Friday, July 16, 2010

Esperanza Inlet

On the morning of July 15th we sailed along the inshore route approximately 20 miles down the coast to Esperanza Inlet. The route required extremely careful navigation as rocks and reefs were everywhere. At one point we found ourselves clear of the narrow passage and, as the wind and swells began to build, “Blue Rodeo” charged ahead with speeds near 9 knots. What fun! With wind on the beam, we reached into the flat water of Esperanza Inlet and soon found ourselves at Queens Cove, our anchorage for the night. Queens Cove features abandoned homes, church, and the remains of a fish cannery. Near the cannery site a wooden fishing boat lies rotting on the rocks. It was another beautiful place although many of the hillsides around us were scarred from past years of logging. The tranquility of the scene was even interrupted by the sound of heavy equipment and chainsaws in an area that was still being worked. The cove featured a narrow river mouth and at high tide we took our standup paddle surfboards about a mile up the shallow river. Our solitude was interrupted by the arrival of a large Nordhaven motor yacht with two families aboard. It was interesting comparing our relatively modest floating home with their multi-million dollar palace. We really did not envy them thought as they didn’t seem to be very physical or active and spent most of their time inside the boat. In the evening we used our sat phone to call our good friend Mike Anderson who, with his wife Beverly, had boated through these same waters a few years ago. Even though the sat phone connection was less than perfect Mike passed on some good information about an inland detour around Nootka Island that would take us near the villages of Zaballos and Tahsis . Although not yet needing to reprovison, we were interested in checking out what remained of the tiny mining and logging communities and looking forward to a little more social interaction. We are finding that even though we love solitude and having the special places we visit all to ourselves, it is great fun meeting people and hearing about their lives and travels. As we write this we are tied to the public wharf in Zeballos amidst numerous commercial fishing boats and the big Nordhaven from Queens Cove. Are they stalking us or visa versa? We carefully docked the boat today with water depths adjacent the dock just a few feet deeper than our keel. We were relieved to make it in without touching the bottom and have calculated that at tonight’s lowest tide we should still have 2 feet of water under our keel. This afternoon we walked through the small village, had lunch at one of two cafes and ice-cream at the post office/ice-cream parlor. We also toured the town’s tiny museum that featured photos and memorabilia from its heyday as a thriving mining town with a population of over 2000. We were told that only 150 now reside here. The cafĂ© and fuel dock did have WiFi access so we welcomed the opportunity to get a few blog entries out and catch up with email. We will sail on to the other small village of Tahsis tomorrow and back out to the open ocean on Sunday. More interesting areas await us down the coast and we continue to look forward to the sights and challenges ahead. As we conclude this Anne wants to walk back into town in hopes of seeing a bear or two rummaging around the dumpsters

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