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!
With bad weather in the forecast, we decided to take the “inside passage” to Nootka Sound. I tried to start the engine and we got the dread “click” again. I swore, then took the starter motor off of the engine, rotated it a few degrees, put it back on, and tried again. Crank, then click. Oh damn, I had it in gear from turning the shaft to turn the engine. Take the starter motor off again, turn it, back on, crank crank chugga chugga. Nice! I guess we better get the starter motor fixed after all.
We left the Nutchatlitz Inlet, steered out to sea, then north to clear the reefs and then into Esperanza Inlet. We were headed for the town of Zeballos (it rhymes with Dallas, if you can believe that). It used to be a gold rush town and the guide book compared it to the town in Northern Exposure. We drove up a breathtaking inlet in the fog, and arrived at a town that seemed to have way more boats and trucks than people. We hoped perhaps we could find mechanics, perhaps fresh produce, perhaps at least access the internet. We talked with several residents, but no one seemed to know anything about the services available in the town. Keep in mind, this town has 30 or so buildings. 20 of them are for sale if you are looking to get in on the ground floor of a collapsing town. So, if you spent more than 1 hour in the town, you probably could know everything you need to know about it. We spent 59 minutes there. It would have been less, but I had to unbolt the starter motor and rotate it again to get the engine to turn over.
Well, the next town on our trip was a 3 hour drive to the other side of the Esperanza Inlet, through the Tahsis Narrows and then up to the Westview Marina in the town of Tahsis. We arrived with the same needs, having none of them met in Zeballos. We were greeted by folks on the dock who caught our lines (a tight turn, glad I didn’t embarrass myself), they’ve free wi-fi, and let you use their phones. We even borrowed the marina car to go into “town” to shop. They have a mechanic on staff and though he wanted to replace the starter motor, he just stopped by as I was typing this to say it is in better shape than he thought. He reground the contacts between the brushes and the spindle and it should be good for a long time. Well, gosh, thanks! An hour labor will be added to the moorage fee.
Now this may be a bigger town, but I understand that it is harder to get to. I think there were 60 houses, but fewer are for sale. All I can say is that if you find yourself headed up the Esperanza Inlet, for god’s sake turn right not left!
If the starter motor works we should be headed out of Nootka Sound tomorrow. We will leave in some fine company. Among the lovely boats here is the grand S/V Duen. Available for charter, and if a charter is in our future I can’t imagine you would do better than this wonderful old wooden boat. The skipper first saw the boat from another anchored in Suvarov Atoll. I cannot conceive of a more romantic location to first see the boat of your dreams.