Wednesday, August 22, 2007


We had an uneventful passage from Westport to the Columbia River bar, a smooth bar crossing, and a reasonably good trip upriver. As darkness approached, I decided to take the Cathlamet Channel in hopes that we could find a good spot to anchor for the night. We did, but the next morning it was low tide and we couldn't get the rest of the way up the channel - we had to backtrack 7 miles. We still managed to get to Portland by 6:30PM today, and are spending one last night on the boat before we clean up, pack up, and head down I-5 for home. It has been a great summer on the boat, and we're feeling enthused about sailing south to Mexico next year. We are very thankful to all the friends who made this trip possible, by caring for our house, our dog, and our car while we were gone.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Well, we got up on Sunday and it was raining, and the weather observations made it sound pretty tame out at sea, so we bagged our plan to hang out in the San Juans and scooted out the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We had a surprisingly smooth passage right past Race Rocks and along the central strait. When we got to Neah Bay, instead of spending the night like we usually do, we decided to push on overnight, in hopes of reaching the Columbia River bar in time for the late afternoon flood tide. Alas, we hit a northgoing current which slowed us down by a knot, so we decided to detour into Westport and spend the night. We had never been across the Gray's Harbor bar before, and it seems like it could be more challenging than the Columbia bar in bad conditions. But conditions were light today and we had no problems. No sooner had we put a line around a cleat than the US Coast Guard arrived for a safety inspection of our boat. We were asked to produce boat papers, drivers licenses, and all of the required equipment such as life jackets, flares, horns, etc. We passed with flying colors!
It was kind of a dreary day in Westport, but we entertained ourselves watching the sports fishermen (we didn't see any women!) unloading king salmon and tuna from the charter boats. We also watched the launching of a huge mega-yacht from the Westport Shipyard, which produces about a dozen of these resource-guzzling behemoths per year.
The New Hope Cafe seemed to be closed, but we had a memorable dinner at Takohachi's Restaurant - salmon with kumquat ginger sauce, seafood hot pot, and a unique flourless chocolate cake. As Waggoner's Cruising Guide would say: "recommended."
Tomorrow bright and early, if the weather gods are with us, we will make it the rest of the way to the Columbia, and start up the river towards Portland. We should be home by Thursday.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back in the USA

We cleared Customs at Roche Harbor and are anchored for the night in Garrison Bay. Tomorrow we will head over to Fisherman's Harbor on Lopez to rendezvous with a few Oregon friends. Tuesday we will start heading out the Strait in hopes that the weather will have improved enough for the outside passage back to Portland.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cow Bay

Cowichan Bay is a lovely place to stop, even with the weather deteriorating. We spent last night in Nanaimo, and headed on south through Dodd Narrows and Sansum Narrows to get here. There is a wooden boatbuilding center, a great bakery, and a lot of groovy thrift stores for the Admiral to browse. The couple on the next boat, Bob and Susan, are on their way to Mexico on their CS33 My Wind Song. We didn't catch any fish today, but we still get to eat salmon for dinner (good fish store here too).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

heading south

It was sad saying good-bye to Eric and Nora yesterday, for it means that summer fun is drawing to a close. After replacing a broken bilge pump, we headed out of Campbell River and down the Strait of Georgia, with a slight tailwind but not enough to fill the sails. It was nice to finally shut the motor off near Comox, sail across the bar, and into a peaceful anchorage at Sandy Island. Well, it would have been really peaceful, except that there were about 50 teen-aged sea cadets camped there for the night! We paddled around the island, admiring the views across the Strait and getting close to seals, eagles, plovers, and other local wildlife.
In the morning, we sailed a short distance to Tribune Bay on Hornby Island, one of our favorite anchorages, with its broad sandy beach, amazing rocks, and warm waters for swimming. We would love to lay over for a day here, but the forecast calls for another round of SE winds, so we will probably head for Nanaimo tomorrow.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

sailing with Eric and Nora

After we said goodbye to Robin and Ian, we said hello to Eugene buddies Eric and Nora. Even though we returned to Desolation with them, we managed to find new anchorages and experiences from the previous week. One highlight was Eric foul-hooking a dogfish (small shark) while we trolled for salmon. Hey, it was the only fish caught on this boat this season! Another highlight was kayaking in the Octopus Islands. Finally, on our last day, we saw a waterspout.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

sailing with Ian, Robin, Marc, Connie, & Luc

We enjoyed 5 days of great weather in Desolation Sound with Robin and Ian visiting from Cambridge, and rafted to m/v Constance with Marc, Connie, and Luc from Philomath. We swam, kayaked, caught fish and prawns, hiked on an old logging road. Desolation seems more crowded than in past years, but it is still a beautiful spot to spend a few days with friends!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Savary Island

Feeling the need to stretch our legs, today we visited Savary Island, just a few miles south of our previous anchorage in the Copeland Islands. Because the conditions are so mild right now, we felt it safe to leave our boat anchored in the open roadstead and head onshore for a long walk.

We walked west for 5 miles along quiet roads until we reached Indian Point. With the tide now out, we walked back along the beach.

Tonight we'll look for a snug anchorage close to Campbell River, where we will pick up our friends Ian and Robin tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Copeland Islands

Instead of rushing headlong into Desolation Sound, as we've done in past visits, we decided to slow down and investigate the Copeland Islands, just north of Lund. To our delight, there was a pleasant little nook with our name on it, just sheltered enough in the currently stable weather conditions, and surrounded by wildlife viewing and kayaking opportunities. We stayed 2 days!