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Northern Gulf Islands, Cowichan Bay, Duncan BC and a New Crew Member

After departing Nanaimo, we had a short day motoring into light headwinds and went to Pirates Bay at the south end of De Courcey Island. This area is a National Marine Park and there is a camp here for the Kayak and Canoe trail. Adam and I went ashore and stretched our legs. We spotted a racoon foraging the shoreline, turning over rocks in the water and feasting on the crawly delicacies underneath. We turned over a few stones of our own and frightened the little crabs and critters but did not eat any of them.

We learned a little of the story of yet another scoundrel, Brother XII, which we will share with you in the image below.

A neighboring boat hailed us over as we were returning and asked us if we would like some of the oysters that they had harvested the day before. They gave us 5 big Pacific Oysters which Allen proceeded to shuck, bread with our favorite soft-shelled crab coating and fry up nicely.

The next day was again light wind from the south so we again motored south to Booth Bay on Saltspring Island. Shelly our lobster crewmember from Booth Bay, Maine got very excited so I took her up to the cockpit and let her spend the afternoon looking around. With all the pines and rocks, it looked a lot like her hometown and she may have gotten a little homesick, but the rest of the crew cheered her up with a dance party when she came back belowdecks. It was a bit cold and drizzly so Adam and I stayed aboard and did our thing. I am hoping to return here one day because there is a nice little creek here to go exploring with the dingy or kayak.

The next morning, we weighed anchor and headed through the rain, again under motor power to the town of Cowichan Bay. We did not get a reply to our hails on Channel 66 so left a phone message and tied up to the inside of the floating breakwater where there were some other boats and space for us. The only way off the breakwater was by dingy so we settled in and waited for a return call, which came very quickly. We were given a slip on A dock and cast off then proceeded over there.

Cowichan Bay has a mix of commercial fishing and pleasure boats. This is shrimping season (which is actually year-round but May/June is the best time of the year.) The shrimpers leave early and return around 3 or 4 to offload their catch.

In the town of Cowichan Bay, there is an excellent maritime museum and wooden boat center with many old boat engines, both inboard and outboard. Some old and more modern native craft and stories of how they were used and are still used today. There is also a big collection of wooden model ships, rivalled only by the Naval Academy Museum. This is a working museum like Mystic Seaport, but much smaller. They have a small marine railway and a small boat building program.

The Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island is populated with about 5000 people, most of whom are members of the Cowichan Tribe, the largest tribe in British Columbia. The central city is Duncan, which now proudly displays native-carved totems and other art throughout the city. The city also has many historical plaques and historic photos on display, obviously installed a couple of decades ago but in good shape. They tell of the city's history. Which appears to have begun in the 1890's...

Adam with a few of the many totems around Duncan.

Now the Big News: Today we were joined by a new crew member: Duncan the Bunny has joined the crew. Duncan is from... you guessed it, Duncan, BC. Duke the Lion from Annapolis says he is very happy to finally have the company of another land mammal. He loves his aquatic friends but sometimes feels a little left out of their marine antics. The gang immediately voted Duncan the softest and fluffiest member of the crew. Notice what Shelly was caught doing in the photo. Duncan says he doesn't mind.

I'm wrapping this up with a couple images from the Cowichan Bay Maritime Museum. By the way, I found out from our insurance company that our navigation limits extend all the way up to Yakutat Alaska!

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