Port Harvey to Pierre’s – Mark’s Cruise Report
Tuesday’s departure from Port Harvey was in a misty, foggy rain. Up the Havannah Channel to the narrow Chatham Channel. This channel is so narrow there are range markers, basically signs with lines in the trees. Line up the top and bottom line so they are vertical and you are in the channel. While it was not blazing sunshine, Chatham Channel carries a beauty, even in the misty fog. The water was flat calm, with not a wisp of wind. The reflections were muted. Years ago we thought we saw a large dog swimming across this channel one very early morning. It was a bear that ended up no more than 12 feet from the boat as we passed. He was not a problem as he was intent on getting to the other side.
Once through Chatham Channel, I approached Minstrel Island. This was once the cross roads to the islands with a vibrant marina, post office, fuel dock and store. The business ran into hard times, was never sold, and the distinctive aqua green buildings are slowly decaying like an old western ghost town.
Mary and Pierre with Mary’s handcrafted mugs
Now it was time for a turn and run down the Blow Hole, a very narrow and shallow cut between the islands, taking you to Lagoon Cove. This channel requires very careful attention to the depth sounder and the chartplotter to stay in the deepest part of the channel. You can almost reach out to the rocks on one side and the trees on the other in the narrowest part. Once through, a turn to port and you are at Lagoon Cove.
Bill and Jean Barber are the owners of Lagoon Cove. They are in their late 70’s but still working in the marina every day. It must be the secret to staying young. They, kind of, have the marina and property for sale. Bill clearly enjoys the people who come to visit and the work. I do not think he is retiring type.
Bill and Jean are ably assisted by Pat and Bob, who run the fuel dock and the store, and the three generators and just about anything else. They too enjoy the work and the beauty of this area.
Lagoon Cove Happy Hour in the old tool shed is a daily ritual. At 5pm everyone brings a plate to share and Bill and Jean bring a large container of their famous prawns, caught just hours before. I originally read about Lagoon Cove in a guidebook 30 years ago and dreamed of the day I could be sitting there eating Bill’s free prawns. It took years before it happened. They are pretty special. Bill goes out twice a day and every day to his special “prawn holes” for the days catch.
Wednesday, it was time to get underway and work my way up Knight Inlet to Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge & Marina. Before that it was time to check out a few anchorages such as Waddington Bay, Joe Cove and Monday Anchorage, all beautiful anchorages I will visit some day for an overnight stay.
By 4pm I headed into Echo Bay. Pierre’s latest project, a new building for meal events was right there on the point with a gleaming blue roof. After docking, I walked through the building and marveled at how Pierre and his crew had built the building in two weeks. They will now be able to seat over 90 to 100 people for his famous Saturday night pig roasts and Wednesday Night Prime Rib nights. You could almost hear the echo of al the fun events and memories this building will house. He has remodeled the store. If you get up there, take a look at the bowls, mugs and pottery Mary has created. Mary is Pierre and Tove’s right hand person for the entire place. She has her own kiln on site and creates her works of art right on site and for sale during the season.
Pierre has become a good friend over the years. We are about the same age and both hard working entrepreneurs who keep expanding our businesses. Both have a professional background in television and film, Pierre’s in Montreal and mine in NYC and LA. We do have differences — Pierre has a bushy beard and hair in a ponytail and bright orange suspenders. I have short hair, clean shaven and wear Waggoner Guide fleece. We have had more than a few fun evenings at boat shows and here at Echo Bay. Someone on the dock very graciously gave us both some fresh spot prawns. Pierre has a commercial kitchen and I was in heaven preparing fresh sautéed prawns with red pepper, tomatoes and, of course, garlic. Lightly cooked and not overcooked — they were wonderful and enjoyed with good conversation and a few cold beers.
Today, it is off to Sullivan Bay and Jennis Bay under overcast skies with some holes of blue sky shining through.