Discovery Islands - East & West Thurlow
East and West Thurlow Island:
East Thurlow Island is 30 sq kilometres in land mass, its topography, mountainous, with a steep rugged shoreline, West Thurlow Island is separated from East Thurlow by Mayne Passage the island is 25 sq kilometres and mainly hilly, severe and timbered, with a few small lakes.
The Untamed Thurlows:
For scores of years the two untamed Thurlow Islands were industrious logging and mining communities, the stomping grounds for mining men and grizzled prospectors, of loggers who laboured and sported with reckless abandon and of liberated men who fished in their personal boats and kowtowed to no superior.
Hotels at Shoal Bay were often crowded as was the cannery at Blind Channel. Those days are now written in the pages of history and the Thurlows, as with Stuart Island, today host the sport fishermen who linger in Shoal Bay for favourable tides before challenging the Greene Point or the Yuculta rapids in quest of the elusive Tyee salmon.
It has been said that the first steam locomotive used for logging in British Columbia was on Thurlow Island named “Curly” for the Hastings Sawmill Company around 1901.
The Haunting of Shoal Bay:
Thurlow Island’s “haunting logger” story of the 1920’s started with the burial of an old logger by the name Brown whose body washed ashore in Bickley Bay after having been drowned some time previous in Phillips Arm.
Police arrived from Campbell River for the inquest at Shoal Bay, first inspecting the body, then requesting Brown’s friends to build a coffin and bury him. Agreeing to do this for their friend, the loggers first went to the hotel bar at Shoal Bay to fortify themselves for what was looking to be an unpleasant ordeal. After some time one of the boys, quite drunk, remembered his old friend lying on the shore at Bickley Bay and embarked to row down to the bay in the dark. He constructed a crude coffin, managed to place Browns remains into it on his own and nailed down the lid. A tiring and somewhat unpleasant task, and by the time the rest of the boys found him he was lying in the newly-dug grave, asleep while clasping a bottle of liquor to his chest. The situation suggested the opportunity for a practical joke however instead they woke him up to help resolve a problem that was puzzling to all of them.
Holding the firm believe that to ensure repose of the dead you must place the body to rest with the feet pointing towards the dawn and they did not know which end of the coffin the feet were pointing towards. Opening the coffin did not appeal to anyone of them so to solve the dilemma, the suggestion was made to tilt the coffin one way than another. Brown was known to be wearing corked boots and when they hit the end of the coffin it made a loud thump. To the light of an old Cold Blast lantern the group listened intently, the feet were located and he was placed in his grave, feet towards the dawn. Restful slumber however may not have been achieved because today the ghost of a logger with corked boats is known to haunt Shoal Bay to this day.