After our pleasantly uneventful southbound crossing
of Queen Charlotte Sound, we were ready to kick
back at our favorite stop-over marina: Port McNeill
Harbour (below). Even though we had started across
with first daylight, the inn was almost full
when we arrived; we got the next to the last
spot. They don't take reservations, so it's always
a gamble. This is a busy time of the season (end
of August) as cruisers like us are making our
way down from Southeast Alaska towards home and
the Broughton Islands' cruising boats are making
their last big stock-up before heading south.
We're glad to know that expansion of the breakwater
and the docks is on the near horizon.
In the mean time,
it's good to know that you can make reservations
for moorage at Port McNeill at another marina.
The floats to the right of the fueling area
are a part of the Port McNeill Fuel Dock & Marina;
they take reservations. Last summer they added
moorage space; will there be more to come?
The fuel dock is in the middle of the photo,
below, with the moorage area to the right.
The boats at the far left are actually at the
Port McNeill Harbour.
We didn't get to
the Broughton Islands last year, so we decided
to make a short side trip over there. In particular,
we wanted to see the newly relocated Pierre's
at Echo Bay (www.pierresatechobay.com). And
we especially wanted to be a part of the fun
at one of Pierre's famous Pig Roasts (Saturdays
during the summer; reservations a must - see
full activities schedule on their website).
The signature white tent is easy to spot from
The Royal Sounder
was honored to be moored right in front of
the beautiful lodge. The lighthouse building
is also in residence; but Lady Di - the baker
- has retired. (Sad sighs from everyone.)
All of the docks
have been fully refurbished, re-powered, and
flowered up. The store is active, the fuel
dock is in full swing, and wifi is broadcast
to the docks. It's a real pleasure to walk
around this marina and visit with other cruisers.
How all of the buildings
got transferred from Pierre's former, nearby
location to the new location and the way the
marina was rebuilt is a story in itself. The
following photos are actually pictures I took
of pictures that Pierre has posted in the community
room (reprinted here with Pierre's permission).
The quality isn't stellar this way, but they
tell a great story. The lodge was towed on
the water to its new location. It's actually
fairly common to see buildings being towed
along the Inside Passage.
not common is to be blessed with an Orca escort
during the tow! Pretty special.
docks also went in with a little magical help
- from cruisers and other friends.
Cruisers like the
Broughton's and appreciate the numerous little
marinas scattered throughout the islands. They
especially liked what Pierre was doing at Echo
Bay and they were willing to help in many ways,
such as pounding a few nails. I recognized
Stew and Pat from Pegasus in this photo. During
our visit this year, Pat even pointed out some
of the nails she had pounded (well, sort of)
as we walked along.
It took a lot of
And not a moment
was to be wasted, so work proceeded even while
Things look great
there now. All kinds of boats are attracted
to this open, easy-to-dock location.
And the seaplanes
still make frequent stops.
People come from
all over to see Pierre's place. Ursula came
all the way from Germany (Berlin). She's trying
to hide behind her host, Pat - from Pegasus,
but I caught her.
Jurgen was not so shy. He was happy to show
off his 11 lb Coho - among the first salmon
he has ever caught.
Hi host, Stew, took
care of the hard part.
Museum is a short walk or dinghy ride from
Echo Bay. It's a must-see for anyone new to
the Broughton's. Newbies Dan and Sally, from
Spirit of Balto, made sure they got there.
Billy is the recognized
patriarch of the Broughton Islands. Although
he is taciturn, you can get him going and the
stories just roll out.
Inside the museum
there are all kinds of 'coast artifacts': old
bottles, tools, hooks, shells. It's fun to
just ramble in the aisles and see what you
I was captivated
by the story behind this very old Life magazine
article laying open on display - with a hand-written
note on it that had been placed there just
a few days earlier. The person who wrote the
note was the daughter of the article's author!
She was amazed to see it sitting in Billy's
Museum. I was fascinated by the serendipitous
nature of her visit to the museum where this
article awaited her. What an incredibly small
world it is.
Well, it was time
to get back to Echo Bay and Pierre's Pig. You
might say that he really leans into his work.
His fun-loving wife, Tove, had already gone
back home to start her teaching year. So, he
did the best he could with a stand-in. The
huge barbecue oven he roasts the pig in takes
60 lbs of charcoal - just to start with. The
oven was a gift from the Des Moines Yacht Club
a 'hearty' side dish and their own beverages.
Each event has a theme; this time it was Western
night. Ready for the fun to begin - I mean
It's a big job to
carve that pig, but Pierre's up to it.
There are many special
marinas in the Broughtons: Kwatsi Bay, Lagoon
Cove, Shawl Bay, Sullivan Bay, Greenway Sound,
Jennis Bay. You can keep up with the doings
at all of them through Bob Hale's yearly-updated
cruising guide: Waggoner Cruising Guide (www.waggonerguide.com).
At or near the top of everyone's list of special
marinas is Pierre's at Echo Bay. With lots of
After tasting the
fabulous pig, we are sure to come back next
summer for something that is being talked about
even more: Prime Rib on Wednesday nights. Some
people are saying it's even better than the
roasted pig! We'll have to test that out for
ourselves next year.
Before leaving the Broughton's, we put the hook
down in Crease Cove - a favorite anchorage, then
made our way down Johnstone Strait to a NEW marina
in the Broughtons: Port Harvey Marine Resort.
More about that next time.