Monday, August 18, 2014

Sullivan Bay to Echo Bay

Distance traveled:  19.95 miles

Travel time:  2 hrs, 41 mins

There are 8-10 widely-known marinas in The Broughton Islands, each with a well-known reputation for certain characteristics or weekly events. All are small, all are off-grid, powered by propane, diesel generator, solar and wind. Sullivan Bay where we stayed last night, and Echo Bay where we are tonight, attract the largest motor vessels, 50-60 feet and up. We read before coming to The Broughton Islands that “once you get north of Desolation Sound, the boating crowd gets older and wealthier”. We’re uncertain about this generality, at least during our two weeks here, but Sullivan Bay and Echo Bay fit this description. We assume it’s only people who have more time off work (most likely retired) who can come here, with some exceptions. There just aren’t many cities/towns with well-paying jobs up here, so it’s not suitable cruising territory for weekenders or folks on a one or two-week vacation from the big city. A few people we’ve met are here for a week or two from Vancouver, but most are from the Puget Sound area, Oregon, California, Colorado or Idaho and are cruising for one to three months. They keep their boats in Puget Sound or Vancouver and cruise here for the summer. Some have cruised to Alaska and are home-bound; mostly not.


The scenery, undeveloped, green, gray and blue, with long views of multi-layered mountains, is the same throughout The Broughtons: gorgeous!  We remind ourselves to remain appreciative at each turn.


“Pierre’s at Echo Bay” on Gilford Island is a little larger than other marinas, perhaps having capacity for 50 boats. They’re well-known for Wednesday night Prime Rib dinners, and Saturday night Pig Roasts at their restaurant. Pierre and Tove bought it 8 years ago. A well-known, highly-regarded character, Billy Proctor, lives nearby. You’ll hear more about him tomorrow.


The large concrete breakwater in the photo below is literally a re-purposed piece of the Interstate 90 floating bridge from Seattle to Mercer Island, which sank in a gigantic storm in 1990.


There are no slips here; all spaces are side-ties, and we had to maneuver through a very narrow fairway between two 60-plus-foot boats to get to our side-tie, then requiring an impossible “parallel parking” at the head of the fairway. Fortunately there was no wind or current, and two men grabbed our bow and stern lines, tossed to them and they muscled us into the spot not much longer than our boat.


There’s a group here now, the Echo Bay Yacht Club, which doesn’t exist in any material form, but is an association of folks, mostly from Puget Sound, who cruise The Broughton Islands each summer. They have a 3-day Fishing Derby underway, and nightly dinners and entertainment. We’re invited to participate, but tonight only attended the post-dinner live music performance, a one-man band. More on that tomorrow.

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