke instantly. In rapid sequence everyone was up, dressed,
suited-up, in the galley for breakfast on the fly, aboard the boats,
headed out the inlet at high speed, and fishing by 0600. Off the
point, in driving rain, I was in a boat with Shawn and Bob.
The VHF reported somewhat
slow action, with the odd coho coming aboard one boat or another.
Josh, Randy, and Rick were working
along a kelp bed 50 yards inshore
of us near the mouth of Goose Bay
when a feeding humpback whale
lazily surfaced to spout just ahead —
and upwind — of their boat. Phew!
Whale breath wafted over the skiff in
an invisible, gagging cloud that took
everyone but Josh by surprise.
“That was about the most over-
Day Three: Back To His Roots
powering stench I’ve ever smelled,”
Randy said later. ”Don’t talk to me
about halitosis till you’ve smelled a
humpback whale’s breath. Whew!”
After lunch aboard Ocean Star
and a soggy but successful afternoon fishing, we regrouped with
our skipper and decided to move on to halibut the following
Once again, the big diesel alarm clock went off at 0500 and
we put in a busy coho morning, again in rain (they don’t call
it “the Rainforest Coast” for nothing) and after lunch, weighed
anchor. Two hours later, as the weather began to clear in defiance
of the forecast, we headed to a deep-water shelf for halibut. Once
anchored in Hudson Bay Passage, we dropped two-pound “
cannonball” weights overboard from stiff, six-foot rods, and hung
chunk-cut herring just off the bottom. No luck. The tide was
wrong, but the faulty forecast put us here, not Willis’s instinct.
After dinner that evening, the Crosby family gathered in the
“tackle room” on the afterdeck where a seine-net drum once
stood. I’d heard the Ocean Star story when I met Willis and