British Columbia Nootka Sound

Rocks and Reefs and Bears. Oh My!

Monday, August 05, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

Rugged Point Provincial Park from the port side

After two nights anchored in Dixie Cove doing little more than enjoying the peace and quiet of the West Coast, we upped anchor yesterday morning and slowly motored out of Kyoquot Sound and back into the open ocean.  Once again, we found ourselves without enough wind to sail, but it was a clear, sunny day and we were able enjoy the view of the coast as we slowly motored south – a rare treat. 

More than once on this trip, David has turned to me and asked, “Where are you taking me now, woman?”  And now it was my turn.  After clearing Rugged Point, he headed the boat south and entered “Clear Passage” – a rock and islet lined stretch of water that runs four miles along the coast.  The passage itself is mostly free from hazards and protected from the ocean swell but runs close to shore, less than a ½ mile away, through shallow waters.  Needless to say, it takes some nerve to navigate the channel for the first time and you would only want to do it in calm conditions.  But after the initial shock wore off, I had to admit that the ride was enjoyable and the view was stunning – mile after mile of white, sand beaches backed by wind-swept trees and mountainous peaks. 

But I’m still working to keep my nerves within a healthy range – one that maintains the proper respect for the ocean yet allows me to move through this sea of rocks and reefs with the confidence it requires.  And I continue to be out of my comfort zone . . . somewhat.  David, on the other hand, seems to be thriving in this environment and the challenges it presents – the two were clearly made for each other.  And I’m sure I saw a twinge of regret as we reentered protected waters some 26 nautical miles later and anchored in Queen Cove at the mouth of Esperanza Inlet. 

Cambria alone at anchor in Queen Cove as the sun starts to set

According to the cruising guides we’re using (Exploring Vancouver Island’s West Coast and Dreamspeaker 6 – The West Coast of Vancouver Island), Queen Cove is a peaceful and protected anchorage; but reality doesn’t quite live up to their romanticized descriptions.  Protected.  Yes.  But not exactly peaceful.  A few homes line the shore and there are people in residence, buzzing back and forth in sports fishing boats at regular intervals.  And the wind blows through the anchorage.  All.  Day.  Long.  But options are limited on this side of Vancouver Island, so you take what you get and sometimes you get more than you’d hoped for. 
A mother black bear and one of her cubs in Queen Cove

When taking Sally to shore last night, I happened to look over at the beach directly off our port side and saw three black bears foraging along the rocks – a mother and two cubs.  Not only were they our first bears of the season but we’ve never seen cubs before, let alone two of them.  After scrambling around a bit for a camera, we managed a couple of pictures before the mother decided it was time to head back into the bush.  I’ll admit that I was a little nervous taking Sally in after that, but we went to a beach closer to the head of the anchorage and I only imagined that I heard rustling in the bushes once . . . or twice. 

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