The chart book Exploring – Another Classic Historical Reference Atlas by Stephen E. Hilson is a constant source of readings, reference and reflection at the helm.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Names are only important if you remember them.”
– unnamed mariner.