MV Dirona


Up the West Coast of Vancouver Island:

Tzartus Island to Pinkerton Group, Barkley Sound

Day 3: Pinkerton Group, Barkley Sound
We set off for the Pinkerton Group the next day, which is just outside the northern boundary of the Broken Group.  Pictured is the M/V Lady Rose, which we passed en route.  It is a passenger and freight ship that works various west coast communities.  It was originally a member of the famed Union Steamship Company fleet.
We first went north to visit the ruins at Ecoole on Seddall Island directly north of Tzartus Island.  In the 1920s and 1930s, this was a BC Packers Pilchard Reduction plant with a small supporting settlement. It was abandoned in the 1940s and this is pretty much all that is left. Because the west coast was populated so early and so heavily, it also suffered through many abandoned enterprises and communities as their resources waned or business moved elsewhere.  There are ruins the length of this coast, much more than you see other places along the B.C. coast.
This is the entrance to Useless Inlet, north and west of Ecoole.  It's kind of tricky to get in, with rocks across the entrance.  We went through the route recommended by the Douglass guidebook, along the western side of the channel.  This was a little dicey as we had to turn the boat sideways to the wind and current, which is not its most maneuverable position.
The inlet is rather steep-to, with almost every anchorable nook taken by a floathome or aquaculture.  However, two sailboats were anchored at the head, and they looked quite comfortable. All the coves where one might anchor in the arm connecting to Fatty Basin are taken by aquaculture.
Someone, presumably the aquaculture farmers, had strung line across a cove opposite the farms.  We assumed that this was to prevent anyone from anchoring there.
This is the entrance to Fatty Basin from Useless Inlet.  From looking at the chart, we had considered going through, but seeing how narrow it actually was resolved that question.  We'd be touching trees on both sides.  Also, another aquaculture farm was visible on the inside, so it didn't look like an appealing anchorage anyway.
We exited on the eastern side of the channel, where all the local boats seemed to zoom through.  It was narrower and shallower than the western path, but it was a straight run, so it worked better for us.
The Pinkterton Group -- our destination.  This shot pretty much says it all. Unfortunately, being outside the park, many of the coves have floathomes and aquaculture, and the rest already were already occupied with sailboats - 3 when we arrived.   This is another notable feature of the west coast of the island -- sailboats outnumber power boats by a large margin.
We anchored for lunch on cove at the north end of largest island, west of V-shaped nook which already had a floathome.  We dragged and couldn't get very good grip, but enough for lunch.  Then we set off to look for an overnight spot.  Not finding one we liked better, we returned to our lunch spot.  We dropped hook and pulled back with our bow to the NW and dropped lots of rode. We eventually got a good hold and dropped the stern anchor, but it slipped too -- the bottom is fine silt.  So we stern-tied instead.

We then set off to explore by dinghy -- this is great territory for poking around in. We went to look for the ruins at Sechart, where there was once a Native summer camp, then a mining station in 1892, a whaling station in 1905 and a pilchard-reduction plant in the 1930s. But we went ashore one cove too far.  We came back to Pinkerton Lodge where the ruins of the old dock have been built into their dock.

We tied off at logging camp dock just west of the Pinkerton Lodge and walked in. Lots of heavy equipment here.  Pretty impressive.  The engine on one of the logging trucks was called "Davey". They also had their own ambulance, which gives you a feel for how dangerous this work is.
The fog rolled in later that evening.  This is the view from our anchorage, with the Pinkerton Groups islets fading into the mist.  It was amazingly tranquil--we could hardly believe that there were small pockets of people about everywhere, it was so quiet and peaceful. 




 [Previous]                     [Next]                    
Comments or questions? Feel free to contact us at or

Copyright 2012 Jennifer and James Hamilton