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Voyages North
Nuchatlitz -- not so isolated. June 29, 2012.
Elsie Hulsizer
07/05/2012, posted at Kyuquot

Photo: The grave of a Spanish influenza victim.

I grabbed a tree root and pulled myself up the steep bank. The soft soil giving way under my boot. An hour earlier we had been at Bob Devault's house, telling him we planned to take advantage of the low tide and walk out to one of Nuchatlitz's outer islands. "There's an old cemetery out there," he said, and then told us how to find it. "I,m going for a row," he said.

On the island we met Rod and Monique, residents of Nuchatlitz, who didn't know about the cemetery. We were just trying to remember how to find it when Bob rowed around the corner and beached his boat.

With Bob as a guide, we were soon climbing the steep bank. At the top we found a grove of multi-trunked cedars that seemed to be growing more sideways than up. Just beyond them was a wrought iron fence surrounding a gravestone.

I approached the gravestone and brushed the moss from the writing:

In memory of
Edward F. Smith
Died September 21, 1918
Aged 16 years

"It was the time of the Spanish Influenza," said Bob. "It's a good reminder we're not as isolated out here as we might think."

People often ask me what my favorite place on the west coast of Vancouver Island is. At first when I got that question, I demurred; there's so many wonderful places on the coast it was hard to choose. But really, Nuchatlitz is my favorite. Whenever we return here, I'm struck by its beauty, even on gray days like we've had this year. The many low islands and rocks allow you to look over them to the ocean beyond and that gives a feeling of openness which is restful to the eyes. But those same rocks and islands protect the anchorage from the weather which also gives a feeling of peace. And then there's that feeling of timelessness and the sweep of history -- in the prow of an old burial canoe on a promontory and the windswept village island. And now the grave is a reminder of recent history.

07/09/2012 | C.Masters
I don't often comment but I do want you to know you have readership in the other Washington this summer. I am right there with you on many of your BC adventures. Cheers, Candy (and David)
Local Knowledge: Southeasterlies in Esperanza Inlet. June 28, 2012.
Elsie Hulsizer
07/05/2012, posted at Kyuquot

Photo: Osprey anchored in Nuchatlitz while southeasterlies blow outside.

We wondered if we should leave the secure moorage of Westview Marina when we heard on the weather radio that southeasterly gales were predicted. But an e-mail from Bob Devault in Nuchatlitz reassured us. "Southeasterlies don't bother Esperanza Inlet," said Bob. He was right. Our trip from Tahsis to Nuchatlitz was uneventful, the wind so calm we motored all the way. Local knowledge does work.

We anchored in Nuchatlitz , delighted to find calm water, and went ashore to the small dock on a private island. Two friendly children helped us tie up our dinghy. A minute later Dan Devault walked out of a small cottage. On our first trip here, in 1984, he had been the one to greet us.

Dan Devault, working his oyster beds

Meeting at Tahsis
Elsie Hulsizer
07/05/2012, posted at Kyuquot

Photo: Betelgeuse, Stan Hummel's boat, tied to the public dock.

A fine mist turned docks and ramps slippery as we got ready to leave. The radio issued gale warnings but out in the inlet, the water was flat calm. The marina was quiet, most of the slips empty.

"This has been a lonely trip," said Steve as he finished filling the water tanks. Indeed, we had sometimes felt on this trip that we were the only ones out there in a sailboat, or any boat at all! At first we assumed it was because we'd left in June instead of July, but lately we've wondered if there are just fewer boats out there.

I was putting things away down below when I heard voices. I popped my head out the hatch and was surprised to see Stan Hummel, my friend and former co-worker, and his girlfriend Sherry. Like us they were working their way up the coast but, unlike us, were turning south from Tahsis.

An hour later we left the dock, happy to have had time with friends. And we were on our way to Nuchatlitz where more friends awaited us.

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Voyages North on SV Osprey
Who: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windward)
Port: Seattle
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