Princess Cove, Wallace Island

Fair warning. Today’s post is going to be kind of long. We spent a good portion of the day hiking from one end of the island to the other. Princess Cove to Chivers Point to Conover Cove to Panther Point and back to the boat.

Princess Cove is actually in roughly the middle of the island, along the southwest side, and it’s a beautiful place to anchor with stern tie.  There’s a dinghy dock for easy shore access,  and the island’s 200 acres are almost completely accessible by trail – all but roughly 11 acres that are private.

Bark of a madrona

Sailboat anchored at the inner end of Princess Cove

This is Chivers Point, the far northwest end of Wallace.  The closest island is the South Secretary Island.   This is a beautiful spot to sit back and watch the seals and cormorants going about their business before hiking back to the heart of the island.

Looking from Chivers Point back at Wallace.  The bones of the earth really stand up here.  Chivers Point is named for Jeremiah Chivers, a Scotsman who came to the island after failing to strike it rich during the interior gold rushes.  He planted numerous and varied fruit trees that remain to this day.  Jeremiah died on the island in 1927 at the ripe old age of 92.

Believe it or not, this is the inside of an old building.  All of the pieces of driftwood and other material are hanging from the ceiling by various types of line.

The two photos above show one of the remaining structures at Conover Cove that has become a traditional place to leave proof of your visit – as you can see, inside and out it is thoroughly bedecked with the equivalent of ‘Kilroy was here’. Some signs are quite elaborate, and a surprising number bear multiple years, to show the boat or party returned again and again.

This was the former home of Dave and Jeanne Conover who purchased the island in 1946  in order to build a resort.   The island was a blank slate – no water, no power, and the only structure was a derelict shack.   They had absolutely nothing to start with – no money, no skills, no resources, only guts and perseverance.  (Oh, and by the way, they had no radio, and there were no cell phones then – they were all alone with no way to contact anyone for help.)   But they did succeed, with a resort that eventually consisted of 10 buildings including cabins, a recreation hall, a store and more.

One boat anchored and tied in Conover Cove, with another coming in.

Signs left from the days of the Conovers – I particularly like the bottom one.   There is actually a derelict old car (a Willy’s?) rusting away in a meadow by the old water pump.  There are no roads on the island, of course, only trails.

The geology of the islands is fascinating – here is some of the frothy, bubbled sandstone visible on shore in so many places.   It’s like the honeycomb candy you can buy – it looks igneous, but it’s not.   Some of the popped bubbles are quite large.

Seals relaxing and taking some sun.

Some of Rusty’s spectacular sunset shots – but then, all of the sunsets are spectacular here.   And both nights we’ve had incredible star (and satellite!) gazing after dark.  And then there’s always the light show in the water – an incredible fireworks display of bioluminescence.  It’s so hard to decide – look up, look down, look up, look down….