British Columbia Dean Channel

Eucott Bay, Dean Channel

Monday, July 23, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

The view from the hot spring tub in Eucott Bay.

We left Codville early this morning with a rising tide in hopes of getting some help from the current as we travelled 38 nautical miles up Dean Channel to Eucott Bay.  The inflow winds had already started and filled in quickly blowing around 20 knots most of the day, creating a sea of whitecaps on the water.  Fortunately for us, it was directly off our stern so we didn’t have to bash and crash like the boats travelling down-inlet. 

With some cruising grounds, it’s all about what lies at the end of the road – a sandy beach, a waterfall, a special hike – and with others, it’s what happens along the way.  Cruising the Central Coast is a mixture of both.  Surely one of the best things about going to Eucott Bay, a destination in itself, is what you see before you get there – mile after mile of high, steep mountains with incredible glacial valleys dotted with waterfalls and snow-capped mountains.  The views were so stunning that we were a little disappointed to find ourselves approaching the entrance to Eucott Bay, even though we’d been motoring for seven hours.  Even more so when the first horsefly appeared.  And then the second.  And the third.

By the time the anchor was set, the boat was covered in these nasty flying creatures and David amused himself by killing every one in sight by swatting it with a synthetic chamois.  For the next hour or so, the anchorage was filled with the sounds of “Bang! Bang! Bang!” echoing off the steep granite cliffs while David left tiny carcasses on the deck and yelled at the little “bastards” in some sort of absurd fly-killing frenzy. 

Despite the horseflies, Eucott Bay is a gorgeous spot, about as beautiful as any we’ve anchored in over the years.  Tall marsh-grass lines the shore and trees cling tenaciously to the vertical cracks along the granite cliffs.  On the south shore near the entrance, a waterfall cascades a thousand feet down from snowy peaks, emptying directly into the saltwater.  On the northeast shore of the bay, there’s a 2,000-foot vertical grey monolith reminiscent of Yosemite’s Half Dome.  And at the base of “Half Dome” lies the pi├Ęce de la resistance, a hot spring pool formed of natural rock that locals enhanced with concrete slabs to create a tub.

I finally got David to put down his weapon in favour of a kayak paddle and we snuck down to the hot springs, killing flies along the way.  The view from the pool is just as beautiful as the rest of the anchorage and looks out into a glacial valley with snow-capped peaks to the northwest.  But it was a warm, sunny day and the water was too hot.  I could only manage to put a foot in while David got up to his waist before we finally gave up and paddled back home just as another boat was coming into the anchorage for the night. 

The flies were still out so David went back to his rampage until the sun dropped behind the mountains, leaving the anchorage in shade, and they disappeared.  That night as we sat on the deck and listened to him brag about how many he had killed, I spotted two black bears lumbering through the marshy grass along the southern shore, (thankfully) putting a quick end to the conversation.  It was the perfect end to another interesting, but wonderful day.

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