The Voyage of S/V Estelle

Settling in to the British Columbia Coast

28 April 2017 | Steveston, BC
14 February 2017 | Whistler, BC
13 November 2016 | Pender Harbour
31 October 2016 | Vancouver Rowing Club
10 October 2016
17 August 2016 | John Williams Boatyard, Hall Quarry, Mt Desert Is.
11 August 2016 | Wooden Boat School anchorage, Eggemoggin Reach
09 August 2016 | McGlatherties Island
08 August 2016 | Castine, Maine
07 August 2016 | Bucks Harbor
06 August 2016 | Castine, Me
05 August 2016 | Cradle Cove
28 July 2016 | Boothbay Harbor
22 September 2015 | Somes Sound, Mt Desert Island, Maine
15 September 2015
25 July 2015 | Oromocto, NB
22 July 2015 | Cambridge Narrows, Saint John River
15 June 2015 | Somes Sound, Mt Desert Island, Maine
01 June 2015 | Cuttyhunk, Mass

A Quick Cruise Through The Gulf Islands

28 April 2017 | Steveston, BC
Cloudy, 15C, Wind SE@15
A Quiet Evening in Pirates Cove

18 April 2017 Pender Harbour
Last night in Pender Harbour
Today we drove from Whistler to Pender Harbour to begin our new chapter in cruising... Coastal British Columbia. After wintering at the dock of Rollie and Evie Rolston, Estelle was ready for her new adventures. Having arrived late in the afternoon, we just did the essential loading and unloading that allowed us to make supper and find space in the berth for sleeping.

19 April 2017 Pender Harbour
With a forecast for rain, we jumped up and began the job of getting the sails on before the rain began. Fortunately it kindly held off until the job was finally done in early afternoon. Installing the main became more of a project than necessary as the installation of the new Mack Pack was a slow project due to some unclear instructions. But all was complete, all loading and unloading complete in time for dinner.

20 April 2017 Pirates Cove, DeCourcy Island

By 0900 hrs we were casting our lines off to begin our first BC cruise. The plan was for a short cruise back to Strait Marine where we launched last fall. Cruising in BC can be a cool affair, even in summer, so we have ordered a complete cockpit enclosure.
Motoring quietly out Pender Harbour, we passed countless small marinas telling of how busy the small harbour would be in mid-summer. But today we were alone in the harbour. Bearing off, we laid our course for Silva Bay, a small harbour just off the southern tip of Gabriola Island, about 25 miles away. Even in the calm airs the temperatures were cool enough for us to dream about our new enclosure. Our course required a slight dog-leg in mid strait to avoid "WG" zone, a naval testing zone. We watched two military ships moving back and forth in the area and were told by "Winchesley Control" that the area was active, so we stayed well clear. Approaching Silva Bay, we noticed in the current tables that the current in Gabriola Passage had just turned in our favour and was running at just two knots. So, rather than stop in Silva Bay and have to wait tomorrow for slack, we decided to head through.

Rainbow in Pirates Cove

Pirates Treasure in Pirates Cove

The Gulf Islands cruising area is an area off the east side of Vancouver Island extending up to about Nanaimo. The cruising area is primarily created by four islands running in a south-east direction with "passes" between. And currents in the passes can run up to 9 knots, so have to be taken seriously.
Safely through Gabriola Pass, we motored down into Pirates Cove, a tiny harbour with a provincial park ashore. We were told by "John", one of about 10 people living on the island permanently, that in summer the tiny harbour could have up to 70 boats in it, jammed in cheek to cheek. To manage it, there are chains along the shore requiring an anchor off the bow and a stern tie ashore, all managed by a busy harbourmaster.
Ashore we went on a nice hike and met a group of early season kayakers out for a cruise. Back aboard, we sat in the cockpit until the cool evening air drove us below to the cabin warmed by the espar heater.
Anchored in the protection of the Gulf Islands waiting for a berth in Vancouver

21 April 2017 Glenthorne Passage, Prevost Island
Today we woke to another dry day, a rarity this spring, and headed out on our way south. The plan is to be close to Active Pass for Sunday morning when we will head across to the Fraser River and Strait Marine.
Porlier Pass
Again in calm airs, we motored down winding through the islands and passages until we rounded up in Ganges Harbour. Ganges is clearly the social and boating center of Saltspring Island.
In the busy little harbour we worked our way in between the mooring field and the seaplane taxi lane. We dropped anchor and took the dinghy ashore where we found a pretty town with everything a cruiser could need... grocery store, bakery, specialty coffee, wine/beer and basic marine supplies. And we supported each one, ensuring an excellent meal for our 44th anniversary.
Downtown Ganges

Back aboard, we decided to find a quieter spot for the night and motored 3 miles across Captain Passage to drop anchor in Glenthorne Passage where we shared a protected anchorage with two other cruisers. In spite of the forecast for 20-30 knot winds, we enjoyed a quiet night.
Glenthorne Passage

44th Anniversary Dinner.


22April 2017 Montague Harbour, Galiano Island
In the morning we wasted no time in getting underway. In spite of the lack of wind in the night, the forecast was still for even higher winds and heavy rain to start in the afternoon. So we were underway and motoring into Montague Harbour by 1000 hrs. Montague Harbour is surrounded by huge cliffs in all directions. In the north end, we picked up a mooring from the provincial park and headed ashore to hike the park's well kept parks. Although the rain did begin, we were sheltered in the dense foliage of the park. And we could feel the wind begin to rise. After an excellent hike, we were back aboard and battening down for a nasty afternoon.
Driftwood Art, Montague Harbour Provincial Park
A quick check of conditions out in mid-strait confirmed that the winds really had gotten up to gale force. But in the shelter of the surrounding mountains, we had only a few light gusts. So by mid-afternoon we were headed ashore into the small village of Montague Harbour in light rain and breeze.Montague Harbour does not take a full day to visit. In fact, a 20 minute walk allowed us to see its sights. So back aboard for the evening, we tucked down below, again talking about the anticipated benefits of our new enclosure.

23 April 2017 Strait Marine, Steveston, BC
Sea Lion
Sea Lion on the Fraser River Breakwater

Today's plan had two objectives... Plan A, get through Active Pass at slack and Plan B, enter the Fraser River at its lowest outflow, about 3/4 hr before high tide. Plan A worked, sort of. Dropping the mooring at 0910 hrs, we motored out Montague Harbour and down to the entrance of the pass. The currents felt right, so we headed in... followed by the Spirit of BC, one of the BC ferries between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. And just to make the morning more entertaining, Victoria Marine Traffic (listening to us talk to the Spirit of BC), suggested we contact the Spirit of Vancouver Island, entering the pass from the other direction. So, we just tucked into a small cove and watcher the ferries pass in the narrow confines of the pass.
Spirit of BC entering Active Pass
Once outside, we set our course for the mouth of the Fraser. But our plan to arrive 3/4 hr before high tide was soon abandoned as we rushed across the strait in a 15 kt beam reach. A beautiful sail. At the river mouth we waited for a tug and tow to exit, and began chugging up the 6 mile channel, against a 3 knot current. But at 1500 hrs, we were safely tied to the docks of Strait Marine. Cruise over.
Steveston Harbour, Canada's largest fishing harbour

From here, not sure. We're here until the canvas work is done, probably a week. Then, depending on weather, we will begin cruising further north... Desolation Sound and the Broughtons, always weather dependent, but with our new enclosure...

Skiing our way through Winter

14 February 2017 | Whistler, BC
Sunny, Village +1C, Alpint -6C
Exit after a great run through Flute Bowl

Well, winter is passing quickly, and here in Whistler we have had the best (for skiers, that is) snow winter in years.
But we haven't forgotten about Estelle, waiting patiently for us in Pender Harbour. We have been up to check on her a few times finding all well. And with some small "take-home" jobs, coupled with studying BC cruising guides, we have been getting ready for the coming cruising season.
We are looking forward to exploring the vast cruising areas here in BC, with plenty of territory to keep us busy for years.
Plans are to head back to Vancouver to have a new cockpit enclosure installed in early April, then, depending on weather, start cruising some time after mid-April, depending on the spring.
We'll see.

To the Sunshine Coast

13 November 2016 | Pender Harbour
Rain, 12C, Light winds
Downtown Vancouver

Well, October did turn out to be the rainiest month on record... 28 of 31 days! And November started out the same. So Estelle sat at the very comfortable docks of the Vancouver Rowing Club in Stanley Park, downtown Vancouver, waiting for a break in the weather to head to her winter home in Pender Harbour.
Neighbors in Whistler, hearing that we were looking for a winter berth, offered us their empty dock in Pender Harbour, about 60 miles north of Vancouver, and we quickly accepted! The only problem was getting there! With the rains, the marine forecast was filled with gale warnings, so we just sat tight.
Finally, a short two day window appeared, and we headed down to Vancouver to stock up for the short two day trip.
On Nov 8th, we made final preps for the trip, and in the evening walked over to watch the US election results with friends Howard and Lynn Bradbrooke. We met Howard and Lynn in Panama and cruised north with them, and followed their lead in shipping Estelle across to BC. Their boat, Swift Current lies in the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club's Coal Harbour marina just feet from Estelle.
Staring glumly at the depressing forecasts, we called Howard for "local knowledge", and he steered us in the right direction, pointing out the narrow window.
So we walked over to their nearby home to (we thought) celebrate the US election. But we all know the result, so I'll ignore that part of the evening. Other than the election results, we had a great evening.
Next morning, after the rain stopped, we topped off the fuel tanks and headed out First Narrows and north west up the coast. Early afternoon we tied up at one of BC's many marine parks, Plumper Harbour, and hiked an excellent 5 km path through the "temperate rain forest". Back aboard we turned on the Espar for warmth and to dry out the boat. A quiet evening celebrating out first BC cruise.

Estelle at Plumper Cove
In the morning we were off and up the coast. We only met one sailboat, heading south towards Vancouver.
Passing through Welcome Passage we reluctantly passed such intriguing anchorages as Smugglers Cove and Secret Cove, leaving them for next summer. Our objective was to get Estelle settled in Pender Harbour before the rain returned so we pushed on.
Entering Gunboat Bay, Pender Harbour
Entering Pender Harbour, we passed numerous quiet marinas and wound our way into Gunboat Bay, Estelle's winter home. Here we tied up at the dock of our neighbours, Bob and Evie Rolston.
Estelle's winter home
Safely tied up, we took off the sails and arranged a heater and de-humidifier below, and Estelle is set for the winter!
Next spring, the BC coast awaits!!

And finally after 21 days, Estelle arrives in Vancouver

31 October 2016 | Vancouver Rowing Club
Rain, 14C, light winds
Strait Marine

Well, on Monday, Oct 24th, Estelle finally arrived at Strait Marine in Vancouver. And except for a good layer of road grime, in perfect condition.
Unloaded and set up in the yard, we spent two days cleaning and unloading excess gear. By Thursday, we were ready to launch and step the mast.
Spending the night aboard, we enjoyed a great meal in the attractive downtown of Steveston, a small section of Richmond on the Fraser River. Steveston has Canada's largest fishing fleet and ashore has maintained a very attractive waterfront.
Dinner at Steveston Seafood was excellent. It is just one of many excellent restaurants in this attractive town center.
Friday morning we were tuning the rig and sorting out the final details.
Headed down the Fraser River with Mt Baker in the background

At noon we cast off and headed down the Fraser River and out into the Strait of Georgia. We headed up past the busy Vancouver International Airport, through a fleet of ships anchored waiting to load and unload cargoes. In under the Lions Gate Bridge and into Vancouver's busy harbour and we headed for our berth at the Vancouver Rowing Club in Coal Harbour.
Entering Vancouver Harbour

Approaching Coal Harbour, we passed next to the very busy seaplane take-off/landing exclusion zone. Here we watched the planes taking off in every direction. A busy spot indeed.

Tied up at our berth, we were met by our daughter-in-law Meghan and our grand-sons Ben and Ethan. A warm welcome for Estelle!

Here we sit until we get a break in the weather to allow us to motor up 50 nm to Pender Harbour, where friends have offered us a berth for the winter. But the wait may be extended... October has been a very rainy month, probably record-setting. And the forecast for this week shows more rain all this week.
But not a major problem as we can wait. And in Whistler, it has been snowing heavily in the alpine for the last two weeks. Sounds like a great ski season in the offing!
Next spring, looking forward to exploring new areas!

Where is Estelle???

10 October 2016
Whistler... rain/snow
Well, she left Maine on Oct 4th...
And with no trouble made it across the border to Niagara-on-the-Lake where the truck had a breakdown. Fortunately, the breakdown was with the truck, not the trailer, but none the less, Estelle is patiently waiting to proceed. But it may have been just a fortunate timing as her route is across the Canadian prairie provinces where they have had 40 cm (13") of snow. She is due to depart tomorrow (Oct 11) and the forecast for the prairies looks like a return to warmer weather. Arrival is now scheduled for Vancouver on Friday, but the BC forecast for later in the week doesn't look good... more delays??? We'll see.

End of a Chapter

17 August 2016 | John Williams Boatyard, Hall Quarry, Mt Desert Is.
Cloudy with showers (finally!)
But not the end of the book!

Somesville Harbor Aug 11th

Well, no cruise to Maine is complete without fog, and we found it this morning. Anchored in the mooring field of the Wooden Boat School, less than 200 yds from shore, I woke with no idea which way was which. The dock we dinghied to for dinner was invisible just 400 yds away. And the cool fog created an uncomfortable dampness, but the Espar quickly dried things out.
To wait out the fog, we went ashore again, wandering the area, inspecting the classes in progress, including traditional dinghy construction, wood sculpture, metalworking, ladies sailing, and a couple of others... a busy spot!
By 1130 hrs the fog began to clear and we got underway, following the windjammer Elizabeth Anne out the harbor. Across Jericho Bay we dropped the anchor in Buckle Harbor for lunch and a final hike around the island; a favorite stop. Then in the afternoon, off to Somesville for the last night of the cruise, a beautiful evening in a beautiful setting.

John Williams Boatyard Aug 12th

We motored the short distance to the yard where we discussed a few items on the maintenance list, then the job of unloading.
In addition to the usual jobs, we unloaded three large boxes of cruising guides and charts related to cruising the US East Coast, the Bahamas and the western Caribbean. Time to move to a new chapter in sailing... the West Coast! Plans are to ship the boat to Vancouver in September for cruising the BC coast. Lots of details to work out yet. But in the mean time, off to PEI for the balance of the summer!

And I have posted a bunch more pictures in the gallery.

More Fine Dining

11 August 2016 | Wooden Boat School anchorage, Eggemoggin Reach
What else??? Beautiful!
The anchorage at McGlatherties is formed by a small gap between McGlatherties and nearby Round Island. In another sunny morning, we decided to hike around Round Island. As it was low tide, we hoped to be able to make it by walking the rocky shore. Only 1/2 mile in diameter, it was not a long hike, but it was a strenuous one. In places we had to bushwack our way for short distances through the woods, in other areas, wade through seaweed. But we made it!
After a slow start to the day and our hike complete, it was noon, so we had lunch before heading off for our last stop, the Wooden Boat School. Our primary interest was not the school, although it is interesting. Our primary reason was to have dinner at the nearby Brooklyn Inn.
Because it is 5 miles away from the school, they will pick up boaters for dinner. So at 1745 hrs, we were heading down the road, driven by the wife of the owner. We wondered about our return ride as she announced they were eating at the restaurant also, entertaining friends. But we settled in.
If you have seen any of the Faulty Towers shows, you will understand when we thought we had just been seated in Faulty Towers. The owner seated us with a flourish, took our drink orders and disappeared... for 45 minutes, only to return with a bottle of wine for himself and his guests. The one waitress was quickly overwhelmed by the stream of arriving customers.
After she finally retrieved our drinks and took our orders, we settled in. Appetizers, cucumber soup and roasted Caesar salad, arrived in due course, both excellent. Dinners arrived, pan roasted halibut with mushroom risotto and glazed carrots... but no wine. After 10 minutes, I finally sought out our harried waitress who apologized and produced the wine. Meanwhile the owners sat oblivious to the chaos and obviously unhappy customers, all waiting for something or other. At one point the waitress had to chase the chef back into the kitchen as he was enjoying talking to all the waiting customers. But the food was excellent and we were able to just sit back and enjoy the chaotic scene. Ready to head back to the boat (5 miles away), our driver was just tucking in to her dinner. I spoke to the waitress who rolled her eyes and told the busboy to drive us. A great evening!

Merchant's Row

09 August 2016 | McGlatherties Island
Sunny, warm... again!
We couldn't leave Castine without one more trip ashore. First stop for a New York Times. With the bizzare election underway, reading is entertaining. Then a stop at a small cafe for breakfast.. excellent tortilla wraps and coffee! Then we were off... out onto the glassy waters of Penobscott Bay. We motored down until noon when we anchored for lunch in the midst of the beautiful Barred Islands. With lunch over, the wind finally filled in and we set sail for McGlatherty's Island, another favorite stop. We romped down East Penobscott Bay close hauled in 15 knots, bearing off to run into Merchants Row and finally dropping the sails in the calm of the anchorage. Another beautiful sail.
Settled in, we took the dinghy ashore for a hike. McGlatherties, like many other protected islands has grown over with trees so dense that hiking is only possible on a few informal but well-walked paths. So we followed one across the island where we found another group of boats anchored in another of the many protected anchorages of Merchants Row. Back aboud, Chicken Fajitas for dinner with salads. Then another quiet night.
Vessel Name: Estelle
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 41.1
Hailing Port: Charlottetown, PEI
Crew: Jeannie & Jim Lea
About: Flag Counter
Extra: After cruising the east coast of North America for 10 years, from Nova Scotia to Panama, it's time for a change. Estelle will be cruising the coast of British Columbia and Alaska beginning in 2017.
Estelle's Photos - The Chocolate Factory
Photos 1 to 52 of 52 | The Voyage of S/V Estelle (Main)
Jim, Linda, David, Nancy & Bruce.
Roasted and shelled chocolate ready for pressing
Husker (old propane tank)
Chocolate press
Jim by the bean drying rack
After the beans are removed from the pod, they are left to ferment for 24 hours, then dried. This is the drying rack.
David covering the drying rack from a rain shower.
Estelle and Seabird at anchor in Dolphin Lagoon.
Vanilla beans
Pod of cacao beans on the tree.
(l to r) Bruce, Jim & David
Red Palms.
"Green Acres" from the dock.
Local transport
The photographer
David & Jim