Anacortes to Montague Harbour – 6/29/2014

I had planned on a long run for our first day, so an early start was key. I got up a little before 5, got dressed, turned the coffee water on (I love the reliable start on that new stove), and made ready to get underway. I released the dock lines by 5:25am and we idled out of Cap Sante Marina. One other rendezvous attendee was up at that hour, and he gave us a farewell wave as we quietly glided past the boat slips.

The sky was overcast, with a light breeze out of the south. It is already daylight at 5am around here at this time of year, but I had turned the running lights and steaming light on anyway, to enhance our visibility for the first hour. We were the only boat moving as we exited Guemes Channel and headed across Bellingham and Rosario Straits, on our way toward the San Juans. We ran up the east shore of Blakely Island against a slight ebb current, but got a nice 3 knot push in the narrow Peavine Pass, between Obstruction and Blakely Islands. We threaded our way through the San Juans, exiting via Spring Passage, between Jones and Orcas Islands. As we entered the more open waters of Boundary Pass, I unfurled the genoa to take advantage of a southerly breeze. We motor sailed at a speed of 5 knots, with the engine turning at around 2000 rpm.

Several light rain showers spattered us during the course of the day. In between, teasing sun breaks brightened the waters. We crossed the U.S./Canada boundary at around 11am. I hoisted our yellow “Q” flag, signifying that we were a foreign vessel which had not yet cleared Candadian Customs. Just before noon we entered Bedwell Harbour, South Pender Island, and made for the Customs dock. We tied up there. I grabbed our passports, boat registration, and note pad, walked up the ramp to the Customs office (which was unoccuppied), and picked up one of the telephones there, to announce our arrival. The Customs official was very official. All she wanted to know was our names, our boat’s registration number, how long we planned to be in Canada, the purpose of our visit, and whether we had any alcohol, firearms, or animals on board. My answers seemed to satisfy, since she gave us our clearance number without hesitation.

With that in hand, we were free to proceed with our Canadian cruise. As we were leaving, 4 or 5 other American flagged boats were heading for the Customs dock. We felt glad we’d arrived when we did. Out in the open waters of Swanson Channel the southerly breeze had picked up to around 10 knots, so I raised both main and genoa, and we were able to shut down the engine and sail for nearly an hour, while eating our lunch. Unfortunately, the wind didn’t hold, and so I started the engine and we motor sailed for a couple hours. This brought us to the Montague Harbour entrance shortly before 3pm. We passed up the crowded main harbor, and rounded Gray Point. A handful of boats were anchored in the small bay behind the point.DSCF6246 We picked out a nice spot in the lee of the tallest trees on the point, and well inside the other boats. After tidying up the sails, it was cocktail, reading and nap time in the cockpit, followed by a tasty dinner of rice and barbqued pork loin chops. We are now gently bobbing in 15 feet of water as the sun eases its way down. The broken clouds and open view to the west may treat us to a nice sunset. A group of young people have gathered on the beach to watch the sunset develop.


The weather pattern appears settled, so we have hopes of more sun tomorrow. We don’t have quite so far to run. We will pass through Dodd Narrows, and the tide and current schedule appear favorable for our northward passage.


Miles cruised today: 47nm

Total miles cruised on the trip: 73nm

Montague Harbour to Nanoose Harbour – 6/30/2014

I expected this to be an easier day, with 11 miles less to cruise. I checked the current tables last evening, and saw that Dodd Narrows was slack at 12:20 pm. I figured to start at 7am, and try to arrive at the Narrows an hour before slack, riding the flood current through, and setting us up nicely for an early afternoon arrival at our planned anchorage. I raised anchor at the appropriate hour, and we set out on glassy smooth waters. DSCF6262While cruising along at 5.5 knots, the proper speed to get us to Dodd by 11:30am, I decided to take a look at the tide table which is available in our Garmin GPS. To my surprise, we were on a falling tide, instead of the flood. I grabbed the current table book, and discovered that I had misread the tables, reversing flood and ebb. I didn’t want to fight my way against current in Dodd an hour before slack, so I throttled back and we took our time motoring toward the Narrows. Shortly before reaching the Narrows, I switched fuel tanks, since the one I’d been running on ever since we left Oak Harbor was nearly empty. We had been able to make 93 miles on those 12 gallons. We neared Dodd just past noon, and joined a substantial parade of boats who were likewise timing their passage with the slack. DSCF6268 As we entered the Narrows the wind began to pick up, and before DSCF6275 we cleared the Narrows, it was blowing briskly on our nose. We bounced our way against increasing chip, into Northumberland Channel and the approaches to Nanaimo. From there on, the wind was blowing about 15 knots, on our nose, and kicking up a bouncy 3 foot chop. This slowed our progress to around 4.5 knots and delayed our arrival at Nanoose Harbour until 4pm. We dropped anchor just behind the sand spit on the south side of the bay, and are currently sitting comfortably under clear, sunny skies and a pleasant light breeze.

I can’t close this out without recording a brief mention of a gift we were given last night. I discovered it today, when I lifted the steering seat in preparation for switching fuel tanks. In the middle of the night I thought I heard movement on the boat. In my half sleep I told myself it must have been a bird, or maybe I imagined it. I also recalled the comment by a Canadian MacGregor owner who had attended the rendezvous. He said to never feed the otters, because they’ll come aboard your boat and make a terrible mess. Well, when I lifted the steering seat I looked down and found my gift. Lying there, sweet as you please on our stern platform was a large kelp blade and two other strange looking masses. Upon closer examination, the larger clump was the head and guts of a sculpin. I didn’t try very hard to figure out what the second pile was. I hated to seem ungrateful, but we really couldn’t use these gifts, so I scraped them overboard. Not certain who our benefactor was, but otter seems to be most likely.

Distance cruised today: 37nm Total distance cruised to date: 109nm

Nanoose Harbour to Sturt Bay – July 1, 2014 – Canada Day

DSCF6285I rose at 5am and was greeted by a colorful sunrise. A wind out of the west ruffled the waters of our bay as I prepared to get underway. With the favorable wind direction, I raised the mainsail as soon as I got the anchor up and stowed. I motor sailed out of the bay and between the small islands near the harbour entrance. Once in open waters I unfurled the genoa and set sail for Texada Island. DSCF6287We sailed all the way across the Strait of Georgia, averaging 4 knots. As we neared the south end of Texada the wind slacked, and when we rounded the point it was on the nose, so we motored the rest of the way along the east shore of Texada, for a distance of around 20 miles. DSCF6289 We entered Sturt Bay around 2:15pm, and headed for the Texada Yacht Club docks. I called on the radio but got no answer, so we swung over toward the visitor dock sign, where a Canada Day dock party was in full swing, with folks decked out in funny looking Canadian hats with horns sticking out. They pointed us to an open stretch of dock where we tied up. A short time later the wharfinger stopped by for payment. I asked if it was ok to use the hose and water and he said fine. He failed to mention that the water was not potable. After rinsing the salt off the boat I filled our 9 gallon water tank. We later learned about their water problem, and so when we get to Refuge Cove tomorrow I’ll have to pump the water out of the tank, disinfect it with some bleach, and refill with good water.DSCF6295

After tying the boat up we went for a walk into the town. It was very hot out, well into the 80’s. After returning to the boat, we met a couple on a 37′ Tartan. They’re from Seattle and we struck up a fun conversation. Next thing you know, we were invited over to share dinner with them. It turns out they belong to the same yacht club as our MacGregor boat dealers. It was nearly dark before we got back to the boat.

The barometer has been dropping all day, and the wind is supposed to shift from the northwest to the south overnight. By morning it is supposed to be 5 to 10 knots first thing, and then building to 15 – 20 later in the day. I plan on an early start, to hopefully avoid large seas. We should be able to sail downwind, which will be nice. I’m hoping to get in at Refuge Cove close to noon, since we have a lot of chores to do there.

Sturt Bay to Refuge Cove – 7/2/2014

I’m up at 5am again, and off the dock at 5:30. It’s oddly mild out, and the second morning in a row with no dew in the cockpit. Despite the fact that today’s run is relatively short (only 26nm), and even though strong, favorable southerly winds are in the forecast for later in the morning, we’re off early again. The reason is because we have a lot of chores to attend to at Refuge Cove, and the earlier we get there, the better.DSCF6303

The water is glassy smooth for the first 10 miles, but around 7:30 or so the apparent wind begins to shift to the west. I raise the main and run out the jib, in hopes that I’ll be able to do some downwind sailing. The wind remains light all the way to the middle of Malespina Penninsula, but finally, the breeze picks up enough to do some wing on wing sailing. The run through Thulin Passage, past the Copeland Islands, is very scenic. Our previous trips up this way, skies have been overcast, but today, the sky is blue, the sun bright. We motor sail around Sarah Point, and the stunning view of Desolation Sound reveals itself. We cross the Sound in bright sunshine, on slightly choppy waters, with a nice sailing breeze taking us the final mile over to Refuge Cove.


We expected to find the place swarming with boats, however, things were decidedly low key. Just a couple of boats at the fuel dock, where we first headed, but fewer than half a dozen at the mooring docks. I filled our two 12 gallon tanks, taking on a little over 20 gallons. I was really pleased to have gotten this far without having to tap our 10 gallons of reserve supply, which is contained in 3 plastic gas jugs. With the sailing and motor sailing we’ve been able to do, plus good timing of currents, we’ve been able to average 8.5 miles per gallon.

Once we tied up at our mooring slip, the chores began. Groceries, ice, and fishing license must be purchased and stowed in food tubs and coolers. Laundry has to be gathered and carried up to the laundry room for washing, drying, folding, and stowing. The water tank has to be drained, disinfected and drained again, before finally filling with fresh water. While Sandy works on laundry, I’m hauling the deflated dinghy out of the gear stowage area under the cockpit. It must be inflated, rigged with towing bridle, and set up with oars, lifejackets, and dinghy gear container. Then the entire aft stowage area must be reorganized. The entire process is made all the more taxing by a surprisingly hot day. We’re finally almost done, and we’re both very tired.

Tomorrow will be our final big push, and the longest run of the trip. We plan on covering more than 50nm, running past 4 sets of tidal rapids. I’ve worked out a schedule which will enable us to pass each rapid at optimal time, and taking advantage of an ebb current for much of the day. The weather is forecast to be fair once again, so we’re looking forward to this run. And after tomorrow, we will be in the vicinity of the Broughtons, with a much more leisurely schedule in the offing.

Refuge Cove to Forward Harbour – 7/3/2014

DSCF6312Up at 4:15am this morning so we can be underway by 5. I’ve been able to wake myself for 5:30 departures, but I set the alarm just in case, and it was a good thing. It was important to start early, since we needed to be at the entrance to Yaculta Rapids by 8:30am. I had earlier calculated that, with a 5am departure and averaging 5.7 kts, we would be positioned just right. We were all by ourselves at first, but soon other boats began showing up from various side channels, all with the same plan as ours; namely to pass Yaculta and Gilliard Rapids 30 to 45 minutes before the turn from flood to ebb, and then transiting the potentially hazardous Dent Rapids right at slack. As we neared the entrance to Yaculta, we found ourselves in the midst of a small fleet, around a dozen boats, both sail and power, all forming into a loose single file line and heading on through. This morning just happened to be a small tidal swing, so the current effects were less than is sometimes the case. DSCF6318 We took advantage of backcurrent eddies below Yaculta, and then bucked a 3 kt current in Yaculta and Gilliard. After clearing the Gilliard narrows, the current eased, both with the wider channel and with the nearing of slack and the reversing of current. Several luxurious resorts look out over this stretch of channel. It’s also popular with bald eagles. We spotted one tree with dozens of eagles perched in its branches. I would have taken a picture, but I would have lost my place in the parade of boats passing through.

As it was, we timed Dent perfectly, and then continued onward, anticipating the start of the ebb, which would give us a welcome push toward Greene Point Rapids, 13nm further along. I tried to maintain 6.5 kts so as to reach Greene Point near its slack. We arrived on schedule, but found several knots of current running, fortunately in our direction of travel. We enjoyed the push, and watched the little eddies and whirlpools which spiraled along on the water surface. Harbor porpoise seemed to find the turbulent currents to their liking. A group of 6 or 7 of them engaged in frisky feeding activity along the edge of current lines and boat wakes. We just missed seeing a black bear on an island beach. A boat ahead of us reported the sighting on his VHF radio, but the bear had retreated into the brush by the time we passed by.

Ominous sounding Whirlpool Rapids was the final hurdle in today’s passage. We reached it at 1pm after a quick passage down from Greene Point, thanks to a strong ebb current. Whirlpool was running around 3 knots, but posed no difficulties. For some time along this stretch, I had been monitoring the radio, listening to other boats talking about where they were headed. It seemed that most of the fleet was planning to stop at Forward Harbour, just as we were. Before starting the trip, I had identified this place as a strategically well placed anchorage, just past the 5 tidal rapids and just before notorious Johnstone Strait, which is usually best run in early morning. It seems that nearly every other boater in this corner of BC has also figured this out. I speculated on finding about 4 other boats anchored there by the time we arrived. When the anchorage came into view, I counted 10 other boats already tucked in. It was challenging to find a spot, but I used the old MacGregor trick of moving further in than the rest of the fleet, and we finally got our spot. After a short nap we dinghied ashore and walked a rough trail over to the bay on the other side of the penninsula. By the time we returned, a total of 21 boats were swinging at anchor. Dinner consisted of a delicious stir fry: fresh sliced peppers and onions, left over slices of pork loin, served over rice and flavored with a savory Korean spicy beef stir fry sauce.


Tomorrow we’ll start moderately early, perhaps 6am, for the run up Johnstone Strait and a welcome stop at the Port Harvey Marina, where we’ll take a slip. We understand that they celebrate the 4th of July there, so we intend to represent the good old USA.

Forward Bay to Port Harvey Resort Marina – 7/4/2014

Not quite so early a start today, with a planned run only half as long as yesterday’s. Still, I got off the anchor at 5:30am, after taking a few minutes to untangle a mess I’d made yesterday. I had tried setting up a trip line on a float, however, the trip line managed to foul itself on the anchor chain, and then to complicate things further, it managed to get crossed up with the centerboard. Fortunately, I was able to undo things without too much difficulty, and we were off, on our way toward Johnstone Strait. We had a good run, with conditions on the Strait virtually calm. We were grateful, since this stretch of water has a nasty reputation, when it gets windy.

The morning was chilly, and I wore my polar fleece over jeans and jacket for the firt time. We got a little sun early, but then it clouded up and by the time we arrived at the Port Harvey dock it was starting to rain. DSCF6322 I quickly deployed the cockpit surround, met up with George, the proprietor, and we settled in. He told me that a guy yesterday had caught 4 legal crabs right off the dock, so I put the trap together, baited it up with some outdated crab meat George gave me, and dropped it in at the end of the dock. I checked it a few times, and it came up empty each time. During a lull in the rain, I walked over to the low tide flats and dug up some clams, to freshen up my bait. Despite the enhancement, the trap came up empty each time I checked it.

We did a little shopping in their small store, which contains a remarkable variety of items. We also signed up for a pizza dinner at their restaurant, and ordered some cinnamon buns for tomorrow’s breakfast, plus two extra to take with us.

When we arrived around 10 am we were the first boat in. A 31 foot Catalina sailboat was close on our heels. Boats continued to arrive over the course of the day, and by mid afternoon, the docks were 3/4 occuppied. We were able to log onto internet, and catch up on email. I inserted pictures for several early journal entries, but when I tried uploading them, the internet connection quit, so I’ll have to wait until a good connection is available, before posting. Apparently the rain interferes with reception.DSCF6325

Dinner was great. The restaurant is called the Red Shoe Restaurant, and if you give them a red shoe, you get a free dessert. We didn’t have any red shoes to spare, and it was just as well, since after eating our pizza we were stuffed. It was excellent. We shared table with the couple from the boat, Ad Libitum, which came in just after us. Nice folks, from Anacortes, who are cruising the Broughtons like us. We may well see them again along the way. Following dinner, we cozied up in the cabin and watched a rented movie, which made for a nice end to a drizzly day.

Port Harvey to Lagoon Cove Marina – 7/5/2014

DSCF6331It rained most of the night, and was still raining when we got up this morning. We went up to the restaurant at 7am, and George was busy in the kitchen. He served up our preordered cinnamon buns, nicely warmed and delicious with a cup of steaming coffee. After breakfast I walked down to the end of the dock, where I’d dropped off my crab trap yesterday evening. I hauled it up, and was surprised to see 5 dungeness crabs scurrying around, inside. Some of them looked big enough to keep. I got my regulations booklet out and checked the size limit for dungeness. Then I took my crab caliper, which is marked for the Washington State size limit, up to the restaurant, so I could get it measured for the Canadian size limit. Crab here need to be 1/2 inch wider than in Washington. Back at the trap, I hopefully measured the largest crab. Darn! It was 1/8 inch too small. Back into the water with it, along with the others. George later helpfully suggested that those crabs which are just undersized can be made a little bigger by stepping on them. As much as I love crab, I’m convinced that completely legal ones really do taste better.

We puttered around the boat with little chores, not getting underway until around 10:30am. This was partly due to the rain, and partly because we needed to transit Chatham Channel, which runs around 3 knots with the ebb and flood. It was predicted to change to ebb at 12:30pm. Our late departure would enable us to catch the start of the ebb, and make the run to Lagoon Cove a little less difficult. It rained off and on for the first half of the trip, and the wind kicked up a bit, mostly on our stern. I was able to run out the jib and benefit from a push as we went up Chatham. The wind and current continued to favor us as we rounded the corner and into The Blow Hole, another narrow channel. Just past the Blow Hole is the entrance to Lagoon Cove Marina. I called them on Channel 66A, which is the channel all marinas in this region use for hailing. The lady answered right away, recognizing us as a MacGregor 26X. We were expected. How nice. We pulled up to the fuel dock, and after taking on gas, the lady gave us an informative orientation on the facilities and how things work here. In the midst of her spiel, another boat showed up, wanting to get in to the fuel dock, so we quickly untied and moved over to our mooring spot. I had to back in, around the bow of a large motor yacht, but with lots of hands on the dock to take lines, we got safely secured.DSCF6351

This is another unique and interesting place. I got some tips on crabbing spots, and some bait in the form of prawn heads. After running the crab trap out to, hopefully, the perfect location, Sandy and I went for a walk in the woods and through the property. Very nice trail, which featured an adult swing, with very long ropes. Toward the end of the walk, we encountered the exercise stations. The first consists of a big woodpile, with a splitting maul and a sign withDSCF6353 instructions. The second was a push lawn mower, also with humorous instructions. After our walk, we had just enough time to visit their “emporium” where we picked out a pair of monogramed denim shirts. Then, Sandy put our contribution to the pot luck on the stove for warming. She had come prepared for this potluck, and had prepared a tasty dish, cheesey chicken natcho dip. The potluck is a daily tradition here, and is lots of fun. Everyone DSCF6345 participates, and both food and conversation are most enjoyable. One of the marina operators tends prawn traps, and a big pile of fresh prawns were available on the buffet table. Shells just go over the railing and into the bay.

Tomorrow we’ll head away from the marina scene for a few days exploring some interesting bays to the north of here. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to catch a few fish, and maybe trap some crabs.

Distance cruised today: 13nm Total distance cruised on the trip: 266nm

Lagoon Cove to Bond Sound – 7/6/2014

I was so encouraged by yesterday’s nice evening that I didn’t bother putting up the cockpit surround before we went to bed. Sure enough, in the middle of the night we were both awakened by the patter of rain drops. I figured to heck with it, and just let it rain on the open cockpit. The rain continued for the rest of the night, and it was still coming down when we woke up this morning. Rain drops outside are a great incentive for a slow start to the day. When we finally did get up, we enjoyed coffee and steamed cinnamon buns which we’d brought with us from Port Harvey Marina. They tasted great. By the time I was ready to run out in the dinghy to pull the crab trap, the rain had eased to a light drizzle. All I managed to catch in my trap were 3 sunstars. Our crab dinner will just have to wait. DSCF6368

By the time we got underway, it was already 10:15, but we didn’t have that far to go, so no worries. We motored out from behind Minstrel Island and headed across Knight Inlet. It was quite bouncy out there, with a fresh breeze out of the east kicking up swells on Knight Inlet. The wind was mostly on the nose, so I couldn’t raise sails. Our course then took us up Tribune Channel, where I was able to motor sail in a following breeze. It’s hard to figure what the wind will do in these narrow channels and inlets. The sun started to break out around noon, and our trip up Tribune was enhanced by large numbers of harbor porpoise, which were actively feeding. We saw several leap completely out of the water.DSCF6372 Some came to the surface right next to our boat. They were a delight to watch. Around 2pm we rounded a point and entered Bond Sound. The scenery is dramatic here, with snow patches lingering on the higher peaks and shear rock cliffs all around. Waterfalls trace narrow white streaks down the mountainsides. In places, the forest is scarred with landslides where the soil and trees have broken loose, starting high on the slope and extending all the way down to the sea. These slope failures have scoured right down to bedrock. DSCF6373

Anchoring in Bond Sound is complicated by deep waters which extend nearly to the head of the Sound. A river and a creek enter Bond Sound at its head, and they have built up an extensive shoal, studded with driftwood snags, and at the edge of this shoal the bottom drops off quickly to several hundred feet of depth. We managed to set the anchor in the narrow band of useful depth, in around 30 feet of water at low tide. This put the boat fairly close to the mud flat which is exposed at low tide, but we found enough room. I went to the trouble of rigging a trip line float on the anchor, because of the logs and snags which were evident in the area. Hopefully, the anchor will pull without fouling tomorrow, but if it does, I’m hoping the trip line will work.

After we were secure I set out the crab trap. Then we enjoyed rum cokes while listening to the CD we bought at Port Harvey. The artist calls himself Cap’n Charlie, and he sings Jimmie Buffet style cruising songs, some original. He’s quite good. We were told that he’s a retired school teacher who regularly cruises these waters. He plays at the marinas, and he distributes the profits from the sale of his CD’s to the local marinas. Pretty cool. DSCF6396 For dinner we barbqued pork, onion, and fresh pepper kabobs which were delicious. Then we hopped into the dinghy for an evening explore of Ahta Creek estuary and the mouth of the Ahta River. High tide is at 9pm today, and so we were able to go a good distance up both of these inlets. They were magical places. At any moment we expected a wolf or bear to step out of the woods. After taking Sandy back to the boat, I ran out and checked the crab trap. Just one small male crab in the trap. I freshened the bait with some mussels I had gathered at low tide. Maybe after sitting overnight, I’ll have some luck. Night is now settling in. The afternoon breeze has completely died, and our somewhat exposed anchorage is calm. We have this special place completely to ourselves. DSCF6407

Bond Sound to Kwatsi Bay – Our best day yet = 7/7/2014

Years from now, when we reflect back on some of our best cruising days ever, today will surely rank right up there. Judging by the previous night, it didn’t seem to have a chance. As we prepared to crawl in, Sandy started noticing mosquitoes in the cabin. We had only seen a few outside, before closing the hatch. We buttoned things down as usual, with our sunbrella flap velcroed into position to cover the gap between the companionway hatch and the sliding hatch. Nonetheless, we kept getting buzzed by pesky mosquitoes. We sat up late, intermittently reading and swatting. It didn’t seem possible that so many could be inside, but there they were. We finally gave up and went to sleep, knowing that we would be donating blood that night.

Sandy was awakened early this morning by the buzzing of mosquitoes, and so got up, turned on the stove, and commenced to swatting mosquitoes. It was gray and gloomy outside, not raining, but with low hanging clouds obscuring all but the lowermost slopes of the surrounding mountains. Sandy remarked about how glad she was that we had gone on our dinghy explore yesterday, when it was sunny and clear.DSCF6409 My first chore was to motor out in the dinghy to pull the crab trap. Based on experience thus far, my expectations were low. The trap was sitting in around 90 feet of water, and it felt rather heavy as I hauled my new leaded crab trap line in. As it broke the surface, I was delighted to see that, instead of a pile of sunstars, I had several promising dungeness scurrying about inside. I ran back to the boat and had Sandy pass me the caliper. I had 6 crabs in the trap, and one was clearly well above the minimum size. I carefully removed the second largest crab, verified that it was a male, and measured the width of his carapace. It was legal, just barely but nonetheless legal. The rest were too small, and got tossed back, however, we had a pair of dungeness for our dinner. That’s what I call a perfect start to the day.

I raised the anchor at 9am, having no trouble retrieving both anchor and trip line. Since our day’s destination was less than 10 miles away, I decided to sail out of Bond Sound, into the teeth of a ferocious 8 knot wind. I got a couple of tacks in before the wind died, so I fired up the engine and began motoring out of the Sound. About 200 yards ahead I saw numerous dolphins jumping, and asDSCF6412 we neared them, 5 or 6 charged over in our direction. Soon they were playing under our bow, keeping pace with the boat and then suddenly criss-crossing back and forth. We took turns standing in the bow pulpit to watch the show. Sometimes they seemed to be swimming on their sides, just so they could look up at us. They played with us for around 20 minutes, before we moved beyond their preferred area. By this time we were entering Tribune Channel, and the wind there was blowing about 10 to 12 knots. It was again on our nose, but was fairly steady, and the channel was wide enough for us to tack our way up. We tacked back and forth three times before gaining enough headway to clear the point and enter Kwatsi Bay. Unfortunately, the wind quickly died inside the Bay, however, with the sky brightening and the scenery beginning to be revealed to us, we didn’t mind. We passed a small waterfall on our starboard side, and gazed up at several cascades which tumbled down from the high granite crags which surround Kwatsi Bay. Near the head of DSCF6419 the bay we spotted Kwatsi Bay Marina, a small, rustic place in a magnificent setting. We decided to forego the social setting of the marina, opting instead to anchor out in the inner bay. Just like Bond Sound, the water here is quite deep, rising to anchorable depth rather quickly and fairly close to shore. I picked a spot about 30 feet deep and dropped the anchor and trip line, hoping that we were far enough from shore so that our scope wouldn’t allow us to drift in too close. As it turned out, we managed to hook in just the right place.

The day’s one hiccup occurred shortly after lunch, when Sandy turned the stove on to brew up a cup of coffee. DSCF6420 She reported that the stove was smoking. I knew right away what the problem was. While sailing we had briefly heeled 25 degrees on the starboard tack. From past experience I realized that healing in that range runs the risk of splashing water into the stove’s through hull exhaust opening. When that happens, water collects in the trap in the exhaust tube, and the stove makes smoke. The fix is simple; disconnect the tube from the stove, drain out the water, and reconnect the tube. The last part is the trick, and I fought it for 20 minutes before succeeding.

With the stove once again happy, we dinghied over to the marina, and visited with Anca, the owner.DSCF6426 We purchased a couple of items from her attractive gift shop, and got directions to a nearby trail which leads through the forest to a lovely waterfall. By this time the sky was cloudless and the deepest blue, the sun warm but moderated by the gentlest breeze. It was time for cocktails in the cockpit, while we contemplated tomorrow’s destination. Our dinner was a fitting cap to this wonderful day. I set up the barbque, got a couple of inches of water boiling in our pot, and commenced to steam our crab. Accompanied by a chilled bottle of Reisling, some deli potato salad, and our new CD music, and sitting in one of the most scenic anchorages we’ve ever visited, this dinner was simply exquisite. Cracking crab, tossing the shells over the side and back where they’d come from, it doesn’t get any better.DSCF6433

Miles cruised for the day: 11nm Total miles cruised on the trip: 298nm

Kwatsi Bay to Burwood Group – 7/8/2014

I had originally planned on spending 3 days in the Bond Sound/Kwatsi Bay area, however, we didn’t feel like laying over in that area, and so had an extra day to play with. I flipped through Waggoners and Billy Proctor’s book, looking for an attractive place to visit before we head into Echo Bay on Wednesday. I ended up selecting the Burwood Group, a cluster of islands just 3 miles north of Echo Bay. They were enticingly described in both books, and it sounded like we would have a chance to do some fun dinghy exploration.

Since we didn’t have far to go, we decided on having one of our fancy breakfasts, consisting of french toast and sausage. We ate inside the cabin, since it was once again overcast and chilly outside, and we savored every bite of our tasty, hot fare. After breakfast I prepared to get underway. We said farewell to Kwatsi Bay at 9:30am and motored back out into Tribune Channel. DSCF6436 We soon came to the lovely and aptly named Lacey Falls, where a modest creek spills out onto a beautifully sculpted granite face. The water spreads out as it flows across the rock, tracing delicate contrasting streaks in its downward flow. As we cruised along, I was monitoring both emergency/hailing channel 16 and channel 66A, which the local marinas use. As soon as I heard someone talking with Echo Bay I gave them a call, requesting moorage for tomorrow and Thursday. The lady who answered took our names and boat name, and said they’d be able to accomodate our visit.

We reached the Burwood Group around 11am, and we slowly weaved our way through narrow channels and around small islands. We cruised slowly for two reasons: firstly, the scenery deserves being viewed at a slow pace, and secondly, my depth finder refused to wake up this morning. It’s been occasionally twitchy on a couple of occasions during this trip. Today, it insisted that our depth was 2.5 feet all the way from Kwatsi Bay to the Burwood Group. This is profoundly untrue, with depths of over 1,000 feet in places. By necessity, I watched for hazardous obstructions by zooming in on our GPS chart plotter, and also by watching for kelp patches and looking into the water. It is clear enough here to see down at least 20 to 30 feet. We poked into a couple of potential anchorages, but didn’t like what we were seeing. I decided to try one more location, and it proved to be a winner. We dropped anchor in a little cove, with a shell midden beach immediately to our stern. We had a stunning view back up Tribune Channel in one direction, and a nice view toward Echo Bay in another.

DSCF6451I anchored in the little cove, but decided it would be a good idea to rig a stern tie, since we had very little room to swing. I hauled our stern tie reel out from the back of the king berth, and while I was at it, I brought out our 4 plastic food tubs, since we had started running out of items in our small working food tubs. While Sandy sorted out groceries, I rowed ashore with the shore tie line, ran it around a small cedar, and then rowed back with the line. With the line tied off at the boat, I’ll be able to simply release it on board tomorrow and reel it in. I also good our accumated trash bags ashore, sorted out the burnables, and got rid of them with a small trash fire below the high tide line.

We ate a late lunch, and then climbed into the dinghy for our explore. We stopped to chat with a guy on a sailboat, which had moored on the other side of our little cove, and then headed across the narrow channel in search of a culturally modified tree. Billy Proctor’s book showed one to be located on this island, and he includes some rather cryptic directions on where to DSCF6445look for it. It was kind of like a treasure hunt. We looked for the most likely spot to land the dinghy, and the rugged shoreline didn’t offer many. I guessed right, and found some trail marking ribbon near the shoreline, which led along a rough, narrow path up a steep slope and into the woods. We hadn’t gone more than 150 feet up the slope before we saw the tree. It was a large cedar, perhaps 8 feet in diameter, and with a distinctive, tapering scar perhaps 3 feet wide at the base, and extending at least 25 feet up the tree. This scar had been made by aboriginal people, perhaps hundreds of years ago. The process involved peeling away the bark and then chopping horizontal cuts at both the bottom and the top of the exposed cedar wood. The high cut was probably done by standing atop a rough ladder of some sort. Then wedges were driven into the straight grained cedar and long slabs of cedar were split off. We were standing there looking at an historic First Nations lumber yard. The cedar slabs made in this fashion would have been furter split into boards which could be fashioned into houses and other structures.

We then dinghied around several small islands, enjoying the sunshine which, like yesterday, was gracing our afternoon. Soon it was time to return to the boat and prepare dinner. Todays menue featured venison tacos, and Sandy’s advanced preparation once again paid off. Another delicious meal in paradise. While she was busy cooking, I tended to a couple of minor repairs. I replaced a rubber cap on our swim ladder. We had somehow lost one, and I was pleased to find a spare among my collection of spare parts. Next, I tackled the digital refrigerator temperature display. It had quit working several days ago, and while getting some items out of the fridge, Sandy noticed that the wires on the temperature sensor had been kinked and damaged. I was able to splice the wires back together, and we once again are able to read the temperature inside the fridge. After dinner we went ashore and took a walk around our small island. A neat trail winds its way around the entire perimeter of the island. As we walked along we noticed at least 8 small to medium sized cedar trees which had bark strips removed from them. It was apparent that these trees were only asked to provide bark, with no wood having been chopped and split away. Some of the scars looked fairly recent, while others showed signs of healing along the edges, indicated that they had been done quite some time ago. We finished our walk by scrambling out across some granite boulders for a fine evening view of the surrounding channels, islands and mountains.