Sideways Sally has been thinking about this inlet for 10 years!! It was a dream come true to be heading there on the return from Ketchikan. Close to Prince Rupert, it is an amazing experience for boats travelling north to Alaska, or south to Canada, or NE to Hyder, Alaska or Stewart, B.C.
Check the link for orientation to location.
The Khutzeymateen Inlet reaches into Canadian waters, and is a designated Provincial Park. The park represents the first undisturbed estuary of its size to be protected along the north coast of BC. The topography of this land and marine sanctuary is diverse, with rugged peaks towering to 2100 metres above a valley of wetlands, old growth temperate rainforests and a large river estuary. An abundance of wildlife shares the area.
Portland Inlet empties out into Dixon Entrance East and creates an unpleasant washing machine where they meet. Based on tides, currents, and weather, you really want to pick your time crossing Portland. We found a route that took us inside Dixon Entrance and across Portland with smooth seas and very little drama. Tongass Passage led us directly to Portland, past small islands with white sand beaches, and protected passages between reefs that kept the swells from the Pacific Ocean to a minimum.
We breezed across Portland under the jib with a gentle 8-10 knot wind and eased into the entrance. The current took us along past winding waterways and waterfalls. It was serenely quiet and peaceful. We’d been reading the guide books which informed us to check in with the Ranger Station before entering the head of the inlet and anchoring near the Grizzly Sanctuary.
We glided up to the dock attached to the Ranger Station and two gentlemen came out to catch our lines. They invited us in for an introduction to the sanctuary, along with the history of their people and their village. After an informative and friendly chat we toured the anchorage, finding the sweet spot far enough away from the sudden rise of the mudflats and close to the grazing areas of the grizzlies.
Settling in for the night in anticipation of the morning sights left me tingling with curiosity. I was wide awake at 0500 for breakfast at low tide. The grizzlies did not disappoint!!
They were munching on grass, pooping on the shore, and having some on the side! We watched for hours, the majestic wonder of these fierce creatures in the life cycle of adult, two year old juveniles. and one year old cubs. They seemed oblivious to the onlookers in boats, except for the cubs who scampered away when we passed them by on our way when we were leaving the inlet.
Looking at the grandeur of this place in my video does not even begin to describe the delightful awe I took in with each deep sigh…
All the pics and videos leave me wanting to go back for more!!