Most places in the Bella Coola region are so remote that they can only be accessed by floatplane. So in order for me to get to my next adventure, I took a floatplane ride courtesy of Wayne Sissons of Bella Coola Air. Wayne operates an aircraft charter operation and provides air transportation and flight seeing tours in the Bella Coola and central coast of BC.
As I sat in the floatplane, I had the best front row seats to the pristine lush wilderness of Bella Coola’s central coast. It was a beautiful clear warm day and the water below was glassy smooth. It was truly remarkable to see such beautiful scenery from the air just minutes after we took off from the airport.
Once we landed in Quatna Bay., I boarded the Pacific Grizzly, a charming boat owned by Leonard Ellis of Bella Coola Grizzly Tours. He took me out and showed me the ins and outs of his prawn and crab fishing operation. This area was secluded. I did not see another soul or boat around. Leonard and I motored into a sheltered bay and pulled up prawn traps and crab pots that he had placed earlier in the deep crevices below the waters’ surface. We caught over 100 jumbo sized prawns and 13 Dungeness crabs! It was a sight to see!
We motored back to Leonard’s anchored vessel with our catches of the day. As we stepped aboard, the crew already had water boiling in a large cooking pot. Leonard tossed the jumbo prawns into the pot and scooped them out within minutes. The crabs followed. Within twenty minutes he had an oversized platter filled with prawns and crabs for a seafood feast. We devoured the hot seafood, dipping it into homemade garlic butter and sauce. Our only conversation was with our taste buds. Our eating frenzy had to come to an end as our pilot, Wayne, was waiting for us on his floatplane to take us back.
On the way back, we flew over Alexander Mackenzie’s monument. A monument was erected in his honor because he was the only man of his time to have ventured this far west over land. We flew over King Island and Jump Over Mountain. The highlight of the flight for me was flying over the ice fields - they were stunningly beautiful. We flew low enough at an elevation of 6,000 feet to enjoy spectacular views of waterfalls running off from the glaciers.
Every summer when I sail with friends and family, one of my favorite activities is fishing for prawns. Nothing beats seafood fresh from the ocean. This adventure for me was 10 times better than all my sailing summers combined! I loved pulling up the traps filled with white spotted prawns and Dungeness crabs. I have to admit I have been spoiled. It is now hard to return to buying seafood at a store. The cameramen agreed that this was the freshest seafood they had ever eaten.
Hagensborg, BC, Canada. V0T 1H0
Tel. (250) 982-2545
P.O. Box 336,
1953 Mackenzie Highway 20
Bella Coola, BC, V0T 1C0
Toll Free: 1-888-982-0098