Sideways Sally always finds a way to get back to OMOO and the Canada Day weekend turned into quite a thrill for ocean and air travel.
We got off Johnstone Strait between West and East Thurlow, past Blind Bay. We could not continue in the direction of our destination due to Green Point rapids which requires timing for slack water. We were happy to turn right to Shoal Bay.
The quaint cottages of Shoal Bay welcome guests who fly in and out. The government dock has been maintained since it’s past days as a cannery.
According to Wikipedia: Shoal Bay was a cannery town in the Discovery Islands region of the South Coast of British Columbia in Canada, located on the northeast side of East Thurlow Island, at the bay of the same name. Once the largest town on the western coast of Canada, Shoal Bay was a hub for mining and forestry.
After anchoring in our usual spot, Paul and I lowered the dingy and made our way to the dock. We walked up to the grounds to say Hi to Mark, who came to this amazing spot 20+ years ago on a vacation, and never left.
The cottage that normally hosts happy hour looked too quiet. There were no flower pots hanging out for the humming birds. We found Mark, he was busy firing up the pizza oven in his outdoor kitchen.
We found out he’s been struggling to find insurance for his service of happy hour drinks and food, which now is BYOB only. Such interference in small businesses is sad to see, as it is so vital to have places like this for the tourism industry.
These remote marinas are just quietly existing, counting on the few summer months to make enough to sustain them for the whole year. It is not for the faint of heart.
We walked up to the garden, which was lush with herbs, flowers, vegetable beds and a bench to nap on!
On return from a hike up the hill, Paul found me sitting with the group that were sipping refreshments and chatting up a storm. There were pizzas baking in the oven, and Mark was attending to guests from the cottages.
This place was created from a dream of what could happen in a small bay surrounded by majestic mountains and wildlife. Mark, Cynthia and Tulip, their beautiful dog, have chosen to share this experience with visitors travelling by boat or by air. OMOO and crew stop here frequently and kudos to Mark for continuing to make this stop available.
Video of a beautiful evening and the departure of guests via Coral Air.
A picture perfect evening before our departure the next morning to catch the slack tide through Green Point Rapids and onto the next stop.
On to Green Point Rapids and Johnstone Strait. Again, wind on the nose made for a slog so Port Neville it was for the night. A few hours later we made another right turn into the sheltered 13 kilometer long inlet.
The head of the inlet is inhabited by Port Neville Indian Reserve No. 4, or Port Neville 4, which is located at the upper end of the port, to the south of Fulmore Lake at 50°34′00″N 125°56′00″W It is 14.9 ha. in size and is under the governance of the Tlowitsis Tribe band government of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples.
We spent a lovely evening nestled in a protected cove in Port Neville. The NW wind was howling on Johnstone Strait and we could hear it high over the mast but no wave action could reach our anchorage.
The cove was also home to a bright read cottage, a McGregor sailboat and a skiff tied to a dock, all grounded at low tide when we arrived. I could see through the binoculars that there were green houses and sheds surrounded by gardens.
There was a camper parked not far from the dock which looked like it sat on large logs. Unbeknownst to us, since we had not anchored in this particular spot before, there lives a homestead under the umbrella of “Agrarians Foundation” in partnership with “Organic Alberta.”
I was fascinated to find this website describing this organization and delighted to read about this piece of paradise and what is happening close to where we were anchored.
According to their website: The long term vision for the land: To develop a self-sustaining homestead which could support two families. This could include agroforestry, sustainable wood-lotting, wild harvest of non-timber forestry resources, development of a food forest, orcharding, vegetable gardening, and small scale livestock husbandry.
What a fascinating discovery of more people living their dreams in Port Neville!! We are often drawn to Port Neville for the break from Johnstone Strait and have mostly observed heavily forested hillsides, sparsely inhabited sites, and a commercial oyster bed.
Who knew we would discover the homestead. What a pleasant surprise!! This is exactly what the Skipper and Sideways Sally love the most. Explore, explore, explore. The gypsy in us never tires of these wonderful experiences, and we get so much joy taking people along.
Paul offered to cook on this Canada Day, so the Skipper and I relaxed in the cockpit, chatting and discussing the plans for the next day. OMOO rarely sets a firm destination so she can use the wind on any given day.
However, on this trip, we had to reach a spot where air travel allowed me to get back to Vancouver for work. We’ve learned this is possible from most marinas anywhere on the West Coast.
The small floatplanes that service the northern areas are vital to the remote communities that rely on them for passenger service, mail runs, groceries, and anything needed.
Sideways Sally looked for air travel to the Broughtons and discovered a way to get back to the airport at Port Hardy. She was in for another big treat and she didn’t even know it!!
Chicken kiev and shenanigans were served up by these guys. Hershey never fails to entertain. He’s just so damn happy to be out there doing what he loves.
After leaving Port Neville we had to brave Johnstone Strait long enough to get into the next passage to the “back road” leading to Lagoon Cove.