Earlier this month, Michael Short of the radio show Let’s Go Outdoors interviewed us on Cruising the Secret Coast. Michael asked a variety of questions, including how we got started in boating, why we wrote the book, and some of the experiences that have stood out over the years. The show aired this past weekend as Episode 10 of Let’s Go Outdoors Canada (LGO Canada). Update: new link to listen online.
We lived for years in Victoria, B.C., where both our families had owned various small boats. Work took us to Toronto for a decade, and during this time James’ parents had purchased a larger boat, Hunter’s Moon, a Hunter 31. When we returned to the West Coast, the time we spent on Hunter’s Moon convinced us we needed a boat of our own.
We started out by going to the more well-known destinations: the San Juan and Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and the Broughton Archipelago. As we travelled, we found that we especially enjoyed exploring and discovering less-known places. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, the book really started at Kildidt Inlet on our first trip to Queen Charlotte Sound, just north of Vancouver Island. Queen Charlotte Sound is complex, diverse and beautiful, and the majority wasn’t documented in any of the cruising guides. We had worked our way through Kildidt Narrows, where currents can reach 12 knots, anchored at the head, and spent hours exploring the area and researching the safest way for boats to enter. We also determined that the current correction listed in Sailing Directions was incorrect, and reported this to CHS, who issued a correction. Pacific Yachting published our findings and that encouraged more research and writing.
Anyone who travels the B.C. coast by boat will have countless stories to tell about the places they’ve visited, the people they’ve met, and of course, the amazing scenery. One experience that stood out for us was our visit to Wuikinuxv Village on the Wannock River at the head of Rivers Inlet. Wuikinuxv Village is the last remaining village of the Wuikinuxv Nation (formerly Oweekeno). We weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived. Their small village is not a tourist town, and visitors might be discouraged. We needn’t have worried—the people were friendly and a strong sense of community spirit is evident. A splendid cedar big house, under construction, was a highlight of our visit. We were fortunate to meet then-Chief Alex Chartrand, who took us through their big house site and told us much about Wuikinuxv history, a heritage that is intertwined with the Wannock River and its salmon. Most of Rivers Inlet’s salmon come from rivers that flow into Owikeno Lake—during large salmon runs the Wannock carried seemingly as much fish as water.