The Broughtons the Inside Passage

Moving Right Along

Friday, June 14, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

The weather over the last four days has been very kind to us and we were able to make it from Shoal Bay to Port McNeill, a distance of 78 nautical miles, in two days.  Or we would have if we hadn't got distracted. 

A couple we’d met while anchored off Rebecca Spit last week was tied to the dock when we arrived in Port Harvey, our first stop, so we dinghied over to say hello.  They were on their way to Sointula, a Finnish village, on Malcolm Island, not far from Port McNeill.  Over the years, I'd heard a lot about Sointula from friends and wanted to see it for myself.  Throw in the promise of cheaper diesel from the community co-op along with inexpensive moorage and we were sold, so we left Port Harvey early Wednesday morning and made way for Sointula. 

In the early 1900s, a group of Finnish coal miners who were tired of being oppressed set up their own community under the leadership of the utopian socialist, Matti Kurrika.  Sointula, meaning “a place of harmony”, was the result of their efforts.  Their goal was to create a communal society where everyone shared, everyone participated and everyone was equal.  The experiment eventually failed and those who remained turned to commercial fishing and handlogging to provide a living. 

I really don’t know what I’d expected, but somehow a failed utopia sounded interesting to me.  But, come to find out, it isn’t.  The township itself is located two kilometres from the marina, too far to carry groceries.  And, apart from the co-op which is British Columbia’s oldest, a restaurant and a cafĂ©, there’s not much to it. 

The whole point of tying up to a dock for a night or two was to get some work done but, as it turned out, Sointula wasn’t the place for that so we left Thursday morning and made way for Port McNeill.  There, we both had a very busy day:  David commissioned the water maker and changed the oil while I filled the frig with provisions and did seven loads of laundry.  It may not sound like a lot on the surface, but it was eight o’clock before all our chores were done and we could even think about eating dinner.

Up and at it again this morning, we left Port McNeill with the tide for Blunden Harbour, on the mainland.  It’s only a three hour passage, but that was enough for both of us after several days of moving around.  We were here last year for about a week waiting out strong winds in Queen Charlotte’s Strait, but that won’t be the case this year.  The forecast is for continued fine weather and we plan to take advantage of it while we can to make our northing . . . but that'll have to wait until tomorrow, for today, we can finally rest!

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