Out of the Way Places on the David B – Bottleneck Inlet

About eight days north of our homeport in Bellingham, on the British Columbia coastline is a secret cove called Bottleneck Inlet. The first time we entered Bottleneck, it was late in the day. We had to time our arrival for high tide so that we could safely pass over the 1 fathom shallow spot that’s located part way through the inlet.

The entrance to Bottleneck Inlet is tricky to find. As soon as we came into Finlayson Channel after cruising past the village of Klemtu, Jeffrey began watching the chart plotter to make sure we wouldn’t miss the entrance.

You can’t see it now, but the opening for Bottleneck is just up ahead, Jeffrey told everyone in the pilothouse as he steered the David B across the channel and towards what looked like a steep forested hillside.

We all strained to find the opening, but it was still invisible to our eyes. Jeffrey checked the chart again to make sure we were on course. As we neared the far side of the channel we began to see a small gap in the forest widen to become the entrance. It did not seem possible that it would open up enough for there to be a large anchorage just beyond what we could currently see. Jeffrey lined up the bow of the boat and made way for the entrance.

Everyone went up on deck to watch as the gap widened into a cut. Off the port and starboard sides of the boat the trees clung to the hillside that rose steeply from the water to a height of nearly 2000 feet. Where the trees came down to the water, their branches hung so low and even that it looked as if some gardener had come through with a hedge trimmer. It was a good sign that waves rarely came into the inlet and that our anchorage would be secure.

We continued into the inlet and easily passed over the one fathom mark with lots of water to spare under the keel. The cut opened into a spacious bowl with lots of room to anchor. As we motored through the inlet, curious seals started popping up around the boat. They watched us while Jeffrey circled around a spot he thought he liked. He took the boat out of gear, let it coast for a moment, then shifted in to reverse to bring the boat to a stop. When he was happy, he looked around and then over to Aaron who was waiting at the anchor.

One shot,he said to Aaron and suddenly the inlet echoed with the sound of anchor chain running quickly to the bottom. The sound stopped as suddenly as it started. Aaron, now finished with the anchor walked from the bow of the boat and then down into the engine room. In a moment there was silence.

With the anchor down we all gathered on deck to have a look around, the sweet upward spiral song of Swainsons Thrushes began to fill the air. It seemed like there must have been hundreds of them and every individual call echoed throughout the anchorage.

Later that night after dinner had been served and the galley was clean, I’d decided it was too nice to go to bed at my usual time and that I wanted to stay up late and listen to the birds on deck. Sean was also still up and we sat on deck together listening. It was 11:30 and the sun had just gone down. The air was cool, but it still felt good to be outside.

Do you hear that I asked.

Yeah, it’s an owl, Sean whispered. I think it’s over there, he said pointing to the hillside.

Yeah I think you’re right, I quietly said back to him. I can’t believe how lucky we are to be here.