Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Turning Toward Home

While at the Pearse Islands, other than enjoying the sunshine, much of our time was spent in debating 'where do we go from here'. There was a good stretch of clear dry weather forecast. Did we want to take the time to go back up into the Broughton Archipelago and revisit a few places we had already been to, but this time hopefully in the sunshine? OR were we ready to begin a slow mosey homeward?

We decided we were emotionally ready to make the turn toward home. Though keep in mind, we had about 6 weeks before we needed to leave Canada.

We spent a few days in Beware Cove, watching bears. The ravens were strangely no longer screaming (http://mvvikingstar.blogspot.com/.../a-peaceful-morning.html). I speculated that perhaps they had been young ones, learning to call. Al read in one of the guide books that people anchored near the Indian villages have claimed to hear Dzunukwa. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dzunukwa)

On our way through Beware Passage, Al called the patches of kelp 'Nature's ATONs' -- Aids TO Navigation.

Another abandoned Indian village - Karlukwees.
 We spent a few days in Potts Lagoon also, watching other boats come and go. Other than that we saw nothing new there. Until we left, and in Clio Channel there were two humpback whales, just floating near the surface. We saw an occasional exhale, or the peek of the dorsal fins, but other than that you wouldn't have know they were there. We suspect it was nap time, or a mother nursing a young one.

Here is some 'new water' for us.
The Blow Hole is a narrow, shallow passage between Minstrel Island and East Cracroft Island.

We had been to Minstrel Island on Memorial Day, just before heading out to go up Knight's Inlet. THIS time, I came off the boat to explore a bit with Al too.

Viking Star at the dock. There is a small adventure lodge on the point behind her, Sailcone Lodge.

A former resort and hotel are now in ruins.

Use the docks at your own risk. Al told me to 'follow the nails'. The nails are where the boards are nailed to a beam below, so theoretically it is more substantial there. It's a loooong way down to the water from this point.

Ooooooo, berries!!!

We made it to the beach. We were hoping to get around the point to where the gazebo used to sit, but the tide was coming in quickly, and our return would become blocked.

There is a large amount of glass on the beach. The kids would have a heyday here, though much of it is
'not baked enough' -- our code for 'too shiny'. 'Real' sea glass needs to be frosty, with sharp edges buffed smooth by the waves scrubbing the beach.

Cute Christmas trees

Maybe the listing has expired? Al searched this realtor's website and couldn't find it.

Getting some evening fishing done.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Turning on Comment Moderation. . . .

Over the past few days,Viking Star blog has received a number of 'SPAM' comments.  Overall we like to leave comments open to all, as opposed to require folks to 'register' with say a google+ account (which really does not help, all the SPAMMERS have google+ accounts already..).

So for the near term we have enabled posting moderation.  Given at times we are out of internet contact for upwards of a couple of weeks, please be patient until we can 'approve' legitimate comments.  (and continue to send evil Die Die Die thoughts to the SPAMMERS!!!)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pearse Islands

In Portland summer begins with Memorial Day. In the San Juans they say it comes with the 4th of July. I guess in the Broughtons, it's mid August.

We've enjoyed sunny days in Sointula, and Alert Bay, and this is the view as we round Cormorant Island on our way to the Pearse Islands.

The large mountain on the left, the 'pokey mountain' is one of our favorites,
above Mackenzie Sound, it's Mt. Stephens.

Other than going to Port McNeill for provisions 3 different times, Sargeaunt Passage is the only place we have anchored more than once. Now we will add the Pearse Islands. It has been over two months since we've visited here.

And the sunshine makes a  BIG difference!

June 8
Aug 14. 

We worked to position the boat for optimal viewing through the passageways. With the clear weather this time, above we have framed Mt. Stephens in the opening. Below is the view down Johnstone Strait.

June 8

And facing west/northwest... back to the entrance.

June 8
Aug 14. 

We do have a bit of company here this time. When we drop anchor we are the only boat. But three more boats come in over the course of the afternoon. Each morning, two different local tour boats pass by. We saw them both at the dock in Alert Bay, and we wave at each other. 

High tide makes it easier to see the inukshuk.

Perfectly centered for a beautiful sunset.

And once the sunset show has slowed, we turn around for the moon rise show. The humidity is very low, so the sky is CLEAR and I get the best moon shots I've taken from the boat.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

U'mista Cultural Center

Our second day in Alert Bay was very special.

It got off to a good start with coffee from the store Culture Shock, where we also bought tickets to the dance demonstration at the Big House that afternoon.

A fellow boater we met in Sointula had told us of basket weaving being taught at the museum that weekend, and I was anxious to give that a go. On our hike in the Ecological Park we had noticed a number of trees that had been 'culturally modified' -- bark had been harvested. Many things are made from cedar bark.

Instructor Donna was kept busy flitting between three tables full of people wanting to try their hand at a project. She made it all look so easy.  Here is my basket, start to finish.

Select a number of strips of matching width, and a couple of twists of skinny, and soak them in water to soften them.

6 strips by 10. The base is woven.

THIS is what the skinny stuff is for -- 'twining' -- to reinforce the base.

Next the sides are stood up and six strips, just longer than the circumference, are woven in. Here I've completed the first corner.

This was the hardest part for me, joining the walls. I fumbled with this for quite a while.

Then two rows of twining at the top, the second with the tabs folded down. Then another round of twining.

Then a skinny strip is run through all of the loops before all of the tabs are pulled down tight and then trimmed.

I am pretty proud of my little basket. It will have a treasured space somewhere on the boat, holding some other small treasures, I am sure. I said this basket and experience of making it was well worth the price of admission.

But, the main exhibit of the museum were many of the items confiscated when potlatches were outlawed. They had been sent to museums in several locations of the world, and into private collections. Many have now been returned to the people and are housed in the museum. Photography was not allowed, but we spent an hour reading and viewing.

At 1:00 we took a break from basket making and walked up the hill. The world's tallest totem marked our destination.

Man holding a copper


As we entered the Big House, the scent of the cedar fire filled us. We were welcomed by the chief in the native language, then translated into English. Several dances were demonstrated, one most notable the Hamatsa danced by an 8-year-old young man, Aiden Cook. We were told many of the young people were away off the island to a soccer tournament, but we were well entertained by the small group. At the end, we were all invited to join in 'the fun dance', so we can say we danced in the Big House.

Photography was allowed, but my camera does not handle low light very well. And, I didn't want to be disturbing the show with flashes, so we just enjoyed (except that the woman in front of us had a powerful flash on HER camera).

Before the performance, I took these two shots.

This was the singer. He and several others also drummed on the hollow log in front of him.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

First Day in Alert Bay

Could it be?? Has summer finally arrived??? Sure, the mornings may be cool and foggy, but this is our third afternoon of sunshine! And it is beautiful. So we head out to enjoy it!

The marina is adjacent to the ferry dock, and at the head of the ramp we are officially welcomed.

Traffic jam! Ferry, cruise ship, and small fisher -- this shot doesn't show another approaching pleasure boat.

Alert Bay is known for its totems. The next few shots are from the original Namgis Burial Grounds. Viewing is only allowed from the street, as it is sacred ground, but all the totems can be seen easily.

Old and new together.
 From the information pamphlet we received, the totem most right in the photo is from the early 1940's.
The 4 Warriors pole in front was unveiled in 2011.

From the waterfront, we climbed stairs and followed roads up to the Ecological Park. There are miles of trails on the island but we just did Trail 1 to the boardwalk, then found our way back down the hill.

We passed through some HUGE cedar trees. I mean, these were the size of REDWOODS!
Later we saw on the map a trail called Big Tree trail. I wonder how big THOSE are?
(This one reminded us of the book  'Snow falling on Cedars' )

The boardwalk is over a large marsh, flooded since 1886.
( Math test answer: 130 years ago!)

We wondered what killed the trees.
We didn't find out until we got back to the boat and read the pamphlet on the park.
A dam was built in 1881 for the cannery. It took five years for the top of the hill to flood.

We think this is the highest in elevation we have been since leaving Friday Harbor.
 It seemed higher than what we later learned was 100 feet.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Place of Harmony

That is the translation for 'Sointula'. Founded in the very early 1900's by a group of Finns whose influence is still evident over 100 years later.

The marina is a busy place! Small boats in front, and a nice mix of cruisers in the middle,
with fishing boats mainly on the outside dock.
 There are loaner bicycles at the marina office, and it is 2 kilometers to town. It's been a LONG time since either of us has been aboard a bike -- I think about 20 years for me, and Al thinks it's high school for him! These are heavy duty one-speeds and we are grateful for mainly flat going with just one or two slopes to handle.

The former school holds the library and the museum. We just peek into the library.

The museum is small but interesting.

The sunshine makes everything beautiful, even a building that gives the impression of being abandoned,
despite the amount of things stored.

We ride all the way through town to a lovely beach,

And then come back to the bakery. There is very little left on the shelves at just a half hour before closing, but we have carrot cake and a brownie with coffee, and it was YUMMY! (Though we didn't sleep well that night.)

The table and view we shared.

At the ferry dock you can see why it is called a 'stiff' breeze, as the flag and windsock are held out.

The next morning was so calm and peaceful. Al and I got up before 5, after a restless sleep from our afternoon coffee the day before.  There are two eagles atop sail masts, and I catch this one as the sun tops the ridge and lights him up.
We are back at the bakery bright and early. We were looking for cinnamon rolls, but they are still in the works, so we choose breakfast pastries and a loaf of bread and settle in comfy chairs with coffee. The cinnamon rolls are done just after we have lingered and are ready to go. We'll save them for the next day's breakfast.

We visit the Burger Barn at the marina for dinner, then go to sailboat Maia to visit with Laura and Dick, who bought the boat in the spring and have cruised the Broughtons this summer, and are negotiating with their insurance company to be approved to sail down the west coast of Vancouver Island. They have been buddy boating with another couple we met in Viner Sound when they came to us by dinghy -- they were from Portland, and Viking Star had looked familiar to them! Anyway, we had a nice evening of conversation and Dominoes with the crew of Maia (including dog Ellie), and were happy to hear the next morning that they were approved and could continue with their cruising plans.