The coastal shores of North Vancouver Island are immense. If you stretched out all the inlets, bays and headlands into a straight line, I am sure it would run for a thousand nautical miles. Yet with endless tides and currents some little coves remain as untouched and untrodden as they were when the first moccasins hit these shores. On the contrary, other areas, often passages between two larger bodies of water. have become virtual highways,
The painting shown here is one of these passages, a shortcut between Johnstone Strait and Blackfish sound and Queen Charlotte Strait. There is much more traffic in recent years since Telegraph Cove has become a magnetic tourist destination. Every day, during the summer season, it resembles an urban traffic route with morning and evening “rush hours”, fishing boats heading out in the morning and returning at dusk. They head out of Port McNeill, Alert Bay, Alder Bay and Telegraph Cove, down Johnstone Strait and over to the north side of Hanson Island and Blackfish Sound to check out if anything is biting. If not, they continue on to Swanson or Malcolm Islands. To pass that way, many take a detour through the west end of Hanson and The Plumpers along a narrow passage locally known as The Blowhole.
I love to settle down on one of the rocky headlands there and paint while watching the cavalcade of marine traffic go by. If the wind is whistling down the blowhole, there are a myriad of little coves within which to take shelter while listening to the cries of eagles, gulls, ravens and crows vying for the spoils of the sea while perched upon strings of glistening kelp. Upon returning to the dock without fishing gear in my little runabout, I’m often asked why I didn’t fish. My cheeky answer, “When I take my paints I never get skunked”!