What a great place, lucky to get it all to myself!! Have heard about these hotsprings ever since coming to Vancouver Island and now I get to experience them. AMAZING!!
The prairie girl in me has gotta put some country music into this trip!!
5 AM Marine Forecast: Gale Force winds NW 25-35 KT winds, 2-3 Meter swells.
“So skipper, if we get off the dock early we’ll be back into Hotsprings Cove before it kicks up out there”.
LET’S GO!! IT’S NOW OR NEVER.
We watched the Friendly Cove lighthouse fade off in the morning sunrise. The evening before we had enjoyed our gift of Spanish wine from dock friends Mike and Mika to celebrate our trip in a special place. It was good bye to Nootka Sound, home of the treaty signed between the British and the Spanish, creating the birthplace of British Columbia.
History – Wikipedia
Captain James Cook‘s visit to Nootka Sound in 1778 was the first known European sighting of Yuquot. A Spanish naval post,Santa Cruz de Nuca, protected by the cannon of Fort San Miguel, the only Spanish settlement ever established in Canada, was maintained there between 1789 and 1795, with Nootka Sound, usually referred to simply as “Nootka”, becoming an important focal point for English, Spanish, and American Maritime Fur Trader and explorers. Yuquot was also the scene of the Nootka Incident, which nearly led to war between Spain and Britain. Negotiations in Europe calmed the situation and led to the firstNootka Convention. Each nation sent a commissioner to Nootka Sound in order to carry out the terms of the Nootka Convention and related diplomatic issues. Arriving in 1792, George Vancouver was commissioner for Britain and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra for Spain. Quadra also served as the commandant of the Spanish settlement at Yuquot, hosting Vancouver and his crew. Quadra and Vancouver had to engage in diplomatic negotiations due to the Nootka Convention’s vagueness and lack of detail over how it was to be implemented. In addition both commissioners had been given incomplete, differing, and confused instructions by their governments. They negotiated for months but in the end failed to reach an agreement. The matter was sent back to the British and Spanish governments. The primary problem was a differing interpretation of the Nootka Convention. Vancouver’s position, as instructed, was that the entire Spanish settlement was to be turned over to him. Quadra’s position was that there was nothing left to turn over in accord with the Nootka Convention, but he made various offers, such as turning over a small cove in Nootka Sound, where John Meares had built the North West America in 1788, or turning over the entire settlement in exchange if Britain agreed to set the boundary between Spanish and British territory at the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Chief Maquinna played a role in the negotiations, identifying the cove where Meares had built his vessel, swearing that no land had ever been sold to the British and that the Spanish were the rightful occupants at Yuquot—and that only on the condition that the site be restored to his people as soon as possible. Unable to reach an agreement, Vancouver and Quadra left in late 1792 and the settlement at Yuquot remained under Spanish control until 1795, when the terms of the third Nootka Convention, calling for the “mutual abandonment” of Nootka, were carried out, after which the site was reoccupied by the Maquinna and the Mowachaht people.
John R. Jewitt, an English blacksmith, was held there for three years 1803-1805 as Maquinna’s slave, following the capture of the trading ship Boston and the deaths of the captain and all but one other crew members. Jewitt’s memoirs form an important record of Yuquot at that period.
One of the biggest thrills of this trip, or any trip, is learning the local history and picking up books about the area to read during a relaxing evening in the cockpit. I found “White Slaves of Maquinna” which is an account of John Jewitt’s life including his diary from the period he was a slave in Nootka Sound. FASCINATING. We look around us and think about how the land and sea look the same today as they did to the natives and explorers for centuries, and we imagine the old ships swinging at anchor right where we are.
So we arrived safely in Hotsprings Cove by 10AM, anchored and went off to enjoy a soak.
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.
The memories of natives and early explorers who inhabited this region for centuries are alive in the tiny villages along the West Coast of Vancouver Island. As we explore Nootka Sound we find their stories live in quaint museums and bookshelves at the local marinas.
At the head of Zebellos Inlet we tied up to the gov’t dock, safely tucked deep between the mountains and out of the gales blowing on the open ocean. Kristan Celeste pulled in a few hours later, along with the local prawners and DFO prawn inspector, Joey. He and his lovely wife Susie came aboard for happy hour and we learn how to “look up the skirts” of a prawn to tell if it’s male or female. Did you know… all prawns are born male and later morph into females? (SMART!)
It turns out Susie is a stand up comedian in her other life, and what a hoot she was! We spent a lovely evening visiting with the locals and devouring two lbs of prawns we bought live from the MEGAN BROOK. Then it was time to explore Zebellos.
In the 1930’s gold mining was booming in this valley and drew people from all over the world. Many came and went but a few remain, including a gentleman from Bulgaria who owned the cafe/laundromat/motel/store. We had a friendly chat while petting the town cat, although he could hardly speak any English, (neither could the man from Bulgaria). Hester, the cat’s person was the museum curator Liz who was a treasure trove of knowledge about the early days.
One famous character of recent history was a man who had won the lottery about 10 years ago and had determined to spend it all as fast as he could. I remembered reading about him in the newspaper in Victoria, and it was in Zebellos that he partied with his friends old and new, but also built and paid for the boardwalk through the estuary.
After an early morning walk on that boardwalk I gathered up the skipper and we headed for breaky at the Post and Beam Pub Cafe with Wayne (the mayor) and his beautiful Mexican wife Emelita, with whom I practised my Spanish. A man named Vinnie Smith walked in and introductions were made all around. Vinnie is a local carver and forestry engineer, so upon learning this Hershey had many questions about the ways the logging was mapped out and how trees were chosen based on the access the terrain allowed. His most burning question was about the even treeline at high tide. Crew onboard OMOO the last month can attest to the fact that there have been many discussions on this topic. Hershey has maintained all along that the little fish in the ocean nibble at the trees and keep them trimmed. So he proposed this idea to Vinnie and asked if that was a possibility, to which he received a very blank stare from Vinnie, a pause and “fish don’t eat trees” as a response. OMOO’s crew had been trying to establish that fact in many different ways, but once it was confirmed by a native/forestry-engineer/carver, Hershey accepted the fact. I can just imagine later that evening, Vinnie sitting with his people and telling them, “so I met a white guy today who thinks fish jump up and eat all the trees.” The skipper’s got a great imagination!!
We’re off the dock and headed SE toward Tahsis Narrows, pulling into a lovely McBride Bay.
JUNE 4 – 5
KLAKISH BASIN – BROOKS PENINSULA – WALTER’S COVE – KLAYKUOT
A BEAUTIFUL RIDE
Off the dock in Winter Harbor at 0700, sailing and fishing around Kwakiutl Point to Klaskish Basin in moderate swells and light winds with sunny and warm skies. Skipper says, let’s practice using the life lines today, better to get used to them in calm conditions then when we need them in big seas.
SS ties herself to the jack line on deck, to the rigging when setting up her fishing gear, and to the hand holds to go below, diligently working out the ways to do this without getting all twisted up. Checking to see how Hershey has his tied, she discovers he’s clipped into his PFD while sitting on the other end!! THAT WAS EASY!!
Finishing up my morning chores, I report to the skipper the morning business was complete in the head. “I emptied it, cleaned it and closed it.” The reply, “what about the toilet?”
Rounding Brooks Peninsula, we take a wide swing out into the ocean. It’s a very large piece of real estate and we navigate out to 200 foot depths where the swells are less. The rugged coast with swells and spray, along with forecasted 35-45 knot winds means we’re headed for Nootka Sound and the shelter of inside waters. The climate changes noticeably south of Brooks and we are into more sunshine and warmer temps as we wind our way into Walter’s Cove across from the village of Klaykuot.
Back on the dock by 1400 and enjoying the lively community of families coming and going in their boats and canoes, discussing their day’s catch on the water and gathering at the store for ice cream. We take advantage of the evening light for a photo op and get into a contest of the best shots. Turns out we both liked the very same pics taken of kelp caught in the barnacle covered pilings.
JUNE 1 – 3
PORT HARDY – GOLETAS CHANNEL – BULL HARBOR – CAPE SCOTT – WINTER HARBOR
Port Hardy with the working boats and eagles. SO MANY of both. Heading north from Port Hardy in cloudy, rainy conditions we’re cruising along when we saw our first raft of sea otters. Hard to distinguish from a distance they resemble debris in the water. Getting closer they become super curious about us, diving and flopping, popping up again to check on us. Pretty cute to watch. These is a species that was hunted to extinction for the fur trading in the 1800-1900.
” Since 1969 they have been reintroduced from Alaska and are thriving once again. They play an important role in healthy near-shore ecology by feeding on sea urchins, which can devour an entire kelp forest, which in turn provide habitat and nursery areas for many species of fish.” excerpt from Vancouver Islands West Coast by Don Douglas & Reanne-Hemingway Douglas.
Pulling into Bull Harbor to prepare to round Cape Scott, the forecast looks calm and we’re studying the route to take across Nahwitti Bar. It can be a nasty piece of ocean if not transitted at slack tide as the breakers roll on the shallows. However, Anne of Dreamspeaker tell us to take the alternate route between Tatnall Reef and Vancouver Island and avoid the Bar altogether. LOOKS GOOD TO US!! 5AM – Hoisted anchor and away we went on calm seas and the morning sunrise.
1400 – on the dock in Winter Harbor, in our lounge chairs with beer in hand. Kristan Celeste pulls in and we meet Brian and Chris. Sailors make instant friends and we hop-scotched with them for the rest of the week, meeting in other marinas and getting to know them.
JUNE 2 – PILLOW STORAGE
Sideways is back to the boat and thirsty. Opening the fridge she finds a PILLOW!! After sorting through things to find a beer she thinks of sailing and goes to the V-berth to retrieve charts. IT’S A TSUNAMI!! Charts everywhere!! Suddenly she realizes, she’s been organizing things ALL WRONG! Everything in it’s place?? What a sssilly idea.
Hershey’s been at boat projects to prepare for the next leg of the trip. Anyone who knows him knows there’s a method to his boat madness. Projects take on a life of their own onboard OMOO and enhance our sailing comfort and efficiency. The pillow in the fridge was holding up some styrofoam being velcroed to the lid to insulate it better. The paper charts were in disarray in a bit of a panic when the new chart plotter went down enroute to Kwatsi Bay in the Broughtons. The necessary chart was located so Ken and Hershey were able to pull into nearby Echo Bay. The problem was solved when Hershey reinstalled the software, downloading the charts onto the Garmin. WHEW, NEVER GO ANYWHERE YOU DON’T HAVE PAPER CHARTS!!
Ken’s entry on the log that day:
MAY 18 – Departed Port McNeill at 12:30. Motored ’til 15:30 on way to Kwatsi Bay then went to sails. Water temp 15.0 C. About 17:00 chart plotter malfunctioned so we mae Pierre’s (at Echo Bay) by visual @ 18:45 (no Pierre). No cell service or wifi. TELL OUR FAMILIES WE LOVE THEM.