Mark Bunzel’s Cruising ReportsWaggoner eNewsCow Bay Marina in Prince Rupert.

Cow Bay Marina in Prince Rupert.

Waggoner Guide Flotilla Day 17

Prince Rupert

Day 17 – Tuesday

It was a sunny day with the low snow cap gleaming for the 35 mile run up Grenville Channel after a 6:30 a.m. departure. It is a little bit of a jolt to get back to human habitation. Approaching Prince Rupert, it starts with the commercial docks and their towering cranes for container ships off in the distance. Soon we passed the coal loading terminal, then the container docks with a large ship maneuvering to dock.

The secret to Prince Rupert’s success is its rail lines extend east into Canada and connect down to the U.S., running all the way to Memphis, TN. The ships can make the trip to Prince Rupert from Asian ports and save two days time. Add that up over a years time, and it saves quite a bit of money when tied to train service that goes right to the heartland of Canada and the U.S.

City of Prince Rupert

We docked at the new Cow Bay Marina, run by the City of Prince Rupert. The facilities are first class and new, and there was of room for our entire fleet. Appetizers that night were at the Crest Hotel, overlooking the waterfront. The view is beautiful. For dinner, everyone was on their own.

While the weather was acceptable for crossing Dixon Entrance, the next day would be even better with light winds. So, I decided to have our group spend another day in Prince Rupert and organized a field trip. We rented a van and shuttled two groups back and forth to the North Pacific Cannery. The cannery is an excellent display of what life was like in this area from 1888 until the cannery closed in 1968.

The displays and equipment showed how the cannery started with everything done manually and as time went by, mechanization changed the need for hand labor. The factory town was a combination of Chinese, Japanese and Caucasians working in their respective jobs to catch, process and can tons of salmon each season. The back breaking work started with the men shoving off or being towed out to fish in the nearby river where salmon were plentiful, and the small boats would be out 24 hours a day for most of the week in all weather.

Tenders would go from boat to boat gathering up the catch and taking it to the cannery where the salmon were gutted, cleaned, canned and cooked. It was interesting to note how the process became more and more efficient over time. Did the fisherman and canneries get so good over time that they decimated the salmon stocks? It appears so.

That evening the group dined together at the Breakers Pub on the Prince Rupert waterfront.

Goodbye dinner at Breakers Pub in Prince Rupert.

On the last night in Prince Rupert, the flotilla dined at Breakers Pub and said goodbye to Margaret Pommert.

It was festive with many tributes to Sea Raven’s first mate Margaret Pommert. She was leaving us early to head back to Seattle and then on to Annapolis, MD and the US Naval Academy where she would be teaching sailing in a program at the Naval Academy. Pretty heady stuff. Go, Margaret!

~Mark Bunzel

Click HERE to read more about the flotilla’s travels.

To see a map of where we have been:

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