Quatsino Sound West Coast Vancouver Island

Quatsino Sound: Pamphlet Cove

Monday, July 22, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

Quatsino Sound 

With the sun shining and a beautiful day on tap, we upped anchor and made way for nearby Winter Harbour where the promise of hot showers and fresh produce was calling our names. 

Once a commercial fishing outpost, Winter Harbour has suffered over the years from the ups and downs in the fishing industry . . . and it shows.  At one time it was difficult for boats to find space along the dock during the summer months.  But today, it was practically empty. 

We managed to fill our tanks with diesel (at a premium – CA$1.67 a litre) and water, but the shelves at the general store weren’t well-stocked and there wasn’t any fresh produce, unless you count onions (which I don’t).  The showers we’d been looking forward to (and are greatly in need of) were an open invitation for foot fungus (and that’s with shower shoes), so we just took care of the basics and moved on. 

From Forward Inlet we made our way down to Inner Quatsino Sound, the northernmost of the five sounds that indent the West Coast.  Most cruising vessels don’t explore much of this area, and it’s easy to see why.  The sound is about as far removed from picturesque as any we’ve ever seen:  Fishfarms and logging camps have taken over the shoreline and the low hills have been heavily logged, turning something that had once been beautiful and natural into an eyesore. 

 
Cambria alone at anchor in Pamphlet Cove

So Pamphlet Cove on the north side of Drake Island came as a real surprise.  The area is a designated provincial recreational reserve and its shoreline is heavily wooded with several varieties of trees that emanate the most incredible smell of earth and pine.  And, as long as you don’t look to the northwest, back into the sound, it’s beautiful and pristine.  It would have been a much different picture in 1909 when a three-story hotel and store were located here.  But with the re-growth of the forest, it’s difficult to imagine they ever existed – the only signs, an old boat grid and the remains of a dock that presumably serviced the resort.   

Coupled with a really nice sail up inlet, Pamphlet Cove went a long way to improve our overall opinion of Quatsino Sound.  But good or bad, we may never have the opportunity to cruise the West Coast of Vancouver Island again and want to explore as much of it as we can . . . so here we are.

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