Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day in the Octopus Islands

We don’t know whether it’s the proximity of The Broughton Islands to Queen Charlotte Strait, Queen Charlotte Sound and the Pacific Ocean, or something else, but our experience, and that of a number of other boaters we’ve talked to who have traveled this stretch, is that the weather is cooler and grayer there, and most years more rainy, than points south. Technically we’re not in Desolation Sound yet; we’re still in the area between The Broughtons and Desolation, specifically the Octopus Islands. But already the weather is warmer and sunnier, though the scenery is less dramatic. The sunrise was beautiful.


Aaron and Julie, anchored 100 feet from us here in the Octopus Islands Marine Park, arrived by kayak mid-morning. We all took off to explore the islands and shoreline, and visit what’s variously called “The Driftwood Museum”, the “Cruiser’s Cabin” or some other name, depending who you talk to.


The shoreline is rocky  and shallow, making it harder to tie up a dinghy with a motor, and the kayaks made it easy.


We first visited The Driftwood Museum with Greg and Terry on “Gold Rush” in 2009. It’s located on a small private island, but the owners allow this funky cruiser’s relic to exist. Built entirely of wood, and with only partial walls and a roof, cruisers make a piece of art, mostly from natural material such as driftwood and shells, identifying their boat by name, and the date of their visit.


These artworks are hung from the rafters with netting or string, or nailed, screwed or glued to the walls. A few have been in place almost 20 years, with additional pieces added on during subsequent years with a new date, signifying many return visits. We couldn’t find the “Gold Rush” piece we know Greg and Terry installed.


But Aaron and Julie on “Eight Bells” were able to find their piece of driftwood, marking this as their fifth visit.


After returning to our respective boats for lunch, we took off in the dinghies for a hike to Newton Lake. The first half mile was mostly flat, winding from the head of Waiatt Bay where we tied up the dinghies, to Small Inlet, where the trail forks to continue steeply uphill to the lake.


It was cool, densely forested trail, and we saw a few hikers already headed down, some of whom had gone swimming.


We just perched on a rock enjoying the warmth and beauty.


The night ended with the four of us enjoying dinner on “Next To Me’', grilling some of the salmon we were given back in Sullivan Bay. It was a calm, warm evening, so we ate on the deck of the aft cabin, talking til well after dark.

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