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Down Queen’s Reach

Cruising up the last 8 miles (13 km) to the head of Queen’s Reach took us past more wonderful sights – flowing mosses hanging from the shoreline trees, basking harbour seals, an old mine carved just above the tideline and the usual mountain vistas.  On reaching the end we were the furthest distance from our house, only 50 miles (80 km) – as the crow flies – with all this amazing beauty in between.

The head of Queen’s Reach was once another village of the shíshálh.  This one was the home of the Xénichen sub-group and the village was called Hunaechin.  Mount Victoria at 6,850 feet (2,088 meters) dominates the view but an impressive Mount Alfred, 7,940 feet (2420 meters) can be seen over to the left.

Jervis Inlet Head

Queen's Reach 4

Mount Victoria

Coming back down the upper shoreline of the reach there is another set of pictographs.  These are the brightest coloured of any we found.

 

About 7 miles (11.2 km) down from the head of Queen’s Reach is the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet guarded by the Malibu Rapids.  The Malibu Rapids are another short tidal entrance that must be entered with caution and only at slack tide.  Sitting on the rocks above the rapids is the Malibu Club which is a Christian retreat centre for youth, owned by the Young Life Society.

The retreat was once the home of Thomas F Hamilton, the inventor of the variable pitch airplane propellor.  In the 1930’s Hamilton spent over $2,000,000 creating his luxury resort – building a 9 hole golf course, beaches, tennis courts, etc.  The rich and famous would fly in to stay in the luxurious, rustic setting for $250 a day.  The resort opened in 1941 but only ran for a couple of years.  When WW II broke out the resort hit a financial downturn.  It opened again from 1945 to 1950 entertaining such people as John Wayne, John F Kennedy, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  Because of the difficulty of travel and a short weather season the resort hit another downturn and closed in 1950.  Hamilton put the property up for sale in 1951 for $1,000,000.  In 1954 the Young Life Society bought the property for a reported $300,000.  It now runs as a year round camp.

Inside the rapids is the famous 5 mile (8 km) long Princess Louisa Inlet with the 120 foot (37 meter) Chatterbox Falls at the end.  The area around the falls is part of the Princess Louisa Marine Park which is managed in cooperation with the Princess Louisa International Society.  As mentioned in an earlier post, 2,755 (840 meters) James Bruce Falls is to the left of Chatterbox Falls.  It is thought to be the tallest falls in North America.

Princess Louisa can be a very busy place for boats in the summer.  We didn’t visit there mainly because of that reason but also because it was late summer and the falls weren’t at their best.  Boat tours to Chatterbox Falls can be taken from Egmont in the spring and summer on the Malibu Princess.

Malibu

Malibu

Heading south down Queen’s Reach you arrive at Deserted Bay or Skwáh-kwee-em.  This was the home of the Ts´únay, another sept of the shíshálh and it was one of the largest villages of the shíshálh’s.

Deserted Bay has seen a variety of activities.  Logging started in the early 1900’s and continued throughout the years and in 1904 a salmon salting factory opened and ran until 1907.  In 1910 a slate deposit, previously used to make Indian arrowheads, was “re-discovered” and a slate quarry established but it closed in 1916.  In 1988 the Sechelt Band opened an outdoor education school at Deserted Bay on the site of an old logging camp.  It was later converted to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for a short time.

When we anchored in the bay it was absolutely still and quiet.  All we could hear was the Deserted River flowing into the bay.  A beautiful place to kayak.

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Hotham Sound to Jervis Inlet

01 Harmony Islands

Approaching the Harmony Islands

Heading down the east side of Hotham Sound 4.7 miles (7.6 km) brings you to the Harmony Islands Marine Park.  These are a cluster of four small islands, two privately owned and two belonging to the park.  In the channel between the islands and the mainland there is plenty of room to anchor and stern tie to shore and it can be quite a busy place in the summer.  The largest island has a grassy area for camping and it is a great place for kayaking, snorkeling and swimming.  Towering over the islands is 4600 foot (1400 meter) Mount Calder.  The park is a wonderful place to take in the vistas of Hotham Sound.

Harmony Islands

The channel between the islands and the mainland – a very sheltered moorage

02 Friel Falls

Friel Falls – not much water flowing when this was taken

A mile south of The Harmonies is Friel Falls which plummets 1,475 feet (450 meters) down a sheer cliff onto the shore.  Very dramatic, especially during the spring melt and after heavy rains.

Granville Bay Homestead 1

Granville Bay

Granville Bay Homestead 2

At the old homestead

Two miles (3.4 km) further south is Granville Bay, the site of a lovely old homestead dating back to 1898.  This belonged to the Hollingsworth family.  At one time there were extensive gardens and apparently Mrs. Hollingsworth would play piano and entertain the local loggers and miners in grand style.  In recent year it had become an oyster farm but it was no longer working when we passed through.

Granville Bay Homestead 3

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Tzoonie Narrows Marine Park

Heading east 3.4 miles (5.4 km) up Narrows Inlet you arrive at Tzoonie Narrows Marine Park which is probably my favourite boating destination.  At 200 acres (80 hectares it is the largest park in Sechelt Inlet, encompassing both sides of Narrows Inlet.  The park is the site of Tzoonie Narrows, an 80 foot (25 meter) wide tidal channel into the upper portion of Narrows Inlet.

Remains of a 1970’s commune and remnants of logging equipment from the 1930’s lie in the bush around the park.  There is also archaeological evidence that the area was well used by the shíshálh’s (Sechelt).  On the north side of the park are the ruins of an old homestead where we found apple and plum trees along with grape vines.

There is one fire pit, one pit toilet and room for 15 tents on the more developed south side of the park.  A fairly abundant creek supplies water that can be used for cooking.  Boat anchorage is best between the shore and a tidal islet at the most easterly end of the park.

The scenery is spectacular with the mountains on the north side rising over 4,600 feet (1400 meters) from the waters edge.  A mountain backing the south side of the park measures 3,200 feet (1000 meters).  It is a beautiful area to explore by kayak.

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Halfway Marine Park

Halfway Islet

Halfway Islet – a salmon fish farm can be seen between the islet and the shore

On the west side of Sechelt Inlet, almost directly across from Kunechin Point, is Halfway Marine Park.  This is one of the largest campgrounds in the inlet and can accommodate up to 15 tents.  There is one pit toilet, a large group fire pit and water from a nearby stream.  The pebbled beach is partially protected by Halfway Islet and has beautiful views looking up Salmon Inlet.  You will get the early morning sun here but will also lose the sun in the evenings earlier than on the east side of the inlet.  It is another good place to see wildlife and lots of harbour seals are usually hanging out on Halfway Islet.  Unfortunately, this is another park that is opened to the winds so anchoring your boat is not advisable.

Halfway Beach 1

Halfway Beach 2

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Kunechin Point Marine Park

Located at the mouth of Salmon Inlet is Kunechin Point Marine Park which is one of our favourite boating, kayaking and camping destinations.  The Park is divided into two camping areas.  On the actual point there are two wood tent platforms and one pit toilet.  No fires are permitted and there is no potable water.  To the east of the point is Kunechin Bay that has two campsites with enough room for four tents.  There is one pit toilet and fires are permitted but there is no potable water.  We found a seasonal creek in the bay but decided against using the water.  No camping or fires are permitted on the Kunechin Islets, two small rocky islands at the tip of the point.

We have spent a lot of time in Kunechin Bay which is great place for anchoring because it is sheltered in most weather.  Our boat had a draft of three feet so we were able to go right into the bay, very close to the shoreline.  We would stern tie with the bow pointing out giving us a beautiful view right up Salmon Inlet.  Quite often we would be alone so we were fortunate to see some wonderful wildlife.  We had one bear that, for three days in a row, arrived early in the morning and alternated between chewing barnacles off the rocks  and sleeping in the sun.  Ospreys and bald eagles were a common sight and seals would often swim around the bay looking for fish.  There are lots of seals on the Kunechin Islets and basking on large boulders along the shoreline.

The entire point is a great place to explore by kayak with some fascinating geology – stress fractures, erratics, mineral seams, etc. all along the shore.

Just west of the point, heading up Sechelt Inlet is a popular diving site where the destroyer HMCS Chaudiere was sunk by the Artificial Reef Society of BC in 1992.

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Misery Bay

At the mouth of Salmon Inlet kayakers and canoeists have a decision to make.  The next marine park on the south side of Salmon Inlet is Thornhill Creek Marine Park, located about 9 miles (14.4 km) from the Old Glad Tidings Camp.  It is a small campground with two tent sites on hard packed gravel, a pit toilet and creek water that must be boiled.  There is limited shelter along the way and wind can be a problem so this might be of more interest to power boaters.  We anchored at Thornhill and immediately got the anchor snagged on an old submerged logging cable.  Made for an interesting time pulling up the anchor.

Misery Falls

The reward for going this far though is seeing Misery Falls tumbling down a granite cleft into the ocean, located less than a mile on the north side of the Inlet.  Three quarters of a mile east of the falls is Misery Bay that is the site of a now deactivated logging camp.  There is an old dock that we tied up to.  Misery Bay, despite it’s ominous name, is quite picturesque and sheltered.  We walked up one of the old logging roads and found a series of falls which was a surprise to come upon.

Misery Falls (upper)

Logging has been going on in this particular area since the early 1920’s and by 1934, when the operation ended, over 7 miles (11.2 km) of railway track ran down the mountainside.  Train cars were hauled up empty up and lowered down full of logs.  This had to be done by cable because of the steep incline. There are little signs of the old operation but more recent logging has left a bit of a mess around the dock area. We just faced out into the bay and quite enjoyed our stay there.

Misery Bay

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Nine Mile Marine Park

A couple of bays north of the pictographs you arrive at Nine Mile Point Marine Park, one of our favourite kayaking destinations in the Inlet.  The campsite is split in two by a good sized creek.  We use the creek for keeping food and beverages cool and use the water for cooking.  There are numerous tent sites, two fire pits, a bear cache and one outhouse.  Harbour seals can often be found at the point just to the north.  Beautiful views up and down the Inlet and another great spot to watch the sunsets.  As with the other campsites, overnight boat anchorage is not a good idea.

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Seven Mile Pictographs

Continuing north from Tuwanek Beach Marine Park about 1 mile (1.6 km) you come to Oyster Beach Marine Park that has 3 or 4 tent sites, a fire pit, an outhouse but no water.  It has the same problem of poor anchorage for your boat on windy days but great for day trips.

7 Mile Picto 2_watermarked

Another .6 miles (1 km) – 7 miles from Porpoise Bay wharf – takes you past an oyster farm where you will see blue barrels anchored in rows.  At the northerly point of the farm you will find a pair of pictographs on a rock bluff.  These two paintings are fairly basic and I have heard two theories as to their purpose.  The first is that the paintings depict Tchain’-ko, the Sea-Serpent, god of the waters.  The story goes that this marks where a shíshálh (Sechelt) hunter was drowned by a porpoise that he had harpooned and when the people later passed by the area they noticed a fresh scar on the mountainside above the site, something only Tchain’-ko could do.

7 Mile Picto 3_watermarked

The second thought is that these pictographs let others know that there was good fishing here. Not quite as dramatic.

7 Mile Picto 1_watermarked

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Tuwanek Point & Marine Park

Tuwanek Point

Back on the east side of the Inlet and about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the Tuwanek Spit you come to Tuwanek Point.  The point is actually a small island with a sheltered channel running between the shoreline and the island.  The channel is a great place to take a breather – the water is crystal clear and shallow enough to take in the incredible sea life below while you drift in your kayak or canoe.  Because of the varieties of fish and aquatic plant life the point is a popular diving spot.

Tuwanek Beach Marine Park

A quarter mile further north brings you to the Tuwanek Beach Marine Park that has 4 or 5 sites for tents, a fire pit and an outhouse.  There is a creek but we have always taken our own water for drinking. The beach is a great spot to watch the sunset.  Once again, overnight boat anchorage is a little chancy because of the lack of shelter from the winds.