Santa Gertrudis Cove, Nootka Sound, B.C.
I have wanted to visit Nootka Sound for years, ever since I first began to read about the history of the Pacific Northwest. This is the place where European mariners first made contact with the native Indian people, and where trade and exploration was centered for more than a hundred years.
We reluctantly chose not to visit Nootka two years ago because of Luna, an orphan Orca Whale. Luna had taken up residence in Nootka Sound, and was fond of bumping and rubbing up against visiting boats, especially sailboats. Quite a few boats were badly damaged, and the coast guard warned mariners to take note. We passed right by Nootka Sound.
This year we were able to find solid anchorage in a neighboring bay, and make a shore landing in Friendly Cove, the large bay where the Mowachaht people traditionally had a village and where the European contact began. Our visit coincided with the arrival of the bi-weekly coastal steamer, the Uchuck III, which brings a short visit from tourists and longer ones from hikers who will backpack up Nootka Island and back. We visited the lighthouse and the church, and hiked to village site and headlands. The church has a saint in a niche on the outside, but the inside is full of totems and carvings.
This photo makes the bay and the light house complex look almost Mediterranean, with the August sun shining. You have to imagine how remote this place is, how far from any settlement of any size, and how much at the edge of the open ocean.