John Harvey Photo

Cultus Sound to Bella Bella and Shearwater

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Ruth was booked on the 11:20 flight out of Bella Bella so we left Cultus Sound in the morning to get to the airport on time.  Around 10:30 we turned the corner and there was Bella Bella!  We parked at the Fuel dock and Ruth got off and into a cab.

Bella Bella from the Ocean

Bella Bella is a native reserve of the Heiltsuk people on the Mid Coast of BC.  The community has a strong fishing community and the the wharf had a large selection of boats - both comerical sized vessels and small pleasure boats.

Boats in Bella Bella HarbourFloats on Dock

We had been using a lot of fresh water so we had to top up the 10,000 liter tank on board.  Jan stayed and filled the boat - the rest of us got off for a little walk around.

Walking Up Wharf in Bella Bella

The town is both small and large - it would be small anywhere there is a highway but considering the location, it is larger than anything else near by.  There is a hospital in town, a bank (open three days a week!) and a large modern looking school.

CIBC in Bella BellaBella Bella Community Development SocietySchool in Bella Bella

Bella Bella seems to have a bit of a Bald Eagle problem!  The weather was temperamental - light rain starting and stopping.  The eagles came out during a break to try and dry off.  They occupied a number of high perches and would stretch their wings out and just look around.  They didn't seem to care that we were there.

Eagle Drying WingsBald Eagle Drying WingsJuvenile Bald Eagle Drying Wings

Soon enough the ship was full, Jan and Mike had picked up some new vegetables for the next leg and we set off.  Shearwateris a small resort across the bay from Bella Bella.   Shearwater was built in World War II to act as a float plane base.  2000 people helped build the base and at it's height 1000 people were stationed here.  The mustard coloured building used to be a Hanger for the airplanes.  In 1947 the base was purchased and converted into the fishing resort it is now.

Derelict Fish Processing PlantComing into ShearwaterView of Shearwater Marina

In 1996 BC Ferries installed a ferry dock and ferry service started.  The new pub was built and there are new accommodations available.   Shearwater is a popular jumping off point for Kayakers and fisherman alike.

Accommodation in ShearwaterDiscovery Coast Ferry in Shearwater

Next: Codville Lagoon

Walking Up Wharf in Bella Bella
Tags: dock, small town
Floats on Dock
Tags: fishing
School in Bella Bella
Tags: playground
Bald Eagle Drying Wings
Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)
Tags: bird
Coming into Shearwater
Tags: coast, marina, resort
Boats in Bella Bella Harbour
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat
Derelict Fish Processing Plant
Tags: derelict
Bella Bella Community Development Society
Tags: building, log home
View of Shearwater Marina
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, coast, fishing, marina
Accommodation in Shearwater
Location: Go To...
Tags: dock, place to stay
Discovery Coast Ferry in Shearwater
Tags: ferry, ship
Bella Bella from the Ocean
Location: Go To...
Tags: coast, panorama, small town
CIBC in Bella Bella
Tags: bank, sign, small town
Juvenile Bald Eagle Drying Wings
Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)
Tags: bird, roof
Eagle Drying Wings
Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)
Tags: bird
Tags: small town(3), coast(3), bird(3), boat(2), fishing(2), dock(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > Mid Coast of BC on the Curve of Time > Cultus Sound to Bella Bella and Shearwater
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Mid Coast of BC on the Curve of Time > Cultus Sound to Bella Bella and Shearwater

Ifound your pictures interesting and somewhat unchanged. I went to Bella Bella with my Grandmother about l966. She had been the first white child born on the island and wanted to return. We stayed a few days, had a wonderful time. It was an incredibly interesting experience.
Sunday, September 30th, 2007 at 18:12:58

Also found the photos intersting. My grandmother's brother lived at Bella bella asa fisherman from 1905 to we dotn know when. The family in Australia lost touch with him by 1930.
Monday, October 11th, 2010 at 23:21:19

We lived in Bella Bella in 1963. I worked for the then B.C. Packers store across the bay from the native village. In the near future I plan on returning to have a look around.It's been about 48 years since we left. I have some fond memories of Bella Bella.
dave sellers
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 at 10:08:39

I just received a most thoughtful letter from Bella Bella Chief Cecil Reid who was my middle school English teacher. I am thrilled beyond expression. Thank you, Mr. Reid for taking the time to correspond.

A friend and I got as far as Alert Bay one year. Never made it to Bella Bella, our original our final destinations. However, we got to pass two days at Alert Bay. We were privileged to spent hours inside the U'mista Museum. We were so lucky to have enjoyed several native dances and stories there, and we watched some canoe carvers, students from UBC. We were told Chief Cecil Reid played a big part in U'mista.

I am so glad to be retired with a new MacBook Pro so I can wallow in nostalgia by simply hitting buttons and keys. Thanks for posting these beautiful photos of Bella Bella. It must be a very special place in the world.

May Nakano
Saturday, May 7th, 2011 at 16:42:35

Thank you for these pictures. I too have some fond memories of Bella Bella. I was only living there for a few months in the mid-seventies when I was around six years old but I remember many things about life there. I remember standing on the shore near the main dock and being in wonder at the many coloured starfish I could see in the water before me. I remember being handed a large salmon by a fisherman on my way home from school to take home to my mother (she taught at the local school). The fish was almost as long as I was tall and I carried it home against my chest with both arms.

The town looks much larger with many more buildings than I recall but I was of course only a child. My mother and I were there during a time when a barge cut the power cable from the mainland which made life considerably more difficult for some months and we left before it was repaired. I too hope to return for a visit some time soon.

David Morris-Tishauer
Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at 10:37:57

How wonderful to see these pictures! I am originally from Vancouver BC but my mother was born in Bella Coola and we spent a summer visiting family in Bella Bella. My mother died when I was 13 and I lost touch with my native indian relatives. I was around ten or eleven when we took that trip and I am now thirty eight. I live in Iowa U.S.A. now and usually travel south on any vacation. Thank you for posting these pictures, it brought back many fond memories of my mother and long lost family.
Erin LaBarge
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 at 21:06:50

I lived in Old Bella Bella (the BC Packers side)from 1950 to 1968. We moved there from Keldonan in the Alberni Inlet when I was two. My parents Frank and Peggy worked in the store and in later years dad was the manager. My Brother Tom and I both worked summers at the small fish camp at Bella Bella and in later years Tom ran Hacki and I worked at the camp in Saint John's harbour with the Fosters. Also took a shot at trolling with Dennis Matson but gave it up after 2 weeks of constant seasickness and rsorted to fish packing with John Moore on the Advise.

Shearwater was a big part of our growing up. Movies on Saturday, exploring the old barracks and fire halls. It was a huge complex in it's early days, with bomb shelters roads and seaplane hangers. There were still two when I was there. One was owned by the Francais Millard fishing company and the other by Andy Widsden. The fishing company hanger fell into disrepair and was either torn down or fell down.From what you see today you could multiply that by ten as far as buildings and plane tarmacs, living quarters, bowling alley, theaters, dam, water pump stations, fuel docks etc. The cannery to the south was originally the fuel dock and was taken over by a small fishing company called Millbank Industries. A good friend of mine; Ken Martin and I both bought fish for them in the mid 60's. It has done well to hang on and become what it is today and I look forward to a trip back one day with the hope that it has progressed.

Bob Williams

Bob Williams
Sunday, November 6th, 2011 at 20:37:39

I have serious memmories from Bella Bella. Ended up in a plane crash up the mountain.Was rescued after 4 days. It was in the fall od 1968. WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT NOW. JAKE NIESSEN
Jake Niessen
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 at 18:49:05

I was born in Bella Bella,my mother was Lillian Gladstone its been thirty years since I've been there, wow the island has changed. I loved the pictures.
Leslie Gladstone
Monday, August 26th, 2013 at 04:04:02

My great Uncle Jack Pauline owned and ran the only store in Bella Bella from at least 1908. I don't know when he left Bella Bella, but I have photographs of my Mother visiting him there with her Mother, Violet (Jack's brother) in 1908. I've also got photos from his elder brother, Fred Pauline Jr., visiting him in 1912 with their elderly Mother, Mary Pauline. They were off to church in "New" Bella Bella, according to the photograph. Fred Jr. was the M.L.A. from Saanich (Liberal)--I believe he was the Speaker in the Legislature. I also have a picture from that time of Annie, Jack's wife.

I'm going back to Bella Bella next month!!

Candace Parker

Candace Parker
Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 17:52:12

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