Thursday, 7 July 2016

A week in Quatsino Sound

Julian Cove, Quatsino Sound
 After coming around Cape Scott and down to North Anchorage (near Winter Harbour), we spent a week cruising Quatsino Sound in the company of SV Carousel.

Our next stop was Pamphlet Cove, a well-protected cove up Quatsino Sound on the North side of Drake Island. At high tide, we were able to dinghy into the small lagoon at the head. We had sunny days -- warm enough for the Carousel crew to jump into the ~16-17 degrees C water (but not us).

After Pamphlet, we headed through Quatsino Narrows at slack. The area around the Narrows is quite beautiful. Carousel did a short detour to Coal Harbour (where they enjoyed its small museum), while Pelagia headed straight to the anchorage at Varney Bay, at the outlet of the Marble River. We wanted to get there early so that we could kayak up the river (at high enough tide) to the Marble River Canyon. The Canyon was very beautiful. Clear, fresh water flowing slowly through a steep-walled, narrow canyon. A mother and pup seal were hanging out way up the river (well out of salt water), as well as many birds, including the usual eagles and ravens, as well as many kingfishers and a family of mergansers. Returning to Pelagia, we were joined at anchor by Carousel. After dinner, we put the outboards on the dinghies, and all motored together back up the river, reaching even higher than in the afternoon, reaching a good swimming hole where the river water was very warm. (But with the late hour and cooling air temperature, plus the lack of towels, we didn't go for a swim; must be great later in July and in August.)

Paddling in the Marble River Canyon

Marble River Canyon

Marble River Canyon

Marble River Canyon

Marble River Canyon: clear fresh water!
Next day, we headed back through the Narrows over to Julian Cove. This was a very beautiful (and protected) cove. However, the depths have obviously changed -- likely due to silting-in from the streams -- since the guidebooks and charts were written, and Pelagia briefly found the (soft) muddy bottom. A quick backing away and we anchored in much deeper water than suggested by the guidebooks. On shore was a grassy estuary, with many salmonberries and huckleberries, and evidence of bears. Later that night, SV Carousel made us all an excellent dinner, including a (fresh) salmonberry crumble.

Julian Cove: it becomes very shallow very quickly!
 We would have stayed longer at Julian Cove (it was so nice), but we wanted to go to Port Alice and join in their Canada Day (July 1st) celebrations. It was a short trip (albeit, against Southerly winds and ebbing tide) to the excellent (and relatively new) village-owned "Rumble Creek Marina" (excellent docks, good water, no power or washrooms). We arrived in time for the parade (ambulance, police including RCMP in red serge uniforms, 3 fire trucks, all decked out with Canada's maple leaf flag). Then it was free coffee and muffins at the village community centre. Later, the village and the Lions put on a fantastic salmon BBQ (huge meal with very large pieces of teriyaki-marinated salmon, all, remarkably, at no cost). It was a well-attended event, topped of at dusk with a longer-than-expected fireworks show (easy to view from our boats). An excellent Canada Day. Next day, we stocked up with groceries at the village's excellent supermarket and BC Liquor Store, then returned to Julian Cove, managing a short downwind sail (seems Neroutsos Inlet always has southerly winds in the daytime...).

Canada Day parade in Port Alice

Enjoying our Canada Day muffins (Port Alice)

Port Alice Canada Day breakfast, complete with Mounties in serge

Barbecued teriyaki salmon -- SO good! Thank you Port Alice!

[Port Alice was a mill town, but the mill shut down some years ago. (There is a story to that.) Before the shutdown, the town built up to 900-1000 people, and built many excellent amenities (community centre, ice rink, curling rink, Canadian Legion, docks, supermarket, even the Port Alice Yacht Club...). However, since the mill's closing, the population has decreased by nearly 50% and properties are for sale at remarkably low prices. Nevertheless, the village has a comfortable well-kept feel to it; its people are very friendly, and it has excellent amenities. We highly recommend cruisers plan a stop at Port Alice on their trip down the West coast of Vancouver Island.]

After our second night at Julian Cove, we headed back down Quatsino Inlet to anchor again at North Anchorage, to prepare to round the Brooks Penninsula the next morning.

We safely (though not entirely comfortably) rounded Brooks on July 4th, and are now in the Bunsby Islands (Checleset Bay, near Kyuquot).

No comments:

Post a Comment