02 August 2013 | Friendly Cove to Hot Springs Cove
Laurie / Overcast and Calm
Day 26 - July 30, 2013 Tuesday
Of all the days I never felt a whit of guilt for sleeping in, this was the day. We woke up surrounded by a sea of fog; there would be no going anywhere for awhile. Though Moe had his usual 5:30 appointment with the world, he soon found his way back to our warm bunk. I think it was 8:00 before we both got up.
I needed some inspiration for breakfast and perused ‘Sea Salt’ (previously mentioned great book) and found a recipe I could make. With some minor alterations, we were soon eating a gourmet breakfast of Kielbasa with Red Pepper Hash and Poached Eggs.
Soon after breakfast, Moe was hailed by ‘Porpoise’. They invited us over for a coffee and to discuss travel plans for the day. We hopped into James and rowed over with our reference books and charts in hand. It really is nice to have sailing companions! Over our coffee we all agreed that leaving Friendly Cove and traveling to Hot Springs Cove would be the best plan for the day. We agreed on our route around Estevan Point, giving the rocks and the point the respect they are due. Moe and I returned to Reborn and by 11:14 had the anchor on the deck and were on our way through the fog.
We do have radar and employed that as soon as we could, along with our two GPS and our charts. We were ready! Within a mile of leaving Friendly Cove our visibility improved considerably and we could see Estevan Point. A quick look behind us showed Friendly Cove still surrounded by fog. Clearly, we had made the right choice. Moe set the jib soon after our departure from Friendly Cove but, alas, within the hour the wind and the sail had a disagreement and the sail came down.
We do expect to see some sea life as we travel the ocean and were rewarded, shortly after noon, by a visit from a very large sea lion. These guys are no small fry! I compare them to a cow, or maybe a moose, without legs. You don’t want to be bumping into them in a dark back alley.
As I am learning to pay closer attention to our weather situation, I tuned our VHF to the weather channel. I have made a chart on which I can record the current weather information. I listened carefully and made notes. Just as they came to the part where they tell me the lighthouse reports, there was an interruption advising of new weather stations; one above water and the rest under water. I quickly noted the position of the one above water and then waited as they went through the whole spiel again. I still wanted to hear the lighthouse reports as Estevan Point is one of them. I listened patiently and wrote down anything I missed the first time round. Then, just as they were getting to the lighthouse reports, another interruption, for Pete’s sake, wtf!? We turned it off. You can only listen to so much weather on VHF before your mind becomes numb. I did turn it on again and finally heard the report I was waiting for. Estevan Point was blowing a 08 knot SE wind. Not a problem!
The sea was about as calm as one could hope for. Though there is always a swell on the open ocean and we are constantly scaling and descending the hills and dales of the sea, our ride was very pleasant. We knew if there was any kind of sea life out there, there would be no way we could miss it. I kept a very close watch out, but saw nothing more than the always-present sea birds and kelp. Around 2:40 Moe noticed an odd thing in the water. He said, I think that’s a man standing in a small boat out there. I brought out my handy dandy binoculars that I love and spied it out. That was no man in a boat, that was the new weather station they had mentioned earlier! I checked the coordinates and, sure enough, we were in the exact vicinity of the new weather station. Out came the camera - finally something worth of a picture! An hour later I was excited to spot a dolphin fin. Anything, I’m telling you, any little thing is exciting to me!
As we approaced our destination, we were hailed by ‘Porpoise’. They were just in the entrance to Hot Springs Cove and were thoroughly enjoying the humpback whales that were in the area. We spied them with the binoculars and could see the blow from the whales. How cool! We watched them the whole time we approached the cove. We also saw a whale watching boat coming and going from the area. We could see ‘Porpoise’ spent some time dallying around the entrance to the cove watching the whales. Just before they entered the cove they hailed us again and told us they had just caught a salmon. Nice! As we approached the entrance we, too, dropped a hook and even got a good bite but, sadly, the fish won that round. I was absolutely thrilled to catch a glimpse of one of the whales breaching! (Not sure if that is correct. The whale lifted its head right out of the water and splashed down). We did notice that most of the whale activity was quite close to where the hot springs are and wondered if that is what draws them to that area. I think there were three to four whales that we saw.
We motored in and passed the public wharf and where ‘Porpoise’ was anchored. We saw a boat that had also been in Friendly Cove, ‘Chamade’, was here, too. We chose a spot between the two sailboats and dropped our anchor at 5:56. As it was so close to dinner, I immediately went to the galley and started cooking some chicken. While I was cooking I could hear Moe talking to some of the crew from ‘Porpoise’. They had pulled up in their dinghy on their way to the hot springs. Before you know it, he popped into the galley with a fine fillet of salmon kindly offered to us by ‘Porpoise’. So much for chicken for dinner, that can wait til tomorrow and thank you ‘Porpoise’!
After a quick discussion, we decided that if we were going to check out the hot springs we better do it before dinner and not after. Moe got James ready and I put his board shorts, a towel, our handheld VHF and my camera in my bag and jumped into James. We rowed over to the public wharf and tied up. I admit, I didn’t read too much about the hot springs and was very impressed by the well maintained boardwalk that leads to the hot springs. Many of the boards that comprise the boardwalk have engravings of the names of boats and people that have come to this area. We looked to see if there were any names that we recognized and thought there were some that we knew.
The boardwalk is 2 km long and meanders through some spectacular old growth rainforest. There are many spots along the walk that seem as though they must be ‘planted’ there but are not. The forest is thick with downed giant trees that have fallen atop one another and have become a healthy green bed for moss and new life where young trees choose to grow. There are many gigantic trees that must have seen the first explorers coming into these waters. It truly is a green, magical rain forest. We could see that the trail has been very well looked after and respected by everyone who has the honour of passing through.
It seemed to take a long time to walk the 2 km to the hot springs but at last we were there! There were about 8 to 10 other people that were there as well. I, silly girl, had decided that I wouldn’t bring a bathing suit because I thought I might be too cold coming back. Did I regret that decision? Yep, sure did! Moe quickly got into his bathing suit and headed to the steamy, hot pools. I took some pictures and felt very foolish for not bringing a bathing suit. Eventually, I saw that Chris and Julie were done and boldly went up to Julie and asked if I could, please, borrow her bathing suit. She graciously said yes and I quickly changed and met Moe in the hot pools. From the place where the hot water pours down the hill, the water is very, very hot. You would not want to go in there! The water does cool as it cascades down the rocks into the pools. The first pool seems too hot, but as you go into the next two pools, the water becomes very tolerable. Moe and I lounged there and chatted with the one other man that, by this time, was still there. He told us that groups of people start to arrive around noon and leave by 6:00. We were there at 7:30 so pretty much had the place to ourselves. Good timing! We enjoyed our hot tub until we could stand no more and had to leave. As we walked back we could hear the fog horn begin its plea to all mariners to stay clear. Apparently fog horns have changed their tune over the years and we figured that this one sings in high C, as opposed to the long mournful moan that we would expect from a fog horn. I liken it to the sound made when the rim of a crystal glass is circled by a damp finger.
Once we returned to Reborn, I dropped Moe off and rowed over to ‘Porpoise’ to return the bathing suit and thank Julie for lending it to me and then came back to Reborn. Moe and I made a delicious salmon dinner with rice and herbed vegetables. Before the dark arrived I peeked out into the night. There is an eerie, yet entirely peaceful feeling. Other than the fog horn every 30 seconds, there is utter quiet. The nearby shores are shrouded in a dusky fog. It makes me wonder how the people who lived here so many years ago would have felt as they settled into their night routines and huddled around their fires for warmth and safety.
Moe was feeling pretty tired after our day so retired to bed not long after dinner. I stayed up to journal. Here it is 11:15 and I better get myself to bed if I want to make the long 2 km hike to the hot springs in the morning!