West Coast Archives

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Several years ago I scanned some photos that my wife’s niece had been keeping in a shoebox taken in the 1950s and 1960s. These were taken at several of the Indian Reserves along the west coast  of Vancouver Island. My wife lived in several of the various locations, Hot Springs, Ceepeecee, Zeballos and Nuchatlitz. She also attended several of the Indian Residential Schools, Christie, Saint Mary’s and Mission, all of which were part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement agreement announced in 2006.

I have no detailed information about the date, location or people in the photos with the exception of the ones with my wife and her relatives. I believe these photos are of historical significance, and that is why I intend to post them. This is the first in the series.


Stern Priest
It would be unfair to characterize this priest with only a photo but he looks to me like someone you didn’t want to mess with

Nootka Island Cemetery

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In 1972 after my Navy stint. I traveled up to Canada and visited Nootka Island. These photos were taken at Friendly Cove.

Friendly Cove Cemetery by John Poltrack on 500px.com
Cross at Cemetery on Nootka Island


Friendly Cove Cemetery by John Poltrack on 500px.com
Pathway on Friendly Cove


Friendly Cove Cemetery by John Poltrack on 500px.com
Overgrown Cemetery





Beach Sunday

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Good morning readers, did you have your coffee yet?

The winter continues to be weird here in New Ipswich. It’s January 10th and it is raining, not snowing. Temperatures are comfortably above freezing. It’s not natural.

The photo theme for today is Beach Sunday. I’ve gone into the archives and picked a few analog photos that I took on the West Coast when I was in the Navy. In retrospect I wish I had taken notes about the exact dates and locations for these photos, I can only guess.

Click on any photo to open the Beach Album of photos.


California Girls by John Poltrack on 500px.com
California Girls


La Jolla 1970 by John Poltrack on 500px.com
La Jolla


Beach Stroll by John Poltrack on 500px.com
A stroll along the Oregon Coastline


No Surf by John Poltrack on 500px.com
No Surf


Driftwood by John Poltrack on 500px.com
Pacific Northwest


Nootka Island and Friendly Cove

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Battered by savage storms on their voyage from Hawaii and seeking a place to make repairs and to find fresh water, Captain James Cook with his ships Resolution and Discovery, limped into this bay on March 29,1778. While the British anchored their ‘floating islands,’ the First Nations people shouted from their canoes: “itchme nutka, itchme nutka,” meaning “go around, go round” to a better anchorage at Yuqout, but Cook misinterpreted their shouts, believing they were calling out Nootka as the name of the area. Despite this initial misunderstanding, he and his men stayed for more than a month here, becoming the first documented Europeans to set foot in British Columbia. – Yuquot (Friendly Cove) Today

Of course it did not fare well for the First Nation People once the Europeans started showing up and claiming everything for their own.

MV Uchuck

The MV Uchuck III is a converted 1942 Minesweeper that services Nootka Island and multiple camps and settlements in the area. It carries freight, passengers and kayakers. This photo was taken in the 1970s but not much had changed when I returned in 2004.

Church at Friendly Cove

The first building one encounters is a Roman Catholic Church built in 1956 to replace the one built by Father Brabant in 1889.

Nootka Island Church

Stained glass window in the church

Friendly Cove

The real surprise is the interior of the church which now serves as a cultural center.  The altar and pulpit have been replaced with colorful native houseposts. Tucked away in the choir loft we found a few church remnants out of view.

Friendly Cove

Graveyard along the trail paralleling Friendly Cove.

Friendly Cove

Looking back at the Church along Friendly Cove. The beach is deceiving, it is not sandy, but made up of small polished stones. Walking along the shoreline is similar to walking on ball bearings.


We rented a cabin at the far end of Friendly Cove. We were unable to fasten the door because an earlier earthquake had shifted the frame. This was an issue because we were nervous that we might get a visit from a bear. We dined on fish the entire week.

Nootka Island in July

Our friends were hiking the trail while we stayed in the cabin. During the day we explored some of the tide pools and socialized with our relatives.

Nootka Island in July

It is an incredibly beautiful place

Long Beach on Vancouver Island

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Going through the archives I discovered some photos taken in the 1980s when we traveled to Vancouver Island to visit family. These are a good choice for the photo theme #CoastalThursday. Sadly like so many of my slides the dyes had deteriorated before I was able to scan them into a digital format.

Long Beach
Long Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It is very typical to see a large amount of timber along the shoreline. This beach is quite popular with surfers. In this shot the mountains are obscured by the clouds.
Long Beach
Long Beach is the largest beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Deep in the catalog – July 26, 2004 on Nootka Island

3435 days ago

Totem at the cultural center on Nootka Island
Formerly a Roman Catholic Church originally built in 1889, replaced in 1956 after being destroyed by fire

Interior of the center

A view of Friendly Cove along the trail away from the center
Cabins may now be rented along the beach

Graveyard along the trail

The “beach” is comprised of small very smooth stones which is surprisingly difficult to hike on, almost like walking on ball bearings. Sandals are no good, because the stones get in between the webbing

An amazing place to visit, such natural beauty