Our last day in Shoal Bay we hiked up the “trail” to the gold mine. The “trail” was a small creek that rushes down the mountainside, with bits of tape hanging from trees to reassure you that this still is the “trail”. At least it veers off the stream bed and up even more steeply to an incredible lookout point. We could see our tiny boat down there still safely at anchor.

Onward still we found the gold mine. True to its name, it was a classic mine shaft with a flat floor and crossbeam supports. We had been warned to bring our head lamps, so we went in as far as we dared. The floor was undermined and a shaft went down beyond the reach of our meager LED light. On the way down we passed our lights on to another couple from a boat in the harbour (the boat is “forty two”, I suspect they know the answer to a question) who were hiking up. When we later saw them again it was revealed that he had worked in mining for 40 years. The mine ceiling was just rock but the floor had been built up and was now eroding. One day an unlucky visitor will do some involuntary spelunking. Yikes!

We left the next day to buy charts at Blind Bay (we are buying them as we need them) and then on through Greene Point and Whirlpool rapids. We dropped the hook for the night in Forward Bay, along with 14 other boats. The next morning we left at too damn early to catch the tide.  Around the corner, still in the wash from Whirlpool rapids I saw a dolphi… no that’s big, real big, Orca!  Kristin look look Orca!  She saw it as well, just rolling along, probably munching on a cute seal or something. Magnificent creature. Haskell didn’t see it though.

Our trip through the Sunderland Channel and notorious Johnstone Strait was fairly smooth, and we are now awaiting fish and chips at the Red Shoe Restaurant in the Port Harvey Marine Resort. Not to denigrate this lovely place in any way, but lest you get the wrong idea, it is something of a 2 story floating double wide at the end of a back channel. It is most certainly a civilized way to wait for the slack tide in Chatham Channel.