Day 7 (28/07/2022) – Forward Harbour to Pearse Island
Quote of the day: “you don’t have to know how to get there” – Jan-Willem
A morning dinghy ride to shore, to follow a slender bush trail marked by old tattered buoys across a snake-hipped peninsula. A game of follow the leader up and over a matchstick obstacle course of fallen trees. Breaking through the other side, our senses were overwhelmed. The sound of old mussel shells being crushed by invaders, the thick icky stench of the seabed festering in the morning sun, and the disposition of juicy auburn shades across the bay.
Back onboard. Porridge and an abundance of toppings.
A heat warning report flew in for BC today, although each of our crew wrapped up a little warmer with extra layers.
Heading North via Johnstone Strait, small cruise ships, adventure kayakers and motor cruisers were heading south. Different species of fish were springing out the water, fleeing from pesky peckish porpoises.
Aquaculture was present alongside the channel.
As we entered the smaller inlets, we began to close in on the Pearse Islands. A daunting narrow passage, our eyes were wide with concern if we were going to fit. But as Bob Ross would say, “it’s all about perspective”. Anchoring in 7meters of water, we enjoyed the warmth of the sun on deck with some tea and cookies.
Stephanie made a glorious green lentil curry, a comfort food which everyone had been craving. With our bellies full once again, we had the delight of exploring all the ‘nooks n crannies’ of the wee islands.
Plentifulness of giggling at dancing/flailing fish, we came to the conclusion that they’re most definitely having a disco beneath the surface.
A thriving seabed of kelp and different varieties of seaweed made navigating the pools interesting, with plenty kelp being attracted to our prop.
Not only have we been learning new vocabulary as a crew, ie; Scottish vs English vs American slang, but pronunciation has been a huge form of entertainment onboard. Particularly, this evening, the word squirrel. Lets just say, Scots tend to roll their “r’s”. What began with a giggle, turned into a titter, which turned into hysterics.
A faint breeze, clear sun-bleached skies and outrageously appealing water, we slowly pootered on back up the coastline where we stumbled upon a mummy seal and her pup basking in the evening sun.
Day 8 (29/07/2022) – Pearse Island to Alert Bay, Cormorant Island
Quote of the day: “Well you don’t put lipstick on a pig!” – Everett
Splish! Splash! Splosh! AHHHH capillaries in shock. Ale, Paul, Jake and Holly braved the plunge. With full intentions of going snorkelling, it became a quick dart back to the swim platform to wrap up like lil burritos on deck. With hot steam from our tea dancing amongst the cool air, we awaited the ocean to feed the passage so we could move on towards Cormorant Island.
A short stint of 3nm to Alert Bay, we anchored up & headed ashore. A seawall, or what was left of it, loosely guarded the harbour, A graveyard of tattered remnants of boats, a shoogley pontoon with skew-wiff cleats, deferred maintenance comes to mind.
A singular main street lined the coastline. Open telephone lines hung like vines amongst quirky multicoloured houses, a shaggy hunched labrador leisurely plodded along towards the ferry terminal, and big pick-up trucks whizzed past with all sorts in their boot(trunks). The town, was just the way it was.
We made our way to the U’Mista (pronounced Oo’Mista) Cultural Centre, hopeful to learn about the rejuvenation of the First Nation’s people on the island – the battles they’ve faced, overcome and continue to fight. The mandate of U’Mista is to ensure the survival of all aspects of the cultural heritage of the Kwakwaka’wakw, more or less the tribes in the area recovering their traditions and claiming back ownership of their heritage.
Many people in the modern day Western world believe that a rich and powerful person is someone who has a lot. Whereas, those who speak Kwak’wala believe that a rich and powerful person is someone who gives the most away. The Potlatch, an opulent ceremony of which possessions are given away, shared or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige, is accommodated by the chief. The government and missionaries viewed potlatch ceremonies as “excessive, wasteful and barriers to assimilation”. If the potlatch could be eradicated, then the government and the missionaries would be free to swoop in and fill the cultural void with Christianity.
For more than a century, First Nations’ children across Canada were forcibly taken from their loving homes and communities, forced into residential schools under a strict government policy to assimilate indigenous people. This policy was specifically designed “to kill the Indian within the child”. Any parents or guardians who refused to oblige, were fined, abused or imprisoned. As a crew, we correlated all of our own understandings and discussed how truly shocking it was for the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Ale took us through a passage plan for tomorrow’s 180nm stint, we reviewed and prepped our gear, excited for some night navigation.
day 9/10 (30/07/2022 to 31/07/2022) – Alert Bay to Clifford Bay, Aristazabal Island
0700 hook up
180nm commence, thick fog. Vis poor. Foul weather gear out. Thickening. Should clear by lunch?
As we ventured out into deeper and more exposed water, it became rather rolled in terms of swell – a couple of our crew began to feel a little wobbly. Sea sickness tablets & crystallised ginger to the rescue!
Stephanies’ Veggie chunky broth for lunch and butternut squash chilli with cornbread for dinner by Alice.
SEALS! A huge group of seals, propped right out of the water, very inquisitive to Sea Dragon and the weird blobs stood on the deck.
As night fell, it got pretty misty, damp & dreich. RULE 5 became even more significant.
Team 2 – 0000 watch, the sea was alive with blue glistening sparkles, yes you guessed it, bioluminescence. Our wake, danced whilst we sailed into the fog. 0200, came around and we broke through the other side. Stars glistening and twinkling all around us. With the big dipper on our nose and the milky way dancing above, we rotated between the three of us singing a mixture of dutch sea scout/shanties, old 60s songs and Scottish folk songs to keep ourselves amused. A crescendoing symphony of Z’s were very much in force down below.
0500 – Sunrise, a golden strip between the horizon and thick cumulous clouds. Pretty nonetheless. Conditions deteriorated from “nice to soupy”.
Making good time, we were approaching Aristazabal Island for lunch. Main sail dropped, stay sail rolled away, we were greeted at the entrance to Clifford bay by more curious seals and . Anchor down, our crew were happy to rest. Stomachs settled and refuelled with leftovers, some of the crew caught up on sleep whilst a couple explored the shore. Luis and Everette reported back their findings: “deer and wildcat tracks, an otter playing amongst the rocks and seaweed. A huge lake upstream, surrounded by a vast array of flora. Looks like it was clear cut.”
Dinner Tonight: Frittata with mushroom Bologna, fresh focaccia, tomato salsa, artichoke & sun- dried tomatoes with brown cinnamon rice pudding for dessert!