July 9, 2019–Kuyquot, Home of Ben and the Fishing God

Departure Port:  Scow Bay, Bunsbys; Departure Time:  7:30am; Destination:  Kuyquot, Walters Cove; Arrival Time:  10am; Distance Traveled Today:  10 miles; Total Distance Cruised:  632 miles; Conditions:  Overcast to hazy sunshine after noon; light wind and smooth seas in morning, strong SE wind forecast for this evening; air temp:  71 degrees; water temp:  56 degrees

DSCF2426After quick bowls of granola and boxes of juice, we raise the anchor and are off to Kuyquot.  It’s a short run, but we want to get there early so that, with rough weather in the forecast, we have a good chance to tie up at the public dock.  It’s overcast, mild, and almost devoid of wind.  We motor southwest on glassy seas, staying close to the coast.   We pass an interesting stretch of shoreline, with numerous sea caves carved out by the waves, at the base of steeply timbered slopes.  Some of these caves appear big enough for kayaks to enter, and the entrance of one is veiled by a thin curtain of water, dripping from its entry ceiling.  In short order we draw near to Walters Cove and the community of Kuyquot.  The approach is narrow and twisty,DSCF2432 but well marked by channel buoys.  We find a good spot on the public dock and tie up.  We will spend the rest of the day today, and all day tomorrow here.  We must wait till 1pm tomorrow for the store to open.  This store will be our primary provisioning opportunity, and will have to serve us for the next 2 weeks.  Also, there’s this small matter of these 25 to 35 knot SE winds, forecast for this evening and tomorrow, so Kuyquot seems like a good place to hang out in.  We hope to stock up on groceries, buy ice for the cooler, fill our water tank, dispose of garbage, enjoy a meal or two at the local cafe, catch on family news and publish recent blog posts via wifi, and if we’re really lucky, find a place to take a couple of much needed showers.  We’ll see how all this works out.

Once the boat is tied up and secure, we grab our laptops and follow the 1km  trail/board walk around the bay to the restaurant.  Some sailboat cruisers we talked to raved about the pie and hamburgers, so we’re looking forward to sampling the fare.  We decide to have hamburgers for lunch, and then try their fresh halibut fish and chips for dinner this evening, and maybe a slice of that pie too.  The waitress encourages us to order quickly, since a crowd of 17 are soon to arrive in 2 long canoes.  We place our orders and then log onto the wifi.  I publish posts and send emails to family.  Greg emails his wife and checks the weather forecast and satellite imagery.  Lunch is great.  While using the restroom I can’t help but notice the enticing shower stall located a few feet over from the toilet.  I ask the owner about the chances of taking showers there.  He says that would be just fine.  He charges $10 per shower, and recommends we wait till 7pm, when the restaurant closes, so we won’t be in the way of any diners when we shower.  Under the circumstances, $10 sounds more than reasonable, and we plan accordingly.

DSCF2437After lunch we step out onto the dock to watch the canoeing group get ready to leave.  They’re out on a week long canoe camping tour of the area, using 2 long canoes borrowed from a First Nations band located near Victoria.  It takes them a bit of organizing, but soon they’re off, paddling to a cadence and seeming to have a great time.  We walk back to the boat.  I aim the solar panels and take our stuffed garbage sack up to the dumpster located at the head of the dock.  Trash disposal can pose difficulties in remote places, however, there is a road to Kuyquot from the more populated east side of Vancouver Island, so trash service is available and we’re glad for it.

We settle in on the boat, intening to get pictures transferred to the computer, but we don’t get far.  The voices of two kids, a white boy and a First Nations girl, are excitedly engaged inDSCF2441 conversation just outside the cabin of our boat.  I peer out the window to see what’s going on.  They’re both lying prone on the dock, heads poked down into the space between the dock and a piling, arms reaching as far as they can go.  An old fishing pole and a piece of metal tubing with monofilament line tied to the end, lie next to them on the dock.  They’re trying to pull pile worms off the dock for bait.  I ask them how they’re doing.  They answer politely but briefly.  They’ve got more important things to do than make small talk with an old guy on a little sailboat.  Before you know it, the girl pulls up a small pile perch.  Not to be outdone, the boy catches a much bigger fish.  The girl identifies it as a rainbow fish, and it is indeed colorful.  I ask if it’s good eating and she definitively says “No!”  She explains that a relative of hers ate one and got very sick.   I learn that she’s from the Indian settlement across the bay, and she’s over here for the day, visiting.  She tells me that her father calls her “The Fishing God”, and for obvious reasons.  She’s acutely intent on her activity.  The boy’s name is Ben, and he’s also all business when it comes to fishing.  they both appear to be about 10 years old.  Ben hauls in the next one, even bigger than the rainbow fish.  He says “Look how fat she is, she must be pregnant”.  The girl says “Yes, her water just broke.  She’s going to have babies.”  She begins to stroke the fisb’s distended vent and, sure enough, a tiny fish, actively flipping around, pops out.  She carefully picks it up, examines it carefully, and then tosses it into the water.  The Fishing God acts as midwife for half a dozen other baby fish, and then she releases the mother fish as well. 

Greg and I try to return to our picture processing but it’s hopeless.  We end up taking more pictures than we’re able to load onto the computer.  Soon, I get pulled into the action.  A hook gets swallowed, and my help is needed in getting the hook out of the fish’s throat.  Then a hook is lost, and I am able to provide a replacement from my tackle box.  The Fishing God asks to borrow a knife to trim off a line.  I lend her a scissors which works better.  The DSCF2442action climaxes when the girl asks me if I’m wearing a short sleeved shirt under my jacket.  Turns out, she’s spotted some tube worms under the dock which are just out of their reach.  She’s thinking that my arm might be long enough to get them.  I take my jacket off and roll up my long sleeved shirt, and walk over to where the worms are hanging out.  I see them down there, grab ahold of one, and pull for all I’m worth.  Despite my best efforts, I can’t yank one free.  They really hang on hard.  Greg and I expected that having to hang out on the boatDSCF2455 here for several hours  would get really boring.  Ben and the Fishing God have provided the best entertainment imaginable.  As for the two kids, they’ve experienced several hours of fascination and enjoyment, without the slightest involvement of anything electronic.

This evening’s activity will center around walking back to the restaurant to sample the halibut fish and chips, check email on the wifi, and take those much needed showers.  We’ll put the cockpit surround up before retiring, because of the rain being forecast.

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2 thoughts on “July 9, 2019–Kuyquot, Home of Ben and the Fishing God

  1. I’ve read your trip so far. You’ve had reasonable weather, especially in difficult areas I was wondering about. Your sailboat seems to be doing just fine, and most of the time you also seem to get vhf weather forecasts, despite the isolation. I am looking forward to your final stage of sailing.

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