After rounding the north corner we decided to pull in to a place that sold champagne and celebrate. Winter Harbour was that place. They had exactly 2 bottles of Freixenet, which was good enough. While we were buying it the store kept being hailed on the VHF. "The bear. The bear is back. Some one come in, the bear is back". Later we heard “BOOM! BOOM!”, as they tried to scare it off. The guy behind the counter thought our sale was more pressing than the bear. That is customer service at its finest.
The town is a salmon fisherman’s dream. There is a mile long boardwalk that connects the waterfront houses, but also passes through marsh and old growth trees. And as far as I can tell, the town is made up of only waterfront houses. As we walked back with some firewood along the boardwalk fisherman called to us: “Hey! Are those your wiener sticks? You want some salmon?”. Yes, of course we did.
The next day we anchored out and did some boat work. S/V Wondertime were our neighbors, and they invited us over for drinks. I went fishing, caught a few Rock Cod and Kelp Greenling, and made some Ceviche. It was my first, and I was nervous about it. But it was fantastic!
- Cut up a pound of fish into small bites (perhaps as big as playing dice)
- Chop a red or yellow pepper and an onion into small bits.
- Combine in a bowl with rice vinger, lemon, and a bit of acidic juice (I used pineapple) until the fish is covered
- Leave for 2 hours
I drained the extra acidic juice before serving so that the fish had wet feet but wasn’t drowned. Next time we will try Tabasco in the mix. We still had a bottle of the Freixenet, so we brought over a fancy feast when we visited Wondertime.
The next day we left Quatsino Sound bright and early to get around the Brooks Peninsula. Though the area is notorious for high winds and seas, we had a calm time. Haskell stayed on deck the whole time. He is our “How bad are we doing?” barometer. When its bad, there will be at least puke on the floor, but if we are unlucky there may also be crap in the bed. By the time we dropped anchor in Kyuquot sound for the night, Haskell had managed a few naps, but nothing unpleasant.
We anchored behind Rugged Point. As we were dropping anchor we saw spouts in the distance. Later the whales started hunting around our bay. First they are half a mile away. Then a quarter mile. I wonder where they will go next? “WHOOSH - Wheeze WHOOOSH”. They are right there. Coming at us. They dove under the boat and resurfaced a few hundred feet away. Blowholes the size of dinner plates. Incredible creatures. They were humpback whales, and before we left Kyuquot Sound we saw them many times, but never that close again. Another boat was watching and they later asked, “What is it that your boat has? Why did they choose yours and not ours?”. The answer is that our hearts are pure, of course, and whales can sense that. Or maybe Haskell was tapping out S-O-S on the hull and they were trying to save him.
The next morning a black bear roamed the rocks near our boat. After he left we went to shore and followed the trail to the ocean facing beaches. They are long fine sandy beaches, a kind not normally found on Vancouver Island. We walked around, finding bear poop and bear tracks and dead bloated sea lions and so on. From that side we could get VHF weather broadcasts. Fine weather was broadcast, so the next morning we set out for Nutchatlitz Inlet.
We sailed the 20 miles down, mostly light broad reaching and by the very end the winds were too light to stabilize the boat. We motored the last few miles into the marine park anchorage of Port Langford. There we spent an extra day and Kristin got more work done on the jib reef point. I caught a Ling Cod, had a cockpit shower, and made the mizzen mast into a shortwave antenna so we could listen to a load of Chinese and Australian broadcasts. The Australian one played a pop tune, then said that due to circumstances beyond their control they couldn’t bring the program to you, and then they played another pop tune. We got bored of it after an hour.