29 Jul Desolation Sound, Port Mc Neil, Sointula, BC
We spent the next several weeks in July exploring the Desolation Sound area. One of my favorite anchorages was our night in Laura Cove (hmmmm). There were lots (I mean lots) of boats in the anchorage, but we were able to snuggle up to the front of the bay, and it was like our own private beach. It was easy to row Ellie into the beach and we also took an awesome hike thru the forest, looking for Mike’s Place (from the book; The Curve in Time). We had some rain, but it was refreshing.
We experienced the amazing beauty of the area, the tidal rapids, beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Places like Joan’s rock, Walter Point, Maude Island. We went to Pendrell Sound that has the “warmest water north of Baja”, so “we” (Dick) could change the zincs on the bottom of the boat. The water did not turn out to be very warm, (“f’ing cold!”), there was even snow up in the mountains above. Dick got the job done! Luckily, he was able to take a nice hot shower aboard MAIA when he was done.
We spend a couple nights at Waiatt Bay. Rowing into shore there is a beautiful forest with a couple trails. There is a short hike across to another inlet or you can go farther to a nearby fresh water lake, Newton Lake. Along the hike we met Gina, Kevin, Marilyn and Barry from s/v Raven. It turned out they were anchored next to us. We weren’t sure how to access the lake to swim but somehow, we found our way to a big rock that you climb around and can take a dip. The crew of Raven ended up with us, we have a lovely swim and enjoyed the company of new friends. It turns out Gina and Kevin were considering going around the outside of Vancouver Island. Gina and I are both nervous about sailing in the open ocean.
On July 17, we pull up anchor with our destination that evening of Shoal Bay. To get there we must go through several title rapids, timing is once again important. At 0930 we motor thru “Hole in the Wall” at slack tide and now have several hours until it is a good time to go through the next group, Yuculta, Dent & Arran. We have a mellow time waiting and actually go for a swim! The water is very cold but refreshing. Raven also gave us some fresh fish! For some reason out in the middle of the waterway, we have good cell connection, I am able to have a great conversation with Trev. After our final rapid, as we are making our way to our port for the night, we see a group of Dahl Porpoises. We follow close behind and are treated to an amazing show. Such a treat!
We also spent a night at Blind Channel resort, where we can do laundry and take another beautiful hike and pick wonderful blackberries. Next, we head to Loughborough Inlet, and tie up to the dock in Sidney Bay. This was a really quiet and magical location. Across the channel is the home of Dane and Helen Campbell, (old neighbors of our friend Carol who homesteaded in the 60’s further up the Inlet and these were there closest neighbors). Really a treat to have tea and a chat with Helen. Raven is also here and the idea of buddy boating on the outside of Vancouver Island comes up, we decide to see if we can maybe make it happen!
A few more memorables of our tour in Desolation, motor-sailing through the Johnstone Strait, Havannah channel and our night at Lagoon Cove Marina. As we were leaving there we saw a black bear! Anchoring in Laura Bay, next to Trivet Island, Shoal Harbor and dinghy ride to Billy Protor’s museum.
After our 2 week tour, it was time to stock up again. We headed to Port McNeil and hit the stores once again. It is a great town to provision as the stores are all nearby. (Including a pet store to restock Ellie food.)
On July 28, we headed across to Sointula, a town that was settled by Finnish people in the late 19th century. It is a really cool, small close-knit village on Malcom Island. It has a co-op grocery and hardware store. They deliver the fuel to the dock. It is a small harbor with a fleet of fishing boats and pleasure boats. They have free bikes to borrow to ride into the main part of town. Here we found the ferry dock, grocery store, bakery and visitors center. Outside the visitor center there is a wooden farmers stand, where the local farmers stock produce. You take what you want and leave the money in the box. So awesome to have garden fresh veggies! Oh, yea… All along the road there are berries, free for the picking. There is also the famous Burger Barn located right at the Harbor.