Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More Echo Bay & Billy Proctor’s Museum

Echo Bay is another spectacular place run by spectacular Pierre and Tove. They work 18 hour days, 7 days a week for 3 months each summer, during which they earn almost all their annual marina income. The rest of the year Pierre lives here taking care of the place, and Tove lives in Nanaimo, we’re told. Not a life “just like ours”, and special and magical in so many ways.


Mid-day we took a hiking trail through the woods to Billy Proctor’s Museum, a short, rough, steep trail.


In the woods, 15 feet above the water at mid-tide, someone has a boat tied up.  ???


After hanging onto ropes to transit the extraordinarily steep portions of the trail, we came to a meadow with a boardwalk, homes and outbuildings, the Simoom Bay residences (4, we think) and home of Billy Proctor.


Billy is 80 this year and has lived here all his life. There’s a whole book detailing his life in this wild and remote place (friends Aaron and Julie loaned it to us, and Bob read it already), and “Ocean Dawn” below is his latest boat. He’s traveled Johnstone Strait in ferocious weather we wouldn’t want to be caught in in “Next To Me” and he lost many friends while growing up who “just didn’t come back” from their trips on the Strait in wild weather.


Now his Museum displays his life-long collection of bottles, machinery, shells, crank telephone, arrowheads, tools, bonefish hooks and thousands more artifacts. Every structure here, he built by hand. He hangs around to talk to visitors, about 3,000 per year he says.


Everything is neatly stowed on shelves in orderly fashion, and most is catalogued: such as “1930s bottle of Chinese beer” and such.


Tools, pottery, photos and more abound.


This is the “stuff” of a life of independence, strength and grit, we think.

Tuesday is “Fish and Chips Night” at Echo Bay, and we joined Pierre and Tove along with 50 or so others for a delicious dinner in the Hall at the marina. We sat with people from the Canadian Okanogan, Colorado, Oregon, downtown Seattle, and further afield. Interesting crowd who travels these islands. After almost two weeks in the area, we’re starting to see folks we’ve met before, fellow cruisers who stop at the same places even though there’s more than “one road”.

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