Nanaimo to Quatsino Sound

July 3: Update from Sea Otter Cove

We cruised quickly up the inside passage, stopping only briefly in harbors where we have stayed for several days before. 

This photo shows our exit from Booker Lagoon, a huge (7 or 8 mile long) lagoon with a narrow tidal neck.  We were the only people there!
Ian and Sibyl joined us in Port Hardy, for the trip around the top end of Vancouver Island. We stayed first in Bull Harbor, on Hope Island, the last harbor before going around the top. It was packed with boats waiting for good tide and weather. The dock there, with one commercial fishing boat, had a sign saying, "don't even think about tying up here." The rest of us jockeyed for room in the small inlet, all the skippers standing in their cockpits eyeing entering vessels, arms folded, as though to say, "stay  away from me." The weather was calm the next morning, so we ventured out, past eagles and sea caves, to cross the infamous Nahwitti Bar. It was dead calm. The wind came later, as we were rounding Cape Scott, and we raised sails. The tidal currents there cause short steep waves, and it was enough to induce seasickness, break a couple of small fittings, cause Craig to drop his watch overboard (fortunately, just a Timex), and cause a heightened level of anxiety. These winds came from the SE (a storm wind) instead of the NW. NW winds are the whole reason to go south down the coast (counterclockwise round the island), not up. ("wind at your back" and all that...)We made it into Sea Otter Cove about 5 pm, picked up one of the government installed mooring buoys, and heaved a great sigh of relief. We all slept about 11 hours last night! The wind blew quite a lot during the night, and "Agua Verde," one of the boats that was anchored (they came in after all the mooring buoys were taken), dragged anchor. We invited them to join us on our mooring buoy this morning, and we shared breakfast. Agua Verde is a sail training boat, with an older English couple from Vancouver as the trainers, with two young guys (Pete and Peter) from the interior of Canada as the trainees.  
July 5: Julian Cove
   We had a great sail from Sea Otter Cove to Winter Harbor. Winter Harbor is a moribund fishing village. The Canadian Government has decreed that most commercial fishing will not occur (or perhaps your license entitles you to 3 days -- or perhaps 3 hours -- of fishing per year). Since the fishing fleet was Winter Harbor's whole reason for being, there's not much left. The docks are rotting, with hemlock trees or salal growing out of every nook and cranny. Most of the houses are boarded up or overgrown or both. We met the delightful wharfinger/postmaster/ librarian, who let me into the "library" to use the internet. The library is 1/6 of a building that is perhaps 20 x 20 feet, and includes the wharfinger office, library, rest room, first aid clinic, community room. and two pay phones.
You are allowed up to two salmon per day, so Craig went fishing as we left Winter Harbor, and we had salmon for dinner! 65 cm., six pounds -- perfect for dinner tonight, plus a couple more dinners in the future (hurray for the freezer!)We decided to explore Quatsino Sound, which leads inland in the northern part of Vancouver Island. We found a perfect cove ("Julian Cove") with a resident eagle, seal and blue heron. The seal, seemingly full of curiosity, followed Ian and Sibyl around the harbor while they rowed about exploring. The eagle seemed somewhat offended at our presence (he did previously, after all, have the harbor to himself), and he flew off when we got too close. From this cove we see snow covered mountains, near and far. There are no other boats here, and it's perfectly silent.
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