Part 3: We landed in an unlikely field of wildflowers at 4,200 feet.
By Kim Kavin - January 2004
It is mesmerizing to enjoy fine food and wine while sitting next to the huge stone fireplace, watching the eagles soar—almost as mesmerizing as the up-close encounters with them during adventures like Everard’s nature tour.
Eagle Nook is for the young at heart, offering kayaking amid hundreds of sea lions, hiking along sometimes challenging trails, and fishing for halibut and salmon. For those who want to relax, there’s a full-service spa. I highly recommend the helicopter tour of Vancouver Island, during which we landed in an unlikely field of wildflowers at 4,200 feet, on a chilly snowpeak at 5,500 feet, and on a sunny deserted beach down below—all in the span of about four hours. As ’copter pilot Peter Barratt says of his craft, “She climbs like a homesick angel.” That’s a good quality to have when you’re a mile above sea level in God’s B.C. (no, not British Columbia; “Big Country”).
Eagle Nook also has a game room with billiards and poker tables, along with a meeting room that houses a big-screen TV, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to watch it when there are so many stunning vistas to explore outside.
I feel the same way about Endurance. The new televisions installed during the boat’s refit will likely remain off during a cruise through the area, which has oodles of coves for kayaking and tons of trails to explore. Borden knows darn near all of them, since he has spent most of his 64 years poking around local waters.
Borden is a great asset to the new charter operation. In addition to having commanded yachts from 40 to 167 feet during the past 20 years, he used to be the director of a marine science center near Seattle. His combination of local knowledge and naturalist instincts makes for fun sightseeing and wildlife encounters. “I’ll take carefully calculated risks for the enjoyment of the people,” Borden says. “It’s like taking a raft down a saltwater rapid—somebody’s gonna get wet, but everybody’s gonna be happy. I try to give you enough information to get out on the edge of your comfort zone and have a great time.”
Borden was the first crew member to be hired for Endurance, and he was the only full-timer aboard during my visit. The owners say they plan to hire two to three more crew with an eye toward realizing the same high standards they have achieved at their lodge.
When they follow through for the summer season, this boat-lodge package will be tough to beat. All I could do as I headed home was close my agape jaw and think to myself, “Oh—do that again!”
Endurance charters for $25,500 per week, plus expenses, for six guests. A 14-day land-sea package including four nights at Eagle Nook Resort starts at $9,950 per person.
The Marine Group Phone: (561) 627-9500. www.marinegroup.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.