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Sailing with Thor
06/20/2011, Prideaux Haven

Another brutal hike today...we must be the first cruisers of the season to break these trails because the forest is very thick in British Columbia! Fortunately this one was relatively level but we did have to climb and sown and across some steep ravines. The route took us to the head of Melanie Cove where there was an old homestead site. We were looking for the overgrown orchard and any signs of the old homestead but it was so thick with vegetation that we couldn't find a thing. On the way back to the dinghy we spotted Paul and Kim from Quan Yin paddling their kayaks. Quan Yin is a sistership of Thor. Paul and Kim had just arrived from Grace Harbor and were anchored in Laura Cove just to the east of us. We made plans to get together with them in Roscoe Cove, out next destination.

Later in the afternoon, after returning to the boat, we were in the cockpit reading and boat watching. I was looking at the purple hulled sailboat anchored next to us, (remember the one that came in late and anchored too close?) well, he was still there and nobody was on board. I saw what I first thought was a reflection of light on the side deck but then I realized it was a small fire! Picking up the binoculars confirmed that indeed there was a flame of fire burning on the side deck of the boat. I told Lorrie about it, grabbed one of our fire extinguishers and jumped in the dinghy. When I arrived at the other boat, I found the VHF antennae wire on fire and quickly doused the flame with the fire extinguisher. Must have been a short f some kind that started it. About 30 minutes later the boats owner and crew returned and we explained to them what had transpired. Needless to say they were very grateful and later the owner came by with a small replacement fire extinguisher for us. I told him it was no problem and to keep the extinguisher but he insisted that I take it. We were all just glad that it wasn't worse!

Anchored at Prideaux Haven
06/18/2011, Prideaux Haven

Had a little rain last night...the day was partly cloudy but late in the day, the clouds thickened up. Sometime in the middle of the night, we were awakened with the rain drumming on the deck above our heads and I jumped out of the bunk to close the two overhead hatches that we had open. Although overcast, the rain had stopped this morning. After two days at Tenodos we released the stern lines and pulled up the anchor and headed the short distance to Prideaux Haven, reported to be the most popular anchorage in Desolation Sound. We found it rightly so...there are 3 large anchorages, Prideaux Haven, Melanie Cove and Laura Cove. Don't know who Melanie and Laura are or were nor where the name Prideaux comes from but most likely a "settler" from the early days. We checked out Melanie Cove but found it too dark (lots of trees on high bluffs) for our liking and decided on the east end of Prideaux Haven where there is plenty of sunshine (when it's not covered by clouds) and has some fabulous mountain views. We anchored with two other sailboats already there and later a fourth sailboat came in. We spent the afternoon rowing the dinghy exploring all the inlets and lagoons that the anchorage has to offer. Being low tide, the "landscape" was really neat showing lots of oysters on the rocks. There were many small inlets, nooks and crannies in this anchorage, all very shallow where no boats but dinghys and kayaks can travel. The inlets eventually connected to Laura Cove where we found three other boats anchored. And a rope swing...someone had installed a swing in a large tree overhanging the water inviting anyone to take a swing and most probably a refreshing plunge into the water. If it were July and warmer, I would probably do it! Although the water temperature has warmed up to about 62 degrees, the air temp is still only about 70 and a little cool. Another time, perhaps. Later after dinner and just before dark (total nightfall does not occur until about 11 pm this time of year) a large sailboat squeezed into the anchorage and dropped two anchors quite near us. Too near...where they had the entire western half of the anchorage to anchor in they chose to drop within 100 feet of us. Very rude in cruising etiquette. If they don't move on in the morning, I will politely ask them to move.

Anchored at Tenedos Bay
06/16/2011, Tenedos Bay

We left the anchorage at Squirrel Cove and planned to make a stop at the the small public dock to visit the nearby store. Since it was low tide, I was concerned about the depth of the water along side the dock. We could see the shore line and the very low tide exposing quite a bit of beach but a quick check of the chart showed 13 feet along side the dock at low tide which was more than adequate since we draw just a little over 5 feet. We made the approach to the dock but since there was a small boat tied up in the middle, the areas ahead of and behind the boat had less dock footage available for our length of boat. We decided to make the approach to the end of the dock ahead of the boat already moored there and coasted into the space easily but with about 10 feet of Thor hanging off the end of the dock. We were adequately secured however and only planned to be there for a short time while we visited the store.

After picking up a few groceries, we cast off the dock and headed toward our next destination of Tenedos Bay. It was a beautiful morning with mostly sun but no wind to speak of and we motored the 8 miles to Tenedos. Upon our arrival, we dropped the anchor in 65 feet of water and again took a stern line ashore and tied to an arbutus tree. The only other boat in the anchorage happened to be Talos IV whom we had not seen since leaving Ballet Bay 4 days ago. Another boat, Emerald Steel, (whom we had not seen since Chatterbox Falls) arrived in the anchorage a short time later.

Today we took a short hike to a beautiful freshwater lake...the sun was shining and the temperature warmer. It was a nice afternoon laying in the sun on the large rocks at the lakeside. I was tempted to take a swim but after Lorrie mentioned something about hearing about leeches, I changed my mind. I new she was joking, but...I reminded her of the bears in the area and listened to her shouting out "Shoo Bears! Shoo Bears!" as we hiked back to the beach where we left the dinghy. I was smiling all the way. Oh, forgot to mention the very large wolf footprint in the mud on the trail...I kid you not! We took a picture to prove it! But we have yet to catch a glimpse of a bear or a wolf for that matter!

Still at Squirrel Cove
06/14/2011, Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island

After I changed the oil in the engine, it was still early and we decided to go for a row in the dinghy. There is an inner lagoon off the main cove that is only reachable by dinghy through a narrow pass. Of course, like any narrow pass, the tide is always going to be rushing in or out and the current is tremendous. Kayakers love to "shoot the rapids" so to speak and so we decided to go with the dinghy. I had checked the tide tables and we were about an hour away from high tide, so we would ride the current through the pass into the lagoon on the flooding tide and explore the lagoon and then row back out on the slack tide. Going through was fun...the current was probably running 8 - 10 knots, and you could actually see that we were going "downhill" with the cove being higher than the could see the difference in the water levels. We zoomed through the "rapids", it's about 300 yards long, and ended up in the lagoon where we took a nice row around the quiet lagoon. After what seemed like about an hour (we didn't have a watch with us) we started back to the entrance to check on the progress of the tide. Although we could clearly see that the tide had risen, the current rushing in did not appear to have slowed at all and all we could do is wait until it slowed down enough for us to row back into the cove. What we hadn't noticed until now was that it had clouded up...5 minutes later it began to rain. We moved off to the side under a fir tree in order to stay dry for as long as we could. Lorrie then asked me if I had closed the hatches on the boat before leaving. Ummm...nope, didn't happen! Now we are sitting in the dinghy waiting for the tide to change and wondering how wet the inside of the boat is going to be with the rain coming through the open hatches! It begins to rain harder...and starts to fill up the dinghy. Our fir tree shelter is not cutting it anymore and we are now getting soaked and we are bailing out the dinghy with the bailing sponge. Add a little thunder and lightning to the drama, yep! And now I'm hoping that the tide changes soon before one or both of us starts getting hypo thermic. While wondering about why the tide has not changed at the time indicated in the tide tables, I realized that the slack for the pass will obviously be later than the high tide time because the energy of the moving water will take a little longer to slow down. I had not calculated this into the original time factor. While "waiting" we actually tried to row against the current a couple of times but it was just too strong. After waiting in the rain for what we thought was at least an hour, the current was noticeably slowing, and we decided to give it another try. I rowed as hard as possible against the current and we gradually gained ground until we ended up on the other side once again back in the cove. Arriving back at the boat, we changed into dry clothes and started cleaning up the rainwater that had gotten inside the boat. Fortunately, not too much had gotten wet...what save the day over our forward bunk was a second blanket we keep folded under the hatch during the day and it was the only thing that got wet, besides the floor. A nifty little adventure that ended well, but we did learn some things...double check the tide tables and make sure the hatches are closed!

Our first full day today at Squirrel Cove was a 3.5 mile hike through some pretty thick forest. Although there is a trail, the forest was very dense with vegetation. I'm amazed at the size of the trees, allot of old growth timber, but the under story plants are dense. We don't see any brambles to speak of, but allot of everything else that would be a horticulturists dream. Everything is covered with moss and there are ferns everywhere. Reminded me of a few forest scenes from Twilight or Avatar.

Anchored at Squirrel Cove
06/11/2011, Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island

After spending a couple of days at Chatterbox Falls, we made the long trek back down the three Reaches of Jervis Inlet on the way making one quick stop to take some pictures of another prominent water fall called Soda Falls. This waterfall comes off the cliff and strikes the water in such a way as to make bubbles in the water more so than you see in the other falls...I found it kind of cool, anyway as the water coming through the rocks above has eroded the stone to such a smooth consistency that it looks like a water slide. We were making the trip down Jervis Inlet with Talos IV and took the opportunity to take pictures of each others boats in front of the falls.We also searched the rock face in another area of the inlet for some petraglyphs but were unable to locate them. We arrived at Ballet Bay on Nelson Island late in the day and dropped the hook. Surprisingly, there were no other boats in this very popular anchorage although a small power boat arrived later in the evening.

The next day, the weather forecast was for SE winds and the current would also be in our favor for traveling north so we weighed the anchor and sailed out of the bay on a nice 12 knot breeze. Our route took us up the Straight of Georgia and the west side of the British Columbia mainland. We were sailing wing and wing and doing almost 7 knots over the ground. Five hours and 30 miles later we decided to stop in at the small port of Lund, BC. to top off our fuel tank and pick up some provisions before entering the "wilderness area" ahead of us. We also wanted to see the "end of the road". Highway 101, originally know as the Pan-American, extends over 9,300 miles from Puerto Monte, Chile, to Lund, British Columbia - the cruising boaters getaway to Desolation Sound and beyond. Lund has a very small harbor, catering mostly to local fishing boats, a historic hotel, built in 1903, a small general store, a post office, a couple of dive/kayak tour operators, a seafood restaurant and Nancy's Bakery famous for their gourmet breads and oversized melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon buns. That's about it. We were told that the "town" is about 300 people and most of any activity takes place at the waterfront which is "downtown". We spent the night on the floating breakwater and in the morning topped off at the fuel dock and headed out on another nice SE breeze.

We again had the current with us and quickly covered the 17 miles to where we are now...Squirrel Cove at Cortes Island. We arrived here about 2 in the afternoon and I got to work changing the oil in the diesel since it was again time. We plan to take a dinghy row around the anchorage this evening. There is a small narrow entrance into an inner lagoon that we want to explore.

Anchored at Chatterbox Falls
06/09/2011, Princess Louisa Inlet, BC, Canada

The rain that came in last night stuck around today with showers on and off...there were very low clouds in the inlet preventing us from seeing the tops of the mountains most of the day. And cold, too, we didn't see the temp get above 55 today. In between rain showers, we went ashore and hiked around the waterfall. There is a trail that goes about half way up the length of the falls along side but it gets way too steep and dangerous to get to the top. There is a sign warning people not to attempt to hike to the top because of the danger and 12 people have lost their lives trying to do so. The trees and plants are prolific with moss covering just about every rock, boulder and log and even the trunks of the trees are covered. This place is magical and almost eerie in a way, too. It's hard to describe...we have taken many pictures and will get something posted as soon as we have an internet connection.

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Who: Marc and Lorrie Cascio
Port: Bellingham, WA
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