Friday, 14 July 2017

Two weeks (so far) in the Broughtons

We've now spent 2 weeks cruising parts of the Broughtons. Anchorages have been uncrowded and weather mostly benign (although never "hot").

Our first night off of Johnston Strait was spent in the inner bay of Pott's Lagoon. We were very concerned upon entering the outer bay to see a very large log dump and logging operation. However, the inner bay was the same as ever, with the usual floathomes. There were only two of us boats anchored. We did get a very friendly visit from four guys from the logging camp, even inviting us to check out their "Hilton" hotel (bunkhouse) and come for breakfast (possibly tongue in cheek). However, although the logging operation was not visible from the inner lagoon, it still could be heard, and given nothing was stopping them, not even Canada Day, we decided to move on the next morning to Crease Island/Goat Island anchorage.

Logging camp/log dump in Pott's Lagoon outer bay (July, 2017)
Crease Island had a few boats anchored, and we had a little trouble with the rocky bottom (there seemed far more kelp the in previous years), but we had a good two days at Crease, including two kayak outings.

Next was our favourite, Sointula (Malcolm Island). One of the best public docks around, Sointula is very laid back and comfortable. It is hard to leave. We got out our folding bikes (not used for a couple of years) and had a good bike ride, and also did a hike on the Mateoja Heritage Trail to Big Lake (which was very small). We did a little food shopping, but selection and cost were issues at the local Co-Op store. After 3 nights in Sointula -- we could have stayed longer-- we decided to head the few miles over to Port McNeil for fuel, groceries and alcohol.

Port McNeil is very convenient for provisioning, and the public docks pretty good (there is also the "North Island Marina" at the fuel dock, which seems more popular with the power boats). However, Port Mac is entirely lacking in any character or beauty (unless you like parking lots...). One night was a lot.

Next day, we headed out across Queen Charlotte Strait to Cullen Harbour for a much-anticipated meeting with our friends David and Gillian on SV Carousel (who had just come down from the Central Coast). Last year we cruised 19+ days with Carousel going arounf the top of Vancouver Island to Kyuquot with them. A calm windless crossing, but happily Cullen Harbour was empty. We spent the next seven nights with Carousel.

SV Pelagia and SV Carousel anchored in Cullen Harbour

We dinghied through the rapids into Booker Lagoon, spying a bear turning over rocks on the shore, and exploring the channels around the islands near Cullen Harbour. Very beautiful -- we might return over the next week. We then went into the Broughtons proper, spending two nights at "East of Eden" Cove on Eden Island (sometimes called "Ladyboot Cove, due to its shape), then a night at Laura Bay. We checked out the Burdwood  Group (beautiful, but not a great anchorage) and then spent another night at Crease Island (this time with no rocky bottom issues). Finally, we decided to visit Alert Bay, where we are now.

Gillian and David (SV Carousel) with bear on beach (Booker Lagoon)
After seven nights cruising together (with dinners together every night), SV Carousel left this morning to head back down Johnston Strait. We are staying on in Alert Bay for a third night.

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