Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#38 Friendly Cove and Bligh Island

After an extra day on Monday in Tahsis, the winds abated and in the early morning we headed due south for Friendly Cove located at the entrance to Nootka Sound. The Cove has a lighthouse, Catholic church and indian family that occupied the land for many generations. Later we will drop anchor in secluded Bligh Island Cove for the night.

Our route down Tahsis Inlet to Friendly Cove and Bligh Island.

Goodbye Tahsis. It's been fun!

Friendly Cove is historical because in 1792 Captain George Vancouver of the British Navy and Commando Bodega Y. Quadra of the Spanish Navy met here and drafted the Nootka Convention Treaty. Britain and Spain were at odds about who controlled the Nootka area. The treaty prevented the dispute from escalating to war and opened the Pacific Northwest to further exploration. The Treaty provided that neither party would form new establishments on any of the islands adjacent to the coasts then occupied by Spain. Both retained the right to land and erect temporary structures on the coasts and islands for fishery-related purposes. Since the seas could be freely travelled, the Pacific Nortwest was opened to further exploration.

We motored down Tahsis Inlet in flat water and sunny skies. Hardly a boat appeared and we dropped the anchor in Friendly Harbor as the sole visitor.

There was no one to be friendly with in Friendly Cove.

We tendered ashore tying to the Indian dock. A small fee was paid to the native resident who in turn gave us the run of the place. We walked along a short path to a small Catholic church built in 1956 to commemorate Captain Vancouver, Captain Quadra and the serving priest during creation of the Nootka Treaty. In 1889, Father Brabant had built the original Catholic Church. At the time there was a native peoples community that supported it. The church was nicely furnished with pews, Indian carvings, artifacts and dual confessional booths. I reminded Dick of his Mexican misdeeds of the past and volunteered to serve as priest if he wished to confess. He didn't.

1956 Church serves one family and a few special occasions.

The Spanish government donated the stain glass windows for the church.

After church we were eager to see the lighthouse. We took a short beach walk to a path that led to a bridge. We crossed the bridge and met the light keepers who told us the Nootka Light Station, built in 1911, was constructed to guide ships to and from Nootka Sounds to the mining-lumber towns of Tahsis and Zeballos. The light's 500-watt bulb lighting a Fresnel lens can be seen at sea for 18 miles!

There are 27 light stations that are staffed by light keepers. In the old days two families shared the duties but today, just a couple handles the station. Besides keeping the equipment running, the keepers report visible ocean and weather conditions, provide communication services for boaters, and serve as rescue team for boats in distress. Many BC light stations transmit a free wifi signal providing internet access for passing boaters, a valuable resource in remote locations without cell service.

The bridge to Nootka Light Station

A Canadian Coast Guard helo lands at the Station with mail and supplies.

The current light keepers, the Hedleys, have been serving here since 2003. They've seen winds to 78 knots sustained!

The lightstation is the light keepers home who man the station year round. And every home needs a garden too!

After a nice visit at the light station, we pulled anchor and crossed Nootka Sound to Bligh Island. Yea, yea, yea..that Captain Bligh. The island was named for him while Bligh served under Captain Cook, well before Mutiny on the Bounty. We anchored at the head of Erin Inlet in Bligh Island Cove. It was peaceful except for numerous eagles who were having a "screaming" match. We dinghied around the cove's coastline and found an inlet with one of these noisy eagles. We stared him down (almost) then made him a video star!

At anchor in Bligh Island Cove.

The eagle has landed.

Not wanting the Wild Blue crew to mutiny here, especially at Bligh Island, the skipper prepared BBQ chicken with everything the crew likes. The crew received ice cream for dessert too! No mutiny here.....

1 comment:

  1. The current lightkeepers at Nootka Lightstation are Mark and Joanne Tiglmann (in the photo)They have worked on the station since 2006. Kip Hedley was the previous keeper who retired in Dec. 2008 and recently passed away.