After finding our Walter’s cove bliss and subsequently finding great friendship in a warm swimming cove so quiet that it seemed a waste to wear clothes to swim, we wound our way through our first real fog and into Esperanza Inlet, fishing here and there as we went, much to the amusement of the fish, none of whom were remotely fooled by our very yummy looking ‘sure-thing’ hoochie.

You can get from Esperanza inlet to Nootka sound ‘the back way’ without going into the Pacific, so that is what we decided to do visiting the two ‘ex-mill towns’ of Zeballos and Tahsis as we went.

The 'back route' from Esperanza Inlet to Nootka Sound.
The ‘back route’ from Esperanza Inlet to Nootka Sound.

As a self-confessed ‘word nerd’ I have to admit a certain amount of satisfaction in visiting Zeballos purely because if you listed every town in BC alphabetically, Zeballos would come last. That makes me happy – if that bothers you, deal with it.

Both Tahsis and Zeballos are one industry towns where the ‘one industry’ packed up and left. As such, times are hard, have been for some time and, will be for the foreseeable future. Access to both towns is either by a lengthy trip on water or a bone jarring ‘bounce’ for several hours down logging roads. Zeballos had a store, the store didn’t have fresh veggies, it did have fresh milk. Tahsis has a grocery store where I gratefully restocked the boat. Though it’s the kind of store that you go in with a ‘what do they have’ mentality rather than a ‘what do I want’ mentality.

This is the store in Zeballos. The next store is a good 2 hrs away on the east side of the island.
This is the store in Zeballos. The next store is a good 2 hrs away on the east side of the island. Tahsis is a 5 hr drive from Zeballos.

Reality for the residents in both towns could be seen as fairly grim. Yet, both places were examples of how reality is an illusion created by you. In both places people still lived, loved and laughed. Both different in the way that every person is unique. Nether place seemed to invite pity. Everyone told us that there was no where to dine out in Zeballos – we had perhaps the best meal out of our trip there.

A tasty treat in Tahsis
A tasty treat in Tahsis

Tahsis marina had it’s own particularly awesome version of reality. It had chosen to ignore the plight of it’s town and reinvented it’s self as “Margaritaville”. The food was great and you could eat right on the dock, or order a margarita, and enjoy sipping it while watching a constant flow of fishermen gutting their catch in front of you. The place was happening and really, fun. In developing this marina, they successfully turned Tahsis into a destination for hundreds of fishermen who chose, to make the extra 14 mile trip up to the end of Tahsis inlet at the end of their day fishing, because the place is fun. A brilliant example of rejecting your own reality, inventing a new much better one for yourself.

‘Inventing a new reality’….my new mantra that I tried out the next day as we tacked down the 14 mile long, 0.5 mile wide inlet the next day, my arms burning fromĀ  exertion.

Our budding photographer enjoying the dockside fish pond in Tahsis.
Our budding photographer enjoying the dockside fish pond in Tahsis.

 

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