Prince Rupert

Larry beat me to the punch yesterday on posting so this post is not in order chronologically. But hopefully still interesting.

We arrived in Prince Rupert on Friday afternoon and stayed for two nights before heading to Ketchikan yesterday. Prince Rupert is the last port in British Columbia before heading into Alaska and has some interesting history.

Our marina was called Cow Bay Marina in the Cow Bay neighborhood. It’s kind of quaint and cute, in contrast to a lot of the struggling appearance of the downtown area. I didn’t even notice the eagle hanging out on the piling at the top of my photo, but they do like to hang out here and hence the name Eagle’s Rest for one of the shops.

Some of our dockmates turned out to be the 3 naval training vessels we had traveled with earlier, along with a lot of fishing boats and other folks like us passing through on our way north.

Looking up to the marina from our slip. Notice eagle at the top.

I love to take advantage of not cooking when we have access to a good meal elsewhere, and our meal in Prince Rupert did not disappoint. We had a terrific sushi dinner at a local place called Opa. The only disappointment was that the navy trainees got to the beer selection before Larry did and drank up the one he wanted.

Prince Rupert is primarily a shipping town – it has the deepest waterway on the North American West Coast, and is actually 1-2 days shorter for ships coming from China to reach the US markets as containers can go straight onto trains here. They are going through an expansion right now but are still challenged by the fact they can’t fuel the huge container ships.

Nearby were many fish canneries until the 1970s or so. We explored the best preserved of these on a tour with a very knowledgeable guide at the North Pacific Cannery after taking the bus to the area called Port Edward about 30 minutes outside of Prince Rupert.

The train tracks ran right in front of the cannery to get their products to market faster. Europe and Great Britain were their primary customers.
Everything built on stilts including the homes.

The salmon cannery business ran strong for about 80 years. At the time the water was teaming with so much fish they only had to put their nets in from boats like this for 20 minutes before they were so full they came back to the dock to unload and send the fish into the cannery.

Typical gill-netting boat.

Then the fish were sent into a production line that was at first very manual and staffed by First Nations, Chinese and Japanese laborers who lived each in their own housing areas. All of it suspended on stilts over the water.

The more automated canning line. The fish same in at the far end of the building off the boats, went through all the prep stations to the canning and cooking areas and directly onto the train.
The “slime” station where First Nations women cleaned off the scales and any remaing guts from the fish after they had been deheaded and cleaned.

We also explored the Museum of Northern British Columbia, which has an extensive collection of First Nations artifacts and educational material. One of our favorite pieces was the headdress made of grizzly bear claws. I am sure only the toughest dudes ever got to wear it!

Made of grizzly bear claws.

There were a few charming spots in town – like this car turned planter and painted like a cow.

Overall a very interesting change of pace on land!

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