West Side of Vancouver Island Flotilla | Day 9 | Tahsis to Yuquot (Friendly Cove)

Some of our group went into town for a tour of the salmon hatchery. There were no fish there at this time, but the community is quite proud of their volunteer-run hatchery and it really showed. After the hatchery tour, we got on our way and headed for Yuquot/Friendly Cove.

Foggy morning in Tahsis

As we got further out of the inlet, the fog cleared and we even got some bright sun for a bit!

We spotted one humpback on our way down Cook Channel

As we approached Yuquot/Friendly Cove, the fog was back and there were a few boats in the anchorage. Also, this float plane was taking off and gave us a great photo op as it lifted off over Waterford.

This picture may be benefitting from a bit of distance compression.
Anchorage at Yuquot/Friendly Cove

Kevin and Laura fished for a bit with all these other sport fishing boats, but no one was catching. (There sure were a lot of boats trying though!)

After everyone was settled, we dinghied to shore and did some exploring. This is a small settlement referred to as Friendly Cove, Fort San Miguel, and it’s original name, Yuquot. There are only six or so people who live here–the Williams family of the Mowachaht band (Ray and Terry, their son and master carver, Sanford, along another relative or two), along with the two full time lightkeepers. Yuquot was the summer home of Chief Maquinna and the Mowachaht people for many generations and once housed 1,500 people in 20 traditional longhouses. The name “Yuquot” means “wind comes from all directions” in Nuu-chah-nulth (which it definitely does here!)

This area has a rich and controversial/disputed history, that you can read more about here.

The walk to shore from the public dock
Walking across to visit the Nootka lightstation.
Looking back toward the dock from shore
Bridge to the light station
They’ve got a nice smoker up here!
Nootka lightstation helipad
The Nootka light, with a bright coat of new paint!

We met Doug, one of the two lightkeepers, and chatted with him for a bit about his job, and exactly how he estimates and reports the conditions that we rely on as boaters out there. He’s a relief lightkeeper and has done tours at three different lightstations. He said Nootka is his favorite because it’s beautiful, because he gets visitors, and because his wife can visit him via the Uchuck III!

After the lightstation visit, we walked over to the old Catholic church (built in 1956) to look at the native carvings and stained glass windows:

Some of the group walked out to the native cemetery and the lake, and some of us visited the beachfront studio of master carver Sanford Williams. What a delight to meet him and talk to him about his work. The photo album in his studio with pictures of what seems like his entire lifetime of work is impressive.

This is a sculptural mask he is presently working on. The jaw will be attached and hinge open and shut, and will be lined with shells for teeth. We can’t wait to see it finished! You can see more of Sanford’s work here on his website.

Sanford recommended that we walk up the trail a bit more to see the old fallen totem (originally carved in 1919!) It was tough to photograph the entire thing at once, but here are some detail shots:

The trail back to shore was lined with blackberry bushes, wildflowers, and tiny snakes that slithered back into the brush as we walked past.

We had dinner on the Airship/Safe Harbour raft. We grilled burgers and buns, served with green salad and potato salad. Just before dinner the fog cleared and the sun came out so we ate up top! Sam got some fun aerials of the raft and the whole Yuquot/Friendly Cove area:


A little later in the evening, Kevin took another drone up for some dusky aerial shots:

Today’s total: 22 nautical miles, 3 hours, 59 minutes
Flotilla total: 233.9 nautical miles, 35 hours 6 minutes underway