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Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

The Broughton’s: Johnstone Strait – Chatham Channel -Tribune Channel:

Monday 25th April 2016:

The Broughton’s:  Johnstone Strait – Chatham Channel -Tribune Channel:

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25-26th April 2016 from Campbell River to Echo Bay, BC, Canada

 

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Entering Seymour Narrows

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Scolamanzi in Johnstone Strait

So we have left Campbell River at 6:00 with both our buddy boats, Orion and Kama Hele Kai behind us. The cold light breeze was sent straight from the Snow Queen this morning! Brrrrr! The early morning light on the snow covered peaks, made for great -almost postcard like – photography. We had to leave this early to catch the slack tide at Seymour Narrows which was still an hour away. We left our friends (they were going on to Port McNeill) in Johnstone strait to turn into Chatham Channel. For a few minutes we thought of going on to Port Elizabeth inlet. The timing to the next narrow was just too tight to make it. We then decided to anchor at Port Harvey for the night and explore the rest of Chatham Channel and Tribune Channel the next day. We have heard that the resort has collapsed and sank the previous fall? We did not see much evidence of that and had a calm and safe anchorage for the night.

 

The next morning, we had an easy cruise thru Chatham channel at slack water. We continued into Tribune Channel with its wide open channels, lovely high mountains as a backdrop and steep cliffs walling us in. This made was fabulous cruising. It amazed us how close you can get so close to the cliff edge and still have depths of 200+ meters.

This early in the season, none of the resorts are open yet and little of the sea and bird life had returned after the winter – this made for an earie silence through the channels. We went in to Kwatsi Bay resort (all quiet – not soul in sight!) and we could just imagine how lovely it must be with the big waterfall at the back of the resort and docks filled with yachts and people laughing and chatting, having a good time at sunset. Unfortunately, only a sliver of silver water was trickling down at the time – it was not a very cold winter and snow all along the PNW was much less than normal. The very next bay was the impressive almost theatrical Watson Bay – a deep almost perfectly round little bay with impressive cliffs and again – tracts carved out by what normally will be water falls all round made us wonder how the sound of waterfalls will be echoed around between the walls! This is where we have heard the first sounds of a bear roaring! Very exciting! Just outside the bay is Lacy Falls with a salmon farm almost next to it. We were lucky to see how they feed the salmon. The joy of food made them leap straight out of the water! Crows and seagulls and seals hanging around with drooling thoughts of the big one they could have had!

Geared for the Beautiful Broughton’s

Geared for the Beautiful Broughton’s

Next stop was Echo Bay! What a lovely surprise! The colourful setup (could have been a movie set) again was deserted with us the first yacht of the season to dock there. We were that early that not even the electricity was yet available. It didn’t bother us at all. Just the thought of a safe dock was enough. The owner Pierre was still away and Mary and her husband (Care takers of Echo Bay resort) made us feel welcome and reminded us to go up the mountain to meet Bill Proctor and go and see his museum and art/book shop. What an experience that was!

The legendary 84-year-old is such a gentle soul with a generosity that makes me wish I have known him all my life! He has been going out of his way to preserve the important things of the past for humankind. He took it on himself to build a little School where kids can “play school-school” and learn about the things that technology has taken away from them. They can still type on a real old fashion typewriter, “use” an old fashion wall-mounted dial phone, sit on an old school desk with each a chalked pad to write on, play on a piano that still have ivory notes, read out of children’s story books dated from way back when and write lessons on the backboard. Bill was telling us how he – as a youngster- hid in the bush from his teachers because he hated school – he said he never had any formal education but told us in the same breath that he has just written his 3rd book! We bought Full Moon Flood Tide – what an interesting read about cruising the Broughton’s and the life of the frontiers of this lovely area.

Bill is a collector of “junk” – as he calls it – in and amongst it all he has an impressive collection of bottles from Japanese Saki and beer, Chinese opium bottles as well as medicine and even perfume bottles that date way back to the 1930’s. A great example of Bill’s sincerity of preserving his heritage: he has built a wooden logger’s and trappers cabin himself (with no assistance!) out of logs that he split exactly the way they did it in the early years with a tool called a froe (A froe (or frow) or shake axe is a tool for cleaving wood by splitting it along the grain. It is an L-shaped tool, used by hammering one edge of its blade into the end of a piece of wood in the direction of the grain, then twisting the blade in the wood by rotating the haft (handle) – alias Wikipedia) The outlay and furnishing are an exact replica of what it would have looked like a 100+ years ago! Information that only good story-telling can preserve. His mother apparently was an amazing storyteller and so is he. This tough old man has a heart of gold and you could tell by the gentle smile in his eyes when he was showing off his wild Hummingbirds feeding.

His dwelling in Simoon Sound is located in this perfect bay – almost just meat for him and we could just imagine how wonderful and peaceful it must be for him to live with his memories, seeing still 4000 odd visitors a year buying his books and only have his dog, Buster, his boat Ocean Dawn and his hummingbirds! What a privilege it was to have shaken hands with this person! It was totally worth the bush walk up the mountain! Something I will never forget!

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