Don/Windy 08/03/2010, Montague Harbour, Gabriola Island
We woke up to breakfast goodies bought by John in Vancouver at a Whole Foods store. They were great!! Today we would lose another member of our crew - Katie was off to Las Vegas to spend some time with her friends. We walked her up to grab a cab at the Westin. It was hard to lose her. Katie had basically driven Change of Latitude up to Port McNeil on her own, taking the majority of driving time each day. Without her, we could not have made it up there in just 4 days.
At 10, Sarah, John, and Don headed off across the Strait of Georgia, a crossing of about 20 miles that can sometimes be a bit of a challenge as northwest winds can oppose incoming tide, coming from the southeast. That combination can kick up waves of up to 10 feet. Don and Debbie had crossed in May with waves of 5-6 feet and winds of 25 knots. It was a bit rough. Today, though, it was pretty smooth. We had a bit of a rolling angle to the prevailing wind and waves but, all in all, it was a pretty easy crossing. We had to enter the inside of the Gulf Islands through Porlier Pass. We timed it so that our entry found an ebbing time, going with us to the inside of the islands. We made the entry easily and cruised down Trincomali Channel to Montague Harbour.
We entered the harbour and Don looked for a place to anchor close to the dock. Last October, he and Debbie had discovered a wireless signal in the harbour, closer to the dock. John and Sarah handled the front deck duties with the anchor and bridal perfectly, the wifi signal was a good one, and we settled in for the rest of the day. John and Sarah put Rubber Ducky down and went for a cruise around the harbour and over to the marine park, a midden and former first nation settlement.
About 5:30 they all took Rubber Ducky to the dock and walked up the hill to catch the bus to the Hummingbird Café. The Hummingbird bus has a driver known throughout the islands for providing an entertaining bus ride. In fact the bus ride may be even better than the food at the Hummingbird! He did not disappoint. He appeared, right on time, and we took off to tunes from the 80's playing over the bus's loudspeakers. We sang along, the driver did a pole dance while driving (Yes, that's right!) and, fortunately, we all made it safely in a bus that must have been 40 years old. Our dinner was OK but nothing special. Then we headed home on our bus to "Blueberry Hill" by Chubby Checkers. We all joined in and sang our way home.
We had a reasonably short run the next day, through Friendly Passage, to Vancouver. Don made certain to call up the fishfinder when he took the boat by the place where the salmon team had caught their monster fish. He found a few fish there, along the drop off.
We went by Secret Cove and through Friendly Passage. The winds were up a bit, to 15-20 knots. Along the way, the Coast Guard reported on VHF 16 that a plane had spotted a sailboat turned over and two people in the water. They asked for assistance from any boat in the area. We were approaching the spot in a few miles so we stood by to see if we could be of help. As it turned out, though, a group of small sailboats (about 15 feet) were out together and one overturned. For boats of this size, it is usually an easy matter to right them and drain the water out. It appeared this is what had been done because we went by the group and all appeared to be well. We saw a hovercraft begin to come out and then return, once they learned what the situation was.
About 1 pm, we approached Vancouver and had the always exciting moment of going under Lion's Gate Bridge at First Narrows. It was beautiful, as always, with Stanley Park on the right. We hailed the Coal Harbour Marina on channel 66, got our slip assignment, and made a great landing. Lee Gunderson, a long time good friend of Don and Debbie's from Berkeley days came down to meet us and to have dinner. Lee is a professor at the University of British Columbia. We went over to the Westin Hotel and had a great meal and great conversation. Lee had just come back from a week of cruising on Lake Okanagan in interior BC. We all had a great time. It was so nice of Lee to make time to come down and see us.
Debbie had to leave that evening, to fly back to Connecticut, and be with her dad who had surgery, earlier this summer. While she was with us, her sister Barb was so very kind to be at our house with Dan. Lee offered to pick up Debbie and take her out to the Vancouver airport for a red-eye home. We were all sad to see Debbie depart, especially Don. Now there were four of us.