13 September 2008 | West Coast Vancouver Island
Columbia Cove to Battle Bay August 16, 2008.
Photo: Beach across Jackobson Point from Columbia Cove.
We wait for the tide to come in, then take the dinghy into the shallows of Columbia Cove where a trail leads to the ocean. A tangled pile of windfall trees almost turns us back. But an orange bait bucket at the top of the pile serves as a marker and tells us the way through is to climb over. It's a nerve-wracking climb across rain-soaked branches high above the trail. But when we get to the top we look down and see what might be an easier way to try on the way back. We climb down and enjoy the rest of the hike over an (almost) easy trail to the beach.
Seven years ago, when we were last here, the beach was littered with net floats, running shoes, hard hats, and other detritus - enough we were able to put together a beach guard with our findings. Now the beach is almost clean. We enjoy a walk along the white sand beach and watch the surf.
We return to the trail, this time scrambling around and under the windfalls instead of over. Under is easier, but we end up covered with mud.
The day before when we entered the Cove, we noticed that the wreck of an old Coast Guard Cutter that had been quite prominent near the entrance to the Cove in 2001 was no longer visible and we wondered if it had been removed or if winter storms had destroyed it. We motor the dinghy along the shore looking for it. We find the ship's cabin almost hidden among the trees, its red hull, once so prominent completely gone. In the water we can just see the rusty hulk of an engine.
By now it's mid-afternoon and the westerlies are in full swing. We raise anchor and sail to Battle Bay, a few miles away.
August 17. Battle Bay (50 07.1N, 127 33.5W)
In the morning, we take the dinghy around the Acous Peninsula, to the site of the former village of the Checlesets. The village site itself is easy to find on the rock-bound peninsula because it fronts a pebble beach, the only one on the peninsula. We look for a single bare pole that in previous years marked the trail to a house site with a fallen totem pole. The bare pole is gone, but we find another trail leading through the spruce trees and follow it through the forest to the house site. We almost stumble over the totem pole, it's so decomposed and hidden among the vegetation. But it's features are still visible, green with lichen.