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Voyages North
Mitlenacht Island Nature Provincial Park, Georgia Strait. August 25, 2015
Elsie Hulsizer
08/30/2015, posted at Maple Bay

Photo. The anchorage off the north side of Mitlenacht Island.

Georgia Strait stretched out ahead of us in a flat calm that went on for miles. Only a small island broke the monotony - Mitlenacht Island.

"It's a nature preserve, isn't it?" I asked Steve. "Maybe we can go ashore."

We consulted the Waggoner Cruising Guide and determined that we could.

The Waggoner suggested an anchorage on the east side, but that looked too tight to us. We anchored instead off a small pebble beach on the north side, perfect protection for the light southerly that had just come up. Another sailboat was already there, and a third dropped anchor between us. Steve and I debated as to whether to row or put the outboard on the dinghy. Looking at the miles of open water behind us, Steve said, "Let's take the outboard, In case we have to leave quickly."

Rocky hills rose up around the small beach, almost barren except for a few shrubs and grass. Despite the barrenness the island was beautiful. The deafening shrieks and squawks of birds reminded us this was a nature preserve.

Two women park volunteers met us on the beach. They were each spending a week out here, they explained, living in a small beach cabin. They led us across an isthmus to their cabin, pointing out the trails we could use. The island had been a grazing area for cattle and sheep before it became a park. We were allowed only on the middle portion of the island and had to stay on the trails, away from the nesting areas. Most of the birds present at this time of year were glaucous gulls.

One of the women, pointed to a small cove in front of the cabin. "Usually we have two or three boats in there." I recognized it as the anchorage suggested by the Waggoner. It still looked too small for Osprey.
From the cabin we took a trail through the brush to a ridge where a gull blind looked out to the sea over a roosting area. From the blind we could sit on a bench and watch the gulls. A sign told us how to tell the immature gulls from the adults. Most were adults around the blind. We stayed in the blind for half an hour, watching the gulls preening themselves, flying back and forth, and screeching. Then we returned to our boat. Mitlenacht had been a good break.

Photo: An adult glaucous gull on Mitlenacht Island

Waiatt Bay. August 23, 2015. Our turn for help.
Elsie Hulsizer
08/30/2015, posted at Maple Bay

Photo: Waiatt Bay. The sailboat Allie Rose and two powerboats whose owners stopped Allie Rose and Osprey from dragging.

We emerged from the forest after a hike to Small Inlet and scrambled down the low embankment to the beach. Looking out over Waiatt Bay, I could see Osprey and the sailboat Allie Rose rafted together on Osprey's anchor.

"Did we drag?" Sara, one of the owners of Allie Rose, asked me.

Startled, I reflected on this. The boats did seem to be farther out than I remembered. But surely we couldn't have dragged. We had set Osprey's anchor well and the wind had been less than 15 knots.

"Maybe it's just a different perspective," I replied. We'll see when we get out there."

Steve and Charley joined us and the four of us piled into Osprey's dinghy for the return trip.

"Do you still think we dragged?" I asked Sara when we got out to the boats.

"I think so," she said. "I don't think we were this far out."

I looked at a clump of rocks just off Osprey's stern. "I don't remember being this close to those rocks."

Then Sara pointed to Allie Rose's bow. "Look we must have dragged, somebody put our anchor down!"

Where before we had been riding only on Osprey's anchor, we were now riding on two anchors.

We were pointing out the anchor to Steve and Charley and discussing what to do when two men in an inflatable zoomed up to us.

"We saw your boats dragging and thought you would hit the rocks so we put your other anchor down," one of the men explained. "The boats were doing fine for quite awhile and then all of a sudden just took off. At first we thought we would have to tow you and use our dinghy anchor, then we saw your other anchor and put it down."

We thanked the men for rescuing our boats. They replied, "It was nothing. You would have done the same for us. We boaters have to help each other. It's how we manage."

We pulled up the two anchors and anchored separately near where we had been before. When Osprey's anchor came up it was covered with mud and looked normal. We don't know why we dragged. We had plenty of scope out and it's a 60 pound anchor that has held more than two boats in higher wind.

The incident made me glad we'd pulled the Ching Shih off the rocks in Hevenor Inlet. We'd done our share and had collected a favor in return

Skull Cove, south of Cape Caution. August 18, 2015.
Elsie Hulsizer
08/30/2015, posted at Maple Bay, B.C.

Photo: A face on the cliff at the entrance of Skull Cove

I've always wondered how Skull Cove got its name. It's not listed in either of the two books about B.C. place names, the shape of the cove on the chart doesn't resemble a skull, nor have we seen any skull-like rocks in its waters. But last year when we were leaving, we saw what could be taken as a face on the white cliff at the cove's entrance. Could the face be the reason for its name?

Whatever the reason, Skull Cove is a great harbor for resting in after a rough rounding of Cape Caution. We can hear the waves break on the rocks outside and red-throated loons give their lonely wails, but the water in the cove is quiet.

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Voyages North on SV Osprey
Who: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windard)
Port: Seattle
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