Logbook Days 45, 46,
6/24/2004 - 6/26/2004
The Gulf Islands
We crossed into Canada and explored the beautiful Gulf
Islands along the SE shore of Vancouver Island
Fisherman's Bay to Otter Bay
We got up at 8:00am and left the marina with the kids still tucked in
their staterooms. The magic of the fabric panels lends a wonderful
calm to the mornings before they rise. We motored peacefully over to Friday Harbor
and tied up on the back side of the customs dock in the first come first
served free area. With everyone now awake and dressed, we went up to
a cafe for breakfast. Dawn went shopping and sent off the mail on our
last stop in the US. We were ready to leave at 12:00pm.
Our course turned north up San Juan channel, past
Spieden and Flattop cutting across Boundary Pass east of Stuart and
across that dotted line on the GPS chart that announced we were now in
Canada. We went directly to Bedwell harbor on South Pender
arriving at 2:00pm at the customs dock. I had seen some customs
agents on the dock, but when I got up to the office with all our papers
every sign directed me to the phones. Lifting one of these
connected me quickly to a agent somewhere. It took a while to get
all the information entered into the database as this was our first time
taking the boat into Canada. I could hear the agent typing and
typing. Once past that, and after a few simple questions he
indicated we would not be seeing a agent today, gave us a clearance
number for the window and said "have a nice trip".
We then left Bedwell for Otter Bay on North Pender
just out around the point a 1/2 hour north.
The marina is tucked in to the left at the head of the bay behind a
picnic area on the breakwater with a line of flag poles flying all the
province flags. We arrived at 3:00pm and, on the second try, tied up in a slip facing aft to the bay. The
kids promptly went fishing and Dawn went to do laundry. The
property is quite nice with a small but adequate store. When we
arrived the staff was dealing with catching a bird that had become
trapped up in the stores high vaulted ceiling. They are doing a fair bit
of construction on the property building what appear to be small cabin
units. After a bit, we
all headed up to the pool to swim. While the boys swam we had a
nice discussion with one of our dock mates about the joys of Princess
Louisa that are yet to come. When we returned to the boat we
had a pasta and ham dinner. The kids watched a movie "Master of
Disguise", a very strange flick, then we all got to bed around 10:30pm. It was another
windy night and the flags rattled the stays. We also had some of
the first mosquitoes to deal with and began to take more care in keeping
the canvas zipped up.
Otter Bay to Pirates Cove
The morning brought a renewal of the construction noise and we were
soon ready to leave.
We left Otter bay around noon. I had thought
they had fuel here, but they don't so we had to make a detour into Ganges
harbor on Salt Spring island entering under Prevost Island. Once filled up
we got permission to remain at the end of the fuel dock for 20 minutes
that turned into an hour. The boys did
some successful fishing while Dawn made a major shopping trip to a
nearby 'real' store. Once back with the groceries we hurried to
leave as it was late and we had to go south before we could turn north
We were pinned against the dock by the wind so we used a spring line to back
away, one of our more elegant departures.
We motored south for the turn around Nose point out for
Trincomaly channel along Galiano
Island. The wind was dead astern so we decided to fill the ballast
and sail wing on wing. We ran for about 3 hours this way at 4
knots to the Porlier pass entrance. Initially we were passed by a
Catalina 38 also wing on wing, but with a few adjustments to the trim we
soon were glued to their tail and near the end closed up the distance. The kids went through two
movies during the passage. Time had slipped away and we still had
a ways to our planned stop. Detailed inspection of the cruising
guide didn't yield an alternate stop that was appealing so we elected to
press on. Galiano and Valdes are all steep cliffs with no inviting
bays and anyplace else would require a further detour to the west. We dropped the sails and emptied ballast, then made a speed
run to Pylades channel and Pirates cove. We were glad we did.
When we entered there were already about 9 boats in
the cove. We decided to anchor and shore tie in the furthest SE
corner near the reef. We anchored in 15' and backed in. Our neighbor offered to run the shore tie for us as
we didn't yet have our dinghy inflated. Once pulled in to shore we
were parked in 11' of water yet we were still to far out. I
inflated the dinghy and took Dawn and the kids to shore then set about
pulling up the anchor and moving it closer to shore using the dinghy, as
we has set it to far out. There's a first time for everything.
Once everything was re-adjusted I picked up Dawn and the kids and we BBQ'd steaks for a late 9:30pm dinner.
What a beautiful place, the glass smooth cove glowed at sunset.
The shore is a soft rock with large undercut areas worn by the waves.
The trip hiking half way around the cove turned out to be quite a rock
climbing adventure for the boys and Dawn. Worn out by the day we
dined and then
went straight to bed.
Pirates Cove to Schooner Bay
The day dawned sunny yet again, the weather has been perfect so far.
In the morning we undid the shore tie and pulled up
the anchor about 9:30am. Dawn drove us out the narrow entrance
past the reef and we turned south to go
around the island at then north to Dodd narrows. We were on time
for a near slack passage yet still worried about it's reputation as a
difficult pass. We cleared the
narrows at 10:45am with no problems. We had a 1-2 knot current with
us going through on the dying flood. It was much shorter and
easier than I expected from all I'd read.
We crossed the bay in front of
Nanaimo and headed into the strait of Georgia. As soon as we were
outside the protection of Gabriola Island we picked up a big following
sea. The wind was up to 15+ and the seas were 3'-4'. We sped
up to 8 knots but the ride was a workout at the wheel to keep our
course. While I steered as the boat yawed back and forth with each
crest everyone else slept. We slid our
way north to Nanoose Harbor. Once in, I searched the shore in vain
for the marina, where are all the masts? I mistakenly thought it was in the
harbor proper, but not finding it, we consulted the guide and found that it is
on the outside along the strait. We banged our way south around
Wallis point and made
our way north where we slipped into the harbor at Schooner Bay marina.
We had an easy entrance, called the office on the radio and were given slip E11.
The fairways are very tight but we got in with no problem. There
were two other macs on our dock, Francis II and TyDi.
Exhausted, we went
up to the restaurant for a beer and a late lunch. The kids then
went swimming while I finally took my turn at resting. There is a nice pool
here and it's well kept facility. Showers are in
the workout room with free unlimited hot water. There was a bit of
swell coming around the breakwater later in the evening so we had some rolling at night
but all in all this marina rates very high on our list so far.
Schooner Cove also is one of the many marina's on our
itinerary that has WiFi coverage. I asked at the office, but they
knew nothing of it and I was sent to the cafe. There they directed
me to the kiosk in the corner. While the service provider was the
one I was looking for, I didn't want to use their computer I wanted to
use mine. I decided what the heck, I'd go to the boat and see what
I could find. I fired up the laptop and immediately got green lights on
the wireless connection. Sure enough it was the marina network and
I was prompted to sign in or give my credit card #. They didn't
have the all day for $9 service advertised at the provider web site, but they did
have 15 minutes for $3. I filled out the forms and was on the net,
momentarily. After the first page everything stopped working.
I finally clicked into the network properties and found Windows was
trying to protect me from this non-secure network by blocking my access.
Once I told XP to butt out, I was on my way. I got email, but
couldn't send, my ISP doesn't allow relaying from an outside network,
and in general was able to catch up on the world. The Mariners are
still losing. My main task was to pay a bill online, but alas it
wasn't one of the ones we had set up ahead of time. Later that
evening I made all the updates to my dad's church website based on the
emails I received and went online again to upload them. You can
get a lot done from the boat.