Vancouver Island sits off the west coast of Canada. Nootka Island sits off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Only the Queen Charlottes, to the north, take Canada further west. Looking straight west from the west coast of Nootka Island, the closest land is just north of Japan, 7,000 km. away.
Shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, during World War II, the Canadian and U.S. governments, jointly, established a radar station on a peak on the farthest west point of Nootka Island, tasked with watching for submarine and air activity in the northern Pacific. Barely three years later, the war having ended, the site was evacuated.
A few years later, the staff at Esperanza Hospital, some 30 km away as the crow flies, if ever a crow flies in a straight line, about 4 hours away by boat, as we measured distance, were permitted to use the abandoned facilities for a summer camp for kids from the surrounding communities, Tahsis, Zeballos, Nuchatlitz, Ceepeecee, Yuquot, and floating logging camps. And us, at Esperanza and Hecate, of course. I spent most of the summer here for several years; Dad was camp director, Mom the nurse. We arrived early, stayed through several batches of kids, stayed to close down the camp at the end. Summer, to me, meant Ferrier Point.*
The Point itself is surrounded completely by water, making it its own island. On the "inside", in a deep bay, is the sandy beach from yesterday's post. The inlet cuts across to the far shore, the "outside" along a narrow tidal creek. Everywhere else, the shore faces open water; on the west, 7,000 km. of open water.
|The west end of the tidal cut between the Point and Nootka Island. A camp outing.|
|On the rocks. "That's Japan, over there," we used to say, ignoring the fact of a round earth. We did know better, but it was fun to imagine.|
|The view from the radar tower, looking southeast. The "lagoon". The island was densely wooded; still is, even as the rest of the islands are logged off.|
|Google maps: Ferrer Point. Looks like some sort of eared beast. The lagoon is the eye. the mouth cuts the island off from Nootka Island.|
The old buildings are gone now, the board road across to the tower crumbled into the earth, but occasional visitors still show up. And in the waters around the point, the fishing is excellent.