Bill BarberFor the past 20 years or so, no cruise to the Broughtons was complete without a visit to Lagoon Cove Marina for a taste of the hospitality and charm of its owners, Bill and Jean Barber. Broughtons regulars were saddened to learn of Bill’s death in early April at age 78 after a recurrence of cancer.

Bill’s bottomless buckets of prawns, tall tales and laconic humour brought cruisers back to Lagoon Cove season after season. He and Jean also took a lead in promoting the Broughtons as a cruising destination, working with nearby marina operators to get this unique destination on BC and Washington
State cruisers’ radar.

Mark Bunzel, current publisher of the Waggoner Cruising Guide, remembered Bill this way: “After retiring from a successful career in advertising, Bill Barber, with his wife Jean, set about transforming Lagoon Cove into one of the premier marina destinations in the Broughton Archipelago. Bill seemed to thrive on the challenges of operating a business in remote BC. “Lagoon Cove is the crossroads for cruisers heading north and south through the Broughtons. Bill kept the place humming and always found a spot to squeeze in one more boat for the night. Happy hour often led to an evening around the campfire, complete with singing and Bill’s tall tales, including one of the water-skiing bear. Bill had an uncommon ability to hold his audience's attention, and his stories became famous along the coast.

Bill's enthusiasm, charm, and resourcefulness will be greatly missed.” Waggoner founder Robert Hale added: "This is a terrible loss for the many cruisers who planned each year to enjoy Bill’s droll storytelling, his fresh-caught prawns, his Canada Day crab races, and his easy way on the docks. Bill was an original, and the coast will be poorer without him.”

The marina will operate as usual this summer, managed by Pat Kukuruz and Bob Ness, who have been helping the Barbers for the past several years.

Photo Credit:  Mark Bunzel