Thursday, August 28, 2003

Port Townsend - End of Trail

We finally left Saturna and headed south. The plan was to clear customs in Friday Harbor and hang there for a day; however, the wind and currents where with us and we managed to arrive outside of Friday Harbor about an hour ahead of schedule. The tide was still ebbing like crazy, so we decided to ride it out of Cattle pass and make our way to Port Townsend for the Wooden Boat Festival. We made it to the boat haven pretty earlier and cleared customs before everything shut down at 5. We even managed to get a nice comfortable slip for the week while we provisioned for our trip to San Francisco and fixed anything that needed attention before we headed off shore.
High on my list was dealing with a sticky engine throttle, and thoroughly checking out the rigging. Things went mostly well, except when I had the local rigging shop go over my rigging, they confirmed what I had suspected all along, the rigging was pretty much shot and needed to be replaced. We even found some cracks in some of the swage fittings. Bummer.
So the question becomes, can we fix it and still make San Fran before the season turns or are we stuck here. After beating my head for a week trying to do the impossible, I finally relax and try to remember that those boaters on a schedule are the ones that most frequently get screwed. Besides, this is supposed to be fun, right? The decision is made to postpone the trip and just enjoy the boat show.

The Lady Washington with her Pirate paint job.

After hanging out in Port Townsend a week we decide to go ahead and have Port Townsend Rigging rerig her for us.
It is mid September and I got a B-day coming up, so it is time to head back to Colorado to see if our house is still there. It takes us several days to unload the boat and get ready for the big drive home.
Overall we had a fantastic summer, with some of the best weather you could possible ask for. It never rained and the skies where mostly just clear and blue. We met a whole bunch of great people and we managed to put 700 nm on the boat with out any major incidents. Now if I can just talk my wife into selling the house :-)

(5/13/2004) - After mulling over the decision all winter we are glad we didn't head south. We will now cruise another summer up here and will probably stay up for a third season. Also, other cruisers that left that weekend got pounded by some serious gales. I heard that some even had to get rescued by the CG.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Back in Nanamio we had some wine from the Saturna Island Vineyards and had decided that we needed to do some serious tasting. We also knew that this was going to be our last stop in Canada before our big schlep down south so we decided to live up a bit.
Saturna Island is relatively undeveloped compared to some of the other Gulf Islands. It does have ferry service, a Grocery store and three restaurants. We decided to take up a spot on the public dock in Lyall harbor. Imagine our surprise when we noticed that the majority of the dock was all charred and crispy. It turns out they had a pretty big fire earlier in the summer which completely closed down their ferry. They still had a place for us to tie up, so all was good.
The first thing we did was walk over to the Saturna Lodge and make dinner reservations for that evening. They even sent a shuttle over to pick us and take us back to the boat. We heard that they had some good food and we were not disappointed. It was probably our best meal in Canada.
The next day we walked "downtown" to the grocery store and over a 600' pass to get the winery. The winery was nestled on the southwest corner of the island against some steep cliffs.

Sitting on the Tasting Deck Watching the View

They had a tasting room and place to eat lunch. The Winery and the Saturna Lodge are owned by the same folks, so the lunch was pretty tasty as well. After tasting all of that wine we were feeling lazy and had the locals take us up to the top of the pass while we walked back down the other side.
It was our anniversary, so cooking was out. That evening we had dinner at the Saturna Cafe. It was crab night and we decided to go crazy and get have crab yet one more time.

Happy Anniversary Baby, Got You on My Mind.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Ganges Harbor

Now the good thing about hauling butt yesterday meant that we had only an hour and a half cruise this morning. The plan, Ganges Harbor on Saltspring Island. Now this place is really a time warp. Every fad is present here. Hippies, 70 disco queens, punk rockers, skate punks ... It seems that this town is the last resort for these people. Everything is accepted here and anything goes. The bonus is that there are all kinds of strange and fun businesses to explore. We got your art galleries, book stores (at least 6 in a couple block radius), hardware stores (open since 1907), grocery stores and of course groovy little restaurants. So what did we do? We did a walk about and then headed back to the boat for some serious nap action and some serious sunset watching. We were going to go back and watch some music at the Tree Cafe, but inertia took over and we didn't quite make it.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Monteque Harbor Again

Nothing super exciting here. We left Nanamio after an exciting morning of boat washing and laundry (It is a glamorous life ain't it?). As an added bonus we really couldn't leave until 2pm so that we could hit the slack water at Dodd Narrows. The Narrows were thankfully uneventful and we headed down south to Pirate Cove. Now this particular cove has shallow bar that can only be entered at high water (which was luckily now), but we decided that we didn't want to hang out there for a full day. Since we had been to Montegue Harbor before, we knew that it was an easy anchorage so we decided to head down south.

We arrived at the anchorage at 7:30pm and dropped the anchor, fired up the grill and had some burgers. I also managed to get quite a bit of reading done on the trip down south. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Nanaoimo Again

Another big long day with some mighty fine sailing thrown it. I was a little slack at checking out the distance to Nanamio. The previous evening I was talking with a guy on the dock who was from Nanamio and I asked him how long it would take. "About 5 hours," he said. Well I thought no problem. So the next morning I got up and after a leisurely cup of tee, pull out the charts. It was 40nm to Nanamio, just a bit more than 5 hours. "Holy Crap," I thought and pulled up the anchor while Kathy was making French Toast and Anna was still snoozing. Well we got under way and had some nice French Toast, the wind was blowing and so we pulled up the sails and had a nice scoot down south. Of course the wind died and we had to snub them. But then it picked up to a rollicking 18kts and we managed to beat our way into port. 5 hours? More like 8. But we managed to make it into Nanamio by 7:30 PM and headed over to the Acme for a might fine meal. The next morning Anna headed off to Vancouver and to home. Meanwhile, we explored Nanamio some more and hit the Grocery store. That night we headed back to the Acme and listened to an outstanding Jazz singer (who was only 15!). Not a bad gig when you can get it.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Ford Cove

We did a quick stop over in Ford Cove off of Hornby Island for the night. We didn't go ashore so I really don't have a lot to report about the island. We did manage to have a kicker sunset and a funky old dock to mess around with. What else could you want?

Funky Dock at Ford Cove

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Manson Bay

Well after two serious days of blowing from the NW we were finally able to get off the dock from Harriot Bay marina. I took the rental car over to Campbell river while the girls got the boat ready to sail. I managed to get the car on the last spot on the ferry and had a nice trip over to Campbell River. I then took the car out to the airport. As I was checking the car in, I looked at their map and noticed that there was a Budget drop off right by the ferry. Hmm, since I hadn't checked the car in yet, I decided to head back to town to drop off the car there. This worked great since the ferry was only a block away. Back on Quadra Island, I stuck out the ole thumb to get a ride back to Harriott bay. I got lucky pretty quick, the hot lesbian dock chick picked me up after only a couple of minutes. After another hour of boat work we were ready to go. The wind was blowing out of the south at a lazy 6 kts so we put up all the sails and headed east for Manson Marine Park. For those that have been following this saga, we were there about two weeks ago. This time we arrived from the west after a sneaking through Shark's Spit on the north end of Marina Island (There are NO marinas on Marina island!). Interesting cut, only about 40 feet wide. It is actually marked by buoys (a near first for up here). After anchoring near the head of the bay, we dingied over and hiked to a nearby lake for a nice refreshing swim. Now for a nice chilled bear and a nice bowl of risotto. Yum.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Harriott Bay

We got a nice slow start out of the octopus Islands since we had to wait for slack water at Surge Narrows. The trip through the narrows was pretty uneventful (The narrows are only 147 feet wide and currents can hit 8 kts!) and we had a quick motor down to Harriot bay. The big plan was to anchor at Rebbecca spit, but it was packed and the weather called for a wind shift so I decided to head into the Harriot Bay Marina. This worked out well because we met a whole stack of cool folks at the Marina and pub.

The next day, the wind switched to the North with a vengeance. About half of the folks at Rebbecca Spit pulled anchor and moved on (good thing we didn't anchor). Later that evening, we had another guest show up for a week (Hi Ana, hope you enjoyed your trip!). She picked up a rental car in Campbell river and took the ferry over to Quadra Island. That night we cooked some primo fillets on the barbie.

The next day we used her car to take a tour of Quadra. I was really looking forward to the First Nations museum, but they were closed for renovations (until next year!). So we headed to the south end of the Island in search of Pictographs. These carving are below the high water mark on the south end of Quadra. They can only be viewed at low tide, and are kind of tricky to see. But, very cool indeed. That night we had appetizers at April Point lodge and the took the water taxi across Discovery Passage and had dinner at Painter's Lodge. April point was voted as one Conde Naste top 500 beautiful spots in the world. Okay, the view from April point is across Discovery Passage and views Campbell river and it's wonderful smokestacks. Now, don't get me wrong, it is a pretty place, but the top 500. No way. The food was also pretty average. Good ingredients, poor execution.

The next day, Kathy and Ana headed up north for some whale watching. I hung out at the boat as it got battered by 20 kts winds from the north. Bouncy, Bouncy. It was so strong that I don't think that I could have got the boat off the dock if I wanted to. I had a pretty damn good day, in that I did nothing. I didn't work on this log, the engine, the bilge, the head ... nothin'. What I did do is have a nice chat on the phone and do some serious power reading.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Octopus Islands

I'm really getting into these slack days. Well in theory it didn't have to be completely slack. We had to poke our nose out into Johnstone strait which always has a small craft adisory and we had to negotiate a rapid with a hidden rock smack dab in the middle of it. Well Johnstone Strait was a complete snoozer - good. We hit the rapid just before slack and the rock was covered with seaweed so it was easy to spot - good. Oh yeah, and the head is completely plugged - bad. At least it isn't completely busted. I can discharge directly overboard, but I don't like to do that in anchorages. So I spent about an hour playing with the head and deciding that I didn't really feel like fixing it now anyway. Hopefully it is just a big wad of TP. I'll let mother nature work on some natural disolved before I look at it tomorrow. Even as I write this it is at least dribbling. So the official plan for today was a big row around the Islands in search of mysterious windchimes that are supposed to be here, a big tall beer and finish that silly book that I started yesterday.

The funny thing about this place is that it is only 5 miles as the crow flies from where we stayed last night. But a set of nasty rapids and Johnstone Straits really thin out the crowds. Tonight there are about a two dozen boats anchored in this park. Last night there were five.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Handfield Bay

Today was another cloudy day. But no rain. After a nice slack morning we set sail at the crack of 11 for Thurston Bay marine park - a scant 12 miles away. After some of the big epic days that we had been doing last month it is nice to only travel for a couple of hours and then chill out the rest of the day. We ended up anchoring in a small little anchorage known as Handfield Bay. Only one other boat was anchored there. This bay used to be a home site sometime ago. An apple tree (not ripe yet!) and an old cabin site is all that remains. After a short hike around the old home site and a row around the bay, I hunkered down for some serious reading - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Talk about mindless. Sipping beer and reading children's stories. I may actually be on vacation now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Frederick Arm

Well I was getting a bit ancy to get off the dock. So we decided to go up to the head of Frederick arm and check out Estero Basin a freshwater connected to Frederick Arm by a small channel known as "the gut". So we backtracked east down Cordero channel and headed up into Frederick Arm. The day started out pretty cloudy with a damn good rain the night before. I almost thought I would have to put on the ole rain slickers, but luck was on our side because later in the day the clouds parted and the sun came out. We managed to find a nice little spot to drop the anchor and then waited for high tide. The trick to navigating "the gut" is that you have to hit right at high tide. At that point saltwater flows from Frederick Arm into Estero Basin. So at high tide we packed up the dinghy and headed for "the gut". Well this little pass is pretty shallow and I had to get out and pull the dingy a couple of times, but once we got pass the shallow spot we had a mini whitewater trip into Estero Arm. "Mini" was about 100'. This lake is pretty damn big - about 4 miles across. We headed for the north shore where supposedly there were some streams coming into the lake. We motored and motored and motored until finally we found the most pathetic excuse for a stream. It came complete with some broken down shack. So we hung out for a couple of minutes and turned back. Now on the ride in both of us had smelled sulfur at this one spot. And sulfur can only mean one or two things. The first was ruled out (both of us swore it wasn't us). So we poked around for a the second likely candidate - a hot spring. We didn't find a hot spring, but we found another creek that ran down for a mountain that had been mined for gold. So of course I had to "pan" for gold. Since I only had my bare hands, this was kind of a difficult process, but I did manage to find four or five flakes. By now gold fever was in full swing and I had grand visions of getting up really early the next morning with a proper pan and work on funding some new boat projects. But alas, entropy and laziness got the better of my and I missed the 5am high tide window the next morning. Oh well, at least now I'm a proper pirate, with my gold stashed neatly away in a spice bottle.

Added note of grave importance: Belini is getting braver. She started coming out and hanging in the cockpit right by the companionway.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Blind Channel

We didn't get much sailing today (or any day that we were in the Discovery Islands for that matter), but the scenery more than made up for the madding chug of the Diesel engine. We left Big Bay pretty early so that we could shoot Dent Rapids. We hit Dent just after slack and rode a gentle current North through the pass. As we are cruising along, who do we see but some sailing friends "Magic Dragon" making their way north. They are heading to Shoal Bay so we follow them for a much needed break and a nap (did I mention that we got up really early!)
Shoal Bay is a nice quiet little bay with a small public dock that was pretty much chock full of Bayliners (do you detect a them?) However, it has a nice little pub and looks like it would be a great place to spend a week or so. Our friends on Magic Draon stayed there for several weeks a couple of years ago and enjoyed the experience. We, however, where not able to linger, we had guests and deadlines (the dreaded D word) to attend to. So after a nice mellow nap while we waited for the Blind Channel current to slack off, we pulled up the anchor and headed West through Cordura channel.

Sitting on the Shoal Bay Pub deck
As we came up to Blind Channel, I kept on thinking where the hell is it. Finally at the last minute we saw it (Hence the name). Now Blind Channel Resort is totally unlike Big Bayliner. It is just a fantastic place to spend a couple of days. The place was started and still run by the Richter family. Much of resort is decorated with Annemarie's art. Even the dock pilings are decorated.

Dock Piling Cover and Detail

The staff was super friendly. In the morning you could walk up to the store for fresh Cinnamon rolls. Later on the fresh bread would roll out, followed by cookies in the after noon. In the evening we enjoyed their find German restaurant. We liked it so much, we ended up eating there two nights.
Our friends stayed for one more night and then took a water taxi back to Campbell River.

(5/13/2004): I just read the Shoal Bay newsletter. Turns out that Shoal Bay is now a Nuke Free Zone. So I guess all of you nuclear powered Bayliners are just going to have to go elsewhere!
(5/13/2004): Annemarie Richter of Blind Channel passed away last November. She will surely be missed.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Big "Bayliner" Bay

I'm not sure why we decided to stay overnight at Big Bay Resort. Maybe it was because we didn't feel like busting through two sets of closely spaced rapids. Maybe because it was supposed to have a good restaurant. Well it sounded good in theory.

The day started innocently enough. We got up bright and early so that we could hit Yuculta rapids at slack. Yuculta rapid is one of the big ones, with currents that day running at 5.5 kts. The slack was at 2 PM so we got a nice early start so that we could stop by Teakerne arm and check out the waterfall. Not to much wind today, so we motored up to base of Cassell falls. Normally you would stern tie to anchor hear, but the weather was blowing into the Arm and I was feeling lazy. I dropped the hook in about 60 feet of water and let the stern drift towards the shore. Since I had hiked up to the lake last year, I let the girls go and check out the waterfall and the lake, while I watched the boat and snoozed a bit. An hours later, they came back and we pulled anchor and headed back north towards Big Bay.

The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful as we slowly motored north. The scenery up the channels is just incredible with bald eagles poking their heads above the pines everywhere. We arrived at Yuculta just before slack with a half a dozen or so other boars. Since everyone is waiting for the slack, it always seems like a mad rush to hit the rapids exactly at slack. On the north side of the rapids lies Big Bay. This resort is sandwiched on the north and south by two big set of rapids, so everyone tends to leave the marina at exactly the same time. That probably isn't that big of a deal, but the corollary is that everyone arrives at one time. Even though everyone has reservations, there are only a couple of dockhands dolling out the available dockspace. Two dockhands, 6 big ass boats, 10 minutes to dock a boat. You do the math. The problem was that many of the Big-Ass Bayliners couldn't do the math and they would push there way in front of the other boats (read that - me!) and generally yell at everyone on the radio. We finally did waved in for a spot. The dock space pretty much sucked though. They had us back into a little finger that was about 20' long. Our cockpit was face to face with a big cigarette smoking Bayliner. These resorts do not understand sailboats and inability to backup and move sideways (look ma, no thrusters!). Did I mention out of 40 boats, there was only 1 other sailboat. As an added bonus, they had run out of water the day before because tow Big-Ass Bayliners had sucked up 1000 gallons of water apiece. Friends of ours were begging for 25 gallons. They actually used the water to DRINK. Imagine that!?

Since we got there pretty early, we decided to go for a hike and check out the rapids. We hike towards the southern edge of Big Bay where someone is creating a planned development. Kind of strange considering that we were in the middle of nowhere. On the hike back, Tracy and I checked out the swimming hole, but decided to skip it since it looked to slimy. That night we decided to try out their restaurant (supposed to be good). Well it wasn't. The salmon was dry and overcooked, the steak was rough chewy and just plain gross. Highly expensive and highly gross. Skip it by all means.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Tenados Bay

We got a pretty early start leaving Gorge Harbor. A low had moved in during the night and the wind was blowing right into the gorge from the south west. Luckily we were traveling mostly South and then East, so we were able to get some fine sailing in. It is always nice to have a mellow little wind when you have guests on board. We sailed west towards Desolation Sound marine park and into one of my favorite anchorage in the area: Tenadous Bay. Tenadous Bay have it all. Good shrimping, dramatic cliffs and a warm freshwater lake. The lake has a nice bonus in that there is a nice cliff to dive off (complete with a rope swing!).
I think I also mentioned that this bay had good shrimping. I'm not sure why I said that, because I didn't catch a single damn shrimp. Mostly I just hauled the shrimp pot up and down a couple of times. I think the problem was that I was in to deep of water. Never could find the bottom. Well, next summer I will figure it out!
The Girls Rowing in Tenadous

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Gorge Harbor

The entrance to Gorge Harbor is pretty dramatic, cut into the southern side of Cortes is a narrow slot about 100 feet deep. On the western side of the slot, the cliffs are adorned with pictographs that are thousands of years old. After traveling through "The Gorge," the harbor opens up to a bay that is almost 2nm long. On the western arm, their are tons of places to drop you hook and watch the birds on the shore. Tonight, however, we decided to stay at the local resort since we were meeting our friends Tracy and Katie. They had braved multiple ferry trips from Vancouver Island to Quadra Island and then finally to Cortes Island. Being the ever frugal traveler, they managed to hitch hike across Quadra and almost accepted a lift from the local garbage truck. Ahh, the life of cruising. That evening Tracy had a little swim around the boat and we settled in for some fine munchies.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Manson Marine Park

Ahh, now this is the life! After an uneventful motor up from Lund (no wind), we arrived at the Manson Marine Park. This park is situated around a partially drying lagoon and also includes a warm fresh water lake, complete with sandy beaches. It is hard to imagine that we are in Canada. This anchorage is open to the south and every now and then we get some bouncies from the south. Last night, though, the wind was from the NW and pretty light, so we had a nice settled anchorage with minimal bouncing about. I don't think that I woke up the whole night.

We were joined by a clipper ship. There are about a dozen of these things roaming the waters here taking kids on a sailing summer camp.

Saturday, August 02, 2003


One thing that you start doing when you travel for more than a couple of weeks is start hitting the local festivals. It doesn't matter how small they are. Maybe it is something like the wooden boat festival in Seattle that draws thousands of folks. Or maybe it is like the Poulsbo 4th of July festival or their Norwegian summer solstice festival. Well I am a sucker for local festivals and when I saw the hand painted signs for Lund days I just knew I had to make a bee line up to Lund. The problem was finding the festival. No one knew where it was. Even the next day at 9am, the supposed start of the festival we couldn't find it. Even locals were driving up to us asking us where the damn thing was. Well we finally found it, rather it found us. It was in the lawn outside the Lund Hotel, only a couple of hundred yards from our boat. Only they didn't really start at nine, they finally got their act together around 2 or 3 pm. They started out with a violin recital from the local teacher including such hits as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The next act had all original material and was composed of the last vestige of the new age movement. Then a local comedy act, and finally the headliner, a local 60-70s era band playing your favorite CSN and dead songs. Luckily, there was plenty of beer on hand, so they sounded pretty good. It is about 11pm now, the local act quit playing an hour ago and the only thing that is left is the new age folks beating on their drums. I think they are trying to revitalize the movement. We did see a brochure today advertising a class about fairies. (Not the San Fransisco type, but more of the Harry Potter type).
All in all, Lund is pretty cool. They pack 'em deep on the dock and weird at the bar. They have a kick ass bakery with about the worst Chai I've ever had in my life. Coffee and bread is good. Chai sucks. Remember that. Also a couple of cool cafes and a nice pub with a great view of the sunset. Billy Bob says check it out.

The Starboard Cafe in Lund
Wacked out house in Lund - Check out the windows
We met another cruising couple, Jim & Judy on Pacific Dreams, a Pacific Seacreast. Nice boat. They are headed North and plan to go a bit farther than us. Good luck to them.