Saturday, July 4, 2015

C-A N-A D-A!

We left Ganges Harbor on Salt Spring Island and made for Montague Harbor, which is only a few miles away, tucked into Galliano Island.  It's a large, extremely well protected harbor with a park making up one side.  It was nice to be away from the hustle and bustle!  
The iconic Hummingbird Pub on Galliano has a bus which stops at the Marina and the park.  The pub was nice, but not as fun as the bus ride was!  "Tommy Transit," the driver, takes immense pleasure in his work, and hands out classroom instruments to passengers as they board.  He's lined the bus with drums, and plays along with the blasting music while he drives, telling with local stories between songs.   

Rowing home after visiting the Hummingbird Pub. 

We have been extremely lucky with weather.  It's been hot and sunny nearly every day! 

Cody did some diving for crab in Montague and came up with three giant rock crab.  Delicious!  

From Montague, we headed to Wallace Island, which is a small, skinny island in Trincomali Channel.  It's almost entirely a park, and a really lovely one, reminiscent of Sucia Island in the San Juans.  Once upon a time there, a young couple bought the island, with dreams of turning it into a resort.  They built a cabin for themselves, and a few guest cabins.  Unfortunately, they went bankrupt in the end, but their cabin still stands, as well as a picnic structure.  Visiting boaters have made it a tradition to decorate a piece of driftwood with your boat name and attach it to the picnic structure.  There were hundreds of these signs when we visited, and we enjoyed making our own to add to the walls.

From Wallace Island, we made our way slowly to Nanaimo, stopping along the way in Telegraph Harbor and Kendrick Harbor, transiting Gabriola Pass under sail.  

We had a bit of rough sailing between Gabriola Passage and Nanaimo, through the Strait of Georgia.  We earned every inch of the seventeen miles we covered that day, beating into large, lumpy seas and 25 knot headwinds. But we were pleased at how Rabannah handled the heavy conditions, even if I wasn't too happy about them.  

Nanaimo was a nice town to visit.  The historic downtown is charming and walkable.  We particularly enjoyed Newcastle Island Park, which is just across the harbor from the city.  We also ran into our friends Dennis and Ingrid, aboard Tapawingo.  They were heading home for a solstice party, and generously filled our fridge with perishables that wouldn't last until they returned.  

A gaff-rigged schooner under sail in Nanaimo Harbor.  

From Nanaimo, we crossed the Strait of Georgia, which was in entirely a different mood.  Dennis had said to us, the night before we left, "Oh, you'll be fine.  I've never motored across the Strait of Georgia,"  meaning that there's usually ample wind.  On this day, we left the harbor with a fresh breeze, and once we were onto the Strait proper, the wind lightened, and then died.  We dawdled and drifted and lazed around in the sun.  Cody dragged his fishing line, and actually caught a fish!    

This little six-inch Sockeye brightened our day.  A tough little guy, he bit the lure which was only an inch or so smaller than he is.  Remarkably, he survived the experience.  

We anchored that night in Water Bay, in the dark, accompanied by dozens of glowing squid do to the phosphorescence.  There was a nice little park there, which we explored the next morning.  We found a few handfuls of native blackberries there, which made up for the disturbing number of garter snakes in the grass. 

While we were underway that day, dragging our fishing line again, heartened by our success from the day before,  I looked back and saw the lure and "diver" contraption leap out of the water.  Cody reeled it in, entirely certain that the diver was acting up again, and we were shocked and delighted to find this glorious Chinook Salmon on the hook.  

Baked Salmon with lemon vinaigrette for lunch while underway, and a perfect grilled fillet for dinner that night.  

We spent a lovely four days on Lasqueti (pronounced La-skee-tee).  The island grew on us over time.  We enjoyed the first farmer's market of the season, a women's choir performance, a high-octane game of pick up ultimate frisbee, and a restoring visit to a tree house style homemade sauna afterward.  

The view from Mt. Gibraltar.

From Lasqueti we visited Jedediah Island, another Marine Park.  We stayed in tiny Sunset Cove, hiked to Mt. Gibraltar, the highest point of the island, and watched the wild sheep graze.  

I was reluctant, as usual, to jump in from the bowsprit.  But the water wasn't as cold as it usually is!  

Pender Harbor, the "Venice of the Sunshine Coast" was our next stop, to fill up on ice and groceries. We enjoyed hiking to the summit of Mt. Daniels, and the milkshakes from LaVerne's diner.  

We decided that we couldn't miss sailing up Jervis Inlet toward the famous Princess Louisa Inlet.  PLI is guarded by a narrow, dog-leg opening at the mouth, where the flood or ebb current can run at up to 9 knots, and can put your boat on the rocks if you're not careful.  We planned to transit the narrows at slack tide; when the tide is switching from high to low, or from low to high, and the current is negligible.  

Looking up at Malbourough heights while at anchor in Vancouver Bay.

It took us two days to sail from Pender Harbor to Princess Louisa.  We stayed a night in Vancouver Bay, which has a small shallow shelf in the northern corner.  The rest of the bay, just like the inlet, is too deep for anchoring.  The dramatic peaks lining shores of the inlet don't stop at sea level, but continue down to amazing depths, as deep as 1800 feet. 

"Check the depth sounder, will ya?"

Funnily enough, while most of the water is too deep to anchor in, the shelf where we spent the night was just deep enough, and we ran aground for a second while setting sail the next morning.  

Afloat once again, we had some really excellent sailing through the "reaches" toward Princess Louisa.  The wind was at our backs, the sun was shining, and the Mountains just kept coming.  

Luck was on our side, and we managed to arrive at the entrance to the inlet about 5 minutes before the charted slack.  We sailed through, trying to keep calm, while a motor boat full of Young Life campers cheered us on.  (Malibu Camp, a Young Life operation, is located right at the entrance to Princess Louisa.  What a beautiful spot!)

Once at anchor, with a view of Chatterbox Falls, we celebrated Cody's 29th birthday!  With delicious bread pudding cooked underway.  Not a bad place to celebrate!  

We went on a good long hike the next day, up to Sun Lake in the high alpine above the inlet.  We passed many waterfalls, picked wild berries, and swam in the surprisingly warm glacial lake.

Wild Raspberries

Sun Lake

Turquoise alpine waters

Wild blueberries

The Inlet was a truly magical place to visit.  We spent four happy days there, swimming in the salt water, which is as warm as a swimming pool, and rinsing in the fresh water from the falls, which is slightly cooler, but feels great on a hot day.  

We knew, especially as we were sailing in, that there would be a good deal of longer, harder sailing to get out of Jervis Inlet.   We weren't wrong.   The first challenge, of course, was exiting the rapids.  We left early one morning, to allow ourselves ample time to reach the mouth.  Of course, there was more than enough wind, and we arrived there early.  So we sailed around in circles for a while, waiting for the current to abate.  

A screen-shot from our GPS tracking our course while we waited for the rapids to go slack.  

It finally did, and we were off to the races once again.  

 It was good, fast sailing.   

Mr. Vee, our wind vane (self-steering) handled most of the steering.  He loves going to windward in lots of wind.  

After a short, calm night spent in tiny McMurray Bay, where there's just enough room on a shelf to anchor, we headed out in the early morning.  It was still calm, and we knew that once the sun rose, the inflow winds would kick up again, which would make it tricky to exit the bay.   We sailed 20 miles that day, and our early start meant that we dropped anchor in Green Bay (Home of the Packers) off of Agamemnon Channel around 2pm.  

Cody went for a swim (with his wetsuit), and caught me a sea cucumber.  I'd never seen one up close before.  What a little alien!  I went for a sunny row to check out a little waterfall, and then we both napped.  

We made it back to Pender Harbor yesterday afternoon.  

We're thinking of heading to Vancouver next, where you can anchor right in the city!

We hope everyone has a fabulous fourth!

1 comment:

  1. Super Duper post guys! Trolling a lure, not dragging... Trolling involves skill, right? There is skill involved right?
    Cody used to hate cold water. Boat seems to be performing well!
    Sail on...