We’re really in the wilderness. We see very few boats, next to no buildings along the shore, very few aids to navigation, no cars, no electric wires. Nights spinning around on anchor particularly in a wider, wilder expanses of water beg to be tempered with a bit of company, both traveling mariners and landbased ones.
So we’ve enjoyed two days of camaradie at a tiny and well run marina – Lagoon Cove. The marinas that serve recreational cruisers in these parts are all former fishing villages or logging camps. Bill Barber escaped a career in advertising to buy the site and turn it into the most convivial spot in the area. There’s a boathouse on the wharf where folks gather for pot luck hors d’oeuvres. We showed up with whatever pathetic nibbles we could find on board and our host Bill and his wife Jean put out huge platters of freshly caught, steaming hot bright red prawns. Best of all, Bill is an expert storyteller whose favorite topic is bears and preferred performance space is around the campfire in front of his bungalow on the bluff overlooking the cove. The true story of the suicidal bear learning to waterski was worth the trip.
Although Lagoon Cove has no grocery or restaurant, there is a fuel dock, which attracts its share of gas guzzlers. Most folks agreed that this was the year for sailboats and large boats. The cost of diesel was keeping away the family cruisers in smaller power boats. (One impressive exception was a young couple with dog, from Alberta, of all places. They’d trailered a twenty-something foot Bayliner to Vancouver and were having a great time setting up their kitchen on the dock and learning fishing from the coastal people.) Our big boat neighbors included Cadenza, a 76 foot, six deck cruiser out of Seattle with a crew of three looking after a couple in their 60s, possibly honeymooners. The vessel behind us was built in 1944 and had served Canadian Navy stations along the coast before being bought by a couple of wooden boat fanatics. (Yep, these two boats are so big you can hardly see the skippers as they chat while tying up Mediterranean style – stern to dock and rafted.)
This morning when we wanted to move to let the bigger boats out, Aurora wouldn’t start. This was our first problem of this sort ever. But we were in the right place at the right time and Bob came to the rescue. Bob and Pat, a talented couple from Port McNeill who live aboard Tonga, an old wooden fishing boat, and work at Lagoon Cove. In the afternoon we spent a couple of hours with Bob leaning how to check out the wires leading into the starter motor selenoid and tighten the belt that charges the alternator.