Monday, July 28, 2008

Departure Bay Arrival

We're in Nanaimo, waiting for a low pressure system to move through. This is a nice place to hang. We hiked around Newcastle Island yesterday and Protection Island today. Once the weather calms a bit, we'll head across the Strait of Georgia to Pender.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rockin' out on Valdes Island

The Gulf Islands (and some of the San Juans) have the coolest sandstone formations. On our way north after Burgoyne, we spent one night at Chemainus, and the next night at Wakes Bay on the northern tip of Valdes Island (partway through Gabriola Pass). This is another newly-minted park, and as such is not much developed, beyond a dinghy dock and a few signs. But there was a great beach walk out to the east side of the island, where we could look across the Strait of Georgia toward the mainland. We also saw an Ericson 38, Nakesa, same year as ours, tied up to the West Vancouver Yacht Club float on Kendrick Island. The owner, Kerry, dinghied over later to say hi.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Burgoyne Bay

Here's the Internet bakery in Fulford where I graded papers, checked mid-term exams, and updated the blog. The cob oven and walls reminded us of Fireworks in Corvallis. We enjoyed chatting with the owner, Alan Golden, about some mutual favorite books and authors. He had a full selection of Terry Tempest Williams books, among others.
Fair winds blew us out of Fulford and around the southern tip of Salt Spring, through Sansum Narrows, to another peaceful bay we'd never visited before. Burgoyne is filled with mostly local boats, docks and various flotsam, many of which seem to be occupied on a more or less permanent basis. Mt. Maxwell looms overhead, capped by a dramatic granite cliff. We watched a group of otters roughhousing between the boats, until they swam over to an enormous dead cedar tree, toppled into the saltchuck. Later we rowed over to the government wharf and marveled at the huge arbutus (madrone) looming overhead. We were delighted to find that the undeveloped shoreline of the bay has recently been protected as a provincial park. We followed a peaceful old road through the forest and around to the tidal flats at the head of the bay.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Downwind to Canada

Great sailing continues! Yesterday we had a downhill run all the way from Friday Harbor to Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island, where we cleared customs, entered Canada, and started adding a "u" to the word "harbour". We anchored off Beaumont Provincial Park for the night.
Today we tacked out of Bedwell and continued downwind toward Fulford, on Saltspring Island. On the way, 
we took a lunch break 
at Russell Island, one of the newest additions to the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. This was one of the islan
ds settled by Hawaiian natives, who arrived in the 1800s as crew on sailing ships. It had a cool "Hobbit trail" and one of the last remaining Hawaiian ho
We had a special reason for visiting Fulford. Our friend Cathy's old boat Gertrud was bought by a local author and now lives here. We checked on her and she looked great.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to Friday Harbor

Poor F&F got rousted from a sound sleep so we could make it down Speiden Channel past Limestone Pt before the strong ebb kicked in at 0630. The reward was yet another fine sail across to Jones Island, where we spent a leisurely morning eating pancakes, hiking, and reading. After an early lunch, we reluctantly raised the anchor and set off on F&F's final sail toward Friday Harbor, where they had to catch the afternoon ferry back to B'ham. Fred took the helm the whole way, easily passing the only other boat headed the same direction under sail. In 6 days of sailing, we averaged a little over one hour per day motoring!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor

We drove to American Camp right after breakfast and had some great wildlife sightings. First, a fox stopped to groom itself right in the road. Later, we watched two distinctively colored coyotes pouncing on rodents in the large prairie behind Pickett's Beach. They had a lot of black fur and one had a white tip on its tail.
We returned the rental car, cast off the docklines, and caught the last of the ebb tide down toward Cattle Pass, crossing tacks with two other E38s (Nordic Pearl and ?). We didn't quite make it through the pass before it turned to flood, so we motored on through and across the Inner Passage toward Haro.
Sailing once again, we soon spotted the telltale signs of nearby orcas (namely, scads of little inflatables filled with tourists all zipping toward the same spot). Poor whales, they never get much privacy. We saw several females with babies, and finally a large male.
The sailing was pretty good, so we elected to continue on past Roche and on to Reid Harbor on Stuart Island. We got there in time for an early dinner and a 6-mi roundtrip hike to Turn Pt Lighthouse. A cute baby harbor seal was floating around like a little football in the kelp at the point.
The next morning we tried to time our crossing to Roche, but still ended up fighting current across Speiden Channel and had to motor the last bit. Roche was full of the usual chaos, but we enjoyed the scene (and Fred really enjoyed seeing so many floatplanes). We went ashore for "colors" at sunset, and poor Chica freaked out when they fired the toy cannon. Day done, peace reigned again, and we had fun getting beaten at Farkel by Fred.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bellingham to Friday Harbor

We rejoined Southern Cross on the 16th, with good friends Faye and Fred along for a few days. They really brought good luck in terms of weather and sailing conditions! Wednesday we started motoring out of Bellingham Bay against the typical headwind and chop, but after pulling even with Fairhaven we were able to raise sails and make Hale Passage in a single tack. Wind died partway through Hale, but only for awhile, and then we had a wonderful reach past Pt. Migley and all the way to Matia. Rolfe Cove was full, but we dropped the hook in the next cove to the south and had it all to ourselves. Enjoyed a nice walk among Matia's stately trees and the first of many glorious sunsets.
The next morning, we were rockin' and rollin' thanks to some sloppy waves from the Strait of Georgia, so we headed out without breakfast and bashed our way toward Pt Doughty. Conditions moderated after we closed with Orcas, and we ate breakfast and had a nice sail down President Channel, then past Jones Island into SJ Channel. We anchored briefly off Yellow Island so F&F could explore a bit. The caretaker keeps "banker's hours" so F&F had to cool their heels on the beach to wait for the opening bell (10AM).
We pulled into a slip in Friday Harbor so Mark could check in with his students and make sure the 1st mid-term was going smoothly (he's teaching 2 online classes this summer). All being well, we rented a car and headed across the island to check out a house high above Haro Strait belonging to some of F&F's neighbors. Wow! What a view.
Back on the dock, we watched the boaters next to us feeding herring to a female harbor seal named "Popeye".

Monday, July 14, 2008

A star is born!

It was a nice surprise to open the new (August) edition of Lats and Atts and turn to p. 67! This picture was from an earlier post on this blog.