Now that Laysan is shut down, tied up, and pickled for a long winters nap, it’s time to recount a wonderful summer cruise to the Broughtons and back.
The Broughton Archipelago is a large BC Marine Park of over 200 islands and 20000 acres of protected land between northern Vancouver island and the BC coast. Sparsely populated now except for bears and fish, it is a cruise boaters refuge, and even after six weeks we’ve only sampled the region. Suffice it to say, there were many quiet days at anchor and plenty of crustaceans at dinner time.
The First Nation sites of five thousand years have shell middens fifteen feet deep where their long houses sat and they harvested protein from the sea. We walked along these beaches amazed that the huge cedar frame logs remained despite the villages’ abandonment fifty years ago. Treading carefully beside rows of wild blackberries, we appreciated the solitude until realizing we were actually not alone. Kathleen was ahead on the white shell beach when I heard those familiar words, “hey bear”. Now I’m behind Steven who’s behind Kathleen who’s facing the big bear, and I’ve got the bear spray. Of course. Bear seems only intent on more berries regardless of us three on this narrow beach, and continues slowly foraging towards us as we back into one another, repeating the mantra ” hey bear, hey bear “. I don’t think bear had paid attention to the ranger lesson on human encounters. Nonetheless, he eventually turned inshore toward the old long house frames and we began normal breathing again. Whew. Back in the dinghy to the relative safety of our anchored Laysan and a glass of wine for a sunset review of the day.
In between wildlife encounters, I performed boat maintenance for both necessity and improvement. As I learned, entropy is inevitable and redundancy is temporary, meaning once the backup is engaged the impending total system failure is a greater threat. This is especially important in toilets and steering, both items that seemingly get the crew’s rapt attention. Fortunately I managed to get both systems back on line to much applause.
By the numbers, (approximately, because I’m writing this at a distance from my log book), Laysan carried us for a hundred days and almost a thousand miles using four hundred gallons of diesel with only ten days in marinas , and the rest at anchor. Friends and family enjoyed Kathleen’s bounty as a crustacean hunter, but alas, yet another year without a salmon. We do own more fishing tackle these days but it’s seemingly still not working yet.
Meanwhile daughter Julia has hiked the mountains of Japan, weathering Typhoon Noru for two days in a shelter on Mount Hakusan. Son Connor enjoyed the cruising life on Laysan and resumed his senior year studies at the University of Utah.
And then came the tempest from nature, Hurricane Harvey. Daughter Sarah left on a pleasant afternoon from Seattle for Port Aransas to resume her studies at UT MSI, only to be greeted by hurricane warnings and evacuation orders the next day. Out of nowhere, from flat calm to devastation in two days, Sarah wrapped up her lab and her apartment and sought refuge with the relatives in Arlington. Now only a week later, Port A is already rebuilding their town, her university, and her home together like only a community of fellowship can. She is safe, strong, and surrounded by good people.
And so now the journey changes from cruising to walking as we begin our way to the Camino de Santiago across Spain. Five hundred miles on a thousand year old foot path, this should be interesting. Stay tuned, stay healthy, and thanks for listening. All the best.