09/06/2011, Bedwell Harbour, South Pender Island, BC, Canada
We got an internet connection from the boat when we were anchored in Ganges Harbour and received an email message from friends Daphne and George from our home town marina. They were in the area on their boat. We called them and decided to meet at Bedwell Harbour on Friday.
Bedwell is a lovely place. There is a huge bay with several mooring balls and a marina. We chose to anchor, as usual. George and Daphne arrived and rafted to our starboard side. We enjoyed visiting, catching up, meals and a good but exhausting hike up to Mt. Norman.
Our friends left Saturday morning and Ken and I headed out in the dinghy with our dirty laundry and empty grocery bags. There is a village a few miles from here at Port Browning and we got our chores done there. It was the holiday weekend and the marina there was more than full. People sure were having fun.
We've been enjoying the unseasonably warm weather (YAY!) here and decided to just stay for a few more days. We found some new trails up at Medicine Beach yesterday. There is a nice salt water marsh there.
09/01/2011, Tod Inlet, BC, Canada
We left Victoria last Sunday and sailed/motorsailed up to Sidney Spit, just east of Sidney, BC. There is a BC park located there and is a VERY popular spot for locals. A small ferry services the island and the park put out 22 mooring buoys. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and there were probably 50 boats anchored and moored at the park. We dropped anchor. A few hours later some friends that we had made on the North West Coast of Vancouver Island motored up to say hi. They had just come around and were headed into Sidney to reprovision.
On Monday we took the dinghy to shore and explored the park. There are several miles of well groomed trails as well as camp sites. After exploring the trails we headed out the spit. The wind came up with gusts to 30 knots while we were headed out the the end of the spit and were forced to walk against it on the return walk. I'm still picking sand out of my teeth!
As we were getting ready to leave on Tuesday morning a commercial crab fisherman was pulling his traps. They are allowed to put out several traps on one line and only need to put out one buoy for each 5 traps. This makes it hard to tell where the long line of traps are. Turns out that we had put of anchor chain right on top of one of their lines. As they were pulling their traps, up came our anchor chain. They were cool about it, told us what what had happened, cut their line and went on their way. We pulled up our anchor immediately and were on our way, too. We heard them thank us over the radio as were were heading out.
We moved the boat into Saanich Inlet about 3 hours away and are now anchored in beautiful Tod Inlet. The big attraction here is Buchart Gardens. We didn't go. The entrance fee is now $29 each and we were there recently so instead we walked around the small community of Brentwood Bay and the park trails located here. The sun was out so we enjoyed an afternoon on deck absorbing some heat. Ken and Kaye (the people on the boat that that I mentioned earlier) are here too so we've spend time on each others boats visiting.
We are going to head north today. We've never been to Ganges and they are supposed to have a fabulous Saturday market so we are heading there. I'm sure it's going to be a very crowded anchorage as it is a long holiday weekend for both Canadians and Americans.
Things are going well. The forecast is for warm weather and clear skies. Most of the friends that we have made along the way are either home already or are headed home next week. We intend to stay out for another 4 weeks or so. As long as the weather holds out, we'll stay out. Besides, someone is in our slip until September 15th!
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!