Departure Port: Viner Sound; Departure time: 8am; Destination: Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina; Arrival time: 11am; Miles cruised today: 10; Total miles for the trip: 327; Conditions: beautiful until 5pm thunderstorm; water temperature 55 degrees
Before proceeding with today’s account, I should add a post script to yesterday. I had been troubled, at the time that we anchored, by how close to the rocky cliff we were sitting. In order to line up with the stern tie rope we’d found ourselves in over 100 feet of depth, and we had very little scope. The boat itself was only about 25 or 30 feet out from the rocks. This was ok so long as it remained calm, however around the time we were turning in, a light breeze had snuck around our protective island, and was pressing against our starboard beam. This was pressing us closer to the rocks, and we suspected that the anchor was dragging. Not a good situation. We made the call to raise anchor, haul in the stern tie line, and head elsewhere. We took the advice of Max, owner of Kwatsi Bay Marina, and crossed over to Viner Sound. In the fading twilight we motored to the head of the Sound, where we found the two public mooring balls he had told us about. Both were unoccupied. We tied off on one, and then settled into a comfortable, worry free night of sleep.
This morning we awake to a placid scene of lovliness. Glassy smooth water, cloud free sky, and a beaming sun which quickly rids the air of its chill. After breakfast Greg tries a bit of fishing from the bow. Having no luck, we untie from the mooring and slowly motor out into the Sound. We make our way out to its mouth, and pause at the little islet there for more fishing. While drifting behind the islet we here a whooshing sound and glance to our left. A minke whale has surfaced and spouted not more than 100 yards from our location. The whale comes up one more time before disappearing behind the little island. Greg dashes for the cameras and I try sneaking behind the island to a position ahead of the whale’s direction of travel, hoping that we’ll get another close look. By the time we clear the island, however, the whale has moved out toward the center of the channel. We get one more look, see that in fact there are 2 whales, they go down, not to be seen by us again.
We then cross over to the Burwood Group to fish a place where I’ve caught rockfish in the past. Greg lands one small quillback rockfish and we put it on a stringer. That turns out to be our only fish, and it’s time to pull the line in and head over to Echo Bay. It’s good to be back here once again, to the place where Sandy and I received such outstanding care in 2014 when Sandy had her stroke while hiking over to Billy Proctor’s Museum. We stop at the fuel dock to gas up and register, and then motor over to a dock in front of the colorful gabled house and tie up. We have lunch on the boat, and then I dump water out of the ice chest in preparation for stocking it with fresh ice. To my dismay I find our unopened package of flour tortillas floating in the icewater. The sealed plastic bag proves to have been less than perfectly sealed, for a substantial quantity of water is found inside. I open the bag and pour it out. I decide to try and salvage my soggy tortillas. With utmost care I slowly peel each tortilla from the stack, and then drape it over the lifeline, pinning them in place with clothes pins. They look like some really wierd laundry. I get the ice, and after placing the refrigeratables back into the cooler, I happen to notice my fish stringer, which still holds Greg’s rockfish, or rather, what’s left of Greg’s rockfish. When I lift it out of the water, I discover that a great chunk of the belly has been bitten away. We conclude that a seal is the most likely culprit. Our potential fish dinner has now been relegated to crab bait.
When chores are done, it’s time to hike over to Billy Proctor’s Museum. Billy Proctor has become a treasured icon in this region. He’s in his 80’s now, and has lived in this area all his life. In his younger years, he had the chance to meet all the old timers, and he eagerly learned their stories. In his own right, he made a living logging and fishing, and over the course of his years, he’s become deeply appreciative of the environment. He’s spent much time collecting artifacts from both First Nations and white cultures, and these are exhibited in his museum. He’s written several books about the area and his life experiences, which we find to be excellent reading. We arrive at his museum and find him sitting on the bench on the museum porch, chatting with a group of visitors. We in turn introduce ourselves and get acquainted. While this is going on, Billy sees a large sailing vessel approaching his dock. “Oh, that’s Bill, on board Joshua, coming by to say hello.” I go down to the dock to give Bill a hand getting tied up. He’s an interesting guy, full beard, and gets around with one prosthetic leg. He may be slightly younger than Billy, but they’re both kindred spirits.
Bill’s boat looks vaguely familiar. I learn that Bill built her by himself, in 1978, and modeled her after Joshua Slocum’s Spray. Joshua Slocum is a name familiar with most boaters. In 1897 he commissioned the construction of a sailboat, to exacting specifications, which he then took on a famous voyage of circumnavigation. He chronicled his adventures in the widely read book, Sailing Single Handed Around the World. Bill named his boat after Joshua, and he cruises it in Northwest waters. Bill walks up to Billy’s museum and plops himself down on the bench, next to Billy. Greg and I then experience a special treat as Bill and Billy exchange good natured barbs and swap one colorful story after another. With one ear to the conversation taking place out on the porch, Greg and I gaze at Billy’s eclectic collections of fishing lures, old bottles, incredible Indian artifacts, and fascinating items too numerous to describe. A visit to Billy Proctor’s Museum is truly a highlight to any cruise in the Broughtons.
We hike back to the marina and hit the showers. Around 5pm it’s happy hour on the dock, where boaters gather to meet and swap stories. It’s a great opportunity to meet people and gather information. We bring a stack of my nicely dried flour tortillas, along with a tub of artichoke parmesan dip. The party gets cut short by a sudden and hard hitting thunder storm, which sends us all scattering for shelter. We put up the cockpit surround, and about the time we get it up, the rain quits. I fix up a dinner of beef fajitas, using those flour tortillas, which have reconstituted perfectly. Solar dried tortillas, just the thing.
By the time the sun is getting low, the skies have cleared and the colors of the marina, flowers in tubs, reflective water, tastefully painted buildings, interesting boats, are on full display. It’s hard to believe that all this happened in just a single day.