Passion to Work, Passion at Play. - West Wind Hardwood

Do you work to play?  Or is work wonderfully playful??

The lines are blurred for me.  When asked by accountants and other folks ‘is that trip for pleasure or business?’ I’m the deer with eyes in the headlight not knowing what to say.  Resolutely they plunge on; they say it can’t be both.  I say “what the heck?!  Is your work so uninspiring?” There are folks with black and white jobs and there are folks who are simply black and white in their thinking.

So, where does this go?  Our recent trip to the Broughton’s this past July.  We travel there because we love it…..OMG did I allude to the ‘pleasure’ word? There’s that grey area again. LOL.

Yes, the air and water is a little cooler in temperature; it’s like the Gulf and the San Juan Islands on steroids.  Nooks, crannies and oh……the wildlife.  Today, the almost complete absence of development or settlement results in an unbeatable “wilderness” feeling. This quality, which led Captain Vancouver to name the area “Desolation Sound”, is the quality that many people today wish to experience.

All photos by Jan or Shelley Nielsen – Unless Otherwise Noted (July 2017 – Trip to The Broughton’s)

© David Richardson, July 2017

Not that long ago there were thriving resource based communities; fish and lumber were plentiful.

Photos by Shelley Nielsen – August 2008 Burley Bay, Mackenzie Sound, The Broughton’s Around 1900, this was the site of a large Chinese-owned logging camp; Later taken over by Japanese loggers; operating until 1930

Today we see active logging; knowing that naturally regenerated forests, second growth trees are being harvested.  In fact, we are starting to see 3rd growth trees being harvested on the island.  Wood is one of the world’s few resources that will naturally regenerate; a green product for so many reasons.

Working site located in Tribune Channel/Thompson Sound Junction. Fourth Photo located middle of Johnstone Strait – Photos by Shelley Nielsen – July 2017

In the Broughton’s, we are always the smallest, oldest, most wooden and generally most Canadian boat.  Not so this year!

Photo by Jan Nielsen – July 2017

Dulwen – designed by Ed Monk Sr. – built at Philbrook & Son Boatyard 1957
Dulcie and Owen Fowler = DULWEN

July 2012 – The Broughton’s. Just a ‘wee’ thing in comparison!

We arrived in early July and the marinas were as quiet as we’d ever seen them; even the larger American yachts en-route to Alaska were not in sight.  The word ‘hurting’ does no justice to how marinas were suffering; and downright miserable………or at least one was. I question their passion for their livelihood.

We have traveled to the Broughton’s four times since 2003.  And over the years, as the American yachts – fully loaded with supplies, fuel, and water passed through, moorage was about as much as they needed; perhaps the odd dinner or charter and the dynamics for servicing smaller boats changed.

Photos by Jan or Shelley Nielsen – The Broughton’s 2008 – 2012

Some marinas strengthened their commitment to service boaters of all types; some expanded their clientele to include fly-ins; others reinvented themselves narrowing their market; and sadly, some faded away unable to pass on the torch.  So what does the little boat that only holds 80 gallons of water do?

Minstral Island – July 2017

We last ate there in 2003 with David Richardson; closed now. As well, Greenway Sound closed having found no buyer.

Shoal Bay Lodge/Marina, East Thurlow Island – July 2003.

Re-built anew after the fire of July 2000.

Cordero Lodge – July 2014.

Vandalized in February 2017 – Status Unknown.

Lagoon Cove Marina – July 2017

Under new management (The Ryan’s) – Great Welcoming Attitude
Fabulous Fuel Stop
We wish you much success!!

Blind Channel Wilderness Resort

Third Generation (The Richter’s)
Food ~ Fuel ~ Camaraderie
Laundry and Shower for Transients to Boot
July 2012/July 2017

The Boughton’s Archipelago and Desolation Sound

Both well serviced by Kenmore Air
Photo on the right by Bill Long – July 2012

This takes me to my rant on Echo Bay Marina. They have become a closed all-inclusive marina.  Sure you can fuel up; sure you buy their food and liquor, but ask for water…….hmmm.  I had to actually say the words “we don’t have a water maker you know”.  Then there was the 2nd time we returned to refuel and re-provision.  While tying up, I told the dock help that I planned on doing laundry – I have performed laundry duties here on past trips – he didn’t say anything except explaining how the water is coloured from the tannins in the cedar trees, so off I went with 2-week’s worth of dirty laundry.  There was a line-up; willing to pay, I was prepared to suffer for a couple of hours waiting my turn.  Within 15 minutes, the same deck help tornadoed in (a Danish chap which made us think he was the owner’s wife’s father) to say ’STOP’.  The lady of the marina has said I was not to avail myself of this service.  When I reminded him I’d mentioned the word laundry to him…….he told me he thought I was telling him we were filling up with water so I could do my laundry aboard.  Hmmm……..35’ long; 11’ beam.  I think I’ve misplaced my washer and dryer.   End of story.  We left pronto.

I was so steamed that when we next reached a Wi-Fi opportunity, I left a comment on Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge & Marina FaceBook page:

We’ve been visiting the Broughton’s since 2003.  Echo Bay has been a fabulous must for small Canadian transient boaters.  But ‘times they are a changing’ and I think this destination needs to decide what and who they are.  Is this an exclusive ‘loyalty’ based marina with no interest in the transients who spend just as much money reprovisioning, refueling and refreshing minus the nightly moorage?  During times of economic transition is it wise to discourage the transient boaters who are willing to pay and pay extra for services, fully understanding they are not the privileged few?  Will we be back?  Well, we are held hostage knowing we will always need fuel.  We do wish Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge & Marina well; hoping they have a successful 2017 season.

Here was their response:

Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge & Marina Thank you for your heartfelt comments. We can only supply so much food in the grocery store. Our facility has got the capacity to stock only so much fresh produce at a time. You are correct; we appreciate those who support us as a marina. We have only two months a year to make it as a marina – either we sink or swim in those two months. If we’re not supported, this area will have one less marina. We have to make sure that we have enough supplies for those mariners who do support as a marina. How would you feel if there’s 40 boats moored in the marina and you’re one of them – and 15 transient boats come by and “clean us out” in the store. It is not fair to run out of stock because “transients”, as you refer to yourself, potentially wipe us out of stock. You’ve got to remember the location where we are. We’re not a corner store like in town where they can get supplies any time. We’re in the wilderness. We have only one person alone who picks up the groceries – that is Pierre – he can only do so much. He tries to re-provision once a week. There is very little profit to be earned in groceries or fuel out here. (Calculate the cost of fuel for your own boat to go anywhere.) Where we make any potential profit is in moorage and our meals. Fuel is not a big markup because of the cost of barging the fuel out here. The bottom line, everything we have and do here is to serve the people who support us – We’ve been seeking out a living here for 40 years… and we ain’t getting’ rich! One holiday in ten years…

I suggest Tove may have sadly lost her passion. I am pleased to say that on our return home, we saw boat after boat streaming north.  Perhaps the long, wet winter weather delayed holiday plans.  I hope all the various marinas from Desolation and north, reap the benefits.  I can say without a doubt that Blind Channel Marina and Lagoon Channel Marina (under new ownership) haven’t lost their passion or their charm.  Thank you!!

Passion can be found many places.  The volunteers at the BC Aviation Museum in Sidney have it in ‘spades’.  As mentioned in Newsletter #67 (December 2016), they are still working on the Hoffar Airplane.  We visited the museum recently………….oh dear………did I allude to the ‘pleasure’ word again 🙂  Here is a photo update on their work.

From here on in, West Wind Hardwood will be donating any additional lumber or plywood for this project.

What are you doing to keep the passion in your daily life?

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