Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 14: Pamphlet Cove to Coal Harbour

Coal Harbour (not the one in Vancouver) is today’s destination. It’s only about 10 km from Port Hardy over land, but obviously much further by water.

In order to get to Coal Harbour, boats must pass through Quatsino Narrows. The guidebooks warn of currents to nine knots, but apparently they rarely obtain that velocity. Slack water wasn’t conveniently timed, and locals said I could go through anytime. I ended up transiting the narrows with about two and a half knots of current against me. I saw no whirlpools or overfalls, or even much turbulence. Easy.
Extensive logging is the worst part about Quatsino Sound
I pulled into the Quatsino First Nations Dock and went to the office to register. This is a basic facility—limited power, but unlimited water—that caters primarily to commercial boats. One large pleasure boat was at the dock while the owners returned home to attend to business. A small fuel dock is open all year, and I filled up the tanks for the run around Brooks Peninsula.

This part of Vancouver Island doesn’t seem to really come alive until July. A small store was open, but merchandise was limited. The restaurant next door hadn’t yet opened for the season.

Coal Harbour was once a major Canadian Air Force seaplane base. A collection of historic memorabilia and photographs is open to the public inside the old hangar. An old, 9-cylinder Pratt & Whitney engine, cut away for display, was on display, as was an old Ford firetruck.

Even before Coal Harbour was a seaplane base, it was a whaling base. The photos of butchered whales were sad to see. A massive (~8 foot long) whale’s jawbone sat in the hangar as well. Mighty impressive.

Not too much else to do in Coal Harbour. Busses run the short distance to Port Hardy, but I had no need for a major grocery run.
Mostly working boats at Coal Harbour
I’ve been monitoring the weather for an opening to round Brooks Peninsula. The end of the week is looking promising.

8.4 nm today
458.8 nm total

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