July 28, 2005

Oleo's Restaurant - Frederick Arm

Hello Everyone!

We had a great four nights in Von Donop Inlet.

We caught some Rock crab and cooked them up (very nice, but there's so little meat per crab, they're not worth the bother) and 6 rock fish - very tasty. We lightly sauteed the rock fish fillets in butter, we had them for dinner one night and fish tacos the next day.

Dungeness crab were not around, not a sandy enough bottom. We'll try again for them further North.

Yesterday (Wednesday the 27th) our very good friends Chris and Julie James arrived in Von Donop on their classic Stevens motor yacht. I've know them since the the mid '80s from California Yacht Club in the mid '80s in Marina del Rey and they also were just down the dock from us in Alameda at Mariner Square, before they cruised up to the Pacific Northwest in April 2004.

We had a great time catching up yesterday afternoon. We all had a great Indian tomato vegetable balti that Mary made using the great Indian spices she bought at the Ganges farmers market on Salt Spring Island on July 2nd.

This morning, we raised anchor at 8 AM and headed for the dreaded Yaculta (YEW-cla-ta), Gillard and Dent Rapids. These three rapids are right in succession and they can be quite fearsome with currents in excess of 14 knots on the spring tides (We motor at 7+). The rapids also have tidal rips, whirlpools and overfalls (basically waterfalls in the middle of the channel). The last rapid of the series, also has the dread "Devils Hole", a great boiling cauldron of white water in the middle of a giant whirlpool. We've seen impressive pictures of boats going through the rapids and getting rolled. Boats have also been sunk and lives lost when boats capsized in the rapids.

So we did a LOT of planning to make sure that we went through at a neap tide slack! The strategy was to arrive at the first rapid, one hour before slack and proceed through all three in succession, reaching the last just as the tide turns to have the current carry us through. We did fine, we arrived actually 10 minutes early and made it through all three with only a little bouncing around in the rips and eddies. We never had a current exceed 2.5 knots going through.

Just beyond the other side of the rapids, we pulled into Frederick Arm and docked at "Oleo's" a funky little dock floating in the middle of an inlet off Frederick Arm. The dock is not connected to land, it's just in the middle of this little inlet. The dock has two 50 dock fingers in the shape of a U. Across the bottom of the U is the restaurant and the families residence. The family serves dinner every evening for up to 10 people and moorage is included in the price of dinner - $22 CDN per person. We'll report back on the food - it's supposed to be very good. There are two other boats here with us, so dinner tonight will be for 6.

Oleo's is run by a family of four, the mom and dad run the place, the daughter is a senior in college up here and the son is the fishing guide. Tomorrow we're going out with him to try our luck catching some salmon. We've got a lot to learn so we'll be taking lots of notes.

That's the news from here! We hope you all continue to have a great summer!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

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