The Broughtons are such a wonderful archipelago since there are too many anchorages to explore during a single cruising season up north. It always leaves you wanting more, just like a good movie or novel. As most of you readers, we have visited many of these jewels each year and pass up some of the great ones because they may be a bit out of the way. Well, out-of-the-way is what we usually look for: places where you can still explore and find a bit of solitude in the “next Desolation Sound”. About thirteen miles of Johnstone Strait is the only questionable body of water you need to negotiate to get to these otherwise calm and glorious hideaways. You can even hang loose for a day or two if needed in Forward Harbour (Feb 09 Dolphin) awaiting the weather channel to deliver good winds and tides for your run to the Broughtons, via Havannah Channel.
After a few of the wonderful anchorages the Broughtons are famous for, you end up at Pierre’s at Echo Bay for fuel and a few groceries. Spend time with our friend and local legend Billy Proctor. He’ll weave tales of the Broughtons of another time. If you don’t get enough of his stories, his two books will fill in all the blanks, a worthy addition to your ship’s library. Take a northerly course, maybe even going through the Burdwood Group to check out a future anchorage, and soon you enter spectacular Simoom Sound around Deep Sea Bluff at 50o 48.995’N, 126o 30.464’W. This body of water was once a thriving floating community, post office, stores and all, and it was called Simoon Sound by some of the early population because it was easier to say. It was a port of call for the Union steamships servicing the smaller communities of this thriving coast.
The cruise up the inlet to the Sound is beautiful, even with the aquaculture farm just inside. Once you enter you find a number of favorable places to spend the next couple days and our favorite is in behind a small islet to the north of Hannant Point. Our actual piece of the bottom lies at 50o 51.791’N, 126o 30.498’W. The views from here are like it was in the old days: unspoiled mountain ranges, small islets and protected waters void of any other boaters, usually. It’s not that we are unsociable, but being alone in a solitary anchorage gives you the feeling of discovery and self-reliance. Simoom Sound can give you these feelings in any number of great spots.
We’ve done a little fishing inside the sound and outside with varying degrees of success. We recently talked to another boater we found further into the sound and he had done well with rockfish, lingcod, crabs and prawn so it just takes a bit of trial and error. We spent some time feeding an eagle family that really seemed appreciative. It’s amazing to actually feel the air of wing pressure as these magnificent birds swoop right over your head, talons extended to pluck a floating rockfish beside the dinghy.
We stopped on the way outside to go fishing and just took photos of the mountain passes hundreds of feet above us with trails of wispy fog tentacles moving silently among the valleys. The taller mountains were all topped with white bonnets made to order yet ever changing as the breezes aloft reshaped and molded these caps.
If you’re lucky enough to carry a kayak or two aboard this is the place to explore the little coves and rocks at water level. We followed a black bear during its evening foraging for crabs. It’s amazing to watch these powerful animals roll over huge boulders along the shore at low tide looking for eels and small crabs on which they dine. I said a couple days earlier in this article – at least make it a few. They won’t be wasted.
Don and Carolyn Bloye
M.V. Island Spirit