British Columbia the Inside Passage

Blunden Harbour

Friday, July 13, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

The beach in Blunden Harbour.

The conditions were excellent yesterday morning, so we upped anchor and motored to Port McNeill to fill our tanks (both water and fuel), do laundry and buy more groceries.  With all of our chores done and another fine day in store, we left at eight o’clock this morning and made our way across Queen Charlotte Strait to our first new anchorage of the season, Blunden Harbour.

It was a beautiful morning on the water with a four to five knot breeze and a leisurely westerly swell, at times the sea was as smooth as glass.  We couldn’t have asked for better.  But to top it off, the marine layer that had been clinging to the mainland began to break up as we approached the rocky entrance to the harbour. 

The main attraction in Blunden Harbour is a shell midden marking the former site of a Kwakiutl village that once stood on the north shore.  Several hundred First Nation members moved here in the mid-1800s from nearby Smith and Seymour Inlets seeking better access to halibut and deep-sea fishing.  Their migration continued south and by the 1960s, the band had moved to Port Harvey off Johnstone Strait, abandoning the village entirely.  Few traces of the original village remain today: some fallen posts overhang the grassy bank above the shell midden and a few cedar planks lie on the beach, but time and nature have reclaimed the village, as intended.

I took Sally to the midden for her evening walk and discovered one of the best beaches I’ve ever seen for combing.  There are wonderful treasures scattered along the shoreline from the band’s time here: colourful sea glass (yellow, purple, blue), leather shoe insets, pieces pottery and china, broken Depression-Era glass dishes. There’s also a very disturbing sign that someone posted within the last two years that reads: SCHOONER. Killed here by a mountain lion.  She gave her life to save ours.  That was all I needed to see to end the walk.

Mountain lions or not, this will be our home for the next several days.  There’s a ridge of high pressure building offshore and strengthening the winds along the northern coast as it builds.  Gale force warnings are now in effect and the wind is predicted to blow heavily until at least Tuesday, so we have not choice but to tuck in and make ourselves comfortable. 

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