I'm Matt, a software engineer and boating enthusiast based in Washington State (but on the move). I started Hermit Cove Boats, offering cool skin and frame boat plans and kits. Check it out!
We left Echo Bay reluctantly and stuffed with seafood. There was a light breeze and we raised sail to make it go away. And away it went. Glassy calm. So we motored down Tribune Channel to Lacy Falls. The mountains around Lacy Falls are lots of bare rock cliff faces that plunge into the bay. Our depth sounder works well until 200-900 feet depending. Bubbles and big currents can confuse it and when it is confused it often blinks; less helpfully, it will sometimes read 4.1 feet, or 12.3 feet, and so on. It never changes from the false reading so if we saw 4.1 feet change to 3, then 2… well then we’d be worried. But out in deep water 4.1 is as good as 500 feet. Alongside Lacy Falls you are in 300 feet of water until you grind your gunwhales along the cliff. Suddenly when it reads 4.1 feet, you second guess yourself. Maybe this time it means it? We got as close as we dared. Even though there was no wind to save us, we cut the engine and drifted under the falls. Amazing.
We headed back up the channel towards the Burdwood Group. In the distance I could see motorboat wake breaking. But it was a long way from any boat. Then I saw the dolphins. Hundreds of them, coming right at us at 20 mph. We put it in neutral and they came right though us, in a rush to get somewhere. They were Pacific Whiteside dolphins. A few hours later we saw them off in the distance trucking back to from where they came. Busy busy.
The Burdwood Group is a cluster of small lowlying islands. The whole of the Broughton Archipelago could be described that way, but occasionally a set of small islands are clumped well enough to get their own name. We found a tight anchorage in 25 feet, with an island behind us and shallows ahead. A stern tie kept us over the deep water. That night at low tide we found ourselves surround by rocks and kelp, but still in 15 feet. Snug.
We kayaked around the islands and found numerous midden beaches indicating that the site was once a First Peoples village. The rocks get deep so fast here that there are no sand beaches, but the giant ancient piles of waste shell almost suffice. It will be the last time for a while that the folding kayak gets used, so I put it away, in preparation for the trip the next day to Port McNeill.