Dixie Cove to Gold River

July 24, Gold River 
We are docked here beside the Uchuck, which unloaded garbage and then loaded barrels of gasoline and pallets of lumber this afternoon. Also at this dock is a Coast Guard boat we had met in Kyuquot. It's going around coastal communities posting fishing notices. Tonight there's an aroma of buttered popcorn coming from the Coast Guard boat.
Gold River is at the end of a long fjord (Muchalat Inlet, in fact), and the wind really howls up the inlet, starting about 3pm (which was just about when we arrived). It was a major exercise just getting us tied onto the dock. Once we were tied onto the dock, chafing of the lines became a major issue. We watched the wind indicator clock up to 30 knots of wind while we sat here at the dock. Now, in the evening the wind has quieted down. Deb has departed, and Stephanie will be with us for another week.  
After we left Dixie Cove, we stopped at Rugged Point Marine Park, which is a penninsula jutting out into the ocean. On the lee side of the penninsula, there was a nice beach for landing. A short walk through the apparently virgin forest (with a nice freshly maintained trail and boardwalk) led to a wilder beach on the other side. Then there was a scramble over a headland (the trail consisted of ladders and ropes), to two more beaches. We found sand dollars galore, had a beach fire, and passed a very pleasant few hours.

Right: Ladder climbing over the Rugged Point headland

Below left to right:  Boardwalk at Rugged Point, Pacific side beach, Black and white sand beach

Last night we stayed at Friendly Cove, also known as Yuquot, site of the "Nootka Compromise". This little bay was the headquarters for early Spanish and English explorers (Quadra, Cook and Vancouver). When Quadra and Vancouver worked out their differences in the Nootka Compromise (1794) they established part of the law of the sea -- that no matter who the land belonged to, other countries were free to come and go on the seas. That's probably a vast oversimplification, but it makes the place seem pretty important. Until sometime in the 20th century (I still can't get used to saying "last century") there were large numbers of First Nation people living there. Now it's down to one family -- everyone else has moved elsewhere, many to Gold River. The one family is in charge of keeping the place up (such as it is) and collecting landing fees from visiting yachts ($5 Cnd per person). There is a fallen totem pole, and an old church with Spanish stained glass windows, and large Indian carvings. When we visited, there were a lot of people there -- some campers in kayaks, but mostly First Nation people, busy cutting grass and building walkways for a planned wedding next month.  

Left to right:  Friendly Cove Church, totem in the weeds, totem in the church

The next island (still forming part of the cove) is connected to the Indian reserve except at the highest tide. On that island is the Nootka light station. They welcome visitors, so we climbed up. A gorgeous view, but not much else to see. The lighthouse keeper seemed pretty taciturn, and didn't know much about the First Nation people -- you almost got the impression he'd never met the family that lives there. They don't actually tend the light any more --it's all automated except for periodically checking the bulbs, which is something the Coast Guard does. Instead they monitor weather, paint the buildings, and greet visitors. Presumably they are available (at least by radio) to assist boaters in trouble.  
The most spectacular thing about the visit to Friendly Cove was that the sun was out in all its glory -- no fog, no clouds -- and there were mountains and islands and blue sea in every direction. Every way you turn, there is a new photograph, demanding to be taken.
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