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.
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.
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.