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Voyage of s/v La Sirena
At The Market
Walt/Mostly Sunny
07/21/2012, Ganges


Up early Sat AM for the 1 hour motor over to Ganges. We anchor in a little bay across the main channel from the townsite of Ganges. It's a really busy place with several marinas, lots of anchored out boats, seaplanes, etc. We anchor across the bay then motor dinghy about 15 minutes to the center of all the activity. As we arrived at the farmer's market the place was alive with music, craftsmen, jewelery makers, soapmakers, farmer products, pottery, art, food stuffs, all the required stuff for a good street fair/farmer's market. The entire island is known for it's hippie-like lifestyle and green cash crops. Lots and lots of long haired young folks dressed in 60's-70's style clothes. However the atmosphere is peaceful and not in-your-face at all. It was quite different than when we stopped here on our way north a month ago. And the weather cooperated this time!!!
We stopped at a local fish market, the first we have seen so far on the trip, and picked up a couple of meals for a treat. Sockeye on the grill for tonight and oysters for tomorrow. We have really been disappointed at the seafood supply we have encountered.
The anchorage here in Madrona Bay is exposed to the south (not as badly as Ganges proper) and you know which way the wind is from, eh? Hoping for a peaceful night, but there's always the anxiety. Anchored near a small trimaran on all nylon rode. Us with 150 feet of chain out....this should be interesting if the wind shifts! Always something to think about.

The Hummingbird!
Walt/Partly sunny
07/20/2012, Montague Harbor


Friday arrives and we start the day with a little rain. Last night was a bit blustery as a low front moved in. We spent the AM catching up on boat chores and was ready when the clouds broke so we took a hike around the island enjoying the beaches and sites. Found a little beach glass for our collection, but nothing special. I was told not to write about it, but Nancie performed a 9.9 dive into a slippery, muddy little spot near the beach. No damage except for pride, dirty jeans and maybe a sore spot or two!

The highlight of the day was the trip to the Hummingbird Pub on the Pub Bus. Every hour in the evening the pub bus makes a round trip of about 10 miles from the park/marina to the pub. Unfortunately, the very old antique bus has given up the ghost and a newer model (35 yrs old?) has replaced it. However the old 8-track music player and wood encased speakers were retained and we were once again serenaded by Fats Domino as we bounced along the winding road. Nice burgers were heartily consumed by both of us, not to mention some local brew.

We plan to head over to the Ganges farmer's market in the AM to see what local goodies we can find.

Dodd Narrows
Walt/Sunny
07/19/2012, Montague Harbor

Author's note.....It was pointed out to me by Admiral Nancie that today's photo is NOT of Dodd Narrows, but rather of our anchorage in Montague Bay. I sincerely apologize for any hardships and pain caused by my gross negligence. Humbly yours,.....your loyal boatboy and chef, Walt.

Yesterday's trip from Nanaimo was pleasant with Dodd Narrows providing little, if no, excitement thanks to proper timing. It looked as if half the boating world was doing the same thing as dozens of boats were there getting ready to pass thru. All went well and we enjoyed another beautiful day with calm seas. Today's picture is from the Dinghy Dock Pub in Nanaimo.

Montague was much busier than when we passed thru a month ago. In fact we picked up the last available bouy in the park itself. We took the lazy route and got a bouy instead of breaking out the anchor. We decided to stay 2 nights instead of just one and then head over to Ganges, and the Sat. Market, on Sat. AM since it is only about an hour away and we do love this spot. That also meant we would dine on the boat tonight and save the Hummingbird Pub event for tomorrow. More on that tomorrow.

Another Long Day...
Walt/Sunny
07/18/2012, Nanaimo Yacht Club

July 17/18, Mon/Tue
Another Long Day...
Photo of Nancie's Birthday Cake.....Another fantastic travel day for us starting at 6:00 AM again. We were again blessed with favorable conditions even though the first half of the day we had 2-3 ft swells coming from the port side which made for a rolly, but not bad ride for us. This portion of the route passes alongside Vancouver Island's east coast and past the notorious "Qualicom Beach" area, noted for high winds due to a gap in the mountains ranging the entire length of the island. Apparently this gap allows westerly flows from the Pacific that funnel into the Georgia Straits and cause nasty conditions quite frequently. We were fortunate today, and of course we followed the weather reports and predictions before attempting this passage. It went very well for us today. We arrived in mid-day and pulled into the Nanaimo Yacht Club (again) for a couple of days to recover and catch up on e-mail and the blog posting, which were way behind as you may have noticed. On Wed. we plan to continue our southern route headed for Victoria and expecting to arrive there in about 10 days.

July 18/19 Tue/Wed
Spent the remainder of Tue enjoying the great weather and having wi-fi and telephone for the first time in a while. If you have been paying attention, I got caught up on past posts I had previously written, but had not sent out. It should be noted that I have not figured out the last bits of technique to updating the blog using the SSB from almost any location. That will happen in due time... It was also nice to have access to long hot showers. Ah, the simple pleasures of life!
On Wed. we did some dinghy exploring. First, a trip to the grocery store a couple of miles away. We dinghy over to the big commercial marina, stash the dink, and walk 2 blocks to a nice grocery and get some of the harder-to find items we've been missing. The store encourages boaters to use their carts to transport their purchases back to the marina and then stash them at a "collection point" they maintain nearby. After returning to the boat and storing the refrigerated items we headed across the bay to the east to search out some new friends we had met on the morning SSB net, Neil & Nancy on Moonstruck. They were anchored out near Newcastle Island where we found them. A short visit to get acquainted and we were off to explore the huge Marine Park grounds available. The view of the city is impressive (see photo). Next, we stopped at the Dinghy Dock Pub and enjoyed a great sunset with local brew and burgers. All in all a very nice and relaxing day. In the AM we plan to get an early start and head south to Montague Bay. But first one has to time the Dodd Rapids slack time to get into the Gulf Islands from the north. It's not a dangerous pass, but the currents can be sporty ~ 7 kts I'm remembering. That's going backwards if you time it wrong and are going upstream! Just another day in paradise!!!



07/18/2012 | Nate
There is a great bungee jump place in Nanaimo, I can't think of a better way for Nancy to celebrate her birthday.....
07/18/2012 | Nancie
I don't think so! I prefer my feet on something solid... that floats. 1500' of water beneath me is fine, however, no desire to be dangling in the air... but thanks for the thought :-)
07/19/2012 | Tequesta Peter
Finally got around to viewing your blog. Thought you would be going through the Panama Canal by now. I guess the paln is to take it real slow. That's OK. Hope all is well.
07/23/2012 | Bryan
Happy b-day!!!
Long Day...
Walt/Sunny
07/16/2012, Hornby Island Marina

Photo back at Heriot Bay Marina. Up bright and early. Well ok, not so bright, but early for sure! Had the boat moving at 6:00 AM under clear skies with calm seas. That's good because we have lots of miles to cover and the route for the next 2 days can be nasty under certain conditions that are common here. The northern portion of the Strait of Georgia must be treated with respect. Today was a great travel day with lots o sun and calm seas. We arrived at the sleepy little marina on Hornby Island in mid afternoon. We wouldn't have picked this spot necessarily, but the available stops along this stretch are few and far between. It's a do-it-yourself operation with mostly local boats tied up in rag-tag fashion sometimes 3 deep. I think we were one of two transient boats in the place and we were lucky to find the last available spot. Tomorrow is another long day and hopeful for calm conditions for this transit.

Time To Head South
Walt/Sunny
07/15/2012, Heriot Bay Marina, Quadra Island


Sitting at Von Donop on Sat. we realized that all good things must come to an end (really?) and we need to start heading south to meet up with our Anacortes buddies in Victoria in 10 days. We have really enjoyed this part of our trip and the lifestyle afforded here. I think for the first time it seemed like this is what we expected and what we are after. We're learning to manage resources, and become more efficient at the whole process. As I've said before, when you are the Sanitation Department, the Water Dept., the Electrical Dept., etc., etc...you have to think and act differently.
So here we are today at Heriot Bay after a 3 hour motor/sail from Von Donop to an old marina that has been revamped here on Quadra Island. Apparently some locals bought this spot and reshaped it a few years ago into a very nice spot. We decided to stay in the marina, instead of the nearby marine park (Rebecca Spit) so we could properly celebrate Nancie's birthday! We had our first dinner out in several weeks and enjoyed an outside table (See photo) with glorious "picture postcard" views of the water and mountain background. An added bonus at this spot was the first full sized grocery store we've been to in weeks. There's been no shortage of necessities, but it's nice to have a better selection and better prices in a full store. It was about a 10 minute walk from the marina, but the store caters to boaters and loads you and your groceries into a small pick-up and carts you back to the marina. That's a nice feature!!!
Tomorrow we start the long slog back to the Gulf Island area (Nanaimo) so we can begin the next phase of our trip.

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