July 24, 2017: A prime-rib dinner and a hike to a museum

Tonight (10 pm) Walt and I are in Braesail’s “saloon” sipping tea after considering possible travel destinations for the next five days. We have consumed a marvelous meal here in Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge and Marina on Gilbert Island in the Broughtons (spit-roasted prime rib of beef with all the trimmings and more besides!), where we’re moored for the night, and where we’ve enjoyed dinnertime conversations with fellow cruisers who’ve had fascinating experiences and much wisdom to share. It will soon be time to find our way to bed after a beautiful summer-shiny day!

A peaceful Sunday night led to a morning on which the sun had not yet crawled out from under its thick cloudy quilts when Walt and I rose at about 9 am for a pancake breakfast and Morning Prayer. Our anchor had held fast during the night, but was not difficult to raise from the mud, though Walt, using the boat hook, had to disengage a sea star that was clinging to the anchor chain, probably hoping to hitch a ride! The wind being insufficient for sailing, we motored out of quiet Kwatsi Bay at about 11:30 am with Braesail’s bow slicing through the cool water (about 58 degrees F.) in which I’d noticed the frilly white parachutes of a number of large jellies.

Kwatsi Bay Marina
Leaving Kwatsi Bay; the marina is seen at the bottom left and the white patches on the cliffs are waterfalls

We passed the aptly-designated Lacy Falls as we made our way along Tribune Channel–in the stretch of sheer cliffs surrounding the falls, the granite is streaked in black and white in such a way that many of the rock faces look as if waterfalls are pouring over them, but in the case of Lacy Falls, one can spot shiny patches of water far up above the sea that disappear and reappear here and there on their way down the cliffs and at last spill in glistening ruffled layers over a brownish-black rock and into the ocean–a very photogenic feature!

Lacy Falls 1
Lacy Falls at right. Can you find its beginning near the top of the cliff?
Lacy Falls and nearby granite rock
Which is the real waterfall? Only Lacy Falls in the center

On we went, here and there spotting drift logs on which sea gulls we seated as if riding a bus. Suddenly I spied a splash toward the starboard shore that hinted at marine mammal activity, and soon one, then two, and then a great many Pacific white-sided dolphins, their hooked dorsal fins surrounded by small fountains of foam, were visible from one side of the channel to the other as they arched through the water at great speed in the opposite direction from that in which Braesail was traveling, some of them quite close to our hull! I felt as if we were traveling the wrong way on a one-way street in a slow and cumbersome vehicle!

It wasn’t long before the dolphins had passed, and we continued motoring under increasingly sunny skies to the famous Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge and Marina, an attractive collection of colorful buildings, constructed on floats and surrounded by all sorts of containers, standing and hanging, of eye-catching flowers. A dock hand welcomed us and helped us tie up at the dock at about 1:30 pm, and Walt and I proceeded along the walkway and up the ramp to the office, grocery store, and gift shop to register our presence. Walt found a black polo shirt to purchase as a souvenir before we returned to the boat, where Walt took a nap and I did a little blog post writing before I hiked the narrow, sometimes-challenging trail (I needed to use my hands as well as my feet to climb up and down over branches, logs, rocks, roots, etc.) from the Echo Bay docks to 83-year-old legendary author, fisherman, logger, trapper, naturalist, and story-teller Billy Proctor’s homestead and museum at Proctor Bay. The trail leads up a road, over a bridge across a stream (outstanding view out to sea!)

Above the bridge behind Echo Bay
View from the small hill above the bridge on the trail to Billy Proctor’s Museum
From the bridge behind Echo Bay
View  out to see from the bridge on the trail to Billy’s Museum

and then along Echo Bay’s wooded shore to a meadow filled with wildflowers (dandelions, milkweed, clover, tiny daisies, and others) and then down a path to Billy’s amazing collection of local artifacts of all sorts that he has gathered over the course of some 40 years from land and sea. Near the museum are a replica of the now-closed Echo Bay one-room school, a replica of a furnished hand logger’s cabin of about 1900 that Billy constructed from a single cedar log that he found afloat, a book and gift shop featuring books authored or co-authored by Billy, and a smithy where logging tools might have been forged.

I left the boat at about 3:30 pm and arrived at the museum, where Billy was talking with a group of recently-arrived kayakers, about 25 minutes later. While I looked through the museum’s fascinating collections and then through its surrounding buildings, I could hear Billy’s comments about the menace to salmon posed by the Pacific white-sided dolphins (an invasive species), about the people of the First Nations who inhabited this spot thousands of years ago and were decimated by smallpox brought by the European settlers, about the damage being done to local flora and fauna by climate change, etc.–fascinating, edifying, and heartbreaking!

I hiked back to the Echo Bay docks and arrived at about 5 pm in time to take a shower in the aft cabin and join many other cruisers at the renowned feast in the meeting hall prepared by Chef Pierre Landry and hosted with great good humor by his wife, Tove: giant slabs of prime rib, baked potatoes, dinner rolls, green salad, asparagus, carrots, corn with peppers, and chocolate ice cream cake for dessert. We sat with two pairs of congenial boaters at a table near a window which provided us with a spectacular view, first of a small rocky islet topped by the Canadian Maple Leaf flag on a staff, and then, beyond it, of the dazzling waters of the bay into which the evening sun (which worked hard to enhance my face’s tan!) was pouring liquid gold, while out of the window behind us, we could see, across the shimmering water, the snow-streaked peaks of the BC Coastal Mountains. Great food, company, and surroundings–what a grand time we all had!

Tomorrow we plan to sleep late and leave around 11:30 am for an anchorage in Claydon Bay about 20 miles to the northwest–I will take a turn at the helm.

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