Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shearwater, an Oasis

Anchorage at Refuge Cove
At Refuge Cove, we were greeted in the morning by the warmth of the sun and a bright blue sky, a pleasant change from the previous three days of rain.  
Mathieson Channel
We turned south down Mathieson Channel continuing through Perceval Narrows and out to sea where we met gentle five-foot ocean swells, a familiar old friend.  Rounding several small islands and the scenic Surf Lighthouse, we headed eastward along Seaforth Channel to the village of Shearwater.  

Surf Lighthouse at entrance to Seaforth Channel 
We felt as if we had reached civilization once again; it is funny how the smallest of towns and villages can seem like civilization after spending time in remote anchorages and inlets.  It didn’t surprise us that the marina at Shearwater was completely filled with boats along with several boats anchored in the harbour.  
Shearwater on Denny Island
Shearwater on Denny Island is a major crossroads for points north and south, a little oasis in the region.  We set the hook in the harbour and took the dinghy ashore for a pleasant dinner, soaking up the sun on the deck of the restaurant, ah!  
Enjoying the Sun at Fishermen's Bar & Grill, Shearwater
Fishermen’s Bar & Grill has surprisingly good food and nice service provided by seasonal help who come from various parts of Canada.  Since our last visit, we noted a new coffee shop and a new gift shop said to have opened just a month ago.  The latest addition to Shearwater is a large model of a Stranraer Aircraft.  Stranraers were assigned to Shearwater during WWII to conduct patrols after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  
Model of the Stranraer Aircraft
The day following the attack Nos. 949 and 936, the only “Stranies” assigned to the station at that time, commenced patrols after a report of a Japanese submarine being sighted north of Vancouver Island.  In 1944 most of the Stranraers were withdrawn from service and replaced with the Consolidated Canso or Catalina Flying Boats.  
Stranraer Model at Shearwater
These flying boats were used for anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escorts, search & rescue, and cargo transport.  The old Stranraer No. 949 was sold in 1949 to the Queen Charlotte Airlines and later served with the Pacific Western Airlines until 1957 when it crashed in a lake near Quesnel, B.C.  
The old Aircraft Hanger, Shearwater
The old aircraft hanger still stands at Shearwater and is currently used as a work shop and for storage.  The McNaughton group of islands south of Shearwater located off the shores of Hunter Island were given aircraft names by the Navy pilots of the 1940’s, these names were used to report their positions, names which still remain today.

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