Power of Suggestion

The chart book Exploring – Another Classic Historical Reference Atlas by Stephen E. Hilson is a constant source of readings, reference and reflection at the helm.  It makes clear that its charts are not to be used for navigation, although they appear to be accurate, but it provides a wealth of information on the naming of the scramble of islands, straits, channels and inlets forming coastal B. C. and Alaska.  Many of these locales are titled for the intrepid early explorers who arrived by land or sea, or for the traders and factors of the Hudson’s Bay Company, their wives, daughters, cousins and in one case, dog.  Some still retain the European attempt at scribing descriptors used by the indigenous peoples.

At Cape Caution turbulent seas combine with fatty molecules from decaying plant material to cause a prodigious white foam on the water

Other locations are given names describing an historical, present, or anticipated danger, and it is these that have attracted our notice ever since we rounded aptly named Cape Caution.

The 200′ wide entrance into Bottleneck Inlet.  Narrow channels are more inviting at high water.

We spent a peaceful night on anchor in Fury Cove.  Sallying forth across the Seaforth Channel we squeezed our full figured vessel into Bottleneck Inlet.   We rested well, confined by the vertical cliffs that flank the well protected anchorage.  The following day we passed up Rescue Bay which was our intended bailout point if conditions became arduous.  To reach our sublime anchorage yesterday we took our leave from Cape Farewell, skirted close to the rocks at Blockhead, then beat into the wind and current of Squally Channel.

Morning light in the Ogden Channel

This morning we headed northwest up the Principe Channel passing, in order, Despair Point, Headwind Point, Foul Point and finally Anger Island – no wonder!  Of course, at the end of the day, directly across from our anchorage lay Murder Cove.

Who murdered whom in Murder Cove?

Tomorrow we will navigate the torturous, twisted Venn Passage which, we can only hope, is where careful planning and good luck intersect.   There is no room for complacency, as at the passage’s end lies Devastation Island.

Enroute to Prince Rupert, last port in British Columbia

“Names are only important if you remember them.”

– unnamed mariner.



  1. Paula Ankney says:

    According to Wikipedia, the scoop on Murder Island:

    The waterway was named “Murder Cove” after two gold prospectors who were murdered here in 1869 as revenge for the killing of two Kake tribesmen,[1] in retaliation the USS Saginaw destroyed three villages and two wooden forts near present-day Kake.

    FW & RW, not only is your Blog creative, humorous and visually beautiful, it encourages additional educational research. Bravo!

    • LOVE your research however I believe this tale of murder and revenge refers to Murder Cove in Alaska. The Murder Cove in question is on McCauley Island B.C. Keep digging!

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