This is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Tall, first-growth cedar forests, ferns, salal, wildflowers, and a grey/blue bay before my cabin door. The eagles are squawking in the trees (a disappointing sound for such a magnificent bird), the kingfishers are zipping by and the crows are at war over bits of shellfish.
There’s an otter who stares at us from about fifty yards from the dock. I am using some nasty herring bait to try and bribe him to come in further, but he is too smart.
One day, I went out in a boat with friends to Flat Rock, about an hour out. The rock outcrops from the sea and is covered with sea lions, all barking and focussed on us, not in a nice way. An amazing sight.
This morning I took an early walk around half of the island (as far as you can go a high tide), and when it started to rain and blow, I found a plastic bag for my head, put my camera away, and sat in a dry place watching the great blue herons, soaring in and out of the channel.
This is a town of 300 people on an island west of Vancouver Island, almost to the open Pacific. Most of the people who live here are natives, the Kyuquot Band.
Yesterday one of the teenage girls gave me a piece of smoked salmon seasoned with soy sauce and brown sugar. I hope I can find her today.
My brother Eric owns a fishing lodge up here. Years ago, he bought the old schoolhouse, and transformed it into something livable. Then he built soome handsome new cabins and has a steady stream of sports fishermen up here when the weather is mild, like now. It’s called the Kyuquot Inn. (www.kyuquotinn.com)
This year, out on the end of the dock, Eric built an espresso stand called Java the Hutt. The serving window is open to the water side and boats line up to get coffee and home-made cakes. The villagers arrive at about 3:00 PM and occupy all the tables and chairs on the float and the place becomes sort of a community center for the village. I’ll see whether they will allow me to take pictures. They’re an assertive and plain-spoken group, especially the women, so I’m sure I’ll find out immediately whether it’s OK.
Eric and Nancy’s residence is in part of the old schoolhouse. It’s like Grand Central in there. The manager, Nickolena Chidley, is keeping things going. I just saw Steve, the all-around guy, walk through with a bunch of papers, and later the barristas will be in to get ready to open the Hutt. Other people – I have no idea who they are – are in and out, using the computer. The phone rings continually and the short-wave radio is perpetually tuned to Channel 14 where you can hear everyone in the village looking for each other and chatting. Every household has one of these radios.
A few years ago, they got Internet service!
Right now it’s raining hard, but I’m in the middle of Elizabeth George’s new book, so I don’t care. Later on, this guy named Dave might pick me up in his boat and we’ll go to Spring Island, where he has his kayak and wilderness guiding company – Western Adventures.
I get to stay a few more days before embarking on the huge trip back to Seattle. It involves a water taxi from Kyuquot to Vancouver Island, two hours of bad, dirt, lumber company roads, a gorgeous stretch of the Island Highway south on Vancouver Island, a ferry from Nanaimo BC to Tsawassen BC, and then a three-hour drive to Seattle. All told, about eleven hours.