Sunday, November 20, 2011

Farewell to a Favorite - Greenway Sound Marina

One of our favorite stops on the coast was Greenway Sound Marina.  A great place to meet friends, have a great meal, charge up your batteries, get water, get some supplies, do laundry, go on a hike, take a shower, and maybe even get a haircut. Yes, a haircut.  The red carpeted docks were there to greet you as well always a hearty "hello" from the owners Tom and Ann Taylor.  It "was" one of the best places on the coast.  That's right "was."  Greenway Sound Marina is no more.

I remember first stopping in at "Greenway" back in the early 90's.  We had just caught a large halibut and we needed a place to clean and package it that had plenty of electricity and water.  So we stopped in and we've never really left since - always stopping in year after year.  Back in the heyday of Greenway you had to call Tom on the VHF and make a reservation not only for supper but for moorage too.  You'd come around the point and you would see the place packed with all sorts of yachts - big luxury yachts, world cruising sailboats, trawlers, sailboats, and weekend cruisers.  You'd give Tom a 'shout' on the VHF and he'd always snuggle you in to the perfect spot with a hand.  When you got up to the store/restaurant to register you'd be greeted with a hug and a handshake by Ann and Tom.  Tom would then make your dinner reservation.  There wasn't too much time to chat as Tom was always attending to another boater, and Ann was prepping for dinner. Both Tom and Ann worked hard to deliver that renowned red carpet Greenway service.

Thursday, 7/20/2006, Day 8
            Woke to high clouds, a forecast for better or clearing weather and a return of afternoon northwesterly winds.  We pulled up anchor at 0955 and headed out.  Waters are perfectly calm under a high overcast sky.  We’re on our way to Greenway Sound Marine Resort for the night.  We went down Indian Passage, in to Fife Sound, round Notice Point in to Raleigh Passage, then in to Penphrase Passage, then Sharp Passage in to Sutlej Channel and finally in to Greenway Sound.  We pulled in to Greenway Sound Marine Resort about 1420.
            I hosed down the “Zipper” and the boat.  Then we went to set prawn traps over in Greenway Sound.  It is terribly hot out with very little wind to cool you down.  So motoring out to set prawn traps was some relief from the heat.  We had to re-set one trap because it was too deep and had drifted.  After setting the prawn traps we motored over to the Forest Service trailhead and took a hike to the lake.  The trail is deep in the woods and this too will serve as some relief from the heat.  We hiked to the ‘view point’ but it was overgrown with small alder trees.  Josef and I then took a quick dip in to the lake to cool off and refresh us.  It was deliciously cooling and refreshing.  After the hike, we returned to the marina, took showers and then had a wonderful dinner at the Greenway Sound restaurant.  You just can’t go wrong.  Josef and I really enjoy the New York steak with the B√©arnaise dipping sauce. A fresh breeze from the S cooled the boat off later in the evening.

Sunset at Greenway Sound Marina
Come dinner time, the restaurant would be packed with all sorts of folks.  Conversation was easy and friendly.  Always a "Hi, we're from..." or "Oh, where are you off to now..."  Tom was an excellent host mixing wonderful drinks and always attending to any need you had.  Tom always had a great wine or drink recommendation. Waiting for dinner you could sit and look at the hundreds of yacht pennants that adorned the walls or gaze at the beautiful scenery from the restaurant.  When the meal came, it was not only delicious but a feast for your eyes too.  The food always looked delicious.  Ann was very particular that everything was perfect - and it was!  Always the freshest and best ingredients.  Once I had some visitors from Europe with me and they were amazed at the quality of the meal they had in the "wilderness."   I always ordered the Alberta beef New York steak because after a couple of weeks out on the boat all we ate was fish.  Tom seemed to have a connection with the heavens too, because glorious sunsets always seemed to accompany dinner.

Fishing right off the dock at Greenway
Our children enjoyed Greenway too.  They could fish right from the dock and catch big fish.  Once they caught a nice 20lb + ling cod right off the dock.  Or they would catch shiner perch and sell them to the other boaters as rockfish bait.  There was always something to do.  When suppertime came, we adults would enjoy a gourmet dinner, while Ann would make a delicious pizza for the boys to enjoy.  The kitchen staff even delivered to your boat!  The boys didn't mind that mom and dad were gone, they had power to watch a video and enjoy a pizza.  And, after they devoured the pizza they'd come for dessert.  Greenway had ice cream and all sorts of delicious desserts.

Sadly the demise of Greenway came slowly and from different directions.  One, the cost of fuel limited the number of boaters that wanted to travel that far.  Diesel fuel cost went from $0.50 per gallon to over two or even three dollars per gallon. Greenway was over 200 nautical miles from Seattle.  Two,  the economy made it tough to take the time off. Folks had to work versus taking time to travel.  To ease that, Tom kept Greenway technologically up to date adding WiFi and always working to ensure there was cell service.  He made connections with airlines to always offer daily service.  It was also hard getting good help.  Tom recruited the best help, but it was hard for the help to be so isolated.  Finally the bank didn't agree with Tom about a marina in the Canadian wilderness as an investment.  Three, the fishing and fishing regulations had changed.  Once it was easy to catch salmon and bottom fish, but then the stocks declined and the resulting regulations decreased the fishing opportunities.  And four, age.  Tom and Ann were getting older.  The demands of long days cooking and running a high-class restaurant took it's toll on Ann.  The Taylor's tried hard to find an owner that would continue to run Greenway with the quality they created.  That kind of quality is hard to find, and it just didn't work.  So last year Greenway closed.
Ann & Tom Taylor

I have closely worked with Tom and Ann for many years.  The Taylor's have seen my boys grow from youngsters to young men.  They have seen us grow old too.  I stay in touch with Tom, he's still energetic with new ideas as a twenty year old.  I wish I could match his youthful thinking, quick wit, and energy.  He just got a pacemaker installed and now he's back to prime form with a list of new ideas.  The Taylor's have many lifelong friends from all the years they welcomed boaters.  I would dare to say the Taylor's have a huge and extended family.  I am proud to count myself as part of their extended family.  I will miss Greenway Sound Marina.  I personally don't think another coastal marina will ever match what they had.  They were pioneers in the coastal marina business.

Sadly, the remote marina business is declining.  The past years have seen other quality remote marinas decline and close.  Again, costs to run a marina are not cheap, the season is short, and folks just don't want to take the time and cost to travel so far.  When you travel north, make plans to visit these remote marinas and enjoy a night or two and thank them for their commitment.  We try to stop every year at an "up coast" marina.  In some coming blog posts I'll write about some other marinas that we have enjoyed.  If you have some favorites, drop me a comment or an email at: capnnak@gmail.com

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