Getting by with a little help from new friends in Powell River

My wife and myself are new to ocean boating and our beautiful west coast.

We had the privilege in late August to stop at Westview Harbour on our way to Desolation Sound. We were impressed with the welcome we received from everyone, beginning with Pam at the fuel dock, to Mariah and Jenn at the harbour office. It is rare to find folks who are friendly, welcoming and competent all at the same time.

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Because of our first experience, we decided to spend a couple of days in Powell River to try our hand at fishing and enjoy the area before heading south. The first person we started visiting with was Albert Randall. When he found out we had never caught a salmon, he spent quite a bit of time telling us where to go, how to go about it and what to use.

He then loaned us some of his fishing tackle so we would be able to try “what was catching fish.” He did not even know us. He just said: “Leave it in my boat when you are finished with it.”

Well, we did head out and each of us ended up catching our first salmon.

On our way back to port, we ended up losing our starboard engine, so we continued with our port engine. Wind was coming up so it was nice to reach port.

We just entered the harbour when the coupling on our port engine failed; we were dead in the water with wind blowing us toward some pretty nice boats. About this time a little adrenaline kicks in but we ended up tossing out our anchor to keep us from doing some damage. It had a bit of trouble holding and we were close to the rocks.

Another couple of local fellows, Shane Gustafson and his father-in-law Patrick, just happened to be coming into harbour and saw what was happening. With their help and another fellow who showed up in a dinghy, we were able to get our boat over to a space on the dock where we could be safe while sorting things out. We decided because of the nature of the mechanical issues, we would somehow get to Madeira Park to get our truck and trailer, load the boat in Powell River and take it home to Vernon.

Shane and some of his family stopped later to see how we were doing and after a visit, a wonderful lady named Cheryl offered to drive me to the ferry early the next morning. Nice people kept showing up.

Then Shane offered to come by the next day and tow our boat over to the north harbour to the loading ramp when I got back with the truck and trailer. Cheryl picked me up at 6:30 am the next morning and drove me to the ferry.

During the ferry ride I was trying to figure out how to get from Earls Cove to Madeira Park. Then a fellow named Jim Bradley and I started talking and our discussion ended up around boats and what we were dealing with. He asked where I was going. When I said Madeira Park, he kindly offered to give me a ride. During our visit I found out he is a dentist in Powell River.

When I arrived at the loading ramp at the north harbour, Shane and Patrick had helped my wife tow the boat to the ramp; all I had to do was back in the water and load it. When my wife tried to offer something for the help, it was an adamant “no.”

On our way home, we talked about our whole experience. All we know is, these people are wonderful ambassadors for Powell River.

We came away thinking it would be an incredible place to live.

Dave and Dawn Collins are from Vernon, BC.

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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