08/25/2011, Victoria, BC, Canada
After leaving Barkley Sound at 1 am, we arrived safely in Victoria around 4 pm. I've never been on a night passage before and was so excited to watch as the sun lightened the sky around 6 am. Unfortunately it lasted about 15 minutes because thick fog rolled in and lasted for about 4 hours. Oh well. When we got out of the fog the wind kicked up to 30 knots but was following us so the ride was easy.
We haven't gotten the 'shift' thing down yet and were only able to manage 1/2 hour to 2 hour naps along the way so we were tired when we pulled into the marina.
We are now in the marina in front of the Empress Hotel and are enjoying the hustle and bustle of the tourist area. We've gotten a few chores done including getting our precious heater fixed!!!! Now we will be able to stay out a little later into the fall season.
In a few days will will be heading north again (I know... home is south) but we missed a few spots that we'd like to visit before heading home in a month or two.
The weather has FINALLY turned to summer! The sun has been out almost every day for a week and a half and boy am I happy about that! Since when does Summer start in the end of August?
08/19/2011, Effingham Bay, Barkely Sound
We left Joes bay and sailed, yes SAILED, up to Pipestem Inlet and anchored with a stern tie in Cararact Cove. The next day we took the dinghy across the inlet to Lucky Falls. When you approach Lucky Falls it just looks like a small waterfall. You tie up on the rocks at the base of the falls and climb 20-30 feet up the rock face. As you climb over the top the view is amazing! There are clear pools of water and several more water falls. As you peek around the corner there is another set of tall falls and more pools. The pools look soooo inviting but are very cold! It took some time for me to get the guts up to take the plunge but in order to get back to the other falls and pools you have no choice but to swim across. It was so cold that I couldn't even get a breath of air! Once across, Ken helped me up the slippery rocks where we climbed through more falls to get to more pools where Ken couldn't resist but to jump in a couple of times then swim across so that he could explore further up the falls.
We had the whole place to ourselves for about 3 hours. When we were climbing back down to the dinghy some sailing friends were approaching so we said hello and decided to get together for dinner together later.
We're now anchored in Effingham Bay. Shortly after setting the anchor a Minke Whale came into the bay and gave us all a rare show. He/she was feeding! Ken heard what sounded like a bunch of fish hitting the surface and looked toward the sound and saw a giant head coming out of the water with fish flying all over! He got my attention and we both watched as the whale made his way around the small bay and then dove down and then broke the surface with its giant mouth open wide! What a site and so close to the boat too. I was so stunned that I didn't get a picture of him/her feeding. Instead I just stood on deck with my mouth hanging open.
This morning we hiked a rather rugged trail over to a sandy beach. On our way back to the boat for lunch some other friends were coming into the bay so we went over to say hi. We have plans to have dinner with them tonight.
We plan to head up the Straight of Juan de Fuca on Sunday. We'll spend some time in the lovely city of Victoria.
08/14/2011, Joes Anchorage, Broken Group, Barkely Sound, West Coast of Vancouver Island
Yay! We made it to Barkely Sound today. I've been looking forward to this part of the trip for a long time. We are anchored between 4 or 5 islands right now and it is very peaceful.
The trip from Tofino was uneventful but slow going. We had about a knot of current going against us the whole way.
Yesterday afternoon we got together with 4 other cruisers who we've been bumping into all along the west coast (there are not many of us making the trip down the coast so it's easy to keep seeing the same few people over and over again). We took our dinghies over to an island and took a 2 hour hike on the Big Tree Trail. A short portion of the trail is on a rickety boardwalk and the rest is a slightly rugged trek through the woods. There are several old growth trees along the trail.
I had expected to want to spend more time in Tofino but the anchorage was tormented by STRONG currents which made for bumpy and noisy nights. It wasn't easy for me to sleep. When the current changed directions, which happens 4 times a day, the boat would change directions, dragging the anchor chain across a rocky bottom. We could hear that noise throughout the boat and at times the boat would jerk making you feel like the anchor was dragging. We didn't drag anchor, it just felt that way. I'm happy to be away from Tofino and back out in the islands.
I spotted a humpback whale on the way into Barkely Sound. It was doing it's typical hump the back and raise the tail before diving thing. This one was pretty close to the boat. After it dove, we never saw it again. I wonder how long they can hold their breath.
We moved down to the little tourist town of Tofino today and are rafted with our friends on Loch Fyne again. Tofino has been one surprise after another. The marinas are full of fishing boats (commercial and pleasure) and there is no room for us. The anchorage is full of crab pots, I MEAN FULL, so we couldn't anchore in any place that is protected. Instead we are out in the channel where the current runs strong. It's uncomfortable.
We found several rude people in town. Both locals and travelers. We don't have a great impression of the place so far.
Tomorrow there is a public market at the park so we look forward to that.
We won't stay more than two nights here, just enough time to do laundry and stock up on food.
The Broken Group in Barkely Sound is next! Woo Hoo!
We rafted with Loch Fyne at the head of Matilda Inlet and hiked a muddy but fun trail to a sandy beach. There is a warm springs near the anchorage but it wasn't very inviting as it was only about 80 degrees F.
We talked with a camper who said that a wolf entered their camp the night before. Their yellow lab ran after it. Dumb dog.
08/10/2011, Bacchante Bay
We left Hot Springs Cove and headed up Sydney and Shelter Inlets. These inlets are very pretty with a variety of hills and mountains, bays, inlets and no logging.
In Shelter Inlet I spotted a long bump in the water ahead of us. As we approached it submerged. Another whale! This one turned out to be a mom and calf. I wonder if she was nursing when she was just lying at the surface. We were traveling with our new friends on Loch Fyne who we about a mile behind us. I radioed back to them to watch for the whales.
Our passage was short today, maybe 15 miles. When we entered Bacchante Bay a boat that we keep running into was already at anchor. They are from Japan and are on their way to Mexico after spending a year in Canada. They said that it took them 50 days to sail from Japan to Canada. We tucked the boat back into the bay and got ready to take the dinghy up into Watta Creek. Loch Fyne anchored close to us and Corliss was already in her dinghy heading over to our boat. We all rowed up into Watta Creek where we had to occasionally get out to drag the boat over the shallow rapids. Watta Creek has the clearest water! There is a deep spot above the first rapids that you would swear was only 5' deep. When Ken put the oar down it didn't even come close to the bottom. It must have been 15' deep. Shortly after dragging the boat up the second set of rapids we came to a spot where about 5 creeks seemed to converge into one. That was the end of the line for us. Ken got out and walked around in the woods a bit and I stayed behind in the dinghy just enjoying the rush of water going by. We 'ran the rapdis' on the way back down and Ken was all smiles.
We are really enjoying the Southern part of Vancouver Islands West Coast. It's still rugged and remote but not remote enough that we aren't within a days passage of a small town. This means that we see many other boats, both pleasure and tour. The Northern part of Vancouver Islands West Coast was very remote and we would easily go a day and only see one other boat. Not that where we are is overly populated by any means. There are only 3 other boats anchored here, I've not seen any houses today and there still isn't cell phone coverage yet.
The weather still isn't cooperating. Yesterdays high was 59 and we haven't seen the sun for 4 days. No rain, though.