Pt. McNeill and Sointula are two destinations I like but they are so very different from each other.
Pt. McNeill is called the Gateway to the Broughton Archiplego. It is a nice town with most of the ‘downtown’ business district all within about a 3 block walk of the two marinas. Clean and friendly it also has a nice IGA to stock up on groceries. The store encourages you to take a grocery cart with your purchases and leave it at the top of the marina dock. They collect them later. There are a couple of nice marine stores, a drug store, a few restaurants- pretty much anything you need right there.
Sointula is completely different. Unique and hard to describe. Quaint is not the right word. It is a rural community with its own special charm and character. It was established by Scandinavian settlers with Utopian dreams in the late 19th century. Sointula is Finnish for ‘place of harmony’. There are bicycles in a few places that you can just borrow to do some riding, so I took a pretty pink bike with a basket and biked the 2.5 km to the small shopping area. The grocery store is a well stocked co-op and I got there when a ferry had landed and people were hanging around for the latest edition of the newspapers to be delivered to the store. The papers arrived and the place was buzzing. A couple of 80+ year olds with heavy Scandinavian accents were in line with young free spirited locals. I bought a couple stalks of celery and a paper so I could read about the fires all over Canada. The smoke and haze is here but I guess much worse in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver. Then I discovered a bakery so bought some yummy cookies for later.
I found what several people do with the bicycles they don’t want to ride anymore. They put them in their yard and turn the baskets into planters with pretty flowers draping all over.
Garry left at 6:30 this morning to go help our friend, Logger Dan and his wife Denise, get their boat running. Something about steering cables, etc. Dan came and picked him up. While he was gone I did some laundry at the laundromat at the top of the dock, cooked the last of our clams for chowder and shucked the last of our oysters. Dan and Denise brought Garry back around lunch time and we had a nice chat, then they left to do some grocery shopping. Their luck hasn’t been too great yet this summer. They live in the Maple Valley area in Washington but have a really nice place here on Malcolm Island. They come over several times a year. In April they brought a lot of the food they would need for the summer, especially things like meat, etc., that can be stored in their freezers. Well, sometime after they did that an eagle decided to land and fry himself on their transformer. Eagle did not survive. Power went out. Food did not survive. (Note: the eagle part I heard 2nd hand, but forgot to verify. The food part was verified.) They arrived here about a week ago to floating food sludge in their freezer and nasty stuff in their fridge. So when their boat didn’t work right Denise said she wasn’t surprised. She is waiting for the next disaster.
Our plan is to leave in the morning and head up past Pt. Hardy to Bull Harbor on Hope Island. I will stay on the big boat while Garry will bravely cross the treacherous Nahwitti Bar. It makes me nervous that none of our friends will be there with us but we have over many safety plans and this is something Garry really wants to do. Depending on fishing success or lack of, we will probably be leaving Bull Harbor and heading down to the Broughton Island area to meet up with some of our other boating friends from Des Moines.