Photo: A sailboat anchored among kelp behind Crease Island.
From Port McNeill we headed southeast for the Broughtons, a large group of Islands at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound. We'd been there several times before and knew it as a place where small friendly marinas competed with scenic protected anchorages as places to stay. Like Desolation Sound, there are lots of nooks and crannies to anchor in, but unlike Desolation sound, boaters rarely compete with others for space. Our plan was to anchor for one night and tie up at the Lagoon Cove Marina for two.
I'd read in a Pacific Yachting article about a small bay between Crease and Goat Islands and thought it would be a good place to try. It had the advantage of being shallow enough so we wouldn't need a lot of swinging room to anchor. A sprinkling of rocks and small islets would make it interesting. Unfortunately, several other boats were already ahead of us and we had to anchor uncomfortably close to a bed of bull whip kelp. But it was a beautiful quiet little bay and we enjoyed looking out over the islets towards mountains beyond.
In the morning when we woke up, we found ourselves in the kelp bed. We hadn't moved but the tide had dropped revealing kelp that had been underwater when we anchored. In fact, almost the whole bay was a kelp bed. The article hadn't said anything about kelp, so the author must have anchored there earlier in the year than we did.
Photo: The boatshed at Lagoon Cove where small wooden boats were once built, now doubles as a happy hour shelter.
"Have some more prawns," offered Jean Barber, one of Lagoon Cove's owners, as she ladled large helpings of red, freshly caught prawns onto people's plates. We were in Lagoon Cove Marina's boatshed, sitting on plastic deck chairs surrounded by outboard engines, piles of rope and shelves of paint. The aromas of shrimp competed with machine oil and sawdust. Outdoors a gentle rain fell, but inside it was cozy and dry.
Lagoon Cove doesn't have fancy restaurants, golf courses or pig roasts, but it does have prawns at happy hour every night. Boaters bring their own appetizers to share and the two nights we were there, there was enough food to make a meal. We spent two nights there. Lagoon Cove also has showers, fuel and hiking trails. We found it a pleasant place to relax for a couple of days.
After we'd eaten our fill of prawns, Bill Barber, Jean's husband, told us stories from the Broughton Islands' history. The stories all ended with a punchline which made me wonder how many, if any of them, were true, but listening to them was a pleasure.
We left Lagoon Cove the next morning at 7 am, riding the flood through Chatham Pass and entering Johnstone Strait in time to ride the last of the flood south. It was a gray morning and as we turned into Chatham Pass, a cold wind hit us. "It's time to head south," said Steve.