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Author Topic:   Port Renfrew, B.C. to Swiftsure Bank trip
Steve Sklenka posted 09-29-2009 02:59 PM ET (US)   Profile for Steve Sklenka   Send Email to Steve Sklenka  
I am planning to go from Port Renfrew to Swifsure Bank and also from Port Renfrew to Bamfiled, B.C., Canada next summer in my 170 Montauk. I am wondering if anyone has made that trip, and if it is safe to do so in this size of Whaler. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
Tom W Clark posted 09-29-2009 03:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Watch the weather and you'll be fine.

I used to fish Swiftsure Bank in my Outrage 18 out of Neah Bay. I'd see old Montauks out there too.

revengewanted posted 09-29-2009 04:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for revengewanted  Send Email to revengewanted     
Many small boats make the trip out to Swiftsure Bank from Port Renfrew on decent days. You'll have plenty of company.

The run from Port Renfrew to Bamfield however is a different matter. The window of decent weather can be short for a boat of your size to make the trip "comfortably". If you're not already aware - the forest road that runs from Port Renfrew through to Lake Cowichan has been straightened and paved. This cuts the distance in half, making it an easy tow from Port Renfrew to Port Alberni followed by a rather pleasant run up the inlet to Bamfield. If nothing else at least it's a very viable Plan B.

Steve Sklenka posted 09-29-2009 06:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Sklenka  Send Email to Steve Sklenka     
Thank you kindly to Tom and Revenge for both replies. Both insights were very helpful and I really appreciate it. I will go to Swiftsure Bank next year but the trip to Bamfiled from Port Renfrew I have to re-think. I was hoping to visit the 1906 Valencia shipwreck site on the way there. I have already gone down the Port Alberni channel from Port Alberni to Bamfield 2 years ago. As pointed out this trip was (early in the morning) very scenic and nice.
DeeVee posted 09-29-2009 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for DeeVee  Send Email to DeeVee     
That sounds like a good time to me.

I have fished Bamfield out of a guided boat, Uclulet in my brother-in-law's Montauk, and Tahsis in his Outrage 25.

British Columbia is a great place to go fishing on our boats.

Doug Vazquez

Steve Sklenka posted 09-29-2009 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Sklenka  Send Email to Steve Sklenka     
Hello Doug (DEEVEE):

I have read somewhere on this forum that you had gone from Port Hardy to River's Inlet years ago in a 17' Montauk. That trip is also on our agenda. Is there any advice you can share with me on how to make that 60 mile trek safely. Did you feel safe the whole time? Where did you gas up? How di you keep your fish frozen, etc. Also what kind of camping were you able to set up there? Many thanks, Steve.

DeeVee posted 09-30-2009 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for DeeVee  Send Email to DeeVee     

In the days before nice GPS chartplotters we relied on Loran-C. This trip took place before we had Loran-C (22+ years ago) capability on board. One of our party had a Loran-C unit on his boat- that was the extent of electronics we had available to us beyond our depth finder.

Our plan was to navigate from point of land to point of land between Port Hardy and the mouth of Rivers Inlet. That worked well for us- only because of the good visibility during both outgoing and incoming legs of the trip. It could have been a bad thing in the fog- there are many rocks amongst the islands. That being said we felt safe the entire time.

One issue we had with the interior route, the tide exchange on the outgoing trip was a very mild one. On the return trip, the tide exchange changed to an extreme one. This seemed to have created very large swells in among the shallower water that we were navigating through. One of our companion's boats (old Bayliner) experienced a problem while they crested one of the large swells- one side of the inboard engine pulled loose from its motor mount stringer. Fortunately, the outdrive boot did not fail, which would have been catastrophic. He asked that he transfer his son to our boat for the balance of the trip back to Port Hardy. They limped in, but made it OK.

The better plan would have been to navigate outside all the islands, utiliziing dead reckoning to maintain as close an accurate position fix as possible, and stop and get accurate fixes on a regular basis. When you go,if fog is in the forecast- make sure you have charts, a good compass, and a relible chartplotter, if not radar.

As far as fuel goes, there was a fuel dock at Dawson's Landing. I do not know if it is still available. The problem we experienced with fuel, was that you had to burn fuel to get fuel. It is something to keep a very close eye on. We did fine on the trip to and from, with the 70 horsepower two stroke on the light Montauk, although we were pretty heavily lodaded with 3 big people and all our gear. If I remember correctly, the outbound trip was a little under four hours duration, to the mouth of Rivers Inlet.

We camped in the old fishing net house that was known as Waddam's, the location of an old fish cannery. A member of our party somehow owned an interest in the property (or someting).

There was a Canadian fisheries department net pen float that seemed to be abandonned in one of the small inlets on the south side of Rivers Inlet, west of Waddams. I know a friend of ours has camped on that net pen float. I do not know if it is still there.

For keeping your fish in good shape, freezing was not available to us. If you can get salt water, shaved ice, it works way better than fresh water cubes. Try to keep the fish from soaking in the fresh water. Dry ice may be a good way to go as well.

All in all, it was a great adventure. One that I will neve forget. I would like to do it again one day.


Steve Sklenka posted 10-01-2009 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Steve Sklenka  Send Email to Steve Sklenka     
Wow! That's pretty awesome Doug. Sounds like it was quite an adventure. Thank you so much for the insight, I really appreciate it. Kind regards, Steve.

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