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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All the best.