NOOTKA SOUND was a favourite for us. The history, the people and the beauty was fascinating. We sipped Margaritas at Tahsis Marina’s “Margaritaville of the North” with Brian and Chris on Kristan Celeste, our boating buddies, and planned our next destination. Based on the forecast it was still blowing hard outside the sound so we chose to stay a few more nights inside the protected waters behind Nootka Island. As we’re relaxing after dinner on the spacious patio a plane flew in and a dozen people went from it to a large water taxi. There were women in dresses and heals, dragging their large suitcases along, and men carrying long hard cases resembling something that might carry musical instruments. Being curious about who they were and where they were going; we asked the marina owner who lowered his voice and told us quietly that they had just flown in from Europe to go bear hunting. He told us Nootka Island has the largest population of bears in B.C. and people pay big $$ to hunt there. So those big cases were carrying their rifles…
The next morning the wind was whipping through the marina at 25 knots, pinning OMOO against the dock. Mother Nature made getting off the dock a challenge. The skipper had me tie our largest fender near the bow of the boat, untying the mid line and the stern line. He put the boat in gear while still tied to the dock with the bow line, swinging the stern away from the dock to give us enough clearance to back out of the marina. Brian and Chris stood by in case we needed help but at the precise moment I got the signal to untie the bow line and we were off. Once we got going with the wind we drifted through Tahsis Channel under the jib at 7 knots. LOVELY! We entered Tlupana Inlet and continued sailing to Hisnet Inlet.
The eponymous inlet was named for Lt. Ciriaco Ceballos, a crew member aboard an early ship of Spanish explorer Alessandro Malaspina‘s expedition (1789-1794), the location of Zeballos remained relatively obscure until over 120 years later, when a mining camp by that name emerged due to a gold rush in the 1930s. The name became official as that of the local post office in 1946 and was incorporated as a village municipality in 1952. Although estimates vary, Zeballos may have had a population of over 5,000 during the peak of mining activity. Between 1938 and 1943, $13 million worth of gold bricks were shipped from Zeballos.