Yesterday seemed to last about 34 hours rather than the normal 24. When we went to sleep it was raining quite hard but by the morning the sky was fairly clear and it looked like the rain had gone away for a while, yay. It came back, boooo. By the time we left Port Hardy it had started to rain lightly and for the whole trip we had rain showers, sometimes torrential, sometimes light and occasionally it actually was a bit sunny. To be fair the ferry journey was really good. It was one of the sections of the holiday that we were concerned about. Thirteen hours on a smallish boat could have been a bit of a nightmare but it really wasn’t. The seats were comfortable regardless of what Amanda says (hers was broken but we didn’t notice for a while, and me being the gentleman that I am refused to switch because I had the window seat), the food was nice and the scenery was incredible. The captain pointed out when whales were visible and everyone (almost) ran to be able to catch a glimpse in the distance of humpback whales breaching or diving or just cruising past. We also saw dolphins….lots of dolphins. They started off just surfing alongside the ferry and then we noticed a huge pod ahead of us fishing. We got to stay with them quite a while although they’re really hard to photograph, they’re just too damned quick.
At 11pm we reached Bella Coola and when we got off the boat a line of traffic travelled along the (only) road and we thought ‘wouldn’t it be strange if someone we saw on the ferry was staying at the same place as us’. It turned out that they were…5 cars turned off into the carpark and by the time we parked up we had to join a queue to check in. The BC Mountain Lodge is in an incredible location, but only found that out this morning when it was light. Last night it was raining so hard and it was so late that all we wanted to do was get inside our room and get to sleep. I’ll admit that I have become accustomed to nicer hotels and there’s something to be said for 5 star accommodation but it’s clean, I slept really well and breakfast is included. Not too bad.
This morning it had stopped raining (for about 15 mins) and we saw how beautiful the Bella Coola valley is. Surrounded on both sides by impossibly high mountains and shrouded in mist. It wouldn’t look out of place in Lord of the Rings although I can’t see Amanda dressing as a hobbit, as her feet aren’t hairy enough.
After breakfast we drove into town via the tourist information office and a small park where there is a beaver pond. Make all the jokes you want but we were on a beaver hunt, but sadly we saw none. It was a beaver-free zone. Perhaps it was too wet for them. On the way we also stopped at the shop. I say ‘the’ shop as it sold everything and I mean everything. It sold cat litter, shovels, crossbow bolts, flights for darts, fishing rods, ammunition, apples, 8 inch nails, sausages and lots more. I could have spent a long time just looking at all the shelves but we had to go. We had lunch in town at a local restaurant where, while we were sat there, one guy past the window that was chatting to us on the ferry the night before, two motorcyclists that caught the ferry were on another table and then the woman from tourist info came in for her lunch too. Sensible people. Lunch was really nice (Philly beef bun for me with dipping gravy and fries and salmon salad sandwich and chicken noodle soup for Amanda). Even the Sheriff sat with his family behind us so I made sure Amanda behaved herself.
After we ate, we drove down to the marina where all the fishing boats are tied up. The water is a beautiful opaque green/blue and reminds you of an opal. The rain was back with a vengeance by now so we didn’t stop long.
Before heading back to the lodge, we took a drive further up the road and saw three deer. One bounced off across the road and the other two warily kept an eye on us as we crept closer to try and take a pic. The one I photographed squeezed under a fence and stared at us just in case we fancied venison tonight.
Tonight we’re eating at the lodge and we have an early start tomorrow for our bear watching trip. Breakfast is at 7am and we leave at 7:45am on the dot. Hopefully I’ll have bear pics tomorrow or you’ll be reading about two British tourists eaten by very very hungry Grizzly bears.