The northern portion of the West Coast of the island is rugged, wild and basically looks like a scene straight out of Jurassic Park. Entering Klaskino we passed aptly named Rugged Islands that looked like volcanic rock with scraggly trees on them. Everywhere we looked we waited to spot a Pterodactyl flying by. Brooks Penninsula, just to the south, is one of the few places in the world that wasn't glaciated so you never know, could be some baby dinos hiding in the trees.
Tiny entrance to Klaskish Basin.
Ryan on the river flats in Klaskino.
We've been enjoying beach bonfires when we can and found a nice little beach outside the inner basin at Klaskish, had a fire, wandered the beach and enjoyed a beer. We'd seen a few helicopters fly by (presumably from the logging operation nearby) and as we were just pushing off the beach one hovered and landed exactly where we had just been on the small beach right on shore. Assuming guilt for having a fire or some unknown delinquent action, we went back to shore and Ryan got out to talk with the four men. After small talk about where we were from and asking if we'd paid our "moorage", they encouraged us to stop at Rugged Point further down the coast, said they had some "engineering" to do and stomped into the forest, densely packed with trees and brush.
After a fun couple weeks in the Broughtons, we headed for Port McNeil on Vancouver Island to provision and fuel up for the rounding of the North end of the Island and our West coast cruise. We had a few days in McNeil to wait for good weather for rounding the Cape so we visited Alert Bay, an island nearby that has a lot of historical significance as a fishing port as well as a first nations site. The totem poles on the island are impressive.
In Alert Bay, we found Ryan's new house. You need a row boat to get to it though.
After fueling up and loading two dock carts full of groceries and beer aboard, we headed north for Port Hardy for the night, then up Goletas Channel to Bull Harbor on Hope Island which is the traditional staging point to make the trip around the Cape.
Walking on the beach at Roller Bay.
We were up early to cross the dreaded Nahwitti Bar. We had actually planned to take the "inside route" between the kelp line and shore, but with calm conditions we went straight over the bar with a nice 3 knot ebb pushing us towards the ocean. There were still some pretty impressive waves on the bar! The fog set in a few miles out but luckily we were able to follow our friends on EVENSONG through the thickest of it.
We anchored near Winter Harbor for the night, then headed into "town" at Winter Harbor the next morning for fuel.
A trip through the Broughtons would probably not be complete without a stop at Billy Proctor's homestead and museum. Billy was born in the area and has lived there all his life. He was a commercial fisherman and logger but is now active in conservation causes seeing the changes to the environment over his 80 plus years. We spent an awesome couple hours with him hanging out in the sunshine on his boarwalk. He has an impressive musuem he built on his property housing local artifacts and items he's found over the years. Plus, he has a massive fishing plug collection!
We really enjoyed this stop on Tribune Channel. A friend told us you get a feel for the life of the Broughtons by going to the very few marinas, talking with other cruisers and the owners, many of who have worked with/against nature to build a home and life in this completely wild area. We stayed at the marina at Kwatsi Bay and had a potluck on the dock with the 10 other boats it takes to completely fill the marina up. We have been dubbed "the kids" and/or "the young people" by many couples since everyone we have met is retired, but we've really enjoyed their stories and cruising tips.
The Burwoods are an open, low lying cluster of islands and islets at the mouth of Tribune Channel. They are a popular kayak or dinghy spot, anchoring is tricky because the depth around most of the islands is 65-100+ ft. and they are relatively unprotected. We anchored off two midden beaches and spent the day exploring.
We left Gig Harbor and arrived at Lagoon Cove, our first stop in the Broughtons, 7 days later. Quite the feat for us. We were booking it, pulling 10 hour days, often motoring at 6 kts, covering 235 miles as the crow flies and amped up. We find we do this on our 2 week cruises; plan long journeys, put in lots of hours and feel rushed.
But this time we were early in the season. We had a quiet anchorage at Montague (said no one who cruises in August, ever), boated right into a near empty Dinghy Pub in Nanaimo, had 2 other boats at the Cortes outstation and our pick of fresh lettuce and herbs from the garden and enjoyed those long hauls more than we normally do. We did those long days so that we could do this:
Our first stop in the Broughtons, Lagoon Cove. Full of wacky art, good stories and fresh prawns.
We headed west to Potts Lagoon and decided to stay 2 days so we could sleep in, read, explore the epic reverse flow rapids into the back cove (video to come), paddle around and just relax.
For a few years, we have sailed around Puget Sound with "Marvin", our trusty Minto dinghy, but there is a big appeal in being able to store a dinghy upside down on VELELLA's flush foredeck, so we decided to build a nesting dinghy.
We really like sailing the Minto and usually rig it up in every anchorage, so a boat that could sail was a must. We also wanted a boat that could take a small engine and that we could do a bit of fishing from. The Bieker designed PT11 was a contender, but the Danny Greene designed Chameleon won out. I think it will be a little better load carrier and the fact that VELELLA's prior owners had one didn't hurt. You can order plans direct from Danny for $35.