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Voyages North
Mouat Cove, Barry Inlet. July 25, 2012

Photo: the sailboat Tenacious anchored in Mouat Cove

Iain Lawrence, writing in his book Far Away Places: Fifty Anchorages on the Northwest Coast, describes Mouat Cove as a scene from the Group of Seven (Canadian landscape painters) with rocky islets and twisted trees. Fog and a northwesterly wind in Seaforth Channel chased Lawrence and his wife, Kristin, into the cove. All night they heard the foghorn on nearby Ivory Island blowing its mournful wail.

"Few people come here," Lawrence wrote. He doubted the cove would ever change.

A northwest wind was chasing fog into Seaforth Channel the day we went into Mouat Cove too. We'd last been there in 1999 and like Lawrence, I didn't expect it to change. As we rounded the corner into the cove, I expected to see an empty anchorage. But there, just beyond one of the little islands, was the sailboat Tenacious.

"I thought we'd see them someplace," said Steve. We'd been looking for the boat since we'd arrived on this coast, remembering our 2011 trip here and the pleasant visits we'd had with Pat and Lydia, Tenacious's owners.

Half an hour after we anchored, Pat and Lydia were climbing on board Osprey, Lydia carrying a big bowl of warm-from-the-stove prawns.

Like us, Lydia and Pat are voracious readers, especially of history, and soon we were deep in discussions of Lewis and Clark, Alexander Mackenzie, the politics of transcontinental railroads and why A.C. current rather than D.C. is the modern standard.

The prawns were delicious. Even Jigger got his share. I'm afraid he is now addicted.

We left Lydia and Pat in the clearing fog the next morning, with Pat working on replacing the brushes on their electric windlass. As we left, I looked around the little cove with its islets and trees and thought that it looked like we had last seen it in 1999. But there was a difference beyond the presence of another boat. The foghorn on Ivory Island didn't disturb our sleep. In a cost-saving measure, the Canadian government had disconnected all the fog horns.

Codville Lagoon. A hike to Sagar Lake. July 23-23, 2012. 52 03.28’N 127 52.38’W
Elsie Hulsizer
08/05/2012, posted at Kitimat

Photo: Sagar Lake above Codville Lagoon

"There's a new boardwalk there," a boater in Fury Cove told us, referring to the trail to Sagar Lake from the Codville Provincial Marine Park in Fisher Channel. I perked up my ears. I was determined this year to do more hiking, but hiking trails in the wilds of British Columbia are rare -- easy trails even rarer. The last time we'd taken the trail to Sagar Lake we'd tramped through mud, hauled ourselves up tree roots and fought through undergrowth so thick we'd wished we brought a machete. By the time we'd reached the lake, I wasn't sure it was worth it. Hearing about the new boardwalk, I imagined wide solid planks, rails and stairways -- something like the boardwalk in Hot Springs Cove on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Several days later, we sailed north up Fitz Hugh Sound and Fisher Channel, arriving outside the lagoon entrance just before high-water slack. With the wind and tide behind us, we sailed through easily, drifting across the lagoon to an anchorage near the trail head. Two boats, a sailboat and a powerboat were in the anchorage ahead of us. No dinghies were at the trailhead so we knew we'd have the trail and lake to ourselves.

Ashore, we followed a narrow path through some salal. "This doesn't look like a boardwalk," said Steve. But a pile of lumber next to the path encouraged us and when we rounded a corner, there it was: two strips of long planks laid end-to-end crossing a bog. Not exactly like the boardwalk at Hot Springs Cove, but better than tromping through mud. The tree roots were still there at the end of the bog and we were glad we had worn boots and brought walking sticks. When the trail finally ended at the red sand beach on Sagar Lake, I was ready for a swim. And with no one else there, we didn't need swimsuits. The water was warm and the swim pleasant, so pleasant we decided to stay another day and go back the next afternoon.

We were just finishing up our boat chores the next day and thinking about another swim, when a fleet of seven big white powerboats came roaring into the lagoon. Soon a dinghy almost as big as our boat and full of people headed for the trailhead.

"If we left now," said Steve, "we'd be in Shearwater in time for dinner."
I looked at the gray sky, so different from the sunshine of the day before and then thought about the crowds at the lake. "Good idea," I replied. "Let's do it."

Blog derailed by Mexican train!
Elsie Hulsizer
07/21/2012, posted at Pruth

Photo: Steve contemplating a hand of Mexican Train dominoes.

Only one blog for all of Quatsino Sound? Surely I could have written more, a paragraph each about Port Alice and Coal Harbour just wasn't enough. And I didn't say anything about Winter Harbour where we spent our last night before leaving for the mainland. I could make excuses about lack of wifi, but they did have it at Coal Harbour and Winter Harbour -- for a fee. No, the real reason is the set of Mexican Train Dominoes on board Osprey. A fellow member of the Puget Sound Cruising Club introduced us to the game last September and I thought it would be fun to have on board so I gave Steve a set for Christmas. A mistake! We're both hooked. I'll reach for my notebook or computer to work on my blog and Steve will say, "How about a couple of rounds of dominoes?"

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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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