Timeless at Turnbull Cove

Timeless at Turnbull Cove

After a push up the Strait of Georgia for Campbell River, we visited our friends and former crew mates, John and Naomi. Feasting and hiking together, while also provisioning at the big yellow store, it was great to see them and we hope they join us for a few days up north.

Strathcona Provincial Park with Naomi and Riley

Campbell River with Naomi and John

Campbell River is the last town with everything, and next comes the Seymour Narrows with its famous 17 knot currents that even the cruise ships wait out for slack. As advised, we caught the slack before ebb on a nice Friday evening and rode the current up Johnstone Strait on a rare windless day to Small Inlet, where we had spent last year riding out a gale with our crew of five. This time it was flat calm and tempting to stay, but we left early the next morning to catch the ebb again further north toward the new and unknown. With the favorable current and no significant wind, Laysan broke new speed records of 13 knots and we arrived at Port Harvey that afternoon.

The floating barge marina there is renowned for pizza, pastries, and bears upstream, but alas the barge had sunk under mysterious circumstances last winter, so no joy there. Sometimes the locals move their floating homes ashore to avoid these problems until they pull them back on the water and follow opportunity elsewhere. It’s a different form of mobility.

So we moved on to Cutter Cove, carefully selected for its southeast orientation in the face of a northwesterly gale forecast, only to find out it catches the wind like a funnel rushing toward the mainland. We swung at the end of our new anchor chain, made tea, and watched four bears rummaging along the shoreline. Blustery, but nice, and binocular distance is good for bears.

Bear at Binocular Distance

Wahkana Bay by ourselves for a couple of nights yielded our first big haul with the new prawn trap, 54! And they are the size of mini lobsters! Kathleen is getting good at crustaceans, and adopting the local term of “food fishing” with vigor. Every day resets a new limit for the haul, and she will not miss an opportunity. As able assistant fisher, I’ve honed my cleaning skills and become quite familiar with crustacean anatomy. Kwatsi Bay nearby is in a bowl with thousand foot cliffs all around and waterfalls everywhere. Some cruisers there recommended Turnbull Cove and we started again further north.

Prawns in the trap

Future dinner

Enroute overnight at Shoal Harbor, we visited Billy Proctor’s museum. A true denizen of the north, he proudly showed us his collection of logging and trolling artifacts, his hand loggers cabin, and his boat Ocean Dawn, a genuine wooden salmon troller from which Laysan might derive some honest lineage in design and style. We bought his book, Full Moon Flood Tide, and it has added a lot of realism to the places up here with stories of the last hundred years of characters driven to survive and succeed up here, as well as the first nations civilization prospering for thousands of years before.

Bill Proctor’s Museum

Bill Proctor’s boat

Burly Bay

So now we sit quietly at anchor in Turnbull Cove, latitude 50 north, catching prawns in the afternoon, hiking to a lake nearby, and finding enough bear scat to keep us alert with one hand on the bear spray. Maybe we will leave tomorrow, but then again maybe not.

Hike to Huaskin Lake

All the best.


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9 Responses to Timeless at Turnbull Cove

  1. Sybil Saito says:

    Need to get together with you when you come back to Hawaii for a rest stop! What are the kids up to? Keep on posting! Those prawns are Ginormous!!!

  2. Steve J Noufer says:

    Wow! Best trip report yet. Looks like you’re getting into the boonies. 50 degrees. When does it get dark?

  3. Phillip B. Olsen says:

    Your prawns look yummy. You must have secret bait. In bear country, I attach a tobacco tin holding a few pebbles to make plenty noise on the trail. It seems to work.
    Happy sailing,
    Phil Olsen

  4. Sybil Saito says:

    John and Kathleen – are you going to be in the Seattle area October Oct 19 – 24? Paul and I will be visiting Michael and would LOVE to meet up with you!

  5. james r langworthy says:

    You are having a great adventure, and I am enjoying it vicariously.
    Thanks for including us in your odyssey.

  6. Naomi Tabata says:

    Great post!! It was so good to catch up. Hope to track u down “out there”…or perhaps on your way south. Happy explorations…

  7. Brigitte Fenn says:

    Richard and I very much enjoy receiving the photos and descriptions of your adventures. You are definitely predisposed genetically to pursue these activities through your early motorcycle trips to Mexico with your dad–and don’t forget your mom and Missy, both fierce travelers. Uebrigens, Du aehnelst Deinem Vater kolossal. Man denkt man saehe einen juengeren John vor sich.
    Weiterhin gute Reise und gutes Wetter.
    Richard und Brigitte

  8. Laura Thielen says:

    That prawn is huge! And I love the picture of your boots overlooking the lake. Makes it feel like we’re there with you. Tom and I just got back from visiting Emma in Japan. We’re hoping Julia comes by to share her Kauai stories and future plans. Keep writing! We love your posts.

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