MV Dirona


Up the West Coast of Vancouver Island:

Young Bay, Clayoquot Sound to Bodega Cove, Nootka Sound

Day 9: Bodega Cove, Bodega Island, Nootka Sound
We left our anchorage by 0630 to round Hesquiat Penninsula early.  It can be a nasty passage.  There are shoals and rocks well off-shore, and the area has a reputation for developing sudden squalls.  It was a rather bleak morning, suiting the environment, but visibility was good.  This is the view looking back towards Flores Island as we pass south of the peninsula.  We were in 2-3' swell, far apart, so we didn't have much problem with it. 
This is the Estevan Point Lighthouse, established in 1910, at the southwest tip of Hesquiat Peninsula.  When completed, it was, at 150 feet, one of the tallest freestanding structures in the west.  As we turned north along the west side of peninsula, the waves were hitting is more abeam, although we weren't rocking much.  However just looking at them seemed to put my already queasy stomach over the edge.  I had eaten little, but had my first "biscuit loss" of the trip (as in "toss your cookies").   I don't usually get seasick, but the swells really got to me. 
It became progressively more foggy as we approached Nootka Sound.  This little float plane was flying pretty darn low in order to see.
We stopped first in Resolution Cove in Bligh Island Marine Park.  This is where Captain Cook, aboard the Resolution, became the first European to set foot on what became the province of British Columbia.  They felled the first B.C. lumber to replace their spar.  Two plaques commemorate this historic occasion.  Our next stop would be historic Friendly Cove, which was the center of European commerce in the late 1700s in what became British Columbia.
En route to Friendly Cove, we were flagged down by a couple of kayakers.  It was a pair of German tourists heading for Gold River, which is probably a good 30 nautical miles away, and they wanted to make sure they were in the right channel.  They had no charts, only a park map, and it was pretty foggy.  But they seemed perfectly happy with their situation, and off they went.

We tied off at the main public wharf at Friendly Cove.  We had to go to the far shoreward end, as we were told that the "big boat" would be coming in soon.  This is Sam, who tied off our bow line when we came in.  I put another loop in the knot and he asked "Don't you trust my knot?".  He was very pleased with my reply: "I don't trust anyone's knot."  We talked for a bit - he was very friendly.

The Nootka Light Station is quite substantial.  It is still manned, unlike many of BC light stations, which have been automated.  When we went up for a visit, the keeper came out to introduce himself and answer any questions.  Visitors used to be able to climb to the top of the light, but due to safety concerns, that is no longer allowed.
While we were at the station, the "big boat" came in.  It was the Uchuck III, which travels throughout Nootka Sound from Gold River.  Friendly Cove is accessible only by air or water.  This was a weekend, so it was bringing tourists from Gold River to visit Friendly Cove for a few hours.  We realized that they were all heading to the church, which we hadn't been to yet, so we rushed down to beat the crowds.
The church is a modern Catholic church in the Native village of the Mowachaht.  It is full of colorful and impressive carvings. As people came in, they dutifully sat down as if they were expecting something.  So we did too.  A member of the band, who was traveling with the tourists on the Uchuck, gave a very interesting presentation on the history of the region and that of her people.  We were very lucky to have been there at the right time.  The crowds had become a good thing. :)
The church also contains two stained-glass windows which were a gift from the Spanish government.  The one shown depicts the ratification  of the Nootka Convention in 1792, which transferred local power from Spanish to British hands.  Captain Vancouver represented the British, and Captain Quadra the Spanish.
Nearer to the docks is a fallen totem.  It was a gift in 1929 to the visitiing Governor-General of Canada, Lord Willingdon.  He couldn't take it with him, so he gave it to the the village, where it stood until 1994.  It is considered bad luck to raise a fallen totem pole.
We saw the most unusual sailboat tied off to a piling when we return to the docks.  It came with an equally unique tender.
We left Friendly Cove and headed north in search of an anchorage for the night.  We found one at Bodega Cove on Bodega Island in Kendrick Inlet.  It was empty when we arrived, but two large sailboats arrived later.  They anchored a ways off and rafted.  Powerboats are definitely in the minority here.  This is the view looking south, out from the anchorage.  It was very tranquil.




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Copyright 2012 Jennifer and James Hamilton