Wednesday, July 31
It was misty again this morning when we woke, but not so thick that we couldn’t see where we were going. We have a few days before David and his friends come up to Telegraph, so we decided to go back into the Broughtons — the islands between Blackfish Sound and the mainland of B.C. We thought we might go looking for bears again and maybe visit Billy Proctor’s museum in Echo Bay. We wound our way through the islands behind Swanson Island, past the old village of Mamalilaculla where we photographed fallen totem poles when we first visited this area 25 years ago, across Knight Inlet and into Retreat Passage and then Cramer Passage, travelling up the coast of Gilford Island.
Billy Proctor is a well-known personality in this area. He was born in Port Neville in 1934, and grew up in Freshwater Bay where his parents ran a fish buying operation. He has lived around the corner from Echo Bay for years and raised a family there, mostly fishing for a living. He has also written and co-written a couple of books about his life and times and built a museum to house his “junk collection” as he calls it. We tied Snug behind Billy’s boat at his dock and went up to see his junk collection and gift store where he sells cards, local pottery and books about this region. The museum houses bottles, tools, machinery, household items, First Nations artifacts, fishing gear, photographs, newspapers — much of which he has found in his lifetime of living and working in the Broughtons. There is a new attraction at the museum — a hand logger’s cabin which Billy recently built from a single log he found floating and then furnished as it might have looked in the hand logging days. Ron sat with Billy for awhile and got some fishing advice and Billy’s opinion about the reasons for the decline in B.C. fish stocks.
After visiting with Billy, we motored in and out of Echo Bay just to see how it looks now, having been in many time in the past, and carried on up Tribune Channel toward Bond Sound, which Billy said is “teaming with life.” Tribune Channel runs between steep, treed mountains, but at regular intervals the mountainsides are stripped of their vegetation by land slides, leaving long, thin gashes of bare rock exposed, showing how thin is the layer of soil that the trees root into.
Bond Sound is open to the south and deep right up to the shore — not a great anchorage in unsettled weather, but no big winds were predicted so we figured we would stay overnight. As we were circling around deciding on the best place to drop the anchor, we could see splashing near the far shore. I looked with the binoculars to see a big group of dolphins dashing around and leaping high out of the water. We went to have closer look and of course they (Pacific White-sided Dolphins) came streaking over to play with Snug. When we moved out of their playground they resumed their jumping, looking like the Bond Sound Acrobatic Troupe performing as a tourist attraction.
As I was making a risotto and salad for dinner, Ron dropped a line over the side and pulled up six sole, keeping two big ones to add to our meal. We had anchored at the mouth of the river that empties into the sound and it was certainly teaming with bird life — mostly gulls which we haven’t taken the time to identify. We had intended to paddle into the estuary after dinner when the tide was higher, but by then an inflow wind had blown in, making the surface of the water quite choppy so we postponed our exploration till the morning.