July 2013

July 2013
July 2013
July 2013
July 2013
July 2013

Shoal Bay Lodge

by Larry E. Stefanyk

Latitude 50°27’28” Longitude 125°22’1”

Shoal Bay, a former cannery town in the Discovery Islands region of the South Coast of BC, is located on the northeast side of East Thurlow Island, on the bay of the same name. Once the largest town (1895-1900) on the western coast of Canada. Shoal Bay was a hub for mining and forestry. Gold was mined in the hillsides above the town and the surrounding areas. When mining slowed in the early 20th century there was an economic shift towards timber and fishing. Shoal Bay survived as a small town supporting a school and market until the 1950s when the school closed and families moved to other communities like Campbell River.
Shoal Bay Lodge faces across Cordero Channel and up Philips Arm . Mark MacDonald purchased the property in 2000 and had dreams of starting his own resort. He purchased the land and the original Island hotel building complete with a commercial kitchen, a pub, and 14 guest rooms, each with full bathroom. A cool building but he admits it was a bit run down. He barged his worldly belongs to Shoal Bay and within a week or so of moving in, the place caught fire and burned to the ground. He lost everything.
With many helpers they started to re-build making wonderful progress, they built two cottages, rebuilt a laundry room, constructed a generator shed/workshop, put in a veggie garden as well as a chicken coop. The wood-fired pizza/bread oven is right next to the alder wood spit. If it’s not raining, Pizza nights are every Saturday in July and August.

The Shoal Bay Docks are owned by the Federal Government under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Small Craft Harbour division. The main dock or “pier” was built in 1927 and extends over 600 feet out into the bay on the original ironwood pilings. Being a “government” dock there are no reservations taken. Boats are accommodated on a “first come first served” basis. No boat is turned away that wants to tie up however, as “rafting” is not only encouraged but mandatory if the need arises. When you arrive at the docks during the “busy” season please put out fenders so that boats can raft to you if needed, there is no electricity or fresh water provided to the docks.

There is 500 feet of dock space on three separate floats. The moorage charge is 50 cents a foot plus an additional 5% GST Moorage and collected at the Shoal Bay Pub , a short and scenic walk from the float.

Visitors to the docks are invited to wander the grounds of Shoal Bay, enjoy the pub for a cool drink, use the laundry and shower facilities, visit the organic vegetable and flower garden, or hike the gold mine trail to the breathtaking lookout.

Shoal Bay is a fisherman’s paradise as all five species of salmon including some of the best areas for trophy chinook fishing in the world. Ling cod, red snapper, rock cod right in the bay and fly fishing for steelhead and trout on the nearby spectacular Philips River.

The 2013 Shoal Bay International Music Festival Aug. 10 is open to all musicians who wish to perform and there is no charge to attend. There is always dinner prepared and available on the Saturday. However all beer, wine, and spirits must be purchased at the “Shoal Bay Pub”. You are encouraged to bring food for yourselves as well as any non-alcohol drink. You are welcome to enjoy your own beverages of any type at the dock and on your boats but not at the festival.

Last year the meal was provided by donation from the Gillard Pass Salmon Enhancement Group who prepared a wonderful pork sandwich fresh from our open roasting spit. We are happy to announce that they will be back for 2013, money raised goes towards preserving and stocking our local Philips River system.

The 2012 edition of the Shoal Bay Music Festival was, by all accounts, “the best yet”. The weather was wonderful, the crowd was the biggest yet, and again, the music was amazing. Hope to see you for the 2013 Shoal Bay International Music Festival Aug. 10.

For information contact:

Mark and Cynthia McDonald
Email: shoalbay@mac.com

Huxley’s Run: 

Chubby and Stick were fast friends. Apparently they had grown up together in a small fishing/logging town on the West Coast of British Columbia. They began fishing together as boys and continued on until their present age which I figure is anywhere between 12 and 75, depending on the situation.
Although they are close, they are about as different as a trout and a halibut. Even more perplexing is that ‘Chubby’ may weigh 120 pounds, if he fell in while wading and was put on the scales with his waders full of water. Stick on the other hand is as tall as he is wide.
“Childhood names,” said Stick, a hand on his ample belly. “Not quite appropriate now.”
Further, when they come to visit and to fish the rivers, Stick loves his willowy five-weight fly rod. He looks like the Great Pumpkin conducting an orchestra with a toothpick. Chubby on the other hand will fish with nothing but his nine-weight, 14-footer. He resembles a diminutive jouster and, while casting, looks like a tiny gymnast carrying his country’s flag into the Olympics during a windstorm.
When they first got into my rowboat when I guided them in the annual Tyee Club of British Columbia tournament, weight disbursement became a problem. There’s a single seat for anglers to share and with Stick’s ponderous bulk on the port side, my poor row boat listed so severely and sharply that I thought Chubby might be catapulted from the starboard side overhead and into the ocean.
As delicately as I could I told Stick to sit in the middle of the seat and for Chubby to squeeze in beside him. That settled, I asked as per usual with guests, “who would like to start the engine and take us out?”
Stick actually giggled and began moving towards the stern of the 12-foot boat. From my perch in the bow, I realized my mistake too late. Stick had virtually rolled his significant mass off the seat, leaned first on the port gunnel and then on the starboard gunnel, before his planet-like rump landed on the tiny seat beside the motor. I tried to counter balance the weight difference, and while I did that the tackle box flipped and spilled. Then the contents of Stick’s ‘small snack’ emptied from his backpack into the bottom of the boat. I was up to my knees in sandwiches.
“I’ve always wanted to drive one these things,” Stick beamed. “Now what?”
A quick look at the diminished freeboard at the stern of the boat should have warned me. Instead I fell for Stick’s childish delight and proceeded to tell him about the throttle and the choke. It was five minutes later and my instructions still hadn’t sunk in. “Maybe I should do it,” asked Chubby more than once and withered under Stick’s glare every time. Size does matter when it comes to driving the boat it appeared.
Finally Stick got the engine started and found the gear lever and pushed it to ‘forward’. We started moving, barely, and Stick’s smile was as big as Discovery Passage. Things seemed fine, so I said, “You might want to give it a little gas.”
For some strange reason that Stick can’t explain to this day, he lifted the throttle up to “check a button.” In that motion he cranked the motor as far as it would go to the left and opened up the throttle. It’s only a 9.9 horsepower, but that motor started us in a deadly circle of death. I looked to Stick, expecting him to throttle down. But his eyes were wide and he had gripped the throttle even harder. In our dizzying circles, the wakes from the boat crashed together and turned the water into a maelstrom. Water started coming in. Stick’s eyes got impossibly wider. He now had two hands gripped to the wide-open throttle.
I remember yelling, “Red button! Red Button! Red Button!” over and over again. Then Chubby flew into Stick’s lap and got at the red button. The engine died and we bobbed there in our own little squall for a few silent minutes. Stick took a deep breath and said, “All right, let’s try that again, shall we?”
And the two, juxtaposed in so many other ways, were also thankfully much different than appearances would have it.
“You,” said Chubby to Stick, “get your big arse back in the seat and be quiet.”
Chubby drove, about the size of the engine he handled. Stick munched on a sandwich, as large and contented as a summer’s evening. I wiped the sweat off my brow, picked up and readied the tackle.




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