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Rest days in Prince Rupert (0k/2427k)

(June 25 – written by Dave)

Greetings from Prince Rupert.  We’ve had a couple nice rest days here in PR – lots of chores done, some good coffee, some nice local beer, some great local seafood and today we even managed to cook egg and bacon rolls for brekkie.  So I think we are ready for the ferry ride down the inside passage. We did some shopping as well – with Nancy picking up some ginger tablets to augment her no-seasick wrist bands on the sail.

Egg and bacon roll - happy

Yumm, egg and bacon rolls for brekkie

Prince Rupert is an interesting small town.  We’d probably never get here without this bike trip so it’s really nice to slow down and get a few days off to have a look around.  While a nice place to visit, we’d probably not pick this as a place to live – if nothing else for the weather.  The month of June is the PR dry month and it gets an average 4.25 inches (109mm) of rain.  The wettest month is October with 14.7 inches (373mm) of average rainfall.  Averages for the year are a staggering 100 inches (2,530mm) of rain and just in case that’s not enough moisture, they also get an average of 3 feet of snowfall per year.  Yep, it’s moist here.  Our skin looks great after only a few days hanging out.

In the summer here, there’s a nice vibe that sort of ebbs and flows with the coming and going of ferries and cruise ships.  We got here on Friday night when a cruise ship was in the harbour and later that night the Vancouver Ferry arrived.  So Friday and Saturday it felt bustling.  It helped that Saturday was also Cow Bay Days.  Our hostel, Pioneer Guesthouse, is right in Cow Bay, the old town area down on the waterfront. Everything is cow themed and for Cow Bay days, there’s sort of a cow overdose.

Cow Bay, that way

Cow Bay is that way..

Cow Bay Days

Cow overdose

Sunken Gardens art

Cow Bay Bug

PR is a pretty “new town” with it only being incorporated in 1910.  A guy named Charles Hays had the bright idea that PR would make a great short-cut for sailing cargo to Asia.  It is in fact 500 miles shorter sail from here to Shanghai than it is from Seattle to Shanghai.  But it’s a longer rail passage so I’m not sure it makes a huge difference in cost.  And back in 1910, there was no rail from the US factories to Prince Rupert, so it didn’t really matter how long it took to sail.  Good old Charlie didn’t let this deter his grand plans however and he set about getting funding for the rail link to PR.  Progress was slowed when Charlie died coming back from a European fundraising trip, on the Titanic no less.  Two years after Charlie died, the Grand Trunk Railway reached PR.  There is a fair amount of cargo that goes through here now, but still less than 25% of that which goes through Seattle, Tacoma and the Washington ports.  Time will tell if Charlies dreams come to fruition.

Charlie Hays - Founder

Charlie Hays – visionary

PR deer

Local PR resident

There is a relatively large fishing fleet here still in PR.  We walked the harbour today and there were lots of boats heading out – both commercial and private.  Most of the boats are pretty small and most stay out for a week or so.  The docks were a hub of activity with folks provisioning their boats for the next sail.  I’m not sure if the fishing goes year round but I’m pretty sure that winter storms would put a damper on at least a good number of the private guys.  Too many PR harbour photos follow…

PR waterfront 3

PR eagle hanging out

PR fishing fleet 7

PR harbour boats

PR crab pots 1

PR crab pots

PR fishing fleet 13

PR harbour boats

Nancy next to one of the normal trucks

Big trucks pull those boats when they get out of the water

Bob's store on the rocks 1

Store near harbour – Bob, my dad, would have loved strolling the boats

There are a couple fish restaurants here in town with Dolly’s being the most famous and recommended.  We went there last night and were surprised to find it pretty blue collar in décor but absolutely blue ribbon food.  All of their food is caught and landed here in PR so it’s really fresh and they serve what’s being caught.  We had a seafood stir-fry and crab cakes – both of them were fantastic, though Nancy said her small cup of clam chowder couldn’t hold a candle to the clam chowder on the Oregon coast.  We also made a visit to the local brewery – Wheelhouse Brewery.  They make really nice ale.

Dolly's crab cakes - yum

Tastes better than it looks!  Crab cakes – yumm

Wheelhouse Brewery - nice drop

Nice ales

Dolly's seafood stir-fry

Seafood stir-fry – yummm

Back out behind the hostel is the Sunken Garden – a really nice local garden built in the 1980s – in a former bomb shelter no less.  It’s a very peaceful place, and very well looked after as well.  We know that they don’t have to worry about water – more likely they have to work hard on controlling the weeds, which there were very few.

Sunken Gardens

Sunken Gardens flowers 4

Sunken Garden flowers

PR path rest stop

Cow Bay art in Sunken Garden

Sunken Gardens flowers 1

Sunken Garden flowers

We’ve enjoyed our time here but can hardly imagine being here in the winter.  With no ships coming into the port (they only sail in the summer), it would be pretty quiet.  Throw in 15 inches of rain and some really long winter nights, well, you’d have to have some pretty serious inside hobbies or you’d probably go a little crazy.

PR Mural 2

PR Moose for Inge

First Nation Totem 1

PR Totem

We have really early mark in the morning with departure by bike from the hostel at 5AM.  It’s a short ride to the ferry but we have to be there at 5:30 for a 7:30 sail.  I’m pretty sure that this is a bit of overkill but my senior editor hates cutting these sorts of travel deadlines to close.  We’ll be there by 5:30, with ginger tablets at the ready and seasick bands in place.

We don’t arrive in Port Hardy, Vancouver Island until 11PM at night – the same day.  Not sure what to expect from the sail but we hope that we see some marine life.  I’m sure we’ll see eagles at least – though we have seen lots here in PR already so they are not quite as “wow” as they were first time we saw them up in Alaska.  Maybe we’ll see a black bear on the shore and actually get a photo this time.

Next post will be in a couple days from Port Hardy – check back for the animal updates…

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8 responses to “Rest days in Prince Rupert (0k/2427k)

  1. Donaleen Kohn

    We did the inland waterway from just north of Seattle up to Wrangell. It was a two day trip. We saw lots of wildlife. I especially remember sitting in the bar watching eagles.

  2. Thank you for the moose wall. I’m not giving up hope of a pic of a real live moose though. I’m glad you got in some rest and good food! That’s the way I like to tour! Don’t worry though I do know how to tough it out! Safe travels!

  3. Happy `sea crossing`. Look forward to your next post. Xx

  4. Love this post and all of the others. Was the hostel as nice as the one in Katoomba? Really enjoying the fact that we are in the same time zone 🙂 I hope you get to spend some time in Victoria. Nancy, there is a Roots store in Victoria to check out.

  5. thanks guys  I found that  before i  make the article bigger  there is a    REPLY    FORWARD  MORE      at the bottom.  so i was able to send the blog to Connie.  thanks for the info.. am waiting patiently for the next blog  and  hope Nancy isn’t too sea sick on the ferry.  two days to wait.. that will be hard.   ride safely and with the wind..love you   AP

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