Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mama Sunset

WOW! A sunset like this almost makes two weeks of gloomy weather worthwhile. And it definitely deserves a blog post of its own. Yes, I did use the 'sunset' filter, because I feel it SHOWS the colors I saw! I took 69 photos -- here are just a few...

The clouds were chasing the sun again, but clouds just seem to make a sunset all the more interesting. This time they were also adding thunder and raindrops to make it a complete sensory experience.

Panned down for raindrops

Zoomed in, just left of the sun to an interesting pileup of islands


Facing WSW, it becomes a bit more pastel. I love the half blue/half pink.

Zoomed in to appreciate the layers more...

And the absolute favorite photo I've taken in a long time. I share this one in full resolution, because it's worth it!


We'd been trying to visit this site, well, since leaving Port McNeil two weeks before! But the weather was holding us back. Besides rainfall making conditions miserable in general, we knew that this place was quite overgrown and we would get soaked crawling through the bushes after rain. 

We made an attempt to get close several days earlier, but the winds had picked up from the northwest, and after entering the anchorage we decided it was too exposed to be enjoyable in those conditions and we moved to Goat Island.

But today, the SUN had come out! It was another of those very rare days this summer!

So much history in this place, but not much is evident any longer. M. Wylie Blanchet writes of visiting in her book 'The Curve of Time'. I recommend this staple book of cruisers of the Pacific Northwest. We finally are to her cruising grounds.

There used to be totems remaining, but they are either gone from decay, overgrown, or removed to the museum in Alert Bay. But the entrance house posts remain. Al spotted the rear house posts as well, and I was able to finally see through the growth, but pictures didn't show what we had seen.

The mighty house posts

A decaying 'modern' house peeks over at us

Al has made it! Yes, there's a trail....'just put your head down, hunker over, and go through.'
He laughed at the appearance of the camera thrust above the growth for this photo.
I found some stinging nettles. 

The view from the house is wonderful!

From the porch. There is a ramp down. And the 'trail'.

There were several varieties of berries, and Al had to sample the blackberries.
 'Too early' was the pronouncement.
I can't help thinking of BEARS, with all the berries, and how thick the vegetation is, and how it deadens noise, and how frightened I would be to hear a rustle on the path!

The shell beach - a midden - is the result of thousands of years of seafood feasts.

Sandpipers forage at the edge of the water. If we got too close, they froze, trusting their camouflage.
The zoom worked wonders.
A WONDERFUL day! It is amazing how the sunniest days are also the brightest in our memories. Is it just the sun? Or is it the place? We are thankful, regardless.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


It is a beautiful name, pronounced by our guide Liz.
In guidebooks and on charts, its English name is New Vancouver. Liz doesn't know where that name came from.

But this settlement was the dream and purpose of her father, Chief Ki'ki'klala (Bill Glendale). For millennia their people's territory was Knight Inlet. In the '60's the village dispersed when the government stopped sending teachers for the school. Families moved away to keep intact.
There is a  marina, with power, and spring water, showers and laundry. They have hosted large canoe/kayak groups with ample space for many tents. There are over a dozen houses, an office, a small store, and the traditional long house. Summer brings students home. We enjoyed the friendly dogs, and seeing a few cats on porches.

Liz said that many who visit find it to be a spiritual experience. And we had a moment together when she told us her father had recently died. Many of his personal items are usually displayed in the long house, but during the year of mourning they are in his treasure box. For us, it is a reason to visit again.

Out of respect, I took only a few photos, but with permission.

The long house was built as a replica to the one his grandfather had built. Chief milled all the building material himself.
(The friendliest dog is even posing)

We stepped into the long house, and I took a deep breath, and said 'Aaahhhh, it smells so good!' Cedar and wood smoke. Another sister, Molly, came to visit with us in the long house too. We told them we had traveled to the end of Knight Inlet, where we had anchored. They told how they go there each year to prepare gleetna from the oolichan fish. They had been there just a month before we were there.

We turned around and saw that the house posts of the entrance were grizzly bears. And we mentioned that we had seen the grizzlies on Knight Inlet at Glendale Cove. Liz said 'That's our family name -- Glendale!' I hadn't put that together until that point.

Molly had also told us of a visit by a grizzly to their settlement three years ago. The bear had found their plum tree and climbed into it and broken a branch. And not just a wimpy branch -- and her hands showed a good 8-inch diameter. She said, 'When he stood up, he was nearly as tall as the tree!' We had seen black bears throughout the islands, but I was just amazed that a grizzly would wander so far from the mainland.

It was a pleasant evening, with sea gulls all lined up on the breakwater,
and the sun racing the clouds to shine on us.

A heron pauses from preening.

A golden hour, and silhouettes.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What a Difference!

We are presently in the Goat Island Anchorage on Crease Island. The winds were a bit more significant than they've been for a while, and we'd spent enough time in Beware Cove. We wanted to see Mamalillicula, the abandoned First Nation village, but we had heard that that spot wasn't as comfortable for NW winds. We agreed.

Al didn't feel this anchorage was very interesting, but I told him I liked the little islands.

But as the afternoon went on, the clouds were being blown away with the winds!  Same view, different light..... You can SEE why we feel so much happier with a little sunshine!

The clouds come and go, the winds aloft pushing them along. And just before the sun dropped below Crease Island, a spotlight shown:

And Al laughed, because both the woman from the boat next door and I were out taking a picture. He said 'Look! An Island! In the SUN!'

It IS such a rare thing this summer.

And next morning? Back to what appears to be 'normal' this summer....

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Peaceful Morning

The fog snuggles the trees and creeps onto the water, hiding the shoreline.

A short time later, the sun pops through and casts a golden light.

BUT............ listen.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Monk's Wall

Finally, the rain has let up, and we are ready for a change of scenery. Every anchor we have seen pulled up in Farewell Harbor has collected a kelp ball. We were a bit farther out in the bay, and we could hear our anchor chain rolling across rocks, so we were curious to see if we gathered kelp or not.

 We planned to go 'just around the corner' to Mound Island. Looks like that was a popular choice!

Thirteen boats! Now the most we have seen in one place outside of a marina.
 We decide we will pass and move on. We go by New Vancouver, a First Nations settlement, and it looks interesting. We hope to come by again and stay for a visit. But since the further we go the sunnier it gets, we decide to visit Monk's Wall.

We anchor south of Dead Point on Harbledown Island and prepare to launch the dinghy. We had to think hard to remember the last time we had used it, and came up with Booker Lagoon and our slow dinghy float through tropical looking waters on a RARE sunny day! (It's one of my favorite blogs posts of this summer too...)

But it has been SO long, and it has rained SO much, and Al forgot to remove the drain plug from the dinghy.

I got the tape measure -- six inches of wetness! 

Looking east on Beware Passage.
I am being brave. We are going ashore, and we need to be 'bear aware'. The couple from our neighboring boat in the anchorage, Bob and Anne on sailing vessel Charisma, have visited the wall just before us -- hopefully clearing any bear from the area. As we land, we do see a small mammal scrabble across the rocks and logs.

 Last April we visited friends in Victoria, and at the hotel/marina where we kept Viking Star, we met a woman who, when she learned what our summer plans were, asked 'Will you get as far as Harbledown Island?' Monk's Wall was built by her great-great-grandparents! So Denise, if you are still watching our blog -- we made it!!!

This is the biggest portion remaining. There used to be an arch at this doorway, but it finally fell several years ago. The wall was built in the late 1890's, so it lasted well over a hundred years!

Does a bear ____ in the woods??? Yup.  

Well, THIS is the closest we will get to logging this summer.
 Downhill, between the logging and the wall, I see a 'path' of loosened soil. I see a fern that has been torn from the ground, and though I don't see any actual footprints, I envision a bear digging for roots and bugs. With the previous evidence found, I get quite jumpy.

We pause long enough to take a selfie under where the arch used to be.
 Does a cute hat make up for absolutely no makeup?

The rocks look like steps, or building blocks. Except for a band of a different color.
I wish I knew more about the geology of the area.

Viking Star and Charisma

Friday, July 8, 2016

Catching Up

Cruising through a big, beautiful area that doesn't have very good cell/internet access makes active blogging difficult! I LOVE to take pictures. And I love to share what we've been seeing and doing. But with no immediate internet, I am often going through pictures and writing about something we've done a week or more ago. It's often difficult to make sure I tell you all I want to.

I just always feel like I'm catching up. The last post only brought you up to July 1. So here's what we've done for the past week.

We went up Thompson Sound, scouting to see if we need to return another time. I chose this picture to show the lasting evidence of logging. Even though the ugly barrenness of a clear cut has been grown over and is lushly green, the slashes of logging roads are very apparent.

In a guidebook's directions to an anchorage area it said to look for a white X in the granite. We finally found it!

A rickety dock with a stand-up paddleboard or kayak on it, and tents INSIDE the structure. Al says 'A little bit of paradise!'

I zoom in to a pretty little waterfall.

It's at the end of a very large landslide!
 We end the days travel at Sargeaunt Passage, closing the ends of the huge circle we've made of 'the Broughtons. It is a month to the day since we were in this exact spot! June 3 to July 3. We saw a mama black bear with a yearling cub here before. Would we see bear again?

Sure enough, I see a bear on the east side of the passage, on the point of the narrows. It is alone, so I make the assumption it is a male. Wait, he's going for a swim! It is hard to see, but there is another bear on the other side. That one seems completely unaware, until the swimmer nearly reaches shore. Then he hightails it! And the swimmer quickly disappears from view as well. In the picture, what looks like a black log at the edge of the water in the center of the photo is the swimming bear. To the left, the black blob among the white rocks on shore is the bear who gets surprised.
SEE? I need a better camera!
 We had intended to explore the islands of Village Channel and Indian Channel before heading to Port McNeil for provisions, but rain is forecast and the cupboards ARE quite bare. We decide to head to port and hope for better weather in a few days.

We cross Blackfish Sound, known for whales and other wildlife doing fishing in the turbulent waters. We see porpoises. And then something BIGGER blows!

The mist of that mighty exhale hangs in the air!

We believe we have seen two, and the are travelling the opposite direction of us. But wait, one has turned and is coming back!

This is why they are called HUMPbacks! Getting ready for a dive...

And the tail waves to us! We won't see it again this time -- they stay down quite a while when they dive.

Boy, it's a bad day to be a fish on Blackfish Sound! They are at the bottom of the food chain, after fisherpeople, porpoises, whales, and eagles! There are 5 or 6 eagles of all ages fishing.

It is late afternoon when we reach Port McNeil, so we anchor in the bay for a miserable night of rain. We'll go in to the marina the next morning, and have that much more time to do business for the price of a nights moorage.

Three separate trips for groceries, a pizza supper, and a breakfast at the cafe restore our cupboards and our bodies to FULL status.  AND, a sunny afternoon followed by a sunny morning recharges our psyches as well.

City lights offer another option for roosting and surveying.
 Rain features prominently in the next WEEK of the forecast. And a strong SE wind is expected. We finally decide we will spend at least a few days in Farewell Harbour. Ships from Captain Vancouver's expedition anchored in this harbour in the 1790's, and this harbour was the last one they surveyed.

Blackney Passage is just outside the entrance to our anchorage, and it gets a lot of boat traffic -- fishermen, cruisers, tug and tows, and cruise ships!

Ugh. Grey dark dreary drippy clouds. July in the Broughtons.
There is plenty of wildlife to view here. There are at LEAST 8 eagles we saw fishing from the trees on the point, and yesterday afternoon I saw two 'blows' and a whale tail, just in front of the islets you see in the above picture!

There! You are now caught up. Well, for another week or so anyway.