Heriot Bay to Hardy Island
10 July 2023 | Egmont, Sunshine Coast, B.C., Canada
Barbara Johnston | Sunny and breezy
Heriot Bay to Hardy Island
July 9, 2023
Does it seem like the places we’re going have a lot of English names? In this blog post I’m going to talk about Heriot Bay – and that makes me think about James Herriot, the veterinarian author of “All Creatures Great and Small”, his memoir of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire in the ‘30s. I just happen to be reading one of his books now. And Hardy Island is right next to much bigger Nelson Island. Nelson and Hardy were heroes of the English Napoleonic War. Nelson was the Admiral of the British Fleet and Hardy was his Flag Captain. Both were aboard the HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, and Nelson was mortally wounded. As he lay dying on the ship’s deck, he was reported to have said “Kiss me, Hardy,” to his beloved friend. There is, of course, a lot more to their story, but that’s what leaps into my head as we visit these islands. Those early explorers had a lot of English heroes and royalty, Lords and Ladies whose names needed to be stamped on newly explored islands and coves.
When I last wrote, we were in Walsh Cove, thinking about heading south again so we could meet up with Laura in the middle of July. At that point, we believed she would not yet have her passport, so we needed to meet up in US waters. More recently her passport has arrived, so we’re now targeting Nanaimo as our meet-up point.
We have several favorite places and activities to be enjoyed as we head south. There’s also the need for an occasional run to the grocery store and a visit to a laundromat. We decided on Heriot Bay for our first stop. Heriot Bay is located on Quadra Island, in the southwest part of Desolation Sound. Quadra has ferry service from Vancouver Island, so quite a land-based tourism industry. Heriot Bay is also the ferry terminus for a Quadra to Cortes Island ferry, taking cars and passengers one more island to the east. The Heriot Bay Inn has great facilities for land-based tourists, as well as a little marina which sometimes has space. We found they did have space for us, so we headed there from Walsh Cove. We’d never been there before, so we were somewhat nonplussed by being put on the outside dock, directly in the path of waves from a north wind, as well as wash from the ferry which docks about 300 feet away. There was, of course a north wind. The wind plus the resulting waves plastered us hard against the dock. The wash from the ferry was minimal compared to those wind waves. Fortunately, at night the wind drops somewhat, so we were able to sleep on the boat OK.
We visited the Heriot Bay grocery store (twice), had a very nice dinner in the resort’s restaurant, and took full advantage of their shower and laundry facilities. Then, it was time to find a place where we wouldn’t be quite so pinned down by the wind and waves. We decided on Bird Cove, a “little notch” in Evans Bay on Read Island. We had been here once before, with Nancy Morris and Mike Giambattista on their boat, M/V Schnooksie, in 2008. It had been a fabulous place to catch many Dungeness crabs. And the Waggoner cruising guide said “one of the best protected anchorages…”
Well, neither of those things turned out to be true for us. No crabs. Poor holding ground. Little protection from the forecast 25 knot northwest winds. Our first afternoon there, we found what we thought would be a good spot and put out our anchor. We thought we would be the only boat in the cove, but it was not longer before a smaller boat came in and put his anchor down in very nearly the same location as ours. We were worried, but as the boats were swinging in the increasing wind, it appeared there would be no collisions. We kept the instruments on so that we could make sure we weren’t dragging. Well, at dusk, wind increasing, wouldn’t you know it, the anchor started to drag. Landmarks were going by at 1-2 knots. We pulled up the anchor, moved it further into the shallows at the head of the cove and put out all our chain (200 feet). That seemed to hold for the night, although we had ongoing concerns about whether we might collide with the little sailboat.
The next day the wind dropped significantly in the morning, and Craig set out a crab pot. But in the afternoon the wind came up again and at dusk we could see the anchor was dragging. Again, we reset the anchor, even closer to shore. As we finished that exercise, I could hear the skipper of the other boat saying, “f**k”. We got on the radio with him, and he was very concerned about a nighttime collision. The wind direction had changed somewhat, and it did put us very close to the other boat. Craig decided to stay up on “anchor watch” while I went to bed. An hour or so later, he could see we were indeed, again, dragging.
So, Craig decided to put out our back-up anchor, a 60 lb. Fortress FX-85 with a shank that’s about 5 feet long. We keep it knocked down in the bilge. We have used it only two other times in our 22 years on this boat. It is a huge job to get it assembled and deployed. Craig started the process, but it was inevitable that my help would be needed. We were successful deploying the anchor at about 2am. It held fast and did not drag, but our opinions of Bird Cove have somewhat changed. Craig got 3 hours of sleep that night; I got maybe 5, and we were exhausted. The next morning, we decided to head for Westview – a well-known and favorite stopping place of ours. We arrived there, and slept a lot that afternoon, followed by a full night’s sleep.
A special treat in Westview is that the Powell River Choral Festival, “Kathaumixw,” held every other year, was taking place while we were there. This is a festival that attracts excellent choirs from around the world. The choirs and some soloists compete for prizes and the gala concerts at the beginning and end are incredible musical spectacles. I really must hand it to the Powell River community – they really pull out all the stops and put on an amazing show. Such a small community – so much wonderful music. (I note that in June they have an orchestra festival – we happened to see the posters after the fact.) Our son, David participated in a Kathaumixw festival back in the late eighties, when he was a member of the Columbia Boys Choir. We reached Powell River back then aboard a previous sailboat, and were able to attend nearly every event David participated in.
This time, we chose one concert with three different choirs – interestingly, two of them had Oregon connections: the Willamette Master Chorus conducted by Paul Klemme (from Salem) and the Royal Voices of Charlotte conducted by Justin Smith. Dr. Smith had been a music professor at Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, OR, before it suddenly and unfortunately closed several years ago. He moved to Queens University in North Carolina. This choir consists of Charlotte singers and Oregon singers, in about equal numbers. We had a chance to talk with singer Paul Sadilek, with whom we have both performed professionally.
The Willamette Master Chorus performed beautifully, which we knew they would, because we have performed with that group in a collaboration with the Newport Symphony. But the Royal Voices was really the standout choir of those three. Their vocal control, exquisite level of preparation and gorgeous sound was out of this world. It was fun seeing all three choirs and enjoying the enthusiasm of the audience.
To get to and from the performance, we had an adventure in public transport and met several different interesting people – always one of the best parts of travel.
Westview was also a good place for showers, laundry, and groceries, all of which we did. We also took our cleaning of the fouled water tank one step further and are very hopeful that it will be fit to hold water again before the end of the summer.
From Westview, we came south to the entrance to Jervis Inlet. Many boats turn eastward here and make the 40-mile slog to Princess Louisa Inlet. We’ve done that twice before and feel no necessity to do it again. Instead, we are anchored on the south side of Hardy Island, enjoying the beautiful views and the peaceful quiet. Tomorrow, we plan to go to Egmont. We hope to make the trek to see Sechelt Rapids at maximum ebb or maximum flood. There is a trail from the small town of Egmont, and these feet are anxious to be walking!