Vacation Log 2005

Bert & Carey Vermeer

"Natasha"

Monday, June 6th

Telgraph Cove

Wednesday, June 15th

Small Inlet

Friday, June 24th

Okeover Inlet

Tuesday, June 7th

Nanaimo

Thursday, June 16th

Octopus Islands

Saturday, June 25th

Lund

Wednesday, June 8th

Smugglers Cove

Friday, June 17th

Octopus Islands

Sunday, June 26th

Lasquiti Island

Thursday, June 9th

Westview

Saturday, June 18th

Refuge Cove

Monday, June 27th

Pirates Cove

Friday, June 10th

Gorge Harbour

Sunday, June 19th

Squirrel Cove

Tuesday, June 28th

Annette Inlet

Saturday, June 11th

Gorge Harbour

Monday, June 20th

Melenie Cove

Wednesday, June 29th

Home

Sunday, June 12th

Campbell River

Tuesday, June 21st

Predeaux Haven

 

Monday, June 13th

Campbell River

Wednesday, June 22nd

Tenedos Bay

 

Tuesday, June 14th

Small Inlet

Thursday, June 23rd

Okeover Inlet

 

All dates are hyperlinks to the log for that day. The shaded days are where Carey was aboard. Without shading I was single handed, travelling north towards Desolation or south, homeward bound.

Log Preamble

This log was written in two parts. The original log, as written and spoken into a recorder at the time, is printed in this normal Arial type. For the most part it is entered with limited editing (removal of curses and typos). The additional text has been inserted in italics to clarify locations, descriptions and add colour to the log.

The Boat

The sailing trip to Desolation Sound and beyond was undertaken in the late spring of 2005 aboard a 1978 Islander Bahama 30, "Natasha". The boat has been upgraded since her purchase in early winter of 2001. All the standing and running rigging has been replaced along with the 130% Genoa on new Harken furling gear. On deck all the sail controls were led aft into the cockpit through new Lewmar organizers and clutches. The mainsheet was removed from the end of the boom and a new traveller bridge over the main hatch was custom build with Lewmar traveller car and controls. All halyards were moved into the mast and the mast was re-wired and painted with white epoxy paint. In the cockpit the steering pedestal was re-build and painted, a new compass adorns the top. A host of upgrades in the interior include the Dickenson Newport propane heater, Force 10 propane stove/oven, a new pressure water system and holding tank, new interior lighting, stereo, VHF radio, and assorted other minor creature comforts.

The Crew

The crew consisted of myself, Bert, and my wife, Carey, and our dog Trixi. Our present homeport is Sidney, British Columbia at the south end of Vancouver Island.

Carey & I started our sailing adventures in 1979 with the purchase of a 20 ft Balboa trailerable sailboat while we lived near Vancouver, British Columbia.. That small boat was sailed across Georgia Strait into the Gulf Islands more than once. The boating bug had bitten! In 1980 the purchase of an OíDay 25 was the start of extensive years of cruising B.C. waters. Up to Desolation Sound more than once and around the south end of Vancouver Island to Barkley Sound on the West Coast, the OíDay 25 carried us in all sorts of weather, good and bad. By 1989 our daughter Nicky had grown into adult size and it was time to move up to a larger boat. We came across a 1979 Islander Bahama 30 and named her "Dreamer". A few more times up to Desolation Sound during the sailing season while upgrading and renovating during the winters. Then in 1991 we took the challenge of circumnavigating Vancouver Island in a counter clockwise direction, up through Desolation Sound to Johnstone Strait, up around Cape Scott at the northern tip of Vancouver Island and then the long slide down the wild west coast. Incredible scenery, exhilarating sailing, and secluded anchorages. An absolutely wonderful seven week experience! Not to be missed.

In1992 we had the opportunity to moving to south Vancouver Island near Victoria. Alas, although the move was great, a short time later Carey became very ill and the "toys" had to go. We had to sell "Dreamer" and went without a boat to call our own for a number of years. We managed to keep sailing, using boats in exchange for maintenance. That worked very well, but itís still not the same as owning your own pride and joy. In 2001, in a partnership with Dick & Marjory Cooksley, we managed to find another 1979 Islander Bahama 30 and named her after our newborn grand daughter, "Natasha".

The Trip

The log of this vacation to Desolation Sound was the first trip back up Georgia Strait since that circumnavigation of the Island ten years earlier. How time flies! As I could get four weeks off work, and Carey was limited to two weeks, the decision was for me to get the boat up near Desolation Sound in the first week of my vacation, then Carey would take the bus up to Campbell River, join me for two weeks, then take the bus home again while I brought the boat home. Weíve done this sort of thing in the past and itís very doable.

Although Desolation Sound is a relatively small cruising area just north of Lund, B.C., boaters generalize and call the fabulous cruising grounds north and east of Campbell River right up to Johnstone Strait "Desolation Sound". Desolation Sound itself is only a small part of the much larger cruising area.

Sidney, B.C.

The Tides & Currents

I have included the relevant tide and current tables for each day.

Being a somewhat experienced sailor, I do not take electronic charts and tide / current predictors on their own. Iím a paper chart and pencil kind of sailor who knows what salt water and humidity can do to the electronics. The chart and pencil have never failed me! Not that I donít have electronics aboard, and not that I donít use them, but I back everything up with the old paper and pencil system. Itís worked fine for years and I have discovered errors in both systems because I use both systems.

The Weather

In BC waters the prime "cruising season" is generally considered July & August with the premium time within that period being the last week of July & the first week of August. This is when you are most likely (from past history) to encounter sunny, hot weather. Temperatures are likely to be in the mid 80s and if the Pacific High has settled into itís usual offshore position, not a cloud in the sky. For adventurous sailor the sailing season extends from mid to late March to the middle of November! The "best" time to go sailing is April through the end of June. Although you may encounter some unsettled weather, there are days and weeks where the temperatures will climb into the mid to upper 70s under clear skies, the days are incredibly long with daylight well after 10 pm, there are few cruising boats filling the anchorages and the winds can be fabulous. The spring of 2003 & 2004 were very good with long spells of gorgeous weather in June. Unfortunately for us, that didnít happen in 2005. We ended up with probably one of the wettest and most unsettled Junes in recent memory. You take your chances! In this log there is numerous mention of mosquitoes. It is mentioned often because of itsí unusual occurrence! For years we sailed up to Desolation Sound without any mosquito netting. The spring of 2005, probably because of itsí wet nature, had us encountering mosquitoes almost everywhere. And not that there were hordes of them, far from it. Usually only one or two would show up as dusk settled. But one mosquito buzzing around your ear in the dark is enough to ruin a good nightís sleep! (I can just hear the east coast and lake sailors having a chuckle over this!).

Monday, June 6th Top Home to Telegraph Harbour

Day one was to get up to Telegraph Harbour on Thetis Island, a distance of about 25 nm through Samsun Narrows. The tides were with us as the current through Samun Narrows can be very powerful.Generally, south of Desolation Sound the currents flood north and ebb south. Just south of Desolation Sound that reverses with the ebbs heading north towards Johnstone Strait. When youíre in a five knot boat, you plan trips with the tides and currents always at the forefront!

Fulford Harbour

0325 hrs PDT

10.2 ft

1120

1.0

1955

10.8

0035

9.5

25 nm

1200hrs

Leaving the marina with Trixi at the start of our 2005 Vacation. Carey will meet us by bus at Campbell River on Sunday. Weíll get the boat there.

Itís partly cloudy today with lots of clear sky. Itís warm enough that when I was working on the boat with Doug McNab trying to get this computer to work, I was down to a T Shirt. There is a hint of a SW breeze so far, not like yesterday when it was a solid 12-15 from the SW.

1215

Going into Johnís Pass, big flood thatís just beginning. Itís a 14 foot flood so that will help us a lot. The current here in this narrow pass is only about 1.5 knots so far.

1240

Just out of Swartz Bay, the BC Ferries terminal, ferry is late. Lots of current as the flood starts to build. Clear skies with a very light SE breeze.

1300hrs

Close to Cape Kepple on Saltspring Island. The sails are up and weíre sailing. There is a light SE breeze, just enough to get us up to 4 knots, 5.2 over the bottom. I called Dick and left a message thanking him and Marj for the opportunity to be able to do this again. Weíre "racing" a Crown 34 with a spinnaker up. Good luck, heís already ahead.

1400hrs

Weíre abeam of Musgrave Rk. Itís hot out. Trixi is below sleeping on the setee. Too hot for her out here. Mind you, weíre down to about 2.5 knots wing & wing but the current is still pushing us along at 3.1. The power is going to go on.

1415

Abeam of Burial Island in Samsun Narrows. The current is helping by about 2 knots, not a ripple on the water. Even the Crown 34 has given up.

1500hrs

Leaving Maple Bay, a glass table as far as the eye can see. Itís hot enough that Iíve taken my shirt off.

1520 hrs

Just past Grave Point out of Sampson Narrows, a 7 Ė 8 knot NW breeze right on the nose. The sails are up. No other boats out here.

1530

That didnít last long! The wind is too light and we have too far to go. Just off Crofton pulp mill and the power is back on. Weíve still got 6 miles to go and the current is against us here by about half a knot.

1630hrs

Approaching Telegraph Harbour. Flat calm. Millions of jellyfish in the water. Endless.

1700hrs

Tied up at Telegraph Harbour Marina. The only sailboat here. Itís warm with a light SE breeze to keep it cool. Time for Trixi to have a short walk.

2130hrs

The sun has long since set and the red sky is darkening. Two other sailboats have come in. One is parked next door, a 47 ft Beneteau with five women aboard. Theyíre up from Seattle going to Desolation. The other is a Bavarian 32 with three guys. A charter from Bosuns. A very pleasant afternoon doing nothing. Had a pork chop for dinner. Had a look around the marina and took Trixi for a walk down to the Ferry Terminal. Itís getting dark now and itís almost time to get inside as the dew falls. Very quiet in here tonight, only about 9 boats in here. Very nice day.

Tuesday, June 7th Date Telegraph Harbour to Naniamo

Day two, getting up to the City of Nanaimo, the jumping off point to entering the Strait of Georgia to get up to Desolation Sound. The City has numerous marine oriented businesses and waterfront parks. A very pleasant place to stay with access to almost anything a boater may need or want. To get to Nanaimo from the Gulf Islands one must transit Dodd Narrows that separate Vancouver Island from Mudge Island and the larger Gabriola Island. Dodd Narrows is, as the name suggests, narrow in the extreme. At itís narrowest itís about 60 feet from shore to shore, and about 60 ft deep. Lots of fast moving water when there is a significant tide change. Tides flow to a maximum of 9 knots in either direction. Itís a real thrill riding the tide in the right direction, but itís the massive whirlpools that put a strain on your heart and rudder once you exit the Narrows. That and the occasional log thatís been sucked down into one of these whirlpools and then shooting up out of the water! You hope not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when that happens! The times of current change are well documented in the Canadian Tide and Current Tables and you can often see a multitude of boats of all description milling about on either side, waiting for slack. Once the first boat ventures through the floodgates open and everyone makes for the Narrows! Makes for an interesting passage. I usually arrive an hour or so before slack with the tide still running in the direction I want to go, then just shoot though. Conversely, I also arrive an hour or so late, again with the tide running in my direction. Itís a very straight run in and out. Itís safer than having to deal with all the pleasure and commercial boats trying to get through at precisely slack (only lasts for about Ĺ an hour)!

Point Atkinson

0505 hrs

13.5 ft

 

1240

2.0

 

2025

15.1

 
     

Dodd Narrows

0415

0735

-5.9 kts

1050

1410

+7.8

1800

1950

-5.2

15 miles

1030hrs

On our way out of the marina under a very high, thin overcast, the sun is still warm. I had a good nightís sleep in the quarter berth, walking up at about 0300hrs for a pee break and then back to sleep until 0715. Went for a walk first thing of course. Took Marina Drive to discover that itís a circle crescent, eventually coming back to the marina. The channel between Thetis and Kuper is about 1 ft deep at low tide, very shallow. I donít know if I want to risk the boat through that anymore! I had a simple breakfast of coffee cake and coffee while the sun dried out the cockpit. The store was supposed to open at 0900hrs but there was no-one there. Trixi and I sat on the varanda, watching the humming birds and idle island life go by. At about quarter to 10 Barbara Hamilton showed up from the residence next door, opening the door for her shortlegged dog who, to her surprise, behaved himself with Trixi. I went into the store and told her who I was. She was pleased to meet me and I had a look at the boats that have reserved dockage for the 1st Islander Rendezvous coming up in July;

Wild Hare Bob & Lisa Everson

New Spirit John and Jant Jensen

Hololeía John & Marion Rodall

Passat Jurgen & Karin Hbeln

Frendy Charlie & Jennifer Park

Rihannon (I donít know, never heard of this boat)

Natasha Vermeers

The BBQ will hold about 60 lbs of coals and they do have a coffee urn that will hold 100 cups and one pound of coffee.

Anyway, weíre on our way with the hope of a SE wind today. Nothing on the water as yet. Weatherman is predicting SE 15 this afternoon north of Nanaimo, switching to NW 15 Ė20 overnight and then light tomorrow afternoon. If the weather is good at Nanaimo weíll carry on to Smugglers today. Itís a big flood today (15 ft) with maximum at Dodds at 1410hrs. That should help us up there.

1240hrs

Abeam of Round Island, approaching Dodd Narrows. Weíve been motor sailing for the past 20 minutes as a breeze picked up from the NE. Hard on the wind with just the jib out but it got us up to 6 Ė 6.5 knots. No wind up to now and the clouds are getting thicker and lower. Very, very little boat traffic out here.

1300hrs

Through Dodd Narrows all by our lonesome with about 4 knots of current. Interesting whirlpools on the outside! Only a very light ripple on the water, it looks like itís going to be power all the way today.

1335hrs

In around Jack Point. Like a mirror all the way across the strait, some left over slop from an earlier NW breeze.

1350 hrs

Into Nanaimo Harbour, the first floatplane just went by.

1410hrs

The only boat tied up at Newcastle Island! There are plenty of boats anchored out, most of them appear to be the usual cast of permanent residents that move anywhere.

2100hrs

Still very quiet at the dock, just one other sailboat in here tonight. Trixi and I have been for more than a few walks. The clouds have remained although with a few thinning breaks and the wind is still very light. Earlier Trixi and I went for a walk around half the island, something she certainly enjoyed. The park as a few group campers, mostly school kids on outings. There was one 30 ft power boat that must have taken all of 40 people on board to transport to Nanaimo. Most of them where very young kids (under 10). A bit overcrowded! Now darkness is falling and itís quiet out. I paid my $18 to stay at the dock, the only one here when she came to collect! Dick called earlier to let me know that they were going to Toronto on Friday and will be back on the 23rd. Carey called this morning to say that Brian and Laura canít make it to Lund on the 23rd because of her fatherís failing health. I let Ena know about that and she didnít have a problem with that. She will be driving up to Lund to camp at Oekover Park and weíll do the government warf in Malaspina Inlet. Then Ena will take Trixi and Carey home on the Saturday or Sunday and stay for the following week in Sidney. Iíll drive the boat home.

The sky is turning red to the west. Hereís hoping thatís a sign for tomorrow. They are still predicting 20 knots from the west tonight, easing in the morning with variable winds in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the rising tide starts after 1200hrs so weíll have to wait and see what happens. The westerly has just started up as I was typing this and itís cooling off rapidly. Trixi is meeting/greeting on the dock.

As mentioned earlier, Nanaimo is a relatively large city with a wonderful waterfront. The city planners have gone to great lengths over the past 10 years to improve boating facilities for visitors. The commercial docks are readily available most times of the year and they will strive to get you into a space during the busy season of July and August. Across the harbour is an island park called Newcastle Island. Itís a large island that has been completely restored to itís original forest setting, in the middle of a city! Many wonderful trails, both ocean side as well as forest. There are no facilities other than a pavilion that serves light lunches. The park has a small ferry service from the city and there is a small park marina for visiting boaters, no water or power. There is also lots of room to anchor if you wish. A must visit item is the Dinghy Dock Pub located on a small float within rowing distance of the marine park. It is also serviced by a ferry from Nanaimo, but has no roads. Great ambiance when the Nanaimo Yacht Club uses the docks as a start line for their Wednesday night summer race series. These guys race fast and hard and weíve watched boats at full throttle squeeze past the "favoured" end of the line, mere yards from where weíre having a few rockets and nachos!

Wednesday, June 8th Date Nanaimo to Smugglerís Cove

The goal on day three is to get over to the mainland side of Georgia Strait. Thereís a couple of reasons for this. The number one would be that there are more available anchorages on that side, very few on the Vancouver Island side from Nanaimo to Campbell River. The mainland side is also more scenic and the distance to get up to Desolation Sound is pretty much the same. However, to get across to the Mainland side you must cross the dreaded WG, referred to as "Whiskey Gulf". There are numerous areas in Canadian waters were the military have set up a reserved area for training purposes. They are referred to as letter combinations and are clearly marked on Canadian charts. The most commonly used is WG. It is wired for submarine tracking and torpedo firings. Although owned and run by the Canadian military, it is "rented" out to numerous other countries for use. The American navy is the most common "renter". Unfortunately, WG lies directly in the path of any boater that wants to go from Nanaimo to the mainland coast, a very common passage for many boaters heading north for the summer. The weather channel indicates whether WG is operational or not and circling torpedo bombers and submarine hunters are an obvious sign. Other than that, itís a patch of water that looks very much like any other patch. But if you enter it while itís in use, I suspect that the optical gear used to identify you can read your GPD screen as clearly as you can! The military watchdogs then broadcast on channel 16 and send a patrol boat out to clear you away. Very efficient.

A boaters options are to hug the Vancouver Island shore in a designated lane between the shore and WG until north of Bellenas Island, or to skirt the south end of WG and then curve northward towards Merry Island. That decision is usually based on the weather and type of boat. Power boaters favour heading straight north along the shore. For sailors it would be a long series of tacks against the prevailing summertime NW winds, or simply power into it. I prefer to sail. Funny thing about Nanaimo, itís almost always windy there. When the summer time NW winds kick in, Nanaimo is usually the windiest place along Georgia Strait. Many boaters hole up in Nanaimo, waiting for the winds to ease before venturing out into the open waters of the Strait. Most are unaware that about four miles out into the Strait the wind is usually half of that in Nanaimo, and it also backs considerably to the west from north the further out you get out. Itís great for getting across the Strait!

Point Atkinson

0140

11.8 ft

0535

13.1

1315

2.0

2105

15.1

26 nm

1020hrs

Woke up to rain on the roof this morning and an incessant drip beside me. That one leak is driving me around the bend! I had a very good nightís sleep last night. Only one other boat was here when I crashed at about 2200hrs. Then, just after putting the book down and crawling into the quarter berth, a loud persistent diesel kept getting louder and louder. At first I thought it was the ferry coming back in. But it just kept getting closer. Finally crawled out again and found a small ex fisheries patrol boat backing into the slip next door. A late arrival with a loud engine. Back to bed!

The light rain held off for a bit after getting up at 0630hrs and by 0700 Trixi and I were off for the trails. Hiked up to the far end of the island this time, along with shore trail and then back along the lake trail. Lots of deer. Trixi kept scaring them out of the bush by simply walking by. They would bound out of the trees and disappear into the bush before Trixi could get any speed up. One didnít see me and came bounding along the trail with Trixi a long way behind. I could have slapped it as it went by. The trails were a bit muddy but I had my hiking boots on. It started spitting again as we came back to the boat.

Then it was breakfast of egg muffins (2) and then a bit of clean-up. I re-sealed the leaking head fitting, getting the blue dye all over my hands. Fortunately, the dye cleaned up with the Fantastic/TSP combination. I havenít figured out where the starboard side leak is yet. It doesnít appear to the stanchion base.

Iíve just made a coffee, CBC is on the radio and Trixi is sleeping on the settee. The weather forecast is for clouds with occasional showers, winds rising from the SE this afternoon to 20 knots. Perfect (except for the rain part)! The falling tide turns as 1400hrs and weíll get underway around noon some time. WG is active today so I think Iíll head up to Winchelsea Island and scoot across the north side of WG and then over to Texada. If the wind holds weíll try to get up to Hardy Island this afternoon. If thereís no wind out there weíll do the south crossing and get up to Smugglers today. The latest wind reports were from around 0740 and 0900hrs this morning. Kind of useless.

1155hrs

All decked out in my rain gear along with harness and tether, weíre motoring away from Newcastle docks in spitting rain, headed for Newcastle Channel and Departure Bay. Thereís a light SE breeze and the weather guys are still predicting 20 this afternoon. Trixi is below.

1230hrs

Weíre just abeam of Horsefall Rk, the sails are up with a 5 Ė 7 knot SE breeze over a bit of a lumpy sea. Weíll be headed for the south end of WG, not enough wind to go straight downwind to get to Winchelsea Island. Weíll head to Smugglers today. Weíre screaming along at 2.6 knots with the last of the ebb helping us.

1250hrs

Just abeam of Five Fingers Island, the wind still light and weíre hard on the wind trying to get to SE corner of WG. We may have to throw a few tacks in! BC Ferries is departing on the way to Horseshoe Bay. The light rain has let up, I can put my glasses back on. Itís lumpy and Trixi is starting to lick her chops. This doesnít look good!

1345hrs

Weíre about two miles from the SE corner of WG and some patrol boat is pacing us! Keeps forcing me to tack away and when I do of course, itís almost like heading back to Nanaimo! Trixi is up on deck (I brought out a cushion and her towel just to get her up here).

1400hrs

Almost made the corner of WG! That damn patrol boat kept paralleling us until good old BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay appeared out of the mist. And he was was further inside the box than I was! As soon as the Ferry appeared the patrol boat lit a fire and was gone back north, after some unseen target. Bastard! He was just forcing me to the corner! Proud to be a Canadian! The wind is up a bit, probably at 10 knots and itís a close reach to the NE corner of WG. Nothing in sight.

1600hrs

Weíre still about 8 miles from Smugglers but weíre on the other side! The wind has lightened again and weíve altered course and are not running on a broad reach at about 4 knots. Fortunately the current is with us and boosting the speed over the ground to about 5 knots.

1630hrs

I tried sailing wing & wing for the past 30 minutes, straight downwind from Merry Island. Itís gotten very light with left over slop. The power just came on. Six miles from Smugglers. The rain has just started again.

1650hrs

Abeam of Merry Island light, speed over the ground is 6.4 with the current, still 4.5 miles to go. Just called Carey to let her know we had made it across. No wind at her store either.

1730hrs

Anchored in Smugglers Cove. Weíre in the middle bay. Thereís a 45 ft Bayliner in the first bay, no stern line, and you know it will be generator city tonight for that one. The east side of the second bay has a 35 ft Grand Banks with a stern line ashore. Weíre anchored in the west side of the second bay, stern line to the small islet in the middle of the bay. Thereís a large power boat in the inner anchorage but I canít go there anyway. It will be a very low tide when we leave tomorrow and itís too shallow at low for us to get out. This is perfect. The bow is into the wind and we just drifted back to shore. Trixi came with me for the stern line and went for a quick walk on the small islet. Didnít seem to be in any great hurry to take a pee either.

2020hrs

Tucked in for the night, Trixi has had her last walk up in the hills. Sheís pretty tired anyway. Iíve got an Orange & Brandy in the rack and soft music is playing on the stereo. Itís still completely clouded over with a very light SE breeze but itís dry and not too cold. The heater is on, the flap is down. (sip, yowee! Thatís got a kick!). No other boats came in after us so thereís the two power boats, one of which I can see, and one large power boat in the bay at the head of Smugglers. Dinner was the chicken and a bun. Very tasty and more than filling enough. Tomorrow weíll see what the weather is going to be before we decide where weíre going.

Altogether not an unusual crossing other than the issue with the patrol boat. A somewhat over zealous skipper or trainee was trying to make a point where no point needed to be made, and then got embarrassed by seeing a B.C. Ferry inside his protected waters! The SE winds were not uncommon and, if weíd had a spinnaker, would have been great for covering long distances in a straight line! Weíve gone from Nanaimo to Campbell River in one lone day in the past, spinnaker flying the whole distance.

Thursday, June 9th Date Smugglers Cove to Westview Harbour

Texada Island separates this side of the water (called Malaspina Strait) from the actual Georgia Strait. Although Malaspina Strait appears more protected from winds due to being a bit more narrow, it can get the same winds and seas as Georgia Strait on the other side of Texada. However, the options for safe havens are far more numerous on this side. And the scenery is much prettier. On a sunny day with a steady breeze, sailing up Malaspina Strait is one of the most invigorating days in the great outdoors. Beautiful, lush green mountains surround sparkling blue waters for as far as the eye can see. But caution and good planning make it the wonderful experience it can be. Tides and currents determine the state of the sea and your progress through it. The flood runs north and if you wish to take advantage of that, a strong NW breeze can create short, choppy seas that you must tack into. Perhaps not the most comfortable passage. Distances are long here and the hope is to use the tide and wind together. Weíve been fortunate to have both in our favour on a few occasions. Weíve also been unfortunate enough to have both against! At that point we anchor and wait for better conditions. Although there were a number of anchorages that I would have liked to visit on this trip, my goal was to reach Campbell River in time to meet Carey. I planned to miss such great places as the Hardy Islands, Harmony Islands, Hotham Sound, Pender Harbour and a multitude of others. I had to cover distance!

Point Atkinson

0610

12.8 ft

1350

2.3

2145

15.1

27 nm

0930hrs

The muffins are in the oven, about 15 minutes to go before they are ready. Breakfast is kind of late this morning! Itís a high overcast morning with just a hint of a SE breeze drifting in as I type this in. It was flat out this morning in Malaspina Strait when Trixi and I went for a 2 hour hike. Iíd forgotten the trails around this park. We went up the trail to the road head, past the beaver lake/swamp and dam, and over to Fishermenís Cove to see the outside water. Flat. Then over to the loop trail around the head of this cove. Iíd never been on it before and itís quite nice. Ended up sitting on a high rock overlooking the entrance to the cove and watched a C&C 30 from Secret Cove drift by over a flat sea and strong current. Obviously going south with the big ebb. We have to wait till about 1400hrs to take advantage of the equally large flood that will follow. I managed to get a strong signal on the cell phone and when I turned it on there was a message to call the office. Tim answered with no knowledge, I spoke to Ron and he told me that Ian was working last night so the call must have come from him. Nothing new at the office, Ron is envious of where I am.

I called Mark at Waypoint and ordered a handheld portable VHF that Carey can pick up before she comes up. Itís long overdue to have one, I could have used it yesterday with the patrol boat. The I phoned Carey and let her know about the VHF, she will pick it up tomorrow on her day off. Nothing new with her, she plans on mowing the lawn today while itís still dry (it rained hard there yesterday). She misses walking the dog (and presumably, me!).

I almost forgot to mention the mosquitoes here. Lots of them! One just buzzed past my face. Pain in the ass last night, a couple of them got past the screen and hovered around my head, always in the ears! Very unusual here!

The tide is dropping fast now, more and more rocks are appearing. The muffins are almost done and so is the battery in this laptop. Time to charge it up and see how breakfast is doing.

1200 hrs

Weíre headed out of Smugglers at a low tide. Itís a bit shallower than yesterday. A light SE breeze out there, solid overcast. The sails are up and weíre on a very broad reach, headed for Texada at 3.5 knots.

1315hrs

Weíre almost abeam of Francis Pt on Francis Island, just west of Pender Harbour. Weíve been wing-on-wing for about the last hour, slowly drifting downwind at about 4 knots. The tide has not changed yet so itís a bit sloppy out here. The wind is picking up a bit, threatening five knots after a gibe that has put us on a very broad reach for Cape Cockburn.

1400hrs

The wind has eased quite a bit, down from the five knots we were maintaining to about 4 knots. Weíre 4.3 miles from Cape Cockburn yet. Still some slop.

1415hrs

A mile and a half off Quary Bay and the power is on. The wind got really light after the last entry and itís time to make some distance. Decided to go to Stuart Bay on Texada Island today. Theyíre calling for NW winds tomorrow so itís prudent to take advantage of the bit flood this afternoon along with a light SE wind. Should be there about 1800hrs

1500hrs

Weíre abeam of Cape Cockburn, about a mile off the point. The wind is just starting to pick up but itís only about 6 knots. The tide has changed and the water has smoothed out. Very few boats out.

1500hrs

Just about abeam of the white water tower landmark on the coast. Still no wind but the tide is with us, doing six knots over the bottom. Decided on Westview Harbour instead of Stuart Bay. No reason.

1630hrs

Weíre off Albian Point, 6.2 miles from Grief Pt. The breeze has picked up a bit and the engine is off. Weíre wing-on-wing again, drifting downwind over smooth water. We should be at Grief Pt about 1800hrs.

1735hrs
Abeam of the Grief Point Marina and weíre cruising downwind at 6 knots over the bottom, one knot of that being current. Itís getting cold.

1755hrs

Approaching Westview Docks, time to take the sails down. It was a fast reach after turning the corner, fast but cold.

2200hrs

Darkness is falling while I sit in the cockpit typing this in. Trixi is on the dock, watching for strangers. Weíre tied up at dock 6 on the Government Dock, rocking slightly in the incoming swells. Weíre right at the breakwater opening and I can see almost all the way to Campbell River if it was clear enough. Fortunately, the weather forecast is for calm winds tonight and SE winds again tomorrow. Iíve worked out the waypoints on the computer and still have to load them into the GPS but itís only 15 miles to Copeland Islands, probably 20 to Gorge Harbour. That may be our destination tomorrow.

Back to when we arrived though. I was pretty cold by the time we tied up. Weíre at the end of finger 6 facing the open sea. It was the only slip available. The office was already closed and if we leave on time tomorrow (0700hrs) it will still be closed! This place is a bit of a dump. Itís not like we need anything here anyway. Trixi and I walked the length of the town along Marine Rd and found nothing even remotely inviting. The docks are filled with fish boats and the like. I was expecting a more tourist oriented town. There are a few sailboats in here but I donít know if they are permanent or touring. One guy from an Ontario 34 came over earlier. He knew about Islanders, he was going down to Pender Harbour tomorrow to meet with a buddy of his with an Islander 36, Frendy. Frendy is coming to the Rendezvous.

Now the mosquitoes are eating me alive again. Not having been here over the past 15 years, I donít know if mosquitoes are common here or not. Itís time to enter the rest of the days information, then get the boat ready for tomorrow and enter waypoints in the GPS.

As mentioned above, I hadnít been in Westview Harbour in over 15 years, and then only as a re-provisioning stop. Although some improvements had been made in the subsequent years, the town is still not doing all it can to make it a destination for cruising boaters. Yet in the summer months it is apparently packed full of boaters visiting and re-supplying. It is the only "town" along this side of the coast that has a large re-supply infrastructure. But itís not high on my list of destinations!

Friday, June 10th Date Westview to Gorge Harbour, Cortes Island

The original goal was to get to the Copeland Islands for todayís destination. However, the weather remained unsettled with the potential of strong SE winds. The anchorage at the Copeland Islands are not that well protected from the SE swells that roll up the Strait and into Thulin Passage. With that in mind I elected to head to Gorge Harbour on Cortes Island, a very well protected harbour. The harbour is very large but deep with limited anchorage shallow enough. There is a small marina as well.

Point Atkinson

0640

12.5 ft

1425

2.6

2225

14.8

28 nm

0610hrs

The sails are up and weíre reaching off at 5.5 knots, headed for the SW corner of Harwood Island. I got up this morning at 0530hrs, planning on an early start to beat the warfinger to the cash. I didnít want to pay for services I did not have access to. The washrooms (in a temporary building on bricks) were locked so I couldnít use the showers, none of the services in town were open, and I didnít use any power. Off we go then. Took Trixi for a walk and then down to the boat, get everything ready and cast off, then start the engine and idle out of the harbour. There is even a SE breeze at about 12 knots already. The prediction is for SE switching to SW and eventually NW later this afternoon. Cloudy with showers. Right now it looks pretty forbidding to the north, clearer behind us over Westview.

0705hrs

Abeam of Rebecca Rk and then the end of Harwood Is. Still on a broad reach at about 5 knots, BC Ferries coming over from Vancouver Island passing to port. Itís chilly this morning, I may have to put another coat on. Itís also very likely that itís going to rain on us eventually.

0730hrs

The engine is back on, the wind is at five knots right over the stern. Time to put some miles on.

0800hrs

The wind is back, weíre reaching towards Vancouver Island to get some speed. A bit of chop with the wind against the tide. Trixi is back on deck, licking her chops.

0815hrs

The wind is lightening. Iím in rain gear as it looks like it will rain momentarily. Ahead looks clearer than to the SW. I can see Mitlenatch Island out of the mist now. Nothing but fishboats and crabbers. The seas have calmed somewhat, weíre still 15 miles from the south end of Cortes Island. The engine is coming back on, not enough wind.

0845hrs

Everything is below, including Trixi. The wind is switching to a westerly, the ripples in the water confirm that although the left over slop from the SE continues to roll us. Weíre still 9 miles from Cortes Island. It looks like the majority of the rain is behind us, going from west to east. Weíre abeam of Mitlenatch Island. Weíre getting a few sprinkles. Heavy rain behind us

0915hrs

Abeam of the south end of Savory Island. The wind is from the WNW at about five Knots. Moved over to the Savory Island side, less current against, the water is flatter. Still a few sprinkles.

0945hrs

Abeam of the south end of Harnando Island, back in deeper water. We got too close to the shallows and were in 25 ft of water for a while. The rain is getting closer, Vancouver Island has disappeared in a dark curtain.

1000hrs

No wind to speak of, took the main down to keep it from slating. Can see the bell bouy at the end of Cortes Island. The rain has started.

1045hrs

Just rounded the bell bouy on Cortes. Itís raining good and hard. No wind. Weíll go see Mason Landing first. There are other fools out here with me. Two sailboats headed for Campbell River and one leading me towards the Landing.

1145hrs

Half a mile from the entrance to Gorge Harbour. The worst of the rain seems to be dissipating. Itís still sprinkling lightly. Had a look at Masonís Landing and it looked pretty exposed to any winds so I decided for Gorge. There is lighter sky to the west. Everything is pretty wet.

1215hrs

The anchor is down in 50 ft of water at the west end of Gorge Harbour. The sun is peaking out and itís getting warm. Time to dry things out and open everything up! Take Trixi ashore for a quick stretch. Itís a long row to the government dock.

2130hrs

Rain is falling gently on the roof, the heater is on, the lantern is lit, and the brandy is good and hot. Weíre settled in for another quiet night (I hope). Itís still practically daylight out and the wind has died completely. Trixi is finally crashed for the night, a long sigh and curled up on her blanket on the port settee, one eye still open on me (going ashore again are we, eh, eh, eh?).

After we arrived this afternoon I made a quick lunch of the last of the honey cake, a large piece of cheese and a can of coke. I hung up all the wet gear in the cockpit for it to dry and then I sat down and read a book for a while. The sun popped out from between high clouds and it got warm enough to put on shorts and take off all the shirts and sweaters! Felt oh so good for a change! After a rest I started organizing the boat. Cleared out the V Berth and organized the drawers and sides, putting things where they belonged. Repaired the squeaking floor in the head by gluing small pieces of rubber tire onto the contact points. That should work! Cleaned up the sawdust under the grid too because I planned on taking a shower. By about 1530hrs all was done. I boiled some water and added it to the shower bag. Then a deliciously hot shower! Boy does that feel great when itís done! Nice and clean again. Back to reading while the towel and curtain dried out. By about 1700hrs I figured it was time to go for a walk. Decided to head over to Whaler Bay by foot. It looked to be about two miles on the charts. The road was narrow, windy and hilly, but only a 30 minute walk. Good stretch. Of course the Whaler Bay store closes at 1730hrs and we were about five minutes late! But then I didnít have a penny on me and my wallet was on the boat! Good planning. Got a signal on the cell phone and called Carey. She mowed the lawn today while it was still dry. Itís been showering on and off all day. The weather is supposed to improve on Sunday. The walk back to the boat was interesting in that the Ferry must have unloaded and a stream of about 30 cars went by. Rush hour!

Back to the boat and it was back to the book for a while with a rum & coke before getting dinner underway. Not that it was a lot of work. Just throw the steak on the BBQ and 15 minutes later it was dinner time (with a second rum & coke). Iíll clean up in the morning. By then it was approaching 2030hrs and the clouds were getting thicker. I figured Iíd better take Trixi one more time if I plan to sleep in tomorrow (weíre not going anywhere). A very pleasant row over a flat calm sea. An older couple (late 40s) with a very young daughter were setting mast on a San Juan 21 at the government dock. All in French. Very primitive.

Now itís time for a read and then bed. Itís toasty in here with the first mosquito buzzing by. I hope no more.

Saturday, June 11th Date Gorge Harbour, Cortes Island

1045hrs

In the words of Super Tramp, "Itís raining againÖ". At least we got a walk in before the rain started falling. Got up this morning at 0730hrs after a very good nightís sleep up in the V Berth, much better than the quarter berth. Heard the rain on the roof earlier and went back to sleep! Anyway, up at 0730hrs and it was temporarily dry. Off to the government dock in another long row. I suppose I could have used the engine but itís better to work the kinks out of my back to row. We only went for a short walk before the rain started spitting down again. Back to the boat. Read a book for a while with coffee, turn the heat on. It was only 11 degrees in here! Thereís a slight wind from the west with the weatherman calling for sunny periods this afternoon. Ha! Iíll have to see that to believe it. I made up a shopping list for tomorrow, then a repair list for the boat. I cleaned and repaired the drawers, then started looking for the leak in the starboard side rear window. Would you believe that the entire upper side of the window is loose and leaking! Damn! That wasnít supposed to happen. That was that old tube of 3M 5200 again. Iíll have to get a new tube tomorrow at Campbell River and try to remove the entire window and re-seal it. In the meantime there are pots in place to catch the spill.

Now itís time to work on waypoints for tomorrows trip to Campbell River. I use the computer to call up Nobletek, locate the waypoints, then enter them on th GPS. Itís laborious but better (and more accurate) than doing it from the paper charts. It sounds like the rain has slowed down a bit.

2045hrs

Just back after our evening walk. Itís amazing how good the day has gone when the evening brings a bit of dryness and sunshine! You tend to forget about the miserable day thatís been. Not that itís been all that bad, just a lot of rain. Not heavy all the time, but persistent enough that I couldnít get out without getting wet. (Just let out more rode. Itís blowing a good 10 knots NW in here with gusts to 20. Itís supposed to calm down later tonight but Iím anchored in 50 ft of water. Iíve got 250 ft out now. That should hold!)

This morning was a slow start with no destination in mind and rain falling. I had toyed with the idea of going over to Campbell River today (on into that area anyway). But it was miserable and why go in the rain. I entered all the waypoints for the next two days. Itís a 16 miles trip tomorrow. Weíll get started about 0700hrs so that we can be at Campbell River at about slack water or the beginning of the ebb. Carey isnít in until 1700hrs or some time after that I think. Lots of time to clean up, re-supply and get groceries. I made up the grocery list and as I was doing so, we ran out of propane! Good timing or what! I screwed in the adapter and the 1 lb bottle, itís heating us up nicely again.

Anyway, back to the rest of the day. Around 1300hrs the rain started to let up a bit. I got energetic and fixed / cleaned all the drawers, then started repairing the leaking window. Pried the outside frame as best I could, placed the tube of 5200 into hot water and let it warm up. The, using a putty knife, sqeezed as much into the gap as I could while it was hot. Worked very well but the first hard rain will tell. Although it spit for the rest of the afternoon, it didnít rain hard enough to be able to be certain that itís water tight.

Then it was back into the books for a while, waiting for the rain to stop. During one of the mini storms a small Columbia 26 came in with an older couple on board, probably in their 50s (wait a minute, Iím in my 50s!). No furling, no dodger and a very small tarp over the boom. Then, while I was below, they anchored to windward of me, much too close for comfort. They have since moved to the end of the inlet, a long way away without any comment from me. They looked cold.

The marina here is quite nice. During the afternoon walk Trixi and I walked along Whaletown Rd and down to the marina. The have nice campgrounds, a small well stocked store and propane! Too late in the day to go back to the boat to get the tank. The also have a small restaurant and inn rooms. Although there were only a few power boats there yesterday, there are now also five sailboats, two of them large charter boats. Speaking of boats, the trawler next to me (also with an older couple on board) is still here from yesterday too. Talk about never coming outside. I know they are on board because I can see them move occasionally, but they never come out. The dinghy is still up on the davits at the back. And their generator will probably come on later tonight again when they go to be. The boatís name is Carpe Diem from California.

Of course, noise isnít going to be a problem tonight. The Gorge Hall is having a dance tonight. Itís at th head of the government dock and the band was warming up earlier today. Letís just say that they have good amplifiers and need a lot of practice!

Sunday, June 12th Date Gorge Harbour to Campbell River

 

To sail to Campbell River from points south one must enter Discovery Passage by way of Cap Mudge. On the chart it doesnít seem to be a big deal. Itís a nice wide channel with deep waters. However, on closer examination, there is indications of strong currents and rip tides. In a east/west line just south of Cape Mudge is where the flood current from the south meets the flood current from the north end of the Island. Not much in the way of current where they meet. But Discovery Passage is a fast flowing body of water. The flood is in a southerly direction, the ebb northbound. Ships have gone down in the seas created by a strong flood meeting a SE gale at the entrance to this passage. Planning is essential.

Point Atkinson

0805

11.2

 

1535

4.3

 

2330

14.8

 

Seymour Narrows

0440

0700

+3.8

0935

1250

-5.7

1535

1905

+8.3

2235

   

18 nm

0710hrs

The anchor is up and weíre on our way. Had a short walk with Trixi first thing this morning to stretch the legs. It stayed windy most of the night but I had 300+ ft of rode out so we werenít going anywhere. The wind has died completely now, not a ripple on the water. I hope thereís some out there.

0730hrs

Sails are up, itís a light NW breeze. There is a hint of sun ahead.

0735hrs

The wind is gone, motor is on. I have a distrust of the GPS heading, it seems too close to Marina Reef, I canít see the buoy yet. I will error in the side of safety and stay east of the lay-line.

0750hrs

Iíve located the buoy and GPS was right. I can also see the end of Cape Mudge. There is still a hint of sun to the west and also a hint of a NW breeze ahead.

0810hrs

Sailing abeam of the buoy at Marina Reef. A light NW breeze and weíre hard on the wind. Had a conversation with Carey, sheís waiting for the bus in Sidney.

0845hrs

Power is back on, the wind has gone real light and itís flat ahead near Cape Mudge. The sun is out and itís warm! We had a nice sail for a while.

0910hrs

In past Fransisco Point. Itís flat out and the sun is warm. I can make out the bell buoy at the end of the reef, lots of guys out fishing this morning. It must be Sunday!

1010hrs

Pulling into Discovery Marina. Channel 66but we havenít called in. Plan to go to the fuel dock first.

1020hrs 54.9 liters 12.06 gallons

A full tank and very helpful fuel dock guys. The tank gauge was at just under half full. So the idea will be to not let it go below ľ full as we only carry 20.5 US gallons. Iím going to have to figure out how much is in a US gallon when converted to a Imperial gallon. I figure that we carry about 18 Imperial Gallons so the fuel gauge is pretty accurate!

2100hrs

The hatch is closed to the cold wind, weíre tucked in for the night. Sitting at Discovery Marina in a southeast gale with predictions of 40 knot SE wind overnight with "an intense low" coming over. The weather gurus guessed that one right, didnít they!?!

Once I got here it was a compressed afternoon. I went to the office and paid for moorage ($30.00) and got directions to the nearest propane outlet (about a five minute walk up the highway, a Husky station on the right side of the road, canít miss it). Loaded up the propane tank into the backpack and started the five minute walk with Trixi. About half an hour later the Husky came into sight! Loaded it up and now itís even heavier! By 15 lbs! I would have taken a cab but I had Trixi with me. A long and sweaty walk back to the boat, hard on the legs and back. Iím not 25 anymore! Anyway, that was done and hooked back up. Then it was off to lunch without Trixi. Finished that and off to Super Foods for groceries. $105.00 later I walked the buggy down to the dock with all the supplies. Then it was off to the office to get ice and an adapter for the power cord (20 to 30 amp connector). Three blocks and three bags later Iím getting tired! Itís also getting close to 1500hrs. Off to find the bus depot. That didnít take long and after a short wait Carey arrived at 1520hrs, right on time. Very empty bus. Trixi was very happy and cuddled up right close once we were back on the boat. A couple of drinks and we were off to the Super Value looking for meat for the next week. They agreed to freeze our selection for pick-up tomorrow. Once that was out of the way it was back to the boat in the ever increasing wind. Cold too. I went and had a shower once the laundry was done and, once that was all sorted out and a couple of glassed of wine later, we headed off to the Rip Tide Marine Pub for dinner. We just got back from that. I took Trixi for a short walk for a pee and then, here we sit. The rain is just starting to fall. I hope this blows over during the night and tomorrow is dry and calm.

Campbell River is a decent sized "city" and the most northerly large community on Vancouver Island. There are three marinas that service the boating community, the largest of these being the relatively new Discovery Marina. It was built in 1991 and when we sailing around Vancouver Island in that year, we were one of the first cruising boaters to visit the yet to be completed marina adjacent to a large vacant sand field. Now itís a hub of activity next to a large shopping centre and within easy walking distance to the "down town" core of Campbell River. Everything a boater could want is within walking distance including pleasant waterfront walks and public fishing piers. A former fishing and logging city, Campbell River is now geared primarily to the tourist trade without being gaudy and in your face!

Monday, June 13th Date Campbell River

0830hrs

The wind is still howling outside, SE at 28 knots at Cape Mudge! It rained last night but not all that hard. Just heard on the radio (97.3, the Eagle!) that the VanIsle 360 racers were in Comox Harbour last night and are on their way to Campbell River for tonight. Good racing conditions, spinnakerís up! Weíre sitting inside with the hatch shut (the wind is right over the stern), having our morning tea. We got up this morning at 0730, slept in again! Took Trixi for a walk along the waterfront to see the waves in Discovery Passage. Itís a flooding tide until about 1130hrs so itís wind against water at the moment. A solid wall of whitecaps out towards Cape Mudge. Itís Monday morning so thereís "rush hour" traffic along the highway. Itís all quiet until the stores open at 0900hrs. Todayís plan is to see what the weather is going to do. The prediction is for the SE winds to continue until about noon, then switch to SW to NW this afternoon with the high coming in. Weíll see what happens. The tide changes in our favour around 1130hrs to an ebb. We would like to go to Small Inlet today. But if thatís not possible weíll stay here for another day, do some shopping, hit the internet sites.

0910hrs

The sun is out! Itís warm in here (we have the electric heat on as well). The wind is still howling though. Carey is doing the dishes, I just had a phone call from Peter Simpson who is bored in Calgary, wanting to know where we were.

Peter owns a Beneteau 396 that I maintain for him in Sidney.

2100hrs

Quite a change in the weather today. Right now the sun is setting in the almost clear western sky. There are still lots of clouds around but this afternoon was quite pleasant. The wind finally died and it warmed up.

Back to earlier today though, this morning Carey I went for a walk to town without Trixi. We found the library, opening at 1000hrs, and continued for our walk in town. Once 1000hrs went by we got back to the library and signed on to e-mail. I found that there were four more enquiries about the Rendezvous. I sent them all the updates that I had. That took more than half an hour! Then it was off to lunch at the White Spot. We sort of missed breakfast! While we were having breakfast the VanIsle 360 boats were coming in, fast. They had the current with them in Discovery Channel and it was still smoking from the SE out on the water. We heard that more than once spinnaker was blown out and someone off one of the catamarans went over the side. We ended up talking to Tom from "Rampant" (boat parked next to us at the marina in Sidney) who found us on our boat. They were being conservative on the Davidson 40 "Numa" and didnít break anything. All the boats are out of here tomorrow at 0800hrs so the showers and laundry will be clear by then. The rest of the afternoon was taken up by walks to the far end of town (not very far anymore!) and building Caesars. We bought a rechargeable vacuum for the boat to keep the dog hair under control. I even went to sleep in the cockpit just before Tom found us. He woke me out of a very deep sleep! We went for a couple of walks along the docks (one after I spilled wine all over the cockpit!@!!), looking at the boats that were racing. Some big, some very small! The weather improved during the afternoon and eventually ended up being sunny and warm. Long over due! We did a small Boston Pizza for dinner, neither of us were very hungry. We got a call on Careyís phone about the Rendezvous as well. Iíll check my e-mail again tomorrow to send that person all the info. Now itís almost bed time. We didnít go anywhere today but weíre both tired. Into the relax mode I suspect.

Tuesday, June 14th Date Campbell River to Small Inlet

Our stay in Campbell River was a very pleasant one. We would have left on Monday but the morning winds were very strong and it was Careyís first day on the boat again. Carey is not a strong sailor and prefers light winds over the stern. Forcing passage in strong winds on her first day would not have been a good introduction to our vacation!

The vacation plan was to head further north and then circle the islands clockwise into Desolation Sound itself. Our destination for today was Small Inlet at the north end of Discovery Passage, a distance of about nm. One of the difficulties in getting there was the transit of Seymour Narrows. Currents here can reach 15 knots! Again, it was all careful planning. The current changed at 1040 hrs and turned from a flood to ebb. The intention was to reach Seymour Narrows just after the ebb started to take advantage of the current through the Narrows and then all the way up Discovery Passage to Small Inlet. The risk is a strong NW wind against the current which would create a very short, sharp sea. Not a good introduction to sailing for Carey! The forecast was for light NW winds. I was hoping!

Campbell River

0750

9.2 ft

1000

9.4

1625

6.2

2400

13.5

Seymour Narrows

0530

0800

+4.0 knts

1040

1345

-4.9

1630

1955

+7.2

1135hrs

Just powering out of the marina under sunny skies and a very light NW breeze. Itís still flooding just a bit but weíll catch the tide change at Seymour Narrows at 1230hrs. Itís going to rain today because of all the clouds around, but right now itís very nice and warm. All the racers were out of here by 0800hrs, powering past Seymour to start todayís race at a fish farm just north of the narrows. We got up reasonably early, Trixi and I got up at 20 to seven and went for a walk, coming back at about 0740 with Carey still in bed. We ended up going to the Whitespot for breakfast and then I took a shower while throwing the laundry into the machine. Off to the Library again to check e-mails. Found the one from the phone call last night, sent the graphics to all the newcomers and signed off. Carey was at the shower when I got back with the last of the groceries, frozen meat from Super Value. Two more bags of ice, fill up the water tank, drain the dinghy and we were set to go. Just as we were ready to cast off, mooring lines in hand, a guy walks up and introduces himself as Dave Dankin, one of the guys coming to the Rendezvous in July. He lives here and saw our boat last night while we must have been out wandering the docks. Nice guy and weíll see him again in July.

1215hrs

Powering past Race Point, still sunny and warm, very light winds. Current is still negligible. The clouds are getting thicker. Weíre looking at this huge house up on the hill at the point, must be all of 10,000 square feet with a small cabin cantilevered out over the water!

1300hrs

Abeam of Maude Island, Seymour Narrows. Not much wind, not much current, the clouds to the west are very dark, the sky to the north is clear.

1330hrs

Abeam of Separation Point, about 2.5 knots of current with us, the water is a bit choppy even though there is no wind.

1420hrs

Turned the corner at the Chain Islets, headed for the entrance to Small Inlet. There is a huge dark cloud over the entrance with sheets of rain falling. There is also wind coming from the cloud that has now spread across Discovery Channel. Iím into my rain jacket.

1445hrs

Approaching the entrance in the rain. Itís cold. Carey is boiling some water to make coffee to keep me warm.

2040hrs

The heat is on and the hatch is shut (with the canvas drop). Itís cold and wet out, a fine rain falling. The stereo is on softly and Trixi is resting with eyes closed. Another day is almost done. After arriving here in the rain it cleared up again. We had a few moments of sunny skies admit the high cumulus clouds. It was a very pretty picture with vivid blue skies, brilliant white clouds and clear water. Makes the trip worthwhile. The lone powerboat is so far away he may as well not be here. Thereís a small waterfall off to the south of us that we can hear. Trixi and I went ashore earlier in the afternoon and found it. Itís quite small for all the noise, hidden in the trees. Anyway, it was back to the boat around 1630 hrs with a huge blue/black threat to the west drifting slowly towards us. We fully expected to be inundated with rain soon. That never happened, the cloud was moving so slowly that it never arrived with the rain. We both read in the cockpit for a while and soon it was 1830hrs, time to start dinner. It was cooling off by that time so I turned on the heat and got the BBQ going for the salmon filet. We made some pasta to go with it and it was very tasty. Just filling enough. Carey did the dishes while I took Trixi ashore one last time. I finished reading "Last To Die" by James Grippando, interesting read. Carey just finished Cosmopolitan (July issue, not June, Carey says). Careyís face is red from the sun today and mine is burning nicely, probably just as red. Carey will be in bed soon. Iíll wait till itís a bit later (and a bit darker). We have 120 ft of rode out in 20 ft of water so we should be just fine.

Small Inlet is a boaterís paradise! If you are looking for seclusion and secure anchorage, Small Inlet is what you are looking for. About 1 mile long and half a mile wide, it is about an even 30 ft deep over solid mud. Mountains of lush greenery surround the anchorage with not a sign of human interference (other than signs of old logging). At the head of the anchorage is a shallow delta of mud flats and a wonderful one mile forest trail that leads over to Wyatt Bay. Not a Sunday walk, but not that rugged either. We spent two nights here, the power boat that was here upon our arrival left and one other boat arrived. The boats anchor so far apart that you might as well be alone.

Wednesday, June 15th Date Small Inlet

2020hrs

Itís still daylight but itís like dusk is falling. There isnít a ripple on the water, the skies have clouded over and itís quiet out. We can hear the small waterfall off our stern and thereís soft music on the stereo. Iím drinking a 1995 Lem/Zin blend that is going very nicely. A perfect evening after a perfect day. If only all days cruising could be like this!

This morning I woke at 0715hrs (thatís sleeping in for me) after a solid nightís sleep. The sun was streaming into the cabin through the open hatch but it would fade every once in a while. My bladder finally forced the issue from a lazy start. I got up and found that the skies were clear but that a mist was hanging around the mountains. The mist would obscure the sun. I got dressed and took Trixi to the rock island behind the boat. Very pretty picture of absolute calm with the mist hanging over the water. Eventually we got back to the boat and I made coffee, read the paper a second time and waited for Carey to wake up. There was no hurry, we werenít going anywhere anyway. A breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns in sunshine was most welcome. Perfect conditions. Very enjoyable eating in the cockpit, sun beaming down and warming everything up. The powerboat that was anchored at the other end of the bay left while we were eating. All alone in this remote bay. The skies were clearing and they day promised to be near perfect. By 1100hrs we were in the dinghy powering towards the head of the inlet, searching for the trail over to Waiatt Bay. The distance should only be about one mile according to the chart. The question was "how rough would the trail be, if there was one"?. The tide was out so it was pretty muddy getting to the beach. We had our boots on but Trixi got real good and muddy. Carey found the first red plastic marker indicating the trail. It ended up being a well marked, but undeveloped, trail. Took about half an hour to get over and view the Octopus Islands. Flat calm on that side too. A couple of boats in the anchorage. My concern was bears and more importantly, cougars looking for a quick meal with Trixi. We got back to the dinghy without incident, mud and all. It was past noon by then and Carey dozed off in the cockpit while I read another book. The sun came and went, darting through high billowy clouds that drifted slowly across the blue skies. The winds would be calm one moment, then whistle through the rigging the next. By 1500hrs I was climbing back into jeans and sweats to keep from getting burnt even more. In one of the gusts my blue sweat was blown off the dodger and into the water. It dried out on the stern rail during the afternoon and is now in the wash for when we get to Refuge Cove. A slow afternoon, nothing much going on. Perfect! At about 1630hrs I took Trixi for a short hike up a logging trail on the west side of the bay. I was trying to get a clear photo of the bay above the tree line but couldnít get high enough,]. Very rough terrain. Another powerboat came in, two actually. A small one went to the head of the bay, past the small islets and out of sight. The other is a blue trawler type of about 60 ft anchored across the bay from us. No sound from them. We eventually got dinner going about 1900hrs, pork chops and rice. Very tasty when it finally got done. Carey cleaned up the dishes and I took Trixi for a last beach run. Not itís sitting back with a glass of wine and soft music. The end to a perfect day.

The clouds have moved in and itís completely overcast now. The prediction is for overcast tomorrow with a few showers. Weíre headed for Octopus Island Marine Park, about 3 hours away. We have to anticipate the current through Okisollo Channel and should be out of here by 1000hrs.

Okisollo Channel has two sets of rapids that must be negotiated, both with relatively strong tidal currents. Both are measured in the Canadian Tide and Current Tables with Breezley Pass as a reference point (just south of Okisollo Channel).

Thursday, June 16th Date

Small Inlet to Octopus Island Marine Park

Campbell River

Breezley Pass

0815

2.5

   

0545

0845

+5.8

1210

2.8

   

1155

1440

-4.4

1705

2.2

   

1710

2030

+5.9

2440

4.1

         

0900hrs

Weíre on our way out of Small Inlet at low speed. Itís cloudy this morning although the sun is trying to peek though. There is no wind and there wasnít any last night. We had some very light sprinkles of rain this morning as I took Trixi to the beach. At some point last night I got up. I could see stars out of the hatch and decided I wanted to take a look. There was a high haze cover and the brighter stars were shining through. No moon though, it must have already set, itís at almost half full. There was a false dawn towards the northeast, the kind I saw years ago when it never really got totally dark this time of year. The dew had not fallen and the cockpit was dry. Very pleasant although cool enough that a few minutes were enough, then back to bed. Then this morning Trixi and I got up at about 0800hrs and went ashore to the small island under cloudy skies. We sort of slept in because we had to get out of here at a reasonable time to make the tides in Okisollo Channel before the ebb started at 1230hrs. I made up egg muffins for breakfast and here we are, on the road. We have 10.9 miles to go (according to GPS routing) even though our distination is only 2 miles away as the crow flies (or around here, the eagles).

0950hrs

At Granite Point, rounding the corner into Okisollo Channel. Itís taken us an hour to get here, itís a long way out of Small Inlet and then Kanish Bay. Weíve also been fighting the flood in the Bay. Now it should turn with us in Okosollo Channel. Itís still cloudy but dry, the sun is trying to get through.

1030hrs

Abeam of Bjour Rk. Large corporate fish farms are everywhere in here. Active logging as well. The current is with us as we head towards the Lower Rapids. Weíre getting about Ĺ a knot boost. We came across what we thought was a log in the water with eagles sitting on it, eating something. Turns out that itís a whale, possibly an Orcas, belly up in the water, obviously dead. The eagles and vultures were ripping it open. The smell was a bit strong so we kept our distance.

1055hrs

At the Okis Islands, entering the Lower Rapids. The current is increasing a bit and ahead you can see the disturbed water of the current exiting the rapids and forming whirlpools. This is only a 3 ft rise in tide at Campbell River! There shouldnít be that much current and Iím not expecting all that much. The tide book indicates that the rapids here are based on Seymour Narrows for time with a maximum of 11 knots (presumably at spring tides).

1110hrs

Weíre rushing along at 9+ knots through the Upper Okisollo Rapids. Thereís a four knot current through here! There are even guys along both walls in their surf kayaks riding the waves! That I didnít expect. The water in the middle is glassy smooth but I can see the turbulence ahead.

1120hrs

Weíre coming into the narrow channel that leads to the anchorage in the Octopus Islands. Weíre out of the current and into placid waters. We sort of washed by the entrance to Hole-in-the-Wall, slicing sideways across the current to ensure that we wouldnít get swept by. There are half a dozen kayakers sweeping by us, headed out into Okisollo Channel. There is even a young deer eating along the shore on the small island to port.

1145hrs

The anchor is down in the inner bay at the Octopus Islands. There are two other boats here, a very large sailboat and a small power boat. The sun is starting to come out from behind the high clouds. Time to relax again.

2200hrs

Darkness is falling on a near perfect day. Itís very quiet here tonight. There is no waterfall creating a background noise like there was at Small Inlet. There are only two other boats here with use, about six more in the adjoining bay. Absolute silence except for the squawk of the occasional bird, some soft music and soft clinks of human activity aboard boats. Itís a perfect night. I have a glass of brandy at hand. Carey has gone to bed, Trixi is down in the cabin. Thereís a high cloud cover keeping the dew at bay. The half moon is poking itís face out from between the clouds.

After arriving this afternoon we anchored in the southern bay with a small power boat and a large sailboat. I took Trixi ashore and while doing so, the large sailboat left. The skies were somewhat threatening but it was warm out. We settled in for the afternoon. Carey and I went for a row without Trixi, over through the narrow gap between the islands to the open area facing Surge Narrows. Weíd seen a deer along the shore as we powered into the bay but it was gone by now. Very quite and calm. Back to the boat and it started to rain very lightly. The tarp went up. We read books and magazines for a while and the rain stopped. Time for showers? The sun shower wasnít really warm enough but with boiled water added, it was great. Itís wonderful to feel clean again. About half an hour later the skies started to clear and eventually the sun popped out. What a wonderful afternoon! It got warm, very warm in the sun as we were both a bit burned from the day before. Up to 25 degree in the cabin. A sailboat came in and a trawler powered into the bay next door. The sailboat was a Hunter 35.6 from the SNSYC, Peter and Holly PRICE. I met them ashore when I took Trixi for a walk. Invited them over for drinks after dinner. Carey & I had wonderful streak with all the fixings for dinner around 1830hrs, eating in the cockpit. Very tasty and filling with Trixi finishing off what we could not. By 1930 hrs Peter and Holly were over. But only for a short time because she was tired already. Theyíd been out for about a month, north of Desolation, and cold and wet. They came back down early to get warmed up and were headed south, back to Sidney. Theyíre from Calgary with a condo in Sidney. Had a great evening with them, drinking wine and swapping stories about boating and life in general. He is a retired doctor with a long practice in Calgary. I may have another boat to look after. Who knows. Now itís getting too dark to see the keyboard. Iíll have to finish this in the morning, not that weíre going anywhere tomorrow. The barometer has been dropping all day and the forecast is for clouds and showers tomorrow. Weíll have to wait and see.,

The Octopus Islands are a Provincial Marine Park and have protected status. There are a number of small, perfectly protected bays for anchorage and, if too crowded, anchorage is available almost everywhere in Wyatt Bay. In the smaller bays itís common practice to stern tie to shore to allow room for more boats. Deer and eagles abound with the occasional hawk circling overhead, fishing in the waters of the bay. Itís no wonder the site is preserved as a park.

Friday, June 17th Date Octopus Island Marine Park

0810hrs

The rain is falling gently on the cabin top. The weatherman was actually right for a change. Iíve been awake for a few hours, Carey is just stirring now. Trixi is shoring on the settee opposite me as I complete last nightís log and this morningís. I have a hot coffee next to me. Thereís no hurry, weíre staying here today anyway.

I woke up at some point last night because my bladder was about to rupture. It was just starting to get windy, coming from all directions. I got up, hit the head and then went up on deck. The half moon was hanging high in the sky, framed by cumulous clouds. A very pretty picture. I let out another forty feet of rode to make sure we werenít going anywhere and then back to bed. A good nightís sleep. Woke up this morning at about 0715hrs and finished the book I was reading yesterday. Then finally got up at about 0745. Trixi was not anxious to get up so I worked on the log for a while. Now Carey is up and putting the kettle back on for tea. Time to close this down.

2145hrs

Friday night in the big city! Here we sit in the rain, the heat is on and weíre drinking hot coffees with liquors! It hasnít been all that bad of course but tonight is a bit depressing. The weather forecasts has this low stalled with the high well offshore and not moving. Not a good forecast. We were hoping for sunshine over the weekend! Doesnít look like itís going to happen.

This morning we had eggs benedict for breakfast, tasting very good and very filling. After that was all cleaned up we watched Peter and Holly get ready to leave in Kotty Laugh. The couldnít get the anchor out. I rowed over to see if I could lend a hand and when they tried to power out at high speed the anchor rode parted with a thump, probably right at the shackle for the chain. Oh well, they were off for Heriot Bay and could probably get another anchor there if necessary. They did carry a spare just like us, but no extra chain etc.

Then it was a bit of a do-nothing day. We werenít planning on going anywhere. I went for a row alone in the early afternoon while Carey tried to sleep in the cockpit. It was certainly warm enough, the sun kept trying to peak through and we could feel the warmth. We saw a couple of deer close to the water along with an endless supply of eagles and hawks, all looking for food in the water. Boats came and went, there is another Hunter 35 anchored right where Peter and Holly were, and thereís a trawler anchored inshore of us. The other bay is quite crowded with boats, three new ones coming in and no-one leaving. As the afternoon progressed the clouds came in thicker and by 1730hrs it was starting to spit down. Very lightly at first, light enough that I got Trixi to the beach after dinner at 1900hrs without getting too wet. But now itís coming down pretty good. No leaks that I can find yet so thatís a good thing. Carey is just climbing into bed and I wonít be far behind.

Saturday, June 18th Date Octopus to Refuge Cove

The original plan was to stay up in this end of the Desolation Sound area for a few more days. However, the weather was not co-operating so we decided head for Refuge Cove, a re-supply village and a pleasant place in crummy weather. To get to Refuge Cove we had to transit Hole-In-The-Wall, a channel of notorious currents, and then a long straight line distance in Calm Channel. Hole-In-The-Wall is a channel about five miles long with choke points at both ends, connecting Okisollo Channel and Calm Channel. The flood current runs eastbound, the ebb westbound. The currents are well documented in the Tide book. For whatever reason, I believed that the most viscous current would be at the east end of the channel. I thought that if, upon entering the west end we thought the current too powerful to be safe to transit the more volatile east end, we would simply anchor and await the change of tides before exiting the east end. I should have studied the charts more carefully!

Campbell River

0130

13.5 ft

0940

4.6

1610

11.5

1945

10.5

Hole in the Wall

0125

0440

-6.9 knts

0810

1120

+8.5

1455

1750

-6.2

27 nm

0930hrs

Itís pissing down rain with not a break in the clouds that we can see. Weíre powering out of Octopus Islands with not a whisper of a breeze and it looks like everyone else is still asleep. It rained hard all night. I donít think there was a break in the downpour at any time! The dinghy had about 6 inches of water in it this morning! And we found some leaks along the port side windows! Weíll have to look at those when we get the chance. At least the starboard side is sealed up and the V Berth is dry as well. Anyway, this morning I got into complete raingear to take Trixi to the beach in the rain. We didnít spend a lot of time there and were soon back on board. Carey wanted scrambled eggs so I got to work on those. Tasted very good with mushrooms and cheese. Very filling. We werenít in a hurry as the flood tide was running until 1500hrs or thereabouts. The maximum current through Hole in the Wall was at 1020hrs at 8 knots. I want to get through there before it changes. Weíre headed for Refuge, 20 miles away.

0940hrs

Weíre just out of the Octopus Islands, the narrow channel that leads to the anchorage. Itís still completely socked in but the rain has eased a bit. Itís a lot shallower at low tide than when we came in a couple of days ago.

1000hrs

Weíre into the current at Hole in the Wall. I expected a cross current sweeping across the entrance to the pass. Instead it looks like all the current is going into the pass. Weíre at 6.0 knots, lots of whirl pools.

1010hrs

Weíre out of the entrance to Hole in the Wall. What an eye opener! For some reason I thought that the current station was at the west end of the pass. It wasnít. It was at the eastern end, the one we just came through! At one point we were going 11.9 knots over the bottom, very smooth in the main channel until we got to the inside. Then it was huge turbulence. There was a whirl pool that was about 60 ft in diameter with a depression of about 1.5 to 2 ft! I managed to steer clear of that one! The boat went over about 30 degrees more than once as we fought to clear whirlpools. A bit exciting to say the least! At that point I thought that the really rough end would still be the eastern end. I thought (and mentioned to Carey) that we should anchor in the available anchorage in the middle of the Hole in the Wall passage and wait for slack as I thought that if the west end was rough, then the east end would be too dangerous to go through at maximum tide (1030hrs). Then I checked the charts and found that we were already through the worst of it! Good thing!.

1040hrs

Out of Hole-in-the-Wall. Not a bad boost through the pass. Itís pretty flat with a light SE breeze. Very low clouds and itís raining ahead.

1125hrs

Abeam of Raza Island. Itís cold with a light SE breeze still on the nose. There is a light rain falling and I just made tea and coffee. There is a current against of all things. Only about Ĺ a knot but there all the same. The weather is kind of depressing.

1210hrs

Weíre into Lewis Channel. Weíve been motor sailing for the past half hour with the jib up. Itís given us quite a boost, up to 5.5 over the bottom from the engine only at 4.7. Thereís still a current against. Looks like a wall of rain coming our way.

1355hrs

Coming into Refuge Cove. Weíve been very lucky so far with no rain on deck. Lots of rain in front and behind, but nothing on us. There is still a current against. I have to believe that the flood in Lewis Channel is north flowing at about half a knot. Not what I would expect.

1415hrs

Tied up at Refuge. Not at all busy here. Time to get some laundry done.

2100hrs

The skies to the west are clearing up nicely as I sit in the cockpit entering the dayís log. Itís too late for a sunset but at this stage weíre happy that itís not raining. Carey is inside sitting next to the heater, Trixi is sitting on the dock watching whatever is going on. Not that there is much going on. Itís very quiet here at Refuge Cove. There are only six guest boats, four sail and two power. Lots of room for more.

After arrival this afternoon we got started with the laundry. Nothing has changed here in the fifteen + years that itís been since we were last here. The same buildings, the same docks, the same store and the same laundry and shower facilities. All old and decrepit! Anyway, once the laundry got started I took a shower ($3.50). Very good although the facilities leave a lot to be desired. With just a few bucks invested they could make this a resort destination. But their entire business is two months out of the year so I can understand their reluctant to expand. Carey took a shower once the laundry was done, washing her hair. It looks like the water here is cedar coloured so I filled all the water bottles with water out of our tank before filling the tank tomorrow. We met a few people on the dock, Duane & Jane Landry on Whisper from the SNSYC, originally out of Dallas, Texas. They were waiting the arrival of their daughter and granddaughter by Kenmore Air out of Seattle. Then they were headed for Squirrel Cove. No one else we know here. I finally got cellular connection with four voice mails, one being Ron. I gave him a call and it ended up he was on Saltspring Island with Linda and two other couples on a cycling weekend, staying at cabins on the island at a lake. It was pissing down rain on them as well.

The temperature is dropping with the clearing skies. The weatherman is calling for cloudy with clearing periods tomorrow. The barometer is finally on the way up so there may be hope yet. Weíre going over to Squirrel Cove ourselves tomorrow after getting a few supplies and washing the sheets tomorrow morning.

Refuge Cove is a "village" that supports one enterprise, the store. There are about 10 families that reside here in the summer months, only about two that stay the winter. There is no electrical power to the "village" although a telephone connection does exist. The store has a diesel generator that powers up at 0630 and shuts down at 2000hrs every day. Everything depends on the generator. The store has a very good supply of everything a cruiser may need, including fresh fruit and vegetables. There are laundry and shower facilities although both are in a sorry state. The fuel dock is kept busy as itís the last one for cruisers heading further north. In the busy summer months a boater arriving in mid morning to early afternoon will probably have to circle in a standby mode until space opens at the docks (fuel or store).

Sunday, June 19th Date Refuge Cove to Squirrel Cove

The destination for the day was only about 3 nm away across Desolation Sound. Squirrel Cove is one of the most popular anchorages in Desolation Sound and can hold up to 100 boats in the middle of summer. It is a designated Marine Park. It can be very crowded! The anchorage is divided into sections by headlands and small islets. The shallow water allow for good anchorage with minimal rode. Stern tying to shore is common practice. At the head of the anchorage is a large tidal lagoon that fills and empties through a narrow rapids. At high tide one can dinghy in to the lagoon. At low tide one can carry your dinghy out again as itís too shallow to row! Many years ago a family lived in a small house just inside the cove. Two young boys about 10 and 12 would row out in the evening from boat to boat, taking orders for baked goods. Mom and dad would be up early in the morning and by 0900hrs the next morning you would have your baked goods delivered to the boat at a very reasonable price! The cinnamon rolls were to die for! The house is now abandoned and the family has moved on. About one mile outside of Squirrel Cove is the Squirrel Cove Store on Cortes Island. There is a public wharf available for tie-up while shopping. The store is as well, if not better, stocked as Refuge Cove. However, groceries must be carried from the store, down the road, and then to your boat. Itís not a long walk but groceries and ice can get heavy!

Campbell River

0155

13.5 ft

1005

3.3

1705

12.5

2040

11.2

5.2 nm

0835hrs

Itís cloudy with a light drizzle falling. Weíve been up early, not that we had to, but because we both did. I was awake at 0530 and tried to get back to sleep without success. Eventually read a book for a while, "The Summons" by John Grisham. Pretty good so far. Finally got up at 0700hrs. The store generator started about 0630hrs so we knew the water was hot for the washing machines. We got a load of sheets in and weíre just waiting for the dryer to finish with them. Then it will be up to the store for some supplies. So far weíre on our same water tank from Campbell River although it must be getting close to empty. The three blocks of ice are still 50% there along with the leftovers of our original block of ice from home. There is also still an almost complete bag of ice yet. Not bad at all. Of course, itís not exactly been hot out! Once the laundry is done, the groceries aboard, and the water tank filled weíll motor over to Squirrel Cove, less than a mile and a half away. The weather is supposed to improve today with clearing this afternoon. Itís currently sunny in Tofino and thatís generally where our weather comes from. The barometer has been rising for the last two days. We canít get the weather radio in here for some reason. Havenít heard from our daughter either, on fatherís day as well.

2115hrs

A quite night in Squirrel Cove. There are about 15 boats in here scattered all over the anchorage. Sail boats dominate! There is a high cloud in the sky with no wind all day long. Barely a ripple on the water in mid afternoon. The weather channel is calling for light winds again tomorrow, from the NW so hopefully the clouds drift off inland. The barometer is stalled on itís climb up the scale.

This morning we left Refuge at about 0930. We finished our laundry and got some groceries, filled up the water tanks and shower bag, and were off. For some reason there just isnít a friendly feeling at Refuge this year. Perhaps the depressing weather is affecting their morale (and business). They donít seem to care about customer service in the way that we do. Even some of the other boats expressed the same feelings. We bought $100 worth of groceries to last us until Lund, including two blocks of ice and two bags.

We motored over to Squirrel Cove on a flat sea, not a ripple. Itís only three miles from cast off to anchor down. The tide was very low and there were only four boats in here when we arrived at 1030hrs. Once the anchor was down I set about to repair the water leaks on the port windows. Weíll have to wait for the next downpour to see if Iíve been successful. Then we got into a cleaning jag on board with Carey vacuuming, me cleaning windows and toilet. Once that was out of our system we sat around and read our books and magazines for a while. Eventually we decided to take the dinghy over to the store, about a mile away. A long motor in the dinghy. The store hasnít changed at all. We bought a 12 pack of pop that we hadnít at Refuge, got rid of our garbage for two dollars, hell of a deal. Of course, we only had two small bags after a week on the water. Back at the boat we read again, the tide was on the way up and the lagoon was flooding again. Trixi got all excited about bees flying around. Talk about hyped up, she wanted to get out in the dinghy by herself! Not! It took most of the afternoon to calm her down. By about 1900hrs the rack of ribs and my steak were on the BBQ along with corn on the cob that we picked up at the store. Very tasty! Carey has some leftovers for tomorrow as well. Now itís sitting back in the cockpit relaxing (not that weíve done all that much today) with a glass of wine as dusk falls. We are probably going over to Prideaux Haven tomorrow. No much wind in the forecast though.

Monday, June 20th Date

Squirrel Cove to Melanie Cove, Prideaux Haven

Prideaux Haven (pronounced Prēdo) is one specific anchorage but, like Desolation Sound, it is used as a general description for a series of anchorages in and around the actual Prideaux Haven. The series of anchorages include Melanie Cove, Laura Cove and a host of small anchorages in Prideaux Haven itself. Designated a Provincial Marine Park it is the most popular destination in Desolation Sound. Melanie Cove is a long narrow anchorage which, if busy, requires stern ties ashore. Boats can be stern tied in neat rows like condominiums along both long shores. As a rule we have avoided this anchorage during the summer months. Although a beautiful destination, anchoring cheek and jowl with neighbouring boats is not our idea of how to enjoy the great outdoors. But this was still June and we decided to see what it was like 15 years after our last visit during the height of summer

.

Campbell River

0230

13.8 ft

1040

2.0

1755

13.1

2130

11.8

12.5 nm

1030hrs

Weíre headed out of Squirrel Cove under mostly sunny skies. There are an increasing number of high cirrus clouds along with jet contrails hiding the blue sky but the sun is warm and the day looks promising.

We slept in this morning. I didnít wake up until about 0745hrs, long after I usually get up. The sun was shining in the cabin and I had a hell of a time waking up for reasons I donít know. Such a beautiful morning you would have thought I would have been up early. Anyway, out of bed by 0800hrs to take Trixi ashore at the island in the middle of Squirrel Cove. A rapidly dropping tide and boy does the place look different. The rapids out of the lagoon were running full steam. After two leisurely cups of coffee in the cockpit I finally got energetic enough to make bacon and eggs for breakfast. Tasted good even though we didnít have any hash browns left. Cleaned up the dishes and got ready to roll. The flood starts at 1030 and we want to take advantage of that up Homfrey Channel.

1110hrs

Out of Squirrel Cove and we have the sails up. Itís nice and warm (probably about 20 degrees) with a very light SE breeze rippling the water. Just enough to make about 3 knots through the water on a tight reach. Headed for Martin Island near Refuge Cove. Not many boats around. Itís only 9 miles to go today.

1130hrs

The power is back on, the wind evaporated on us. Close to Refuge Cove and headed for the channel between Martin Island and West Redonda Island. We donít have to use the channel but it happens to be along the way. No wind anyway.

1200hrs

Just out of the narrow channel and another SE breeze has come up. The sails are back out and weíre on a broad reach for the west tip of Mink Island. Still very few boats around. Thereís a larger sailboat going our way along the south shore, looks like heís running wing & wing.

1240hrs

The wind has all but evaporated, the water is like glass ahead and for as far as we can see up Homfrey Channel. It was a very pleasant sail and weíre at the western tip of Mink Island looking up the channel to Tenedos Bay. It was a broad reach all the way here and the C&C 40 that was going our way never did catch us. Heís back there still trying to sail in no wind. There are six guys on the boat, all in harnesses. Huh? Weíre headed for Prideaux Haven through the narrow east entrance.

1330hrs

Weíre into Prideaux Haven. A very tight entrance with this very low tide. Itís not that busy in here. Weíve got the anchor down in Melanie Cove with two other sailboats. Very nice and itís getting hotter.

2250hrs

Writing this with a flashlight hanging over the keyboard from the dodger. Not that I need the light but I can never find the delete key in the dark. And yes, it is getting dark. The western sky still has lots of daylight but the eastern sky is filled with stars. There is a planet hanging in the south-western sky and I donít know which one it is, Saturn or Jupiter I suspect. Itís absolutely still in here, there is a small waterfall off near the head of the inlet and the lights of a jet crossing the sky at 30,000 feet above. The boats in the bay with us are all dark and silent, not an anchor light amongst them. I donít know when the moon will be up but I plan on staying up till then.

This afternoon turned into a wonderfully warm delight. The clouds kept clearing and it got hot. Trixi and I went ashore and climbed up a couple of hills to take some photos. Very rough ground and Trixi did a very credible job of staying with me through some very low scrub. Back to the boat in a sweat and by then it was after 1500hrs. It was happy hour somewhere. A couple of beer later and we watched a few other boats come in. The C&C 44 that we sailed against came in and parked a bit too close. Would you believe itís a Cruise and Learn sort of situation with the "skipper" giving sage advice on the foredeck. Itís too bad he anchored as close as he did! No etiquette! And no anchor light on tonight! Anyway, two powerboats from Squirrel Cove also tried to get in but couldnít get a good grip on the bottom. Good thing, both had gensets running last night and this morning. They are now anchored in the outer bay. Weíve got two powerboats and four sailboats in here tonight. By reputation this place can have over 30 boats in here, all stern tied ashore to keep from swinging into each other. Very nice and quiet. As the afternoon progressed we were getting burned so the sun/rain tent went up. Then the boat swung so I had to adjust the tent to keep the sun off of us as much a possible. It was hot! It was 80+ in the cabin, over 90 in the sun. The sun shower was at 116F and by 1730 were taking showers. Felt oh so good but it was almost too hot afterwards. Just sweated up again. Dinner was real late and neither of us were real hungry. By 2000hrs I was taking Trixi ashore for a last walk and Carey was cleaning up the dishes. Then I took a row out into the outer bay. Lots of boats out there, but the view up Homfray Channel was just spectacular. Thatís where weíre going tomorrow, out into the outer bay to get the view. It shouldnít take too long!

Now itís almost completely dark, itís 2300hrs. Carey went to bed at 2200hrs and the bug screens are in place. There are a few mosquitoes out there, not as many as at Squirrel but a few anyway. It looks like it will be a very quiet night.

Tuesday, June 21st Date Prideaux Haven

Campbell River

0310

13.8 ft

1120

1.3

1845

13.5

2215

12.1

2150hhrs

Weíre sitting inside as the rain outside dissipates into a few spatters on the dodger. A thundershower has travelled through with itís endlessly shifty winds and on/off showers. The temperature has dropped to about 70 degrees from the high of 85 today. Quite a change from the rest of today.

This morning we were up at about 0745hrs to the sound of Tecironís engine next door. He had been running the engine since about 0700hrs and was conducting lessons on raising the anchor! Such a quiet anchorage too. Oh well, I got up and took Trixi on her morning walk up the trail to Tenedos Bay. Figured out that it was probably not a trail that Carey wanted to walk on, a bit steep and up hill for as far as we went. Back down to the boat to watch one of the power boats leave and then had boiled eggs and toasted English muffins for breakfast while sitting in the cockpit in the sun. Not a cloud in the sky and absolutely still except for the waterfall. By the time that was all done I rowed over to the waterfall (a stream actually) and filled up the sun shower for later in the afternoon. We had already decided to move to the outer anchorage to get a better view up Homfray Channel today.

At about noon we raised anchor and moved into the outside anchorage. It was very low tide and all the rocks very visible! A long climb up the rock to get a stern line into place. I wasnít happy with the amount of anchor rode I had used but there wasnít any wind and we were stationary. The afternoon swam along with a slight increase in clouds. It was hot, like yesterday, but there was a cooling breeze from Homfrays Channel to help things out. I actually got into my long whites to fend off the sun. Also went for a couple of long rows around the various lagoons that make up Prideaux Haven. Itís a very pretty place. I rowed over to Laura Cove and then back through the narrow channels. The tide had come up enough that I could get over the sand bars to get back to the boat.

By 1800hrs the ugly clouds associated to a thunderstorm were hanging over the southern sky. The occasional rumble could be heard as well. With my short anchor rode I decided to move the boat away from the shore and into deeper water with more room to swing. We did that as the wind started to rise and just before the rain started. Weíre in the middle of the bay now, with 50 ft of water under the keel, and swinging on 200 ft of rode. The rain started and came down hard for a while. The wind shifted around, warm, but it blew the rain under the tarp. We eventually moved inside and put burritos in the oven for dinner. Now the rain has stopped as has the wind and all is calm outside. Itís also getting dark. Trixi is wandering around inside, afraid of the occasional mosquito of all things!

Our stay in Prideaux Haven was the stuff sailing dreams are made of. One of the most popular anchorage in Desolation Sound with only a few other boats in the bay, almost unheard of. Although the weather wasnít settled, we happened upon a beautiful day of sun and warm temperatures. The thunderstorm added spice (although a second warm sunset with the spectacular view up Homfray channel would have been preferable!).

Wednesday, June 22nd Date Prideaux Haven to Tenedos Bay

Prideaux Haven is but a short two miles over the hills to Tenedos Bay. However, itís about six miles around the islands and head lands between the two anchorages. Tenedos Bay is also a Provincial Marine Park and protected from development. The anchorage is rather deep to shore and a stern line is the most common solution. At the head of the inlet is a stream from Unwin Lake that spills over the tidal flats into the sea. In hiking up the well defined trail leading up to the lake there are a couple of side paths that lead to the stream. Years of visitors have created a few "bathing ponds" by damming the stream with rocks. A wonderful place to take a bath. So many people have done this over the years that there are now signs asking bathers to restrain from using copious amounts of soap and shampoo! The lake itself has a spectacular view of the Unwin mountain range, a series of green velvety mountains. The lake is warm enough to swim during the summer months. However, generations of logging have caused a jamb of logs against the SE shore where the tail emerges. To swim in the waters you must transverse the logs. Be wary of the non-poisonous snakes that like the same logs and water!

Campbell River

0355

14.1 ft

1205

0.7

1930

13.8

2310

12.1

6 nm

2100hrs

The tops of the trees astern are still bathed in the setting sun, above them the tops of Unwin Range have shadows of the setting sun on their velvet green mantel. Itís a beautiful evening from Tenedos Bay, the gusty SW winds abating and the waters calming. Weíre still rocking a bit but itís very pleasant tucked into the corner of the bay.

This morning we woke up to rain on deck. Lovely! At least the port side windows appear watertight! I went back to sleep for a while and then by quarter to eight I got up to take Trixi ashore. Carey stayed in bed for a while. The tide was already dropping and no one else appeared up and about yet. The skies were completely covered with low, menacing clouds. It looked like it would rain at any moment again. Trixi and I got back to the boat still dry and Carey was up. The skies started to clear a bit to the west and weather radio was calling for clearing in the afternoon and better weather for the weekend. Breakfast of eggs benedict was very tasty as we watched the rocks and shells reappear as the water receded in the big tide drop today. It was a lazy morning with an ever brightening sky to the west. A couple of boats left the bay. By 1130hrs we were ready to go. Hauled in all 160 ft of rode in 40 ft of water. We were in but good! We got the last of the ebb out of Prideaux Haven, going about 1 knot at zero speed out the narrow entrance. There wasnít any wind to speak of outside and we motored all the way to Tenedos between the islands and rocks. Nice to have a very low tide, all the rocks were easy to see.

It only took an hour to get to Tenedos. We motored up to the head, no one there. Itís very deep but anchoring is very possible with a stern line ashore. We decided not to go that route as any SW breeze would cause a swell in this end of the bay. We opted for the small bay behind the small island like usual. There were only two boats in the bay, a large sailboat and a small powerboat, both free anchored in the deep part with no stern line. We did the usual stern line ashore in a very low tide. Sharpe oysters at the shoreline were the biggest concern with the inflatable. The anchor dug into mud in 30 ft of water and we have 120ft of rode out, a stern line ashore to a log. Weíre not going anywhere. Then it was off to the trail to Unwin Lake. Powered over in the dinghy and by now it was a perfectly clear sky. Very pretty. Hauled the dinghy up on the beach with the wheels and we all went up the trail. Iíd forgotten about the camping spots and the signs. The trail was, as expected, muddy with all the recent rain. We found the two little trails off the main one to the pools in the stream from the lake to the inlet. Very pretty and the water was quite warm. We could very easily have taken baths if necessary. Unwin lake was as beautiful as ever, same logs, same background. We filled up the sun shower from the stream before heading back to the boat.

The afternoon was going by quickly. Two more boats came into the anchorage, one sailboat left. One of the incoming was a catamaran that I helped with a stern line ashore. Not very communicative people but what the heck. I climbed some hills, took some photos. By 1730 it was time for showers, felt very good again. By 1830 the sun had slipped behind the hills to the west and we were in the shade. Time to put some cloths on! We got the BBQ going to burn off the grease from the sausages of a couple of nights ago. Quite the smoke show!. Anyway, chicken breasts and garlic pasta made up dinner. Very tasty indeed! I took Trixi for a walk and a power around the island while Carey cleaned up. Now weíre sitting back watching the sun climb up Unwin Mountain as the boat rocks gently. Itís cooling down but not all that much. The wine is good and there is no noise other than my typing. The tide as come right up and the bay looks very pretty. Tomorrow itís into Malaspina Inlet and the government wharf to meet Ena.

Thursday, June 23rd Date Predeaux Haven to Okeover Warf

Although the original intent had been to return to Campbell River to have Carey take a bus back to Victoria, communication with my sister, Ena, had changed those plans. She was driving up to Lund, the most northerly town along the B.C. coast accessible by road, to do some camping at Okeover Provincial Park. We would meet her there and she would drive Carey and Trixi home and visit for a while. Okeover Provincial Park has a small public wharf within easy walking distance. The wharf is accessible by way of Malaspina Inlet leading to Okeover Inlet. As can be seen by the accompanying tide table, we were in a large tide change. The entrance to Malaspina Inlet has a considerable tidal current and although the entrance can be somewhat intimidating with all the rocks and islets, itís pretty straightforward when the current is running in the right direction.

Campbell River

0445

13.8 ft

1250

0.7

2010

13.8

   

12 nm

1000hrs

Weíre just pulling out of Tenedos Bay under power. It was a very nice, quiet night in there last night. This morning I took Trixi on a long row around the small un-named island that protects the anchorage. Flat calm, a couple of seals following us around. Went ashore on the north-east corner and built a small stone cairn. Carey was up but the time we got back and we had eggs benny for breakfast. Very tasty and very filling. No sign of life anywhere except the trawler with the two couples. They were loud and boisterous in their cabin as they (presumably) were having breakfast. There is a promise of a SW breeze and virtually clear skies. Itís a big tide drop again this morning, 14 to 0 ft.

1020hrs

The sails are up and weíre hard on the wind against a very light SW breeze. Weíre early for the flood at Malaspina Inlet anyway. Doing about 2 knots

1110hrs

Just off the end of Mink Island, the wind evaporated. Weíre back under power.

1035hrs

Weíre at Zophie Head with a light SW breeze, weíll sail for a while.

1240hrs

Weíre headed up the Malaspina Inlet. Weíre been hanging around the entrance, waiting for the 2 knot current against to dissipate. It looks like that has happened.

1240hrs

Just off the government wharf at Okeover Inlet. There doesnít look like much room here. Powered all the way.

The public dock at Okeover Inlet is relatively small with limited space for visiting boaters. Most of the space is occupied by small commercial boats used for all the oyster farms that line the shores of Malaspina and Okeover Inlets. For July and August the warfinger rafts commercial boats up to make up more room for visitors. There are no facilities within walking distance of this wharf.

Friday, June 24th Date Okeover Warf

2200hrs

Well, we certainly didnít go anywhere today on the boat! It was a long day none-the-less.

Yesterday, Ena was waiting at the top of the ramp when we arrived. But the ramp was so steep that she wasnít going to come down to help dock! Although there may be 240 ft of space, most of it is taken up by commercial boats in the oyster business. We managed to squeeze in on the outside finger and, with a bit of help, Carey and Trixi managed to get to the top of the ramp and to Enaís campsite. There was no one else in the entire camp ground! Nice and quite for her. Anyway, we drove over to Lund and had a late lunch/early dinner at the pub. Very nicely refinished since we were last here 20 years ago! Back to the boat and we had finger food into the evening with wine (and mosquitoes!)

This morning Ena came down to the boat and I made up egg muffins for breakfast with coffee. That went down well and then we were off to Powell River/Westview in search of an internet connection and a power inverter. Mine burned out a could of days ago (over use and two much draw!?) Went through the waterfront of Westview and found the internet café and I saw a couple of weeks ago on the way up. There were no new messages that needed attention so then it was going around trying to find a inverter. We were directed up to Joyce St that had Walmart & Canadian Tire! Who would have thought! Anyway, I found a 400 watt inverter at Walmart and that looks like it will work. Then it was back to the boat for a while and then down to Lund again for dinner. We even bought some mosquitoes coils for tonight!

Saturday, June 25th Date Okeover Warf to Lund

Campbell River

0200

11.8 ft

0535

11.8

1420

3.0

2140

13.5

13.5 nm

0600hrs

Trixi and I are sitting on the boat at the dock, watching some construction guys get into Chuck Forest and head out to a work site somewhere down the inlet. Iím going to wake up Carey shortly, have some tea and then Carey & Ena are headed to Westview and the Ferry home. Itís cloudy this morning with a light NW breeze up the inlet. There is a low could base and Iím sure that will burn off this morning as the sun rises. It certainly is not cold out except for that breeze. The mosquito coils really worked last night, didnít get bothered by any (not that I can remember anyway).

0725hrs

Just pulling away from the government wharf at Okeover Inlet. Carey, Trixi and Ena are on their way to the Ferry Terminal at Westview to catch the 0810hrs ferry. There is a still a light NW breeze but weíre going to have to motor out of here, itís a 12 mile route this morning. The new inverter is plugged in and the camera and vacuum are charging.

This morning, just after the previous entry, Ena showed up on the dock, parking her car at the head of the dock where there is no parking. She was steaming mad because of a group of campers that came in at midnight last night. I guess the group of six (I noticed them there this morning) made quite a racket and moved right in next to her, having loud discussions until 0200hrs this morning. Of course, Ena likes to complain and doesnít do anything about it anyway. I offered her the air horn if she wished, she declined.

0745hrs

Had a call from Carey who is at the Ferry Terminal at Westview. There is no wind in the strait. Gee, what a surprise! She had a message from Dick on her telephone. I noticed the same one on mine as soon as I turned it on. Iíll call him later. Coming up on Lancelot Inlet.

0810hrs

Going past Grace Harbour. There are six boats in there now. There were none when we came up this way two days ago.

0840hrs

Just out of Malaspina Inlet, the sails are up and weíre close hauled on the wind, aimed at Sarah Point. Itís about a 10 knot wind, weíll probably have to tack at least once to get out of the mouth of the inlet.

0900hrs

Rounding Sarah Point on a reach at 6+ knots in a nice breeze! The skies are clearing to the west and I suspect the sun will be with us shortly. It looks like a down wind run once we turn the corner.

0930hrs

Into Thulin Pass with a light wind over the stern, wing and wing. The sun isnít here just yet. I called Dick and he was already down at the Inner Harbour with the kids trying to get onto one of the Tall Ships at the Festival in Victoria. He wonít be able to make it to Nanaimo to meet me so I guess Iím single handed all the way.

0945hrs

The wind got real light and the engine is on. Weíre powering to Lund. Only three boats in the Copeland Island anchorage.

1020hrs

Tied up at Lund on the inside of the floating breakwater. The docks are busy, the sun is out. Time to do some cleaning! The wind has all but died.

2115hrs

A multitude of stereos, the rich smell of outboard engine exhaust and the setting sun, yes, weíre at Lund. Itís actually quiet on the floating breakwater but busy everywhere else. The sun has gone down behind some clouds over Campbell River. Itís supposed to be sunny again tomorrow but Iím not holding my breath. I just hope for some wind, I donít care what direction.

After arriving here this morning I took the laundry up the hotel and got to the machines long before anyone else. I also had the water jug and sun shower with me. The water tank had gone dry as I was brushing my teeth! For the rest of the morning I shuttled water to the boat, had lunch at the bakery, finished the laundry and checked my e-mail. The e-mail for public access obviously had a problem with Shaw cable and I got to use the receptionist computer to check on my account. There was an e-mail from Paul of all people regarding the Islander Rendezvous. No new boats. Paul is tied up next to Passat at Point Roberts. So I gave him a call. He would like to be there at Thetis Island but his father is turning 90 that weekend so heíll be in Kelowna.

I got back to the boat between trips ashore and washed out the dinghy using salt water. Did the same to all the dog hair in the cockpit. Cleaned up the outside cushions, vacuumed the inside of the boat until the battery died (and could have built another dog!). Got groceries at the store and two blocks/bags of ice that should last the rest of the trip. All of that took most of the day. I had an ice cream at the little shop and bought a newspaper (Vancouver Sun). Read that in the hot sun overlooking the harbour as the tide continued to drop to close to zero. Then back to the boat to read a magazine. By that time it was close to 1800hrs and I was getting hungry. Up to the bar for dinner and then back down here. Had a short chat with the guys (four of them) on the chartered Bavarian 36 parked off my stern. They are up for a few more days and then back to Powell River and home to Edmonton. It sounds like the bakery has a live singer in tonight. Not that heís loud, I can hardly hear him, but every once in a while the audience claps. There is a boat in here (long term moorage) that has a stereo on that is interfering with the sound. There are mosquitoes here as well, the coils are lit!

Tomorrow Iím going to try for the Hardy Islands or Smugglers if the tide holds out. The weather forecast is for light and variable tomorrow so I suspect that I will be powering most of the way.

Sunday, June 26th Date Lund to Lisquiti Island

The goal for the first step homeward bound was to get as far south as possible in the large ebb tide. The weather forecast was for light and variable winds from the SE with the possibility of showers. I expected light to no winds as the front that was due to come through was very weak. It wouldnít be the first time I would motor for a 8 Ė 10 hour day.

Campbell River

1435

3.6 ft

2220

13.5 ft

   
   

52 nm

0700hrs

Just motoring out of Lund, not much else is up and running yet. A couple of the fish boats are also cranked up. The skies are completely clouded over and looking quite dark towards Campbell River. There appears to be an easterly breeze out there. The weather guys are saying rain south of Nanaimo with SE 10 Ė 15 knots this morning, easing to variable this afternoon. Weíre going to try for the Hardy Islands today and it looks like it will be motor all the way so far. Weíre aimed at Grief Point.

0740hrs

Abeam of Dinner Rk. Itís about a 12 knot SE wind here, a light chop on the water. The current is still against us for another two hours. I can see the bell buoy for the reef south of Savory Island. If the wind holds Iíll probably head over to Cape Lazo, go across today and then get the ebb when the wind dies this afternoon. May even end up at the south end of Texada, possibly Jedidiah Island.

This change of plan was to take advantage of the SE breeze that looked pretty consistent as far as I could see across Georgia Strait. At this point the current was still against me for another two hours and that is about as long as it would take me to cross the strait. The further north at this point in the strait, the less current against. Once across the strait I expected to be close to Cape Lazo with the option of going into Comox / Courtenay if the weather turned against us. If it didnít, the tide would change and I would take advantage of the ebb to power further south.

0755hrs

The sails are up, weíre headed for Vivian Island on a close haul in about 12 knots of wind, no waves to speak of. Jedidiah Island is 31 miles away (as the crow flies).

0810hrs

Just put a reef in the main, a bit better control. Weíre just clear of the bell buoy that marks the Savory Island reef. The wind is up to about 15+ knots, a light chop. Cruising along at 5.2 over the bottom, 5.5 through the water.

0820hrs

Abeam of Vivian Island. The weather report just issued a small craft warning, 15 to 20 knots this morning, easing to variable this afternoon. Looks like I may have to let the reef out as the wind is lightening. No other boats out here at all with the exception of BC Ferries, 810 out of Powell River.

0930hrs

Off the top end of Texada Island. I can see Cape Lazo clearly ahead. The reef is still in the main and the seas are starting to build. The tide must be close to changing. Weíre still doing about five knots over the bottom on a close haul. Itís starting to get chilly, time to put my jacket on. The clouds are still very thick to the NW, looks like itís raining all over Desolation, including Lund. Some showers to the SE.

0945hrs

The reef just came out of the main, itís getting light. Down to four knots of boat speed.

1015hrs

Another lone sailboat coming out of Comox on opposite tack, going north to Lund it appears. The mountain tops of Vancouver Island are clear above a low bar of clouds. There is rain behind me now over the north tip of Texada.

1100hrs 49.40.583 124. 6.937

Weíre just inside a line from Cape Lazo to Hornby Island. I suspect the current here is still a bit against us, we went by a fish buoy and it looks like the water was drifting north. No rain on us yet.

1125hrs

The tide has definitely changed, now weíre into short, steep seas with the 15 knot SE breeze. The wind has backed and weíre still headed on the same tack for Denman Island, about two miles off shore. The backing wind has enabled me to curve further south. Sisterís Island is reporting 15 knots, Entrance Island lighthouse is reporting 17. Weíre at 5.2 knots over the bottom on a close haul. There is a channel between Denman and Hornby. If it gets too rough out here thatís where Iíll head. If necessary I can power through there and then starboard tack over to Lasqueti.

1200hrs 49.35.544 124.45.842

The wind is building, there are plenty of whitecaps around now. That could also be because of the big ebb against the SE wind too. Weíre cruising along the shore of Denman Island, the wind backing enough that I should be able to make the channel without having to tack. I need to get out of the waves for a bit, bladder relief and time to get some water. Weíre doing 5.7 knots over the bottom and spray into the cockpit on some of the bigger waves.

1215hrs

Weíre getting closer to Denman Island. Weíre going 7 knots over the bottom, 5.5 through the water. The swells are easing somewhat as we get sheltered by Hornby Island. I need to take a break soon.

1315hrs

In the channel between Denman and Hornby. The last few minutes have not been fun! Eventually I ran out of room on the Denman side and tacked towards Hornby Island. It appears that there is quite a current through this pass and the seas became very short and steep. I got over to the Hornby side and the wind was really starting to pick up, I suspect a combination of funnel between the two islands and the increased current. I figured that it was time for a break and furled up the jib, cranked up the engine. Although the engine ran, no power. I couldnít even get the boat to go head to wind. The engine couldnít get up to speed either. I suspected a bunch of grass (and there is a lot out here!) got tangled around the keel and prop. Reverse didnít help and I couldnít get any speed going backwards because of the wind. OK then, plan B. The jib came back out and there was no way I was going to make it up the channel. Back around the north side of Hornby it is then! The furling line is wrapped around the drum. Great! Wall to wall white caps.

1400hrs

Just crossed the north tip of reef that extends off Hornby Island. At one point we were in 15 ft of water! Thatís cutting it a bit close but I was using the head while we were cruising on a reach behind Hornby. Now weíre hard on the wind again, itís not quite as rough on this side of Hornby. Cleared the wrap on the furling gear, then had all sorts of wraps on the sheets because of the flogging while I was fixing the furling. Had to haul lines and sheets out of the water. Lotís of fun But weíre set up for a close haul on Starboard tack to Lasqueti. Aimed for Texada.

1430hrs

Coast Guard just broadcast a Pan Pan regarding a kayaker at the south end of Hornby Island in distress due to heat stroke. How the hell do you get heat stroke in these conditions! Weíre not even half way across, still doing 5.5 knots over the bottom, reef in the main. Quite a short, steep sea.

1445hrs

Weather report from a Coast Guard buoy tender near here indicates itís 23 knots from the SE here with a five foot moderate sea. Ran into some substantial wave, burying the bow into one hard enough that it took the anchor out of the roller and left it dangling over the side. Eased the sheets and ran forward to fix that. The wind is easing a bit.

1500hrs

Just took the reef out of the main, need the power to deal with the waves. The wind is easing.

1530hrs

Weíre at Mowat Bay on Texada Island, still 12 miles from our goal. The seas have moderated somewhat. Weíve tacked away from Texada Island and weíre short tacking up the coast to Lasqueti.

1615hrs

Threw in a tack, headed back towards Texada. The seas are smoothing but the wind is also lightening. Thatís a good thing I guess as long as with wind holds out. Weíre still at 5.2 over the ground despite the fact that the current has to have changed to a flood by now. Thatís probably one of the reasons for the calming seas.

1640hrs

Tacked again off Davey Bay, the island just in front of the bay. The wind has eased, still blowing at about 10 knots. Still clouding but the sun is very bright.

1730hrs

Abeam the light on Fagan Island at the north end of Lasqueti Island. Weíre still going about 5 knots to windward, there are no whitecaps left and itís quite smooth. The latest weather report is for increased wind tonight from the SE! Sure would be nice if they got it right every once in a while. At Sisterís Island (which I can see and is only about five miles away) the wind is 11 knots, 15 at Bellenas Island. So things have settled down somewhat, itís quite a bit more comfortable at the moment. Weíre still 5.8 miles away. Probably two hours away yet, weíre still tacking and will tack shortly to go back to the Texada side. Had a nice conversation with Carey. She and Ena had gone to Victoria to see the tall ships but didnít realize that you had to pay to get to the boats. They went shopping instead.

1735hrs

Tacked at Spanish Cove, lots of houses along with beach. Headed back to Texada Island. 5.2 miles to go.

1800hrs

The power just came on. Weíre still 4.6 miles from our destination. We just passed a current line and the flood is definitely against us. We are down to 2 knots towards our goal.

1830hrs

We seem to have a problem with the power-train. Lots of vibration, no drive. Lotís of wash at the back, no go. Back under sail. Iím hoping that itís just weeds. Another challenge.

1900hrs

Under power again, we can maintain four knots at 2200rpm with minimal vibration. Still donít know what it is but weíre headed for the pass between Lasqueti and Jervis Island instead of going all the way around against the flood. Just have to watch for a couple of rocks awash is all. The wind has become very light. The sails are coming down.

2015hrs

The anchor is going down at Bull Island, no one else around and itís starting to spit rain. 54.7 miles. Time to turn on some heat and make dinner.

2250hrs

Itís almost totally dark out now. The rocking and rolling has almost stopped and itís warm inside the cabin. There are mosquitoes here to! I have a coil burning beside me. Almost time for bed, itís been a long, long day and my face is on fire. As I came in here two cruise ships came by in the channel between Lasqueti and Texada! The cruise season must be upon us. I tied the "main" anchorage first, called Long Harbour. It is very long, very narrow and quite shallow. Not somewhere that I wanted to experiment with this time of night. There were only two other boats here, a sailboat that had two stern lines and an anchor. I didnít want to bother with a stern line, just too tired. Came into here and just dropped the anchor with lots of rode.

A great day sailing, 11 hours to windward! Carey would have been thrilled! Not! A bit rough at times but the boat held up just fine. The problem with the engine / drive-train was still an unknown at this point. I suspected a large wrap of weeds. During all that sailing Iíd had to sail through some large drifts of weeds that I hadnít seen early enough to avoid or due to circumstances, couldnít avoid. I had never had weed collect on the prop to any degree that the engine spinning the prop hadnít immediately cleared the problem. But at 2030hrs after a long day sailing I was in no mood to go into the water to find out! Iíd check it out in the morning.

Jedidiah Island is one in a group of islands between Lasqueti and Texada Islands. Itís a fairly new Provincial Marine Park with no dock facilities. The anchorages are somewhat small and deep, requiring stern lines to shore if there is any kind of a crowd.

Monday, June 27th Date Lisquiti Island to Pirates Cove

Point Atkinson

0520

9.5 ft

0945

11.5

1620

4.3

2340

15.7

Dodd Narrows

     
     
     

34.5 nm

0800hrs

Already up to a cloudy sky after a restless night. Couldnít get a good nightís sleep. My face was rather hot and I couldnít turn my head off. It was quiet except for the rain on the roof. I dragged my but out of bed this morning at 0700hrs. Even that was hard! Anyway, breakfast of two egg muffins is done and the dishes put away. The sky is lightening to the NW and the weather report is for NW wind today until this afternoon when itís supposed to get light and variable. The tide turns to ebb at about 1045hrs so Iím going to get going soon. The breeze in the anchorage is about 5 knots so far. WG is NOT active today so itís going to be a straight shot at Nanaimo. Iím listening to the Q this morning and the weather is supposed to improve tomorrow and Wednesday, getting back up to the 20s. Itís time to get going.

Although the engine / drivetrain issue was still there, the wind was blowing from the NW and the conditions were perfect to heading to Nanaimo. If necessary I could pull into the commercial marinas there to effect repairs. If the prop shaft was bent (a possibility considering the vibration) I couldnít do anything about it here anyway.

0820hrs

Weíre underway, sailing off the anchor against a rising NW breeze. Had to haul up 150 ft of rode. That got me warm! Itís 20 miles to Horsewell Rk at Nanaimo.

0830hrs

Sailing in Bull Channel, wing & wing at 4.5 knots on the knotmeter, 5 over the bottom.

0915hrs

Just clearing the south end of Lasqueti Island. I can see Nanaimo from here, itís clear out although cloudy to the SE. There is blue sky to the NW. Weíre 18 miles from Horsewell Rk. A light NW breeze, wing & wind.

0930hrs

Just spoke to Carey, she says itís raining hard in Sidney! The wind is picking up here and weíre on a very broad reach directly for Nanaimo. WG is not active today.

1000hrs

Weíre abeam of Bellenas Island and the winds are up to 17 knots from the NW. Some of these waves are getting right up there, the dinghy is surfing along behind us. The clear sky behind us is taking itís time to catch up. Lots of clouds to the SW and it looks like rain towards Vancouver. Weíre doing about 5.5 through the water, 6+ over the bottom.

1100hrs

Weíre averaging 6.5 knots over the bottom, the wind is easing slightly. At times we were up 8.2 surfing down some of the waves. Great sailing! Weíre 6 miles from Horsewell Rk. Lasqueti is looking very distant. Entrance Island is reporting 17 knots of wind and there is a lone sailboat headed out of Nanaimo towards Smugglers.

1145hrs

Just about at Five Fingers Island and about to reset GPS. Weíve covered 18 miles so far. Headed to Dodd Narrows as the slack there is not until 1435hrs, lots of time to get there, seven miles away. The wind is still about 15 knots with the seas easing just a little. A few more boats are coming out of Departure Bay, fighting their way north against the wind and the current. Still doing about 6.5 knots over the bottom. Still on a very broad reach.

1230hrs

Just 3.2 miles from Dodd Narrows, weíre wing and wing as we go by BC Ferries terminal. The wind has eased somewhat.

1300hrs

About half a mile from Dodd. I can see though it and it looks like there is a breeze all the way through. Iím planning on sailing through as I still doní t know whatís wrong with the engine. Lots of vibration this morning, not a whole lot of thrust. The wind is a bit more finicky now.

1305hrs

Successfully sailed through Dodd Narrows. The wind was a bit light with just enough speed to maintain steerage. The cell phone rang just as I was entering it with video camera in hand. Carey on the line. It got a bit busy with about five knots of current still with us. Now weíre on a broad reach headed for Decourcy Island. Time to call Carey back.

1345hrs

The smoke of the pulp mill at Crofton shows a SE wind and Iím running out of NW wind here. Close ashore on Decourcy now running wing & wing. There must be about 15 sailboats headed my way, all powering as they head for slack at Dodd Narrows. Looks like a parade. The waters around Thetis Island are flat and glassy

1400hrs

At the south end of Decourcy Island and out of wind. The engine is on and weíll power around Ruxon Channel and into Pirates. Still getting lots of vibration out of the engine not much thrust. Seems to work well at about 2000 rpm, getting about 3.5 knots without my fillings coming out. I suspect itís weeds on or around the prop. Iím hoping itís not engine or drive train damage.

1445hrs

The anchor is down, only two sailboats here, very nice and quite. Time for something to drink and eat! Clean up first though.

2110hrs

The sun has just set behind the trees to the NW and the few clouds in the sky are turning pink along with edges, purple inside. There is still a gentle, cool breeze blowing from the SE with barely a ripple in the water. The tide is high and covers the reef at the entrance to the cove. Itís a bit busier now than when I arrived, about 10 boats in here. Thatís still not bad for Pirates Cove in summer!

Once I arrived this afternoon I organized the boat into a resemblance or order. The sun shower wasnít all that hot so I boiled some water and had a lovely shower, washing my hair and shaving. Felt so much better. Even changed my jeans into clean ones. The old ones had salt on them and were constantly damp. Then it was a quick row ashore to take a photo (and get eaten by mosquitoes, five bites in the time it took to walk up the path and back down the ramp!). Then it was sit back and relax with a beer and some chips. Started a book called Big Bad Wolf and itís been interesting. A few more boats came in, a float plane came in and left, picking someone up. The sun got hot and the wind got light. Very nice and warm. Around 1830hrs I got the BBQ going for the NY strip steak that I was going to eat last night. That tasted very good and was more than filling enough. Then I started thinking about the engine again. This afternoon I had checked to make sure that it wasnít anything in the engine compartment, and it wasnít. With the sun low to the western sky, and the water clear, I thought why not use the small mirror and try to see under the boat. I did and low and behold, there is a huge clump of weed twisted around the prop! All right! I was afraid that it might have been a mechanical problem in the engine or drive train. Weed I can deal with. There was an Olsen 34 tied up to the Park Host float so I went over and talked to him. He had a swim ladder built into the stern of the boat. I arranged to use the float tomorrow and use his ladder to get back out of the water after clearing the prop. It will be cold! He has offered me the use of a shorty wet suit. That will make some difference (I hope!), but it will still be damn cold. At least I have my mask on board and I suspect two or three dives under the boat with a knife will solve the problem. Iím almost looking forward to it, now that I know what the problem is!

The sky is one of those paint by number types of skies tonight. Lots of pale blue with touches of purple and pink clouds. The weather types are calling for SE tomorrow with a chance of showers. The sky to the south is clouded over so maybe theyíre right. Now the mosquitoes are eating me alive and itís time to go inside and light up a couple of coils.

Tuesday, June 28th Date Pirates Cove to Annette Inlet

Fulford Harbour

0615

6.2 ft

1030

7.2

1420

4.3

2350

11.2

19.5 nm

0830hrs

Things are good this morning! Not that the weather is anything to write home about, itís cloudy this morning with not a ripple on the water. But I think the boat is back to running as normal. I got up this morning at 0545hrs after a restless night. Last night I couldnít get to sleep, thinking about the necessity of going into the water this morning to clear the prop. But then I started thinking about alternatives. If I could see the prop with a mirror, why couldnít I clear it? Strap a knife to the boat hook and cut the weeds away that way? Well, thatís what I did this morning. After a coffee and the last of the honey cake for a quick breakfast I used electrical ties to strap the large knife to the boat hook pole. Then I tied the dinghy to the stern and, using the mirror again, located the prop. Then it was poke and rip the weed ball. After about an hour (and very cold arms) I know I have most of the weed off the prop and the leading edge of the rudder where it was jammed up against the hull! There is a bit of weed left on the shaft boss but that shouldnít cause too much of a problem. Weíll see how it works when we pull out of here this morning.

Then, while I was working anyway, I checked out the furling drum. On Sunday the line wrapped around the outside of the drum case, unusual. Anyway, I discovered that the nut under the drum had backed off! The forestay could not have let go as the wire twist would have kept the drum from backing all the way out. Anyway, tightened that up. Then checked the backstay tension for accuracy on the gauge. Itís right up to speed. Then tightened the upper stays six half turns each side. Iíll leave the inners until I can get someone on board and going to windward. The rig feels tighter already. Then fixed the port side lifeline tension as well as the throttle cable tension to keep the throttle from backing off at speed. Weíll see if thatís going to be tight enough. Inside I repaired both of the lights that were not working (not that we needed them this time of year!). All in all, not a bad morningís work. Now itís time for another cup of tea and then maybe a proper breakfast. Thereís no hurry to get out of here yet, there is no wind and the tide doesnít start to fall until 1120hrs. The weather gurus are saying 15 knots from the SE with clearing skies this afternoon. Weíll see. If everything is right I may be able to make it to Montague or Annette Inlet before the tide changes into a full blown flood.

1115hrs

Powering out of Pirates Cove. It looks pretty flat out there but the tide is now dropping and Iíve got a few miles to put on. About 20 to be exact if I can make it to Prevost Island today. Itís completely cloudy and the motor is working as expected so far, but weíre not out of the anchorage yet either.

1125hrs

Weíre set on course southbound, a very light ripple on the water from the east. Weíre back up to speed, the RPM and knots match again! There does seem to be a bit more vibration but there is a bit more weed down there as well.

1140hrs

The engine is off, there is a light easterly breeze building so weíll try to sail for a while. Hopefully it will build into something useful.

1220hrs

Well, I tried for as long as I could. No wind to speak of now and the power is back on. Weíre off the south end of Pylades Island. No break in the clouds yet. There are a couple of boats headed for Dodd Narrows already.

1230hrs

Looks like the SE wind has started up. Weíre off of Blackberry Point on Valdes island and weíre tacking to windward on a rippled sea.

1315hrs

Weíre just north of Poulier Pass. Weíre had a nice sail to windward for the past little while. The current is with us although not that much yet. The power is back on now as itís glassy calm as far south as the eye can see. Itís starting to clear up a bit to the NW.

1400hrs

Weíve got past Poulier Pass and are just north of the start of the Secretary Islands. A SE breeze has started up and is quite a bit cooler than this morningís air temperature. You could see the wind coming as the seas to the south darkened. The sails are back in action, the engine off. Hard on the wind. Weíre still 11 miles from Prevost Island.

1445hrs

Close to Victoria Shoal in Trincomali Channel. A great sail so far, hard on the wind with a great current pushing us south. Great tacking angles! Weíre going about 5.5 to windward and about 6.6 over the bottom! There are a few sailboats around, a Hans Christian going our way but heís powering.

1555hrs

Close to Nose Point on Saltspring Island. I just put a reef in the main. The wind has picked up a bit and there are whitecaps around. We were over on our side a bit too much. The tuning of the rig has helped quite a bit, the boat is going to weather like a freight train. A few boats going north now, all powering with just a jib or main out. Itís blowing a good 15 knots from the SE. Weíre still doing 6.3 over the bottom. I spoke to Carey before Iíll lose the signal at Prevost. She was at work of course and busy when I phoned. She called back a few minutes later. I asked if Natasha was coming over this weekend and she will see if those arrangements can be made, now that I will be home for the weekend.

1630hrs

The sails just came down at the entrance to Annette Inlet. The power is back on to get in there. Almost clear skies.

2045hrs

Sitting in the cockpit with my sweater on, a blanket over my legs and a glass of wine close at hand. Although itís clear overhead, the sun is now obscured by clouds to the west, the next front approaching from the northwest. The southeast wind is still blowing about 12 Ė15 knots, itís a bit chilly.

It was a great sail this afternoon! More sunshine would have been nice but the wind was there none-the-less. With a large ebbing tide the tacks down Trincomali were at great angles. The boat was heeled right over with the rail almost in the water, chugging to windward at 5.5 Ė 6 knots. The speed on the GPS was even better. Not a whole lot of boats out, a few going northbound, all with only one sail up and the motor running. Once into Captainís Passage the current got a bit weird and it took a while to tack my way to the front of Annette Inlet. The wind was up and down and at one point I had a reef in the main, then took it out. Lots of practice tacking and doing it well. Anyway, I got into Annette to find one sailboat and one power boat in the main anchorage. Powered in and dropped the anchor off the floating home on the east shore. Lots of crab trap floats around. The sun was out and I made myself a rum & coke along with a can of chips as an appy once the boat was settled into place. Finished my book, "Big Bad Wolf", which doesnít come to any real conclusion and only leads to a sequel should I want to read that. Oh well. A couple of guys come in a Beneteau 37 from Sidney. Of course, although they have the entire bay, they anchor right in front of me. I could have hit them with an egg toss, let alone a throw. Once I figured out that they were planning on staying, I started the engine and walked forward to raise the anchor (not a big deal seeing weíre in only 15 ft of water). The skipper apologies for invading my privacy! I told him that collision during the night was my concern, and that I needed the exercise anyway! I moved back about 100 ft and dropped again. The joke was that he and his buddy went on a dinghy trip with their trusty little Mercury outboard and were gone for quite a while. Then I noticed them rowing back into the inlet against the wind. I guess they forgot to fill up the fuel tank. What a shame!

By 1900hrs the BBQ was going for three pieces of chicken left in the cooler. By 1930hrs that was going down the hatch very will. Very tasty although I couldnít finish all three breasts. One went to the benefit of the seal that has been hanging around all evening.

The tide is just about all the way up again and it seems the wind is easing a bit, the gusts are not as intense as they have been. I can see all the way into Ganges Harbour from where I sit and there are no white caps out there. I can hear the BC Ferries every once in a while as they go through Active Pass.

Wednesday, July 29th Date Annette Inlet to Home

Fulford Harbour

0705

4.9 ft

1250

7.2

1715

5.9

   

0815 hrs

Just hauled the anchor up! It looks like a good morning for sailing! There is a light SE breeze through the anchorage this morning and Iím sailing off the hook. Of course, hauling up 120 ft of line out of 20 ft of water against the breeze with the main already up is enough to give a guy a heart attack! Anyway, drifting downwind to the entrance, the sky a solid overcast. There is a rising tide this morning so it will be against us, but itís only a 3 ft difference. That shouldnít create too much current in Captainís Passage.

Had a very good nightís sleep last night so the wind must have died shortly after I crashed at 2245hrs. Left all the hatches open, no mosquitoes! Kind of nice for a change. Woke up this morning to a dead calm at about 0600hrs and then must have fallen back to sleep because the next thing I know Iím being woken by the rigging rattling in the wind at 0700hrs. Up and atíem. I was planning on doing some cleaning and repairs this morning before the tide change at about noon, but with the wind already blowing, I had scrambled eggs for breakfast, a quick cleanup and now Iím headed out.

0825hr

Weíre out past U62 in about 12 Ė 15 knots of wind, right on the nose, close hauled towards the other side of Captainís Passage. There arenít a whole lot of boats out here. One lone sailboat powering out of Ganges Harbour with his main up.

0930hrs

The wind has lightened a bit, weíre at Beaver Point already. Had a great sail to windward along the Saltspring Island side of the passage, lots of tacks. The other sailboat finally decided to also go sailing and heís so far behind now that I canít make out how big the boat is anymore. I think it was a Catalina 30. The wind is curling around Beaver Point a bit so I think weíll head over to Thieves Bay. It looks like thereís more wind over there.

0945hrs

Already off Thieves Bay and tacked to go towards Morsby Pass. Not much current to speak of and the wind is much stronger over here. Hard on the wind on a port tack, looks like I can lay the pass from here.

1015hrs

Into Morsby Pass, sharing it with the Spirit of Vancouver Island. The wind has eased again and Iíll have to tack over to the light to clear the reefs around Portland Island. The skys are clearing.

1100hrs

Just in past the tip of Coal Island. We did have to throw in one tack in Morsby Pass and then it was a hard on the increasing wind to here. Almost completely clear skies now, but the wind is very cold.

1115hrs

The engine is on as I power into the harbour. The wind is still picking up and itís cold. Lots of sun around though.

1430hrs

Sitting at home on the patio, laptop in my lap. Finishing off the last of the log for this year. Ena was waiting when I got to the dock and after cleaning up the dinghy and putting it away, we had a beer. Then it was taking all the stuff home and cleaning it up. The laundry is in the wash and Iíve had a shower. The wind is still blowing quite hard and itís a cold breeze, but the sun is warm in the back yard.